Sunday, October 22, 2006


Recently I've had an interesting ongoing conversation with a girl (she's the same age as me, probably qualifies as a woman or something equally mature, but I don't feel old enough to be called a woman, so Girl, it is) re: the role of comfort in Christian community. It all started when one of the moms in our Wednesday morning group called and said she wasn't going to come anymore; she just wasn't comfortable there. Which made us all feel a bit sad for her and disappointed that we had failed to help her feel comfortable.

But then this new, wise friend of mine asked, "Is that what it's about? Feeling comfortable?"
She explained that she deliberately chose to attend this particular group even though there was another group with more people like her, more people with the same ethnicity and similar backgrounds. And she told how the first few months at this group were hard and she felt out of place and didn't know what to talk about and many times ended up sitting alone during the social portion of the morning (I nodded my head yes and yes; I'd been sitting by myself for a time that particular morning already). "But," my friend said, "if I only hang around with other Christians that are just like me, how am I growing? If we're all just like each other, our Christianity becomes more of a cultural thing than a true community thing...we talk the same, we do the same things...we sin the same, and who is going to call us out on that when we're all in on it?"

"True," I said. Then I thought of the woman who was no longer going to attend our group and asked, "But how can growth occur if someone is feeling so uncomfortable that they are unable to participate, if they're so uncomfortable that they dread interacting with the group and make excuses to not attend?"

And we talked more about how Christ never promised us the kind of comfort we were talking about (pretty much the opposite, really), but we are still social human beings and have a strong need to feel accepted and Part of the Group. And we wondered, when is it OK to be comfortable, and when is God asking us to be uncomfortable so that we may grow and better contribute to His kingdom?

No one had a straight-up answer.

Like I said, this is an on-going conversation. Go ahead an join us if you'd like.


Marsha said...

I'm thinking that being out of your comfort zone is sometimes what makes you grow as a christian but your "comfort level" is also what brings you back to the group when you are a new christian.

tami said...

I feel as though you are talking straight to me. I really struggle with being comfortable at our church. But I realize that for me personally God wants me to be at a place to grow and be stretched, but I do believe there are other time where he wants me to find comfort and rest. You have encouraged me to look at my uncomfortness as a blessing. I think you may have inspired my next blog. Thanks