What a summer it’s been. Heatwaves everywhere, tragic fires in Greece, Siberia, California and many more locations. Climatologists say that we are in a radically unstable and changing time for weather and climate.
That’s an example of liminality.
Thanks to your generosity with my professional expenses this year, I am able to take a number of classes by the highly regarded Rev. Susan Beaumont. I’m taking one at the end of August on staffing and supervision. However, I want to mention the one I attended last week called, “Leading in a Liminal Season” at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I had to look up the word liminal. Susan Beaumont defines it this way:
Liminality: A quality of ambiguity and disorientation that occurs in
transitory situations and spaces, when a person or group of people is
betwixt and between something that has ended, and a new situation not yet
Does that sound at all familiar in this long transition time?
She goes on to say this: “During liminal seasons, we occupy space on both sides of a boundary or threshold. We have one foot rooted in something that is not yet over, while the other foot is planted in a thing not yet defined, something not yet ready to begin. We function with structures, identities and relationships formed by our old experiences, although we know that those structures and processes will not serve us adequately in our present reality or in the future.”
On Sunday, August 19th, I am doing my first service back at Westside led by our excellent intern Margo Rinehart. It will be about Westside and living in a chaotic, openly fearful and angry world. How do we step into the spiritual practices that liminality offers us? How can such a time become a place of grace and blessing?
I’d invite us to ponder these and other questions about living in a liminal season.