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Pause for Thought
From Nick Baines, the Bishop-elect of Leeds for the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales
A couple of months ago I took a couple of weeks out to go away and recharge the batteries. What this meant was that I stayed with friends in Switzerland and read a shed load of books. On the last day before I came home my friend Martin took me for a drive down the border with France and we had a great day out in the sunshine, walking and talking.
What amused me was that we kept driving across a border. One minute we're in a characterful French-speaking village, then a couple of miles down the road and we're in a well-ordered German-speaking place. And I began to wonder what it does to your head when you live in a part of the world where you are constantly on the edge. And, to add to the imaginative experience, some of these places have swapped hands several times between countries during the last few centuries.
So, I was sitting in the car thinking how boring I am. When I was young I wanted to live on the edge. A bit. I was always afraid of staying too far, if truth be told. But, when I grew up and had kids, I didn't want to live on any edge, thank you very much. I wanted the stability that allows you to bring up a family with some degree of security. But, now I am older and the kids have launched off their own edges, I need a bit of liminality again. (That's just a posh word I learned recently.)
For me, being a follower of Jesus means that there is no alternative to living on the edge. He only ever promised his friends that life wouldn't be boring, but it might get rough - and there are no comfort zones. Which explains why only adventurous people left their routine lives and went walkabout with him - it's all there in the gospels.
Anyway, I'm with the great Bruce Cockburn on this: "another step deeper into darkness," and you find yourself "closer to the light".