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Challenges

June 5, 2019

 

Below is an extract from the Moderator’s report to the 34th Queensland Synod

 

Challenges/Risks As We Progress

 

The greatest challenge we face is that we worry about ourselves;

that we seek to shape our life

in a way that addresses only our concerns and fears about our life.

 

To be the church is to be a people who have confidence and hope for the life of the world; to believe that we have to offer the promise and the challenge of the kingdom of God to the life of Queensland.

That is what we will explore in our discernment journey together between now and the 35th Synod; what are the issues and challenges in the life of Queensland that we are being called to address?

What blessing will we bring to the contexts in which we are called to worship, witness and serve?

How will we collaborate together?

 

This kind of discernment will always involve dying and rising; being in some chaos (others call it “liminal space”, or “ambiguity”) for a time as we discover others have different ideas; it will also involve letting go of our need for our solution to win; it is the heart of collaboration, and the heart of the story of the church.

 

I have every confidence in the Spirit’s desire to lead us and empower us in this journey. It’s going to be energising!”

 

Moderator Rev David Baker

The Moderator states that our discernment journey together always involves dying and rising; being is some chaos or what some call ‘liminal space.’

 

What Is A Liminal Space?

 

The word liminal comes from the Latin word limen, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning.

 

A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘what next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing.

 

Liminal space is where all transformation takes place, if we learn to wait and let it form us.

 

One of my favorite authors and theologians Richard Rohr describes these spaces:

 

“Liminal spaces, therefore, are a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the ‘tried and true’ but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is then you are finally out of the way …  If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait – you will run – or more likely you will ‘explain’.” 

 

These thresholds of waiting and not knowing our ‘next’ are everywhere in life and they are inevitable. Each ushers in a new chapter of life and holds varying degrees of disruption. Change never exists in a box, no matter how hard we might try to contain it. Change in one area of life always spills into others that disrupt the status quo. There is a ripple effect. Community, spirituality, vocation, relationships, physicality, friendships and emotions do not exist mutually exclusive from one another—they intersect and entwine.

 

We often miss the real potential of ‘in-between’ places – we usually slip into, the all too familiar flight, fight or freeze responses whenever challenged to step through a new threshold. If these thresholds of waiting and not knowing are approached intentionally and within community, rather than resisting them or running from them, we can boldly and confidently move through them into our futures.

 

To quote our Moderator: “I have every confidence in the Spirit’s desire to lead us and empower us in this journey. It’s going to be energising!” Lead on Holy One.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Orrell

 

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