‘Borderland describes the condition of stuckness – a conversion without regeneration, an initial encounter with Jesus that doesn’t lead to a life abiding with Jesus. It is an acquaintanceship devoid of intimacy, dependency, obedience. People on borderland have grown comfortable with boredom. They have settled for a God ‘on call’, a God available for crises and fiascoes, who does a bit of juggling with weather patterns and parking stalls but who otherwise remains unobtrusive as a chambermaid, tidying things up while you’re at brunch, leaving a crisp sash of tissue paper around the lid of the toilet bowl to let you know all is in order. The problem, obviously, is that this god – so kind, so shy, so tame – has nothing whatsoever to do with the God of the Bible. This god resembles not even remotely the God whose Spirit broods and dances, the God who topples entire empires sometimes overnight, the God who reveals himself in the Christ who looks big men in the eye and says, “Follow me,” and then walks away, not waiting for a reply. The God who calls us off borderland.’ – Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild.
I read The Holy Wild shortly after I began pastoral ministry in 2000. This morning, my kids and I attended Mandarin Presbyterian Church and my friend and colleague, Kevin Pound, used the quote above to stir us up. (Thanks again, Kevin). Little by little, bit by bit, God has pulled me and a number of people I love out of the Borderland into the unsafe places where He reveals Himself to be a God much bigger than I ever could have imagined. A God who heals, provides, challenges, tests, and loves wildly. The God who delights to do through us what He has done for us is good, but not safe (to quote Mr. Beaver from the Chronicles of Narnia.) Missional living and Borderland living have proven to be incompatible!
If you are living in Borderland and want to move into the Holy Wild, let’s talk.
Wherever you are living, may the Lord bless you on the journey. And may the Lord bless you by moving you to fairer and wilder places He has prepared for you!