In middle school, I created my first blog that examined issues related to theology and posted brief studies in the Scriptures. However, I was never satisfied with it because I didn’t know what I was doing. My content varied widely and seemed scattered from post to post. There was no traction in what I wrote.
As I attempted to restart my blog in my sophomore year at Lancaster Bible College, Saundra (she was working on her communication degree) pointed out that I needed to identify a couple crucial pieces of information in order to have a successful public output:
- Who is my audience?
- What is my voice?
Additionally, while I was working through my pre-seminary degree (now the Biblical Language Track), a couple of my classes focused specifically on church leadership. But those classes had wider applications. Couple this with my studies in the theology of work and personal leadership, I identified 3 more pieces of information I needed in order to give my blog and its content direction:
- What is the purpose? (Mission)
- What is the goal and how will I accomplish it? (Vision)
- What values will drive what I do? (Values)
With a brief biblical theology of exile now complete, I will walk through the mission, vision, and values of my blog, Exilic Theology.
Exilic Theology exists to help Christians to know and love God and neighbors as exiles in this world.
There are a few parts to this mission, so let me break them down for you:
- Help: Exilic Theology is a service blog. This means all content is created to help us both discover what it means to journey through this life away from the Garden and to the New Jerusalem.
- Christians: Exilic Theology is unashamedly a Christian blog. That means all content will be distinctly Christian and directed at a Christian audience.
- Know: Exilic Theology exists to promote the knowledge of God and neighbor by answering the questions of “who is God,” and “who are our neighbors?”
- Love: Exilic Theology exists to cultivate love of God and neighbor by answering the questions of “how do I serve God?” and “how do I serve my neighbors?”
- God: Exilic Theology desires to promote a God-oriented life. That means the content published on this website seeks to assist in cultivating the vertical relationship with God.
- Neighbor: Exilic Theology desires to equip Christians to proclaim the gospel and serve their neighbor. This means the content published on this website seeks to assist cultivating the horizontal relationship with each other and yourself.
- Exiles: Exilic Theology is concerned with helping Christians navigate through this life as we serve where we are at while longing for Christ’s return.
- World: Exilic Theology is focused on the redemptive narrative and its impacts on all things. This means that the focus of the content will be on the present, but it anticipates the future renewal of all things.
Exilic Theology desires to be a website that offers a variety of resources which thoughtfully integrate the Scriptures and theology into many spheres of study.
Essentially, I desire to offer resources for a Christian audience that covers a wide range of topics, but does so deeply.
For now, I will accomplish this in 2 ways:
- Book reviews
These are both sustainable avenues for me to regularly craft content for you all in the midst of busy schedules. Blogging allows me to briefly take a topic, formulate an idea, and communicate it to my readers. Blogging will be categorized under 3 headings:
- Writing for Exiles—This is the space where I write on topics like theology, to leadership, to ministry, to work, to culture, to anything in between.
- Studying with Exiles—This is the space where we will crack open our Bibles and dig into the text more intently than “Writing for Exiles.”
- Confessing with Exiles—This is the space where we will examine the creeds, confessions, and catechisms of our faith, because we are not alone in our biblical and theological understandings.
Book reviews allow me to take what I have read (or have been recommended) and offer a charitable, critical review of it so that you can be informed of what authors are writing and support them by picking up a copy. This will be called Reading with Exiles.
By no means am I limiting myself to these ways! There are many exciting plans in the works over the next couple years that I can’t wait to reveal.
Transformation — Community — Quality — Challenging — Accessible
Exilic Theology holds the following values:
- Transformation: God revealed himself in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, the Bible has the power to shape and form people. Exilic Theology strives to provide practical takeaways to help Christians look more and more like God’s Son.
- Community: God’s people are a communal people (Acts 2:46-47). Therefore, we should strive to live life together. Exilic Theology promotes activity in the local church.
- Quality: God values quality (Genesis 1-2). Therefore, as image bearers, God’s people should strive for quality in whatever we do. I strive to provide quality content and resources.
- Challenging: God challenges his people through circumstances and hard sayings in Scriptures (Deuteronomy 29:9, Matthew 16:24-26). Therefore, we should seek to be challenged as we study the Scriptures. Exilic Theology seeks to produce content that isn’t only encouraging, but challenges how we live.
- Accessible: God made himself known to all people (John 1:14). Therefore, we should strive to make God known to others. Exilic Theology seeks to make understandable content without sacrificing the rigor of studying.
For ease of access, this statement is linked at About Exilic Theology.
Living as Exiles
Finally, at the end of every post, I offer a couple ideas of how the topic can transform us as exiles in God’s creation. This is my rendition of a benediction.
With that, I am so glad that you have decided to visit my blog to read these first posts on Exilic Theology! I hope that you stick around as we journey together to know and love God and neighbor as exiles.
Here are a couple of resources that helped me understand define the specific purpose of Exilic Theology:
- Perman, What’s Best Next—Matt Perman covers many aspects related to personal productivity and work in this book from a gospel perspective. About halfway through, he spends time on defining and articulating your mission and how to align what you do with your personal mission. I took the concepts from that section and applied it above.
- Covey, First Things First—Even more foundational is Stephen Covey’s work, First Things First. Although not explicitly Christian and even though it covers many aspects related to personal productivity, it emphasizes knowing what you are about so you can get the right things done.