Thanks to David Kinnaman, I finally have a name for my condition. I think I’m an exile. You might be too.

Here are a few diagnostic statements. Mentally mark off the ones you strongly agree with (as in “this makes me want to stand up and clap, even though I’m in a coffee shop right now, and that would be so not okay”):

  I am a Christian, but the institutional church is a difficult place for me to live out my faith.
  I want to find a way to follow Jesus that connects with the world I live in.
  My vocation (or professional calling) is disconnected from my church experience.
  I want to be a Christian without separating myself from the world around me.
  God is more at work outside the church than inside, and I want to be a part of that.
  I feel stuck between the comfortable faith of the previous generation and the life I believe God wants from me.
  I want to help the church change its priorities to be what Jesus intended it to be.
  I am not disillusioned with tradition, but I am frustrated with slick or shallow expressions of religion.
  I want to be part of a Christian community that is more than a performance one day a week.

There are 9 statements there. If your heart jumped out of your chest at least 5 or 6 times, I’d recommend two things:

  1. Pick up a copy of “You Lost Me” and learn more from Kinnaman’s research – about exiles and a lot of other things.
  2. Consider being a part of The Table.

We’re starting The Table because we identify with almost every word of those questions – we’ve been struggling to reconcile faith with real life. We strive to be true followers of Jesus, and we’re looking for a community committed to living in the tension, willing to explore what it means to be “in the world, but not of it.”

We don’t have all the answers (maybe not any of the answers), but The Table is a place where we can try to work it out. We’re dedicated to the idea that church is more than a show to invite people to in the hope that they will be turned into followers of Jesus through an industrialized, assembly-line process. We’re motivated by the belief that Jesus’ message is for everyone, but in order for everyone to hear we need more preachers (not the kind who speak on Sunday, but the ones who work in the next cubicle or serve the same community organization).

We’ve re-ordered our entire lives to live out a missional calling – to be “salt” mixed into culture, to be “light” in dark places. The Table is a dream we have – the dream that there could exist a community of followers of Jesus wholly and radically abandoned to the mission of making disciples – a community where we can struggle, fail, succeed, laugh, cry, love, and live out that mission together.

“Exile” or not, we invite you to see if this kind of community is for you. Get in touch and let’s talk – or just join us for a live gathering starting in September.