L. Frank Baum’s novel, The Wizard of Oz, is the epic tale of a “threshold” experience in which a tornado literally sweeps Dorothy Gale away from the home and life she knew and lands her in an “in-between” place called Oz. This unfamiliar world is filled with adventures that evoke all sorts of emotions: curiosity, fear, determination, anger, hope. Surely this story is so popular because it strikes a familiar chord! We all have traversed a yellow brick road, leaving behind the familiar with no inkling of what’s up ahead.
Richard Rohr describes God’s design for this journey: “Much of the work of the God of the Bible is to get people into liminal [threshold] space, and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential. It is the ultimate teachable space.” It’s the “keeping there long enough” that presents a life challenge for a Jesus-follower. God will keep us within this disorientation long enough to bring about a transformation.
Although a “tornado season” may seem endless, God does not desire that we endure these threshold journeys alone. This is the beauty of our shared faith; when we find ourselves in a place we don’t recognize and don’t want to be, Christian companions can come alongside to help us abide in our lesson-laden between-ness. We smile at the foibles of Dorothy’s companions, yet each of them supported and comforted her along the way – easing her threshold journey toward an enriched outlook on life. In the same way, God uses Christian soul-carers to ease us down unfamiliar roads toward spiritual growth in Christ. We need only be willing to reach out.
Soul Care Ministries: Crossing Life’s Thresholds Together
Carol Potochney, Director