I am a believer in exile. Claiming to be a believer in exile brings up certain questions. What do you mean by exile? What compelled me into exile? Is this a transitional state on my way to God?
1. Exile is not a voluntary state. It is forced upon me by things or circumstances beyond my control. A person just does not leave a denomination (faith) where he spent 59 years of his life voluntarily. He must be forced by circumstances.
2. This exile is a forced dislocation from which I will never be able to return.
3. If this exile was not voluntary, what was it that forced me there? It was a rather sudden revelation that my beliefs, my faith simply wasn't working for me. They had lost their meaning, their power in my life. This forced me to look for answers as to why this had happened. My journey had begun.
I will always be a believer. I believe there is a God. I believe there was a man called Jesus. I think that is about all that I believe that conforms to traditional Christianity. To me, God is not the theistic, anthropomorphic, monarchial, personal deity beyond the sky, who keeps an account book on each and every one of us, so that at a later date he can judge us as to whether we belong in Heaven or Hell.
It goes much deeper than that, but that's a start. To me, Jesus was a man whose life so completely revealed the transcendent reality that I call God, that people often referred to him as "God's son or God's only son" (son of man seems to better describe how Jesus saw himself). I believe that Jesus was a God-presence, a powerful experience of the presence of the Ground of Being, which undergirds all. I see that presence in Jesus.
This is only a taste, however, of the whole picture..
At present, as should be obvious, there is no place for this exile in traditional Christianity. I have defined myself theologically as a believer who lives in exile. I shall continue to live in exile until traditional Christianity does one of two things: dies a slow death as more and more followers become exiles or leave the faith completely, or changes; dropping the things that don't work anymore and moves into the Post-Christian Period where followers can find real meaning in the God-presence and the Jesus story once again. In other words, a Christianity that makes sense in this 21st century world in which we live.