Editor’s Note: In Between

Last October, my wife and I packed our life into boxes and made the long drive across the country. We moved from Pasadena, California, where we’d lived for seven years, to Buffalo, New York, not too far from where she’d grown up. We drove for six days with our bewildered and sedated cat in the backseat, zooming through state after state, going from our beloved home to what promised to be another. It was a unique feeling: to be unanchored. Behind us was a life, full of people, places, and things we loved. Before us was a future we didn’t yet know. During the drive, it felt like we had nothing except past and possibility.

But that wasn’t exactly true.

Months later, I look back on our great trek with fondness. I sometimes find myself missing those few days of life on the road, when we were a single point moving along an invisible line between old and new—two versions of ourselves. We weren’t only people in the process of leaving California and arriving in New York. We were becoming then. Becoming people for whom the names “Californian” and “New Yorker” would always, simultaneously, in some way, apply. In other words, we were becoming in-between people. And our journey of days—our time in the middle—that transformed who we are was no empty gap but itself a thing of worth.

When the theme of this issue was decided a while back, we couldn’t have known how apt it would be to the state of FULLER magazine itself. Having bid a tearful and thankful farewell to our founding editor, we now move through one of these liminal spaces—between past and possibility, yes, but in a unique and transforming present too.

The stories and articles you’ll find in these pages reflect, in their own ways, on this experience of liminality. Jinho Lee’s story of leaving Taiwan for the US shows what it can look like when God calls us to become bridge builders. Paul Gendron leans into ministry at the intersection where church and work meet. Casey Church fights for the church to be a space where Native peoples’ identities join in harmony, not in tension, with their Christian faith. Vince Bantu draws lessons from his own life of existing between Black and White communities, the hood and academia, St. Louis and Houston. Brie Turns reflects on how we care for ourselves when walking alongside those in painful seasons of transition. Jose Abraham writes about the ways we can be transformed and grown in liminal spaces. And each member of Fuller’s 2021 graduating class, whose names are listed at the end of this magazine, represents an entrant into that place between a seminary education and all that is ahead.

These voices, alongside the others represented in this issue, speak something deeply about what it means to be in between. They know the yearning and the pain in that space, but they also know of the hope and goodness to be discovered in it. And whether we find ourselves in between places, times, cultures, or identities—a biracial upbringing, a chronic illness, a migration—there’s a promise we know to be true: that God will meet us and move with us there.

Jerome Blanco

Jerome Blanco (MDiv ’16) is Editor in Chief for FULLER magazine

Last October, my wife and I packed our life into boxes and made the long drive across the country. We moved from Pasadena, California, where we’d lived for seven years, to Buffalo, New York, not too far from where she’d grown up. We drove for six days with our bewildered and sedated cat in the backseat, zooming through state after state, going from our beloved home to what promised to be another. It was a unique feeling: to be unanchored. Behind us was a life, full of people, places, and things we loved. Before us was a future we didn’t yet know. During the drive, it felt like we had nothing except past and possibility.

But that wasn’t exactly true.

Months later, I look back on our great trek with fondness. I sometimes find myself missing those few days of life on the road, when we were a single point moving along an invisible line between old and new—two versions of ourselves. We weren’t only people in the process of leaving California and arriving in New York. We were becoming then. Becoming people for whom the names “Californian” and “New Yorker” would always, simultaneously, in some way, apply. In other words, we were becoming in-between people. And our journey of days—our time in the middle—that transformed who we are was no empty gap but itself a thing of worth.

When the theme of this issue was decided a while back, we couldn’t have known how apt it would be to the state of FULLER magazine itself. Having bid a tearful and thankful farewell to our founding editor, we now move through one of these liminal spaces—between past and possibility, yes, but in a unique and transforming present too.

The stories and articles you’ll find in these pages reflect, in their own ways, on this experience of liminality. Jinho Lee’s story of leaving Taiwan for the US shows what it can look like when God calls us to become bridge builders. Paul Gendron leans into ministry at the intersection where church and work meet. Casey Church fights for the church to be a space where Native peoples’ identities join in harmony, not in tension, with their Christian faith. Vince Bantu draws lessons from his own life of existing between Black and White communities, the hood and academia, St. Louis and Houston. Brie Turns reflects on how we care for ourselves when walking alongside those in painful seasons of transition. Jose Abraham writes about the ways we can be transformed and grown in liminal spaces. And each member of Fuller’s 2021 graduating class, whose names are listed at the end of this magazine, represents an entrant into that place between a seminary education and all that is ahead.

These voices, alongside the others represented in this issue, speak something deeply about what it means to be in between. They know the yearning and the pain in that space, but they also know of the hope and goodness to be discovered in it. And whether we find ourselves in between places, times, cultures, or identities—a biracial upbringing, a chronic illness, a migration—there’s a promise we know to be true: that God will meet us and move with us there.

Written By

Jerome Blanco (MDiv ’16) is Editor in Chief for FULLER magazine

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Mark Labberton, Clifford L. Penner Presidential Chair, reflects on our reality as in-between people and on God’s presence and love in the in-between.