Thursday, May 24, 2007

On the Notion(s) of Separation vs. "Boundaries"

Some parents in the congregation have recently been having a conversation regarding the need for youth ministry not only to the young folks in the ["un-churched"] community around us, but also [and especially?] to the ["churched"] youth within our member families' fellowship(s). One parent spoke about the need for "separation" in the duties of a church youth leader between their responsibilities to devote time in ministry to member youth in the congregation vs. their time spent volunteering with Young Life and elsewhere in the larger community. The question begs itself--How does one do this with integrity for the missional calling of the Lord upon us in ministry together without showing favoritism to any particular group(s) with whom we are called to minister? Upon further reflection on this, the following thoughts recently came to mind:

...rather than using the word “separation” in our conversation(s), the word “boundaries” might be more useful to our dialogue on the topic of “Young Life vs. Youth Group”. A “boundary” for me connotes a more facilitating sense of flexibility and permeability in material for membranes that may provide for a more gracious definition. The word “bounds” implies an indication of limits and an acknowledgement of one’s own [human] limitations in the larger context of God’s boundlessly amazing grace. I am, myself, continually working on the challenges of my own “boundary issues” toward a healthier integrative balancing act between the work of ministry and personal home and family life in the Lord. As such, I wonder whether there may be a healthier approach to this--a truth that would help free us to be true to ourselves in our sense of God's call upon us to missional ministry. The way, the truth, and the life in the Spirit of Jesus Who would lead us in wholeness, integrity, health, wellness, peace -- SHALOM -- as we live the life we are meant to enjoy for God's glory and not just for our own good, but the good of others--all of us together.

Following is a quote from a poet/philosopher from the previous century which for me provides further insight on this matter:

May 4
Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupation?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying,
“This is for my God and this for myself;
this for my soul and this other for my body”?
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.
— Kahlil Gibran

And also, a somewhat related quote from a much earlier century:

May 8The Christian prays in every situation, in his walks for recreation, in his dealings with others, in silence, in reading, in all rational pursuits. — Clement of Alexandria