Where is vulnerability in community?

Published 8:25 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

We are tackling the question of “Where?” in our “Five Ws” investigation of vulnerability in community.

Where is vulnerability in community? The question may suggest we are referring to a place. What comes to your mind? Safe places like your church or your social group are possibilities for ideal vulnerable environments. You may think so, because these places are where people that we assume we can be vulnerable with are present. Yet, the presence of a vulnerable one does not fully establish a place of vulnerability in community.

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To explain, I need to remind you of our discussion when we answered the question of who are the vulnerable ones. Our standard of vulnerability is God himself. Therefore, God sets the standard for where vulnerable places are. In terms of places, God sees territory. Territories are defined by what specific characteristics distinguish land or dwelling from another. These characteristics mark the land or dwelling.

All throughout history, we have examples of how the presence of people marked the land in which they dwelled. It was not only that the land was conquered or under a specific authority. Consider how the identifiable aspects of the culture of a people marked the territory of the Nansemond Indians right here in Suffolk. As sojourners on this earth, our character and our culture make marks. It is not enough that we are present. Our language, personality, beliefs, music, social actions and habits are like fingerprints and footprints leaving trails of where we have been. This has been true since the beginning of human existence and continues until today. Culture and character are distinguishable marks on land and dwellings. That is what God is after when he views territory.

Acts 17:26 says, “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” (New International Version). God has pre-appointed destinations for you and I to go. He desires to enlarge territory. If we want to leave identifiable fingerprints that we have been here on this earth, we have to be open to where God wants us to dwell on the face of the earth. This is where vulnerability in community comes in.

Vulnerability in community is about pushing your boundaries. Wherever you place boundaries in your life is the extent to which you will extend or deny your full self to make an identifiable mark.

Ask yourself this question. How will the future generations know that you were here? Where is your mark? Be careful. I am not asking you what you have done in the time you have been on this earth. The real mark of impression on land or dwelling is not represented by works but by lives impacted. Your community is the territory where you dwell, and it is what God sees when he looks down at your house, your school, your workplace, your church and you. He sees boundaries — boundaries that he wants to push out — and he can only do that where you will let yourself become vulnerable. Where will you establish your mark?

This series on vulnerability in community comes to an end with next week’s question of “Why be vulnerable in community?” I look forward to sharing with you the reasons vulnerability in community is good for all of us.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.