Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Main Entry: liminality
Part of Speech: n
Definition: the condition of being on a threshold or at the beginning of a process
Etymology: Latin limen 'threshold'

Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7)Copyright © 2003-2008 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC

This morning Gerald Kelly (pastor of Crossroads International Church in Amsterdam) helped us look at the stories of Elijah (recorded in 1 Kings 19) and Peter (recorded in Acts 10) noting that each of these were liminal experiences -- times when they were "betwixt and between" what had been before and what was about to come next.

This liminality is often associated with that state between dreaming and being awake. In a Celtic culture, dusk was considered luminal. In many more primative cultures, the rites of passage for an adolescent are states of luminality. Interesting concept of "between."

One of the suggestions Gerald made is that God speaks to us in these threshold moments -- and I have to admit that it's true in my own life and I see it in Scripture. When the old thing has just ended (perhaps because of a choice or because of an epiphany of some sort -- and the new thing has not at all become clear. When our eyes are still adjusting to the new light having just come from a different light altogether. When we are filled with the most inconvenient emotions and cluttered thoughts and that odd feeling it the gut that might be bad pizza or fear.

  • exhausted
  • isolated
  • alienated
  • in a culture that has changed (or, more correctly, did not change) in ways he is struggling to understand
  • just after a HUGE demonstration of the POWER of GOD, the king and queen do not repent
  • and Elijah is thrown into a rather deep depression


  • overwhelmed by change
  • growing in God
  • new to leadership
  • in a context in which God was doing things he struggled to understand -- God asking him to DO things Peter had never done out of obedience to God who had told him not to do them
  • just after a HUGE demonstration of the POWER of GOD, thousands repent
  • and Peter knows he is in over his head


In both cases, God says "GET UP AND EAT."

What kind of message is that from a holy, mighty, all-knowing God in either of these circumstances? And what does this have to do with me?

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