Like Willimon and Hauerwas, Donald MacKinnon began with Philippians 2.
Resident Aliens, a work of theology, was put to use as applied sociology. The description of life in the Christian colony became, paradoxically, a formula for success.
We need the spiritual agility to recognize counter-hegemonic "citizenship in heaven" whenever and however it becomes flesh.
A funny thing happened on the way to the church-as-polis: I can now imagine being a resident alien and invested in the state, in all of its glorious failing.
Resident Aliens helped convince a generation that there is no Christian identity apart from the church. But where exactly is Hauerwas and Willimon's "adventuresome" church?
I once actually was a resident alien. I wonder if Hauerwas and Willimon have any clue what it means to occupy that space.
Denigrating "social activist churches" was central to Hauerwas and Willimon's agenda. Yet Resident Aliens revived social gospel arguments.
The image of a resident alien offers an important biblical corrective. But it isn't the only such image we need.
It is disingenuous to deem ourselves alien to a culture and society we benefit from—a culture and society we created.
I understand Resident Aliens as a response to the sort of civil religion that makes people worse than they would be otherwise.