14 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Safety. Security. Comfort. Convenience.

A few days ago I posted this video from Alan Hirsch on Facebook.
His and Frost’s book The Shaping of Things to Come has had a big influence on my and my dreams for the Church and my ideas for a local faith community.
If you didn’t get to see it, it’s well worth the watch:

Alan Hirsch: Communitas, not Community [VERGE 2010 Video] from Verge Network on Vimeo.

My original intent in posting it in relationship to Missio Dei Community is the Communitas idea of being on mission together.
Of being Comrades.
Of having each other’s backs.

But closely tied to that is what he has to say about safety vs. danger.
It’s a conversation I’ve had with several friends recently.
One of my least favorite cliches I hear in church land…

“The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.”

Best place, absolutely.
But I usually hear this in terms of not having to face challenges, peril, or even death.
Try telling that to the Apostle Paul…

 I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones,three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
2 Cor 11:23-27

The movement of Jesus was one that was subversive.   ALL of Jesus’ inner circle were killed for what they believed.
I hear people talk about the culture having too much influence on the Church instead of vice versa.  It usually revolves around some moral hot button issue.
But I’m way more concerned by the influence the consumer culture and the American dream have had on the movement of Christ.
The idea that Jesus wants us all to live comfortable middle class lives with a nice house and a nice car is bogus.
(I know…easy to say from a middle class faith leader with a nice home and nice car.  The irony isn’t lost on me.)

But I really believe that Jesus isn’t all that concerned about our safety, security, comfort, or convenience.  In fact, if you’re feeling really comfortable in life, I’d challenge you to consider if you’re really stepping out in faith and allowing Jesus to show up.
It’s not very comfortable.
When we left a fairly good paying, secure job at a church over 3 years ago to raise support, take side jobs, and start a new faith community with a couple of people in our living room, I was actually kinda surprised by how many people didn’t get it and thought we were nuts.  Then again, I guess we kinda are.
It’s been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and continues to be.  There have been lots of discouraging times and hurts along with some amazing victories and valuable relationships.
Looking back and seeing God show up at every junction has been amazing.

I think I’m starting to ramble.
What’s my point?
I’m not sure.
(Communication 101: know your desired outcome/central purpose from word 1. Fail.)
Except maybe to say that I really don’t think Jesus is that concerned about our safety and comfort.
How that plays out for each of us will look a little different.
But when we start to make safety a core value of the Gospel, we inadvertently remove most of the heart and power of the Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed.
Without risk, there’s not a whole lot of need for faith or God.
And usually that means getting pretty uncomfortable.

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