Exactly half way between Atlanta and Athens, Georgia there is a town called Between. I’m not making that up. It’s a real town. Between. I’m sure it’s a nice place to live. It just has an odd name. Or maybe a very appropriate name, geographically speaking.
But who wants to live in between?
Back in the 90s when I was making music for a living, our band, Rocketboy, had a dilemma. We wrote honest songs about how difficult it was to live as a transparent and true follower of Jesus in the messed up churches we saw. And our lyrics exposed the hypocrisy of many church-boys who went to church on Sunday but never lived out their faith anywhere else. And we didn’t mind a drink every now and again, and I’m pretty sure most of us were chain smokers. We played bars and youth group lock-ins. But we struggled to book shows in many churches due to our truth-telling lyrics, our hard edges, and our thrift-store grungy look. And we struggled to book shows in many regular clubs/bars because of our “truth”-telling lyrics, our niceness, and our faith. As my good friend and bassist, Slade Curtis would say, we were “Too good for the bad..and too bad for the good.”
We were in between.
(I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had we just chosen one side or the other and went full bore at it. We could’ve forgotten the faith and played plenty of bars and maybe signed a bigger record deal..or we could’ve made a good living playing every church in the Southeast, if we had sold out a little and played nice, pretty, pick-me-up-canned-christian music, polished the edges, and dressed a little cleaner.)
We think by living in between we feel like we have the best of both worlds..more options..while we’re actually limiting ourselves.
Living in Between may be convenient to both Atlanta and Athens but you have true community with neither.
And in 1 Samuel 29, David, a mighty warrior and follower of the God of Israel, finds himself in between. He has fully adopted the lifestyle of a Philistine (his once sworn enemy). In verses 1 & 2 we see David marching with the Philistine army to attack the Israelites (HIS OWN PEOPLE)!!!! But some of the Philistine commanders aren’t comfortable with this Hebrew marching in their army. They don’t trust him. And why should they? There are popular songs written about how strong David is, how he’s killed thousands of men, including their own in Goliath.
David, a “man after God’s own heart”, is marching against God’s chosen people. His faith journey has certainly been a roller coaster ride. And this is one of the valleys.
So, the Philistine commanders turn David and his men away. They make him leave. An outcast. No allegiance. No one to side with. Unwelcomed in his new hometown and afraid to go back to his real hometown with his own friends and family. He is trying to fit in with pagans and they deny him and he is scared to go back to God’s people.
David is in between.
He may think he has more options by living in between, but now he finds himself alone.
No one wants to be in between.
- I don’t want to live in between.
- I don’t want to live lukewarm.
- I want to learn from David’s riding of the fence.