On Sunday mornings I'm teaching the university bible class with my friend and colleague David. The title of the class is Resident Aliens: Strangers in a Strange Land. The class is starting off with a textual study of 1 Peter where "resident alien" themes abound. Right out of the gate in the first two verses the author of 1 Peter hits you with the phrase eklektois parepidemois diasporas. This is variously translated as:
NRSV:Exiles. Strangers. Aliens. Foreigners. Refugees. This is the sociological context of the 1 Peter community. These are Christians who are not in charge. They are a marginal, powerless, and politically vulnerable community.
"To the exiles of the Dispersion...who have been chosen."
"To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered..."
"...to all those living as aliens in the Dispersion...who have been chosen."
"...to God's chosen people who are living as foreigners."
"To God's chosen people who live as refugees scattered throughout the provinces of..."
In light of these themes, the question for our college students is this: How do we, living in a "Christian Nation," recover this experience of being strangers, aliens, foreigners, and refugees? How do we recover the identity of "living in exile" (1 Peter 1.17)?
One of the ways we are going to approach these questions is to have our students wrestle with Constantinianism and notions of Empire. In light of that, I greatly enjoyed stumbling upon this poster created by Arni Zachariassen:
(Click to enlarge. It reads "Constantine--Ruining everything since 313 AD")