Augsburg Fortress

By the Rivers of Babylon: Blueprint for a Church in Exile

By the Rivers of Babylon: Blueprint for a Church in ExileBy the Rivers of Babylon: Blueprint for a Church in Exile
The language of exile, focused with theological and biblical narratives and coupled with depictions of real-life exilic communities, can equip church leaders as agents in the creation of new communities.
Robert Hoch reads the larger North American tradition of Christian worship and mission through the prism of visibly marginalized communities. Through this lens, leaders may come to see diversity as an indication of mission vitality, and focus less on assimilating people and more on the future promises of God and the manifold textures of incarnation.
  • Format Paperback
  • Height 9
  • ISBN 9780800698539
  • Pages 160
  • Width 6
  • Release Date Dec 1, 2013


"With lyrical exegesis, naked vulnerability, and raw courage, Robert P. Hoch invites ecumenical Christians out of our comfortable sanctuaries and into more disquieting neighborhoods. There he urges us to attend to and befriend those flesh-and-blood exiles who live both around and within us and who remain our last, best hope for authentic joy in community. By the Rivers of Babylon is a haunting and beautiful book."
—Robert C. Dykstra
Princeton Theological Seminary

“Every pastor, seminarian, or judicatory leader who has ever questioned the tameness of the North American church needs to read Robert P. Hoch’s By the Rivers of Babylon. Hoch raises deep questions about the shape of authentic ecclesial life by taking us to scattered, modest communities of faith, most but not all North American, that have rooted themselves among society’s social, economic, and/or political exiles. These communities, whether near the Tex-Mex border, amid urban poverty and violence, or among Native American peoples, weave liturgy, witness, and daily life in deep partnership with the ‘exiled.’ Suggesting that traditional churches reinforce, rather than break down, the socio-economic walls that ‘protect’ society’s mainstream from its exiles, Hoch presses for honest self-assessment and daring change.”
—Sally A. Brown
Princeton Theological Seminary




Chapter 1