So, I’m getting a bit concerned with how addicted I am to comfort.
I take my laziness far too seriously. Yep, I work hard but when I am watching a football or cricket game, try peeling me off the couch. If you ask my wife, she will tell you how capable I am of super-human levels of inactivity.
I like to be comfortable, I think camping is a stupid waste of someone’s design talent. Is that so bad? Apparently, it is. I’m starting to wonder if our obsession for comfort is turning us into spectators rather than participants of life.
It seems that according to some research spoken about in Skye Jethani’s magnificent book ‘Immeasurable’ that what I’m wondering might be right. Folks are starting to realize that the more comfortable people are in a given space, the more unlikely they are to really listen and engage. Alongside all this you see Jesus, you know, the guy who makes people walk up a mountain in order to hear a sermon, or teaches so late into the day that his disciples freak out about how they are going to provide dinner for the 5000 plus people that have followed him out to a lake. Even non-believers tend to recognize that Jesus of the New Testament Gospels was probably the greatest teacher that ever lived.
But he doesn’t really care that much about the physical comfort of his listeners.
At least nowhere near the amount to which his late modern western followers now seem to. Now as I mentioned I’m leaning a lot on Jethani’s stuff here but the tangent I wish to take is asking the question:
If we have preoccupied ourselves for so long to make our church worship spaces as comfortable as possible, what is going to happen when a generation (or three) all of a sudden find themselves sitting very uncomfortably in their surrounding society?
I sit here typing this on my leather backed office chair. If I walk out into the hall, there’s four, yes, four gas heaters. One even occasionally works! We have those chairs in our church that are stackable…but weigh several tonnes each due to the extent of their padding.
The problem is, I find myself often struggling to share the gospel in effective ways because the greatest opportunities refuse to present themselves in what I would call, convenient and comfortable times and spaces. I have to really listen to people sitting on uncomfortable benches or standing on driveways on freezing cold nights.
But it goes deeper than that. I tend to learn more about who Jesus is and what he can do in difficulty and trial, not comfort. I think we all know that but nonetheless, I dare you to mess with the furniture or switching the heater off in a church. A word of advice of you do; duck.
The question I’m asking here, is what have we trained ourselves in the Christian subculture to expect out of life? To expect out of the Gospel?
Yet here we are, called together as the body of Christ to be discipled and equipped in order to engage a world that is increasingly hostile to the gospel we share, and thus in which we will feel increasingly more uncomfortable. But 70 meters from the exit of the church I have caught myself complaining that the music was half a decibel too loud.
Perhaps embracing and uncomfortable vision of church might ironically result in a safer community?
Maybe church is the best place to start pushing back against my cultural obsession with comfort.
I do really love this office chair though….