Monday, June 13, 2016

"Church" Should Make Us Uncomfortable

You have to be pretty healthy as a church to preach through the biblical texts. For one reason, the texts will often confront us and make us feel uncomfortable. This is good, and - yes - it is also seeker-friendly. Let's call it seeker-loving, for every true seeker must be loved enough to be told the truth of who they are and what they are meant to become.

Where did we get the idea that "church" is supposed to be a place dedicated to making us all feel comfortable? Mark Galli writes: "Some evangelical churches pride themselves on eschewing any Christian symbols whatsoever. A few do so to honor the biblical prohibition against graven images. All well and good. But most of these churches, unlike their Lord, abolish the cross only because it's not a friendly symbol."

OMG! I mean that, literally. If I were not a Jesus-follower but was looking for Jesus the last place I would go is some church that's missing the core symbols of our faith. If I wanted non-church or pure secular I would not go to an Avoidance Church for the sake of feeling good about myself. It is precisely because the happy, feel-good American marketing strategy has failed to alleviate my search for meaning.

Galli writes: "The Chicago Tribune ran a piece titled "Graduations at church cause unease." It described how many schools hold their graduation ceremonies in one particular megachurch in the Chicago metro area because, as one participant put it, it doesn't feel like a church. The absence of any visible sign of the church's Lord is apparently a point of honor for this congregation. According to the article, one of its staff said the lack of crosses and other Christian iconography "makes the space more welcoming for newcomers and more conducive for secular events."

"We don't want people to get hung up on that kind of thing," he said."

But I do. I want to get hung up on the thing about Jesus getting hung on a cross. Real "Christianity is ruled by a Lord who has a habit of making people feel uncomfortable and offended because, yes, he demands their unqualified allegiance."

My book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God is available HERE and as a Kindle book HERE