Exile means: the state of being barred from one's native country, typically for political or punitive reasons; a person who lives away from their native country, either from choice or compulsion.
“Have you ever had the experience of being a stranger in a foreign land?”
Could be a foreign country, part of local town - even church itself could be such a place - place where there is a different, culture, food, people, beliefs etc. What are my experiences and how does that influence the things I do?
If the country I live in (the UK) is becoming less of a “Christian” country is that a bad thing? There is a perspective that says that the more Christians are marginalised then the stronger they will become. If they become exiles in their own land then perhaps God will protect and rescue them as he did for his people in the past. The more multi-cultural the country comes, the stronger christians could become. An interesting thought.
I feel I am an exile from two things. Church life and the place where I was born and grew up. The former has happened due to my journeying and displacement as I have reconsidered what my spirituality means. The latter has happened due to me leaving home and building a life in a different part of the country. I long to return to the Herefordshire that was my childhood home. It has a huge draw upon me and I hadn’t really considered the word exile as applied to me in this way before.
Can I return from exile? Whether I will or not depends on what happens in the future and the choices that are made. How does using the term exile to these two situations affect my actions and thoughts? By giving a name to this it helps to identify the things that mean something to me. By being taking on the feeling of being marginalised can I somehow grow stronger?
My journey has almost ground to a halt and, in some ways, this is a very peaceful place to be because I am no longer bound by the emotional and psychological pressure that comes with having to think about all this stuff! I can almost exist in the ‘just Being’ without having to force myself into that frame of thinking. There is nothing I need to work out, I am not being aggravated by external ideologies etc. I feel in a place of healing. Perhaps I am resting in a Spiritual Exile. A place where I can put aside things and not strive to find answers... I feel different. I wonder where to go... I want to go somewhere...