Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, canceled,
Are you willing to be made nothing?
dipped into oblivion?
If not, you will never really change.
– D. H Lawrence
Erased, canceled, made nothing, dipped into oblivion…
This is what living in the Borderlands is all about.
The Borderlands is that gray region where white and black absolutes do not exist, where the holy goodness of justice, mercy, and humility do battle with greed and ego. It is where the imperfectness of this world meets Grace and redemption. Ultimately, living in the Borderlands is to experience the words of Mahatma Gandhi, If you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth, you must reduce yourself to zero.
The Borderlands are a unique place. In myth it is in the borderlands that men and women struggled with their god and became wounded-heroes, profoundly marked by the struggle. In mysticism it is in the borderlands that men and women struggled with the absoluteness of their absolutes and became saints, profoundly marked with the humility of not-knowing. In the ordinary, which we call “life,” it is in the borderlands where men and women struggle daily in the abyss between existing and not-existing, between having and not-having, between acts of justice and mercy and acts of greed and ego — some becoming profoundly marked with compassion, while others become profoundly marked by ego.
The theoretical intelligence merely contemplates the world, and the practical intelligence merely orders it; but the aesthetic intelligence creates the world – Friedrick Schelling
Nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins and the wine will be lost along with the skins. No! New wines demand new skins! – Jesus, Mark 2:22
The mission of living in the Borderlands is four-fold:
(1) To grapple with our human propensity toward ego-satisfaction and greed.
(2) To grapple with our human propensity to claim to know, with absolute certainty, the mind of God.
(3) To grapple with those issues, both spiritual and social, where people tend toward absolute unbending positions and offer up potential alternatives derived from the “in-between.”
(4) To grapple with our old spirituality so that we may create, in turn, a new, holy whole spirituality: new wine skins for new wine. Specifically, how do we live as people of faith in a postmodern culture?
©Frank A. Mills, 2016
Round Rock, Texas