Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Are you Comfortable?

Recently I was accused of preaching a gospel of comfort and believing that anything goes in the realm of faith, provided that you personally are comfortable with what you believe. It is aweful to be so misunderstood. But I thought here is a perfect opportunity to address the whole subject of comfort.

It is funny, but I am wired to rock the boat. I tend to look for opportunities to push people out of their comfort zones, to try and stretch those around me just a little bit. I really love to challenge the preconceptions we have that give the illusion of stability to our lives - particularily when those preconceptions concern how we percieve others. As a minister I see all the time how people are blinded to the light of God in others simply because they have a particular view of how they feel things should work. This is the main theme in the book of Job where the popular notion is that when you do good then good things happen and when you do bad then bad things happen - read Job carefully because God challenges that very notion and rebukes Job's so called friends for letting their preconceptions blind them from seeing Job as a righteous and good man.

Books like Job do what I find myself doing a lot, challenging the preconceptions in others. I feel that this is really a pastoral role. As a pastor my challenge is to help people understand what they think they know about God and to encourage them to go deeper into their understanding of God and God's claims on their lives. In doing so I find myself fairly often pushing people out of their comfort zones. Which, ironically, is exactly what I did with the person who accused me of having an ear tickling gospel.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I am not comfortable with this post.

;-)

Steve

One of Freedom said...

Mission accomplished!

Lynn said...

Actually, there's a part of me that loves being challenged, both in my thinking and in what I am doing. But only if I feel like the person really cares about me, and only if the person doesn't wag their finger in my face, and only if they don't get mad!!! I guess that's why I really, really like it when God does it - when he challenges me. Cause he is so good at doing it in a loving way.
If you have the ability to do this, very cool - that is an awesome gift from God. May God bless you to operate in this gift with his amazing mercy and grace.

One of Freedom said...

Yeah I hear you Lynn. I'm not about wagging a finger, but about believing in the God potential in people I meet and stretching their paradigm just a bit. Like calling new folks to lay hands on the sick with me or talking about sacramental possibilities with my self-named non-liturgical friends or inviting pre-Christians to be part of the prayer time at our homegroup (treating them no different than everyone else is stretching for a lot of people).

Thom said...

IMHO people who make such accusations are usually covering for some personal psychosis.

One of Freedom said...

I wish it were clearly that with this guy. I've had a string of what I will call narrow Christians come up against me in recent weeks. But what so whacked about this guy is that one day he was raving about our service and how God was meeting him, then we pushed him a bit as he was part of a speculative theological discussion and bang - everything good he experienced in our midst is null and void. That is frustrating to me.