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uncomfortable borderland

In N.T. Wright’s book, “After You Believe,” he has a short phrase – a small, two word phrase – that really grabbed me: “uncomfortable borderland.”

His point?

For Christ-followers, we live at the intersection of God’s desires and designs and the actual world we live in.  The world the way God wants it to be and the world as it is.  This is the “uncomfortable borderland” God has called us to navigate.

There is tension in the uncomfortable borderland.  We see a wrong that needs to be righted – who should do something about it?  I can’t do everything.  It seems overwhelming.

It is overwhelming.

That may be the whole point of dragging us into the uncomfortable borderland.  To only live on one side of the border or the other releases us from the tension.  We hole ourselves off and become hermits or we immerse ourselves in the darkness and lose our distinctiveness.  Either way, we are refusing to engage the other side.

The redemptive work God wants to do requires creative tension.  It requires a border-crossing disciple  to see an unmet need and to tap untapped potential.  The untapped potential lies on both sides of the border.  We serve a God with unlimited resources.  We live within a faith community filled with gifted people.  Both remain largely untapped.

Don’t be afraid of the uncomfortable borderland: that is where God has always placed his children.  Embrace it.  Learn the streets.  Open up shop.