Here are some headline notes that outline my thoughts on boundaries / borders. On the macro scale related to ‘peoples’ the kairos times and the boundaries are connected: rather than take a ‘there is no revelation of God in other cultures (religions?)’ Paul seems to have a positive view of God in relationship to humanity, for God ‘gives to all mortals life and breath and all things’ (Acts 17:25); all of humanity are related as ‘offspring of God’ (v.29) hence all war (even ‘just’ war) is simply a version of civil war, intra-familiar war.
If ‘God-set’ boundaries are in place there are kairos opportunities to perhaps find God. If we insist that the only way to God is the ‘Christian’ way we are on the path of bringing faith in Jesus down to the level of another, but probably superior religion. Jesus is the way to know, and to know intimately, who this God is. The Jesus path is not a path to bring about a knowledge of God but to live within the conscious embrace of the God who made the world and all that is in it (v.24).
A major (and simple) way of obscuring God is to establish boundaries that are not those that are ‘God-set’. Hence wars, carving up whole aspects of lands and imposing boundaries that are not ‘natural’ but dictated to by imperial / colonial benefits and the like work against the finding of God.
Boundaries are groaning at this time, and alongside that are attempts to strengthen old boundaries (I appreciate that ‘securing our borders’ is a complex issue, but always there is a third way in God – a redemptive path). I anticipate that the next 6 years – the remainder of this decade will be filled with border conflicts and also some border resolutions.
Dropping down to the personal level: boundaries are vital. Internal boundaries where we do not allow ‘trespassers’ to encroach – a ‘no-one takes my life from me’ stance. That has to be matched by a ‘but I lay my life down’ response.
An establishment of internal boundaries then allows us to determine ‘our field / fields’. This is very much Pauline language – my field extends as far as you. He knew where he was to work and carried a responsibility for that; it was a work of enabling others to find their field so that he could move on and not crowd out the space. We will not operate at that level, but nevertheless we can determine what we carry responsibility for. As we do that we will create / hold space where there is a freedom for people to find God and not have their lives pressed in on by oppressive powers. I have seen where all-but daily blazing rows in homes dial right down so that after a few months such rows become rare.
Borders… so important; within them there is an inheritance; moving boundary markers comes with a warning… and maybe one final thought – we do not naively go beyond our boundaries. There are ‘powers’ that were defeated at the cross and made an open show of… this does not mean we spend out lives confronting them. They are to be confronted – but clarity that they are within our ‘field’ needs to be our conviction. A lot of declaring will not shift them, but will lead to something very uncomfortable or something worse for us.
God works at all levels – internally we will always be working on our boundaries, so it is not sort that out then the ‘next’ level… Each and every level, and ones I am not aware of, will be the focus throughout.