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Joyful Exiles: Living in Christ on the Dangerous Edge of Things

James M. Houston 

Publisher ‏ : ‎ IVP Books; Print on Demand ed. edition (Oct. 12 2006)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 204 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0830833242
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0830833245
Item weight ‏ : ‎ 431 g
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.97 x 1.6 x 21.59 cm

About the Book

Winner of the 2007 World Guild Best Leadership/Theoretical Book

Pastor and teacher Jim Houston reviews the insights he has gained over his years of teaching, counseling and mentoring Christians. He passes on what he has come to regard as pivotal concerns for leading a faithful Christian life in current society and culture. This is an advanced discipleship book for those who want to learn from someone with mature spiritual insight who has gone before them. If you are interested in Christian maturity, faithfulness, spiritual formation, and life, and want a guide through the "currents and eddies" of our society and culture, this book is for you.

Table of Contents 

Preface


Prologue: Why Dialectics? Part One: Christian Faith as a Way of Life and a New Identity


1. The Breath of the Hidden Life
2. Being Open to a Visionary Life Before God

 

Part Two: The Priority of Personal Calling Over Institutional Life


3. The Surrealism of Christian Public Life
4. The Journey Towards Becoming a Person

 

Part Three: Maturing in Community, Transmitting Faith In Person


5. Living the Truth in Love
6. Christian Transmission in an Age of Disjunction

 

Epilogue: Communal Maturity in Christ


Appendix: Why the Rhetoric of Dialectics?


Notes


Index

What Others Say About the Book

Darrell Johnson
Associate Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Theology,
Regent College

David G. Benner Ph.D., C.Psych., Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Spirituality,
Psychological Studies Institute, Atlanta, and author of Desiring God's Will

M. Robert Mulholland
Professor of New Testament,
Asbury Theological Seminary,
and author of Invitation to a Journey and The Deeper Journey

Lauren F. Winner
Duke Divinity School,
Christianity Today, May 2007

Rodney Stent
The Lamplighter, May 2007

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly,
August 16, 2006

"Countless of us disciples of Jesus look to James Houston as a kind of 'spiritual father.' Whether it is through his books or lectures or times around a cup of coffee, God has spoken into our lives through his. Thanks to his son Chris, who asked his father to write this book, we now have in print spades of the wisdom he has imparted to us in bits and pieces. Here Dr. Houston opens his heart and mind to us as never before. Here is Dr. Houston at his clearest, deepest, warmest, massively insightful best. Here is the legacy of a father for his children which we can also pass on to our daughters and sons. Come sit at his feet as he teaches us to live wisely."

"Be forewarned. This book is seriously countercultural! It presents not just a challenge to secular culture but more seriously a challenge to the comfortable ways we have shaped Christian culture. It is a call to embrace our identity as exiles and to live joyfully and prophetically from this place. It is a call to live on the edge, for it is there and only there that we can be truly open to God's presence in the world and the invitations to engagement with the world's problems and challenges. This is a tremendously important book—perhaps the most important book written by this much loved and highly esteemed wise Christian author. I recommend it with enthusiasm."

"Eugene Peterson defines the Christian life as 'a long obedience in the same direction.' James Houston now gives us the fruit of such a life. Houston reminds us that the Christian life is not merely a set of beliefs, a pattern of behavior or a structure of dogma—it is life in a vital, living, mystical relationship with God in Christ animated by the Holy Spirit. For anyone desiring to explore the depths of life with God in this postmodern culture, this book is a must."

At a time when bookshelves seem dominated by easy spiritual self-helps and quick-fixes produced by following seven or nine steps, Houston has given us substantive, disturbing, intellectually rigorous, and sage guidance for the Christian spiritual life.

. . . [It's] a reflective book rather than a prescriptive one; it is intentionally dialectical rather than dogmatic. It is the fruit of many years of reflection on Christian living in our social-cultural context today. . . . Christians who are concerned about intelligent interaction with the culture of today while desiring to live faithfully and joyfully as strangers and pilgrims on this earth, will resonate with much in this book. For many readers this book will prove a challenge as to how much they have thought through things outside the often rather circumscribed viewpoints of their own church's positions and the generalities and cliches of much of the preaching they hear.

Having mentored many a scholar, pastor or counselor who went through the college he founded-Regent in Vancouver-Houston now passes along to the rest of us some of the wisdom he's gleaned from living the Christian life in constant dialogue with culture watchers, literary authors and theologians. Two of his supreme interests are lifting the idea of personal calling outside the walls of religious institutions and warning institutions against courting the idea of worldly success, noting that "success is a public and cultural rating, whereas faithfulness to God remains hidden and divinely evaluated." He covers these topics well. His rhetorical method is to dialogue about his faith with some of the great minds of Christian history-Augustine, Dante, Kierkegaard, Jonathan Edwards and Dostoyevsky. Houston's section conversing with Dante's Inferno will be illuminating, even to those not intimately familiar with the original work. At times, Houston's fascination with historical figures and philosophical themes lends the book a highly academic tone, but at other times it reads like a rich spiritual memoir. Houston is sharing his life with us here, and those wishing to peer into the long life of a highly respected, intellectual Christian mentor will find a rich feast.

Two of [Houston's] supreme interests are lifting the idea of personal calling outside the walls of religious institutions and warning institutions against courting the idea of worldly success, noting that "success is a public and cultural rating, whereas faithfulness to God remains hidden and divinely evaluated." He covers these topics well . . . Houston's fascination with historical figures and philosophical themes lends the book a highly academic tone, but at other times it reads like a rich spiritual memoir. Houston is sharing his life with us here, and those wishing to peer into the long life of a highly respected, intellectual Christian mentor will find a rich feast