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“Many societies have pushed against their boundaries. France and Germany notoriously battled over what, exactly, was to constitute their border. England and Scotland did much the same. Such territorial disputes are probably inevitable (unless established by a river or a mountain range). The American experience was something unique. Here, the “boundary” (frontier) began at the Eastern shoreline and continued to the Western shoreline. The entire country was “frontier.” “Pushing the boundaries” was a way of life. This should be borne in mind when thinking about the modern mantra of progress. Progress in America has always carried with it the assumption that boundaries (frontiers) exist in order to be overcome. The ultimate paradise would thus be a condition in which all boundaries would disappear. We speak of the “frontier” of space, the “frontier of science,” even the “frontiers of morality” (all of them targets for progress and boundary-breaking).” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“We often respond to or reject authority and boundaries to our own detriment. This is nothing new and has been the human condition since the beginning of humankind. Have you ever seen a riot on TV, people tearing down their own community in a frenzy. Perhaps you’ve seen when a sports team wins or losses, people commit rampant destruction. It’s total anarchy and it seems they reject all sense of law, order, and that adherence to authority that keeps us from total chaos. This is the result of losing all sense of authority and boundaries and abandoning all sense of hierarchy. It’s reasonable to question authority, challenge it and hold it accountable, but not seek to completely destroy it. Our freedom is found within authoritative order and boundaries not disorder. Creating disorder is how we set ourselves up for slavery and becoming enslaved by the passions, sin, or by the wrong type of authority.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“…a healthy life is marked and shaped by various frontiers. It is only boundaries that allow us to see and know. Boundaries are an inherent and essential part of personal existence. The very heart of the Christian understanding of God is that He has a tri-personal existence: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Within the very mystery of the godhead are boundaries. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, on so forth. Thus, true existence, is never without boundaries. We understand that, created in the image of God, we ourselves have a personal existence. Beyond this, our spiritual fathers teach us that we do not yet fully possess such an existence, that it is something towards which we are moving. In that understanding, if we speak of “progress” in the spiritual life (which I am loathe to do), such progress would not be the violation of boundaries, but the fulfillment and perfection of boundaried, personal existence.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“…our best human striving remains finite, fixed within the inescapable boundaries of change and mortality.” (Dynamis 11/2/2013)

“Whether one is “in” Christ refers to a location within a boundary such as a container. To be “in” Christ is, of course, not a physical position. It is a spiritual state of oneness with the Lord. Since it is an inner condition, no one can say whether another is “in Christ.” But one must know that by “self-examination” (2 Cor 13:5). … Are we living “in Christ”? Paul wrote in Philippians, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and to be found in Him…” (OSB Philippians 3:8). To be “in” Christ” means that He becomes “our wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). When we are “in Him,” we have the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). When we live “outside” of the boundaries of His life, we are also “outside” the benefits of God’s grace.” (Fr. Basil)

“Our egos, which I am distinguishing from the true self, often have difficulties with boundaries. The ego is a narrative of our lives that is our own creation. It is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. It is often how we make sense of things and sort things out. This is a process that is under constant revision. It pushes us to criticize and judge, to weigh and compare. The ego is me watching me. Strangely, this process creates false boundaries – borders that mark the ego’s own definitions. As such, it is an inherently narcissistic view of the world – the world according to me. In our encounter of true boundaries we find the limits of the self, and therefore begin to find the true self. True boundaries demarcate where we cannot, even must not go. They delineate what we do not know, and we must acknowledge that we do not know. The world devoid of mystery is the world of a boundless ego.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Man’s personhood should not be understood in terms of “personality,” that is, of a complex of natural, psychological or moral qualities which are in some sense “possessed” by or “contained” in the human individuum. On the contrary, being a person is basically different from being an individual or “personality” in that the person cannot be conceived in itself as a static entity, but only as it relates to. Thus, personhood implies the “openness of being,” and even more than that, the ek-stasis of being, that is, a movement towards communion which leads to a transcendence of the boundaries of the “self” and thus to freedom. That which, therefore, makes a particular personal being be itself—and thus be at all—is, in the final analysis, communion, freedom and love, and that should not surprise any Christian who believes that the world exists only because of God’s free love and that even God Himself is love.” (Metropolitan John Zizioulas)

“Self-control is often frowned upon in today’s society. Exercising the ability to be or do whatever a person wants is seen as the way to live. It is in church that children are taught not only how to exercise discipline, but also why it is important. In the first few years of life, children are testing how far they can push not only their parents, but also the society in which they live. Therefore, children will push to the left to see where the boundary is on that side, and also to the right, the top, and the bottom, until they have come to an understanding of what their limits are. As children, pre-teens, and teenagers, they will continue pushing those boundaries, seeing if they can push just a little farther. These boundaries need to be maintained through the guidance of parents. The world tells us that self-control stifles a person, and yet the Church tells us that it is only in the implementation of self-control that a person can truly be free.” (Christiana Dorrance)

“We set boundaries only when necessary, and we do it with love. Boundary setting is also an art or skill. We apply it in such a way as not to wound or shame the other. We set the boundary with firmness, love, and consistency. The correct application of boundaries always benefits both people involved, though the other person may not realize it as quickly or at all.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“This year I’ve been learning the value of healthy boundaries and simplification. Excessive multi-tasking, over sharing and over comparing, and high expectation setting are all habits I’ve been prayerfully weeding from the proverbial garden of my soul. My access to peace is dependent on stillness and attentiveness, attributes impossible to attain, it turns out, when my mind is buzzing with too much noisy stimuli.” (Molly Sabourin)

“The word “frontier” has long been associated with certain aspects of American mythology. “Frontier Days” is short-hand for log cabins, flintlocks, and the rugged life. Occasionally it takes on aspects of the “Wild West.” In recent generations it has been moved off-planet, such that we hear Captain Kirk intone, “Space…….the final frontier.” It is also a word whose meaning has been forgotten, as our mythology has overtaken it. Originally (15th century), the word comes into use as a reference to the borders between countries. A frontier…is a boundary. This remains the case and is its primary meaning. It is also, however, a reminder that our culture was born in the actions of ignoring boundaries. It is indicative of a cultural narcissism that has afflicted us for centuries. We’re not good at boundaries.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Although we rarely stop to think about it, there are lines everywhere which mark the boundaries of our life. There are lines in parking lots that tell where to park our cars. There are lines in the middle of streets that tell us where to drive, and where to safely cross the street when we are walking. There are lines on rulers that measure, and lines on athletic fields that tell both players and referees if balls and athletics are in or out. Lines are very important. They help us to know where we stand. We need to know in life whether we stand on one side of the line or the other….Jesus Christ also drew a line when He called those who were in the multitude to follow Him. Some accepted His invitation, but they were the few. Most simply turned away to continue living their lives as they had always done before.” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

“It is primarily the realm of the divine that defines the boundaries of what the human being can know and do. Where the human realm ends, the divine begins. Human knowledge and human power and responsibilities are, of course, limited. To try and overstep the boundary line between the human and the divine brings on serious consequences.” (Demetrios J. Constantelos)

“The boundaries of personhood are at the very heart of Christian love. Our profession that “God is love,” is a recognition that the truth of all things requires, not just the recognition of boundaries, but their respect. When the Scriptures say that love is “patient and kind,” it is describing life rightly lived with regard to the boundaries of others. Our impatience often insists that God intervene, set aside the boundaries of our freedom, and fix the world. That would be the modern god. It is, unsurprisingly, an apt description of the modern idea of government…“Like God Himself, Paradise contains boundaries (the commandment not to eat of the forbidden tree). There is no path to paradise that does not include boundaries – and the healing within us that allows us to live with them. The true unexplored frontier of our time is the mystery of a boundaried existence.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


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