A spiritual memoir of incarnational ministry
What is the subject?
At Home in Exile is a “spiritual memoir” about incarnational mission.
To make a case for such a Christian lifestyle, the author describes living among those one wants to see experience the good news of salvation.
Who is the author?
Russell Jeung is a sociologist (also considered a theologian) whose work focuses on Asian Americans, race and religion. He is an American of Chinese (more precisely Hakka) descent. Despite his level of education (and the privileges that comes with it), Jeung deliberately practises his theology by living among and sharing the sufferings of refugees from Cambodia, Laos and Burma (Myanmar) and undocumented Hispanics in the U.S.
Why did you read this book?
I work as the coordinator of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba’s Migration & Resettlement program. The goal of this program is to work with churches and other groups to sponsor and resettle in Manitoba as many refugees as possible. I was naturally drawn to this book with “exile” and “refugees” in the title. I am glad I read it.
How is it in harmony with the MB Confession of Faith?
Under Article 7 of the MB Confession of Faith, we read this about the Great Commission and the Great Commandment: “Jesus teaches that disciples are to love God and neighbour by telling the good news and by performing acts of love and compassion.” At Home in Exile perfectly demonstrates this MB core belief through the lifestyle choice of the author.
Before I came to Canada, I was under the impression that poverty did not exist here and in other developed countries like the U.S., and that every person (citizen or not) there had all their basic needs met. It has been rather shocking to learn how much poverty and injustice there is in these rich countries. At Home in Exile is another great eye-opener on such issues. Many citizens are “in exile” in their home countries, living, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “on an island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”
As I review my notes in the margins of the book, I am a little surprised (and maybe even disappointed) to realize that I did not note anything on which I disagree with the author.
Ironically, however, for someone who speaks English as a third language, I found a few things I consider poor written English. Also, there is a typo in the name of a Spanish organization.
Why should someone read At Home in Exile?
Any person interested in Christian mission should read this book:
- to become more aware and informed about the injustices in our world and to realize how close to home these are happening;
- to learn about a practical way of fulfilling the Great Commission through incarnational mission.
In the author’s words
|“Too often we…are blind to the newcomers around us and to their struggles to adapt.”|
|“We must act like a family to one another in taking corporate responsibility for the greater good.”|
|“…injustice occurs when we do not take care of one another, whether on an individual or systemic level.”|
—Arisnel Mesidor is coordinator of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba’s Migration & Resettlement program and a lay leader at Eglise Communautaire de la Rivière Rouge, Winnipeg.