“Absolute chaos in downtown Chicago”: Why a “theology of exile” is empowering for Christians today

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Kajal Dalal walks through her family’s food and liquor store Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, after it was vandalized in downtown Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago police shot and wounded a young man Sunday afternoon after he fired at them while trying to evade arrest. Though he was in his twenties, a rumor spread in the neighborhood that officers had shot a child. A mob then laid siege to Chicago’s downtown commercial district.

Stores were looted and windows were smashed. Two people were shot, thirteen police officers were injured, and more than one hundred arrests were made. The city then halted public transportation and raised the bridges that lead to downtown. Access was restricted to the area again last night. 

“Absolute chaos in downtown Chicago,” one reporter wrote on Twitter

The night before the riots in Chicago, a seventeen-year-old in Washington, DC, was killed in a shooting and twenty others were injured. Meanwhile, according to the New York Post, New York City is on track to have more shootings and victims this year than in 2019 and 2018 combined

A radio question 

If you don’t live in Chicago, New York City, or Washington, DC, you might shrug your shoulders at today’s news with gratitude that you don’t live in these cities. But in a very real sense, you do. So do I. 

What we need is a biblical approach to our broken culture that balances grief and hope. 

I was interviewed by Kim Weir for her radio broadcast Sunday night. At one point, she asked me to address the discouragement so many evangelicals feel with the moral trajectory of our culture. As she knows, it is tempting to withdraw from the world, to stop caring about people who don’t seem to care about us or our biblical convictions. 

But this is precisely the wrong way for believers to respond to the issues of our day. 

Why we are “elect exiles” 

1 Peter 1 begins: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are…

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