A Big Uncomfortable Hug

A Big Uncomfortable Hug

Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community by Brett McCracken

Together Empty Church is embracing the uncomfortable. Join us as we dig into Brett McCracken's new book Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community and uncover all the parts that make us uneasy about our faith, uneasy about being friends, and uneasy about building a church that realizes that comfort is not the goal of Christiantiy.

Embrace the Discomfort

A Christianity that reflects its culture, whether that culture is Smith College or NASCAR, only lasts as long as it is useful to its host. That’s because it’s, at root, idolatry, and people turn from their idols when they stop sending rain.
— Russell Moore

This the title of the opening chapter of Brett McCracken's book Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community.  And I don't like it. I don't like being uncomfortable. I don't like uncomfortable clothes, situations, transportation, or expectations. 

I do not like to be uncomfortable and I hate being discomforted. 

The difference? Being discomforted means that someone or something has entered my space, physical, intellectual, or emotional, and disrupted my preferred state of homeostasis. They have challenged me and, you guessed it, I don't like it. 

So far, I don't like Brett McCracken's book. Not because it is not well written. Not because his insights are stupid. Not because he comes across as a pretentious know-it-all. It is none of these things because none of these descriptions are accurate. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

I don't like this book because it has invaded my space. His words are infiltrating my psyche and telling me the truth that I already know but so desperately try to ignore. I don't need more happiness. I need change. 

Happiness or Jesus

Even C.S. Lewis recognized that the goal of Christianity and the Church is not a life of happiness. McCracken quotes Lewis to make a grand point, "I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

We can certainly find happiness anywhere: wine, sex, and work are just a few examples. But the happiness they offer eventually fades and we look for more intense experiences that help us discover what it's like to be alive. Echoing Moore's quote above, when our use for our idols dries up we drive out and search for something new. 

While I am addicted to happiness and I am not a fool. I already know that happiness is temporary. I, like so many others, want something eternal. 

That leads me to Jesus - the eternal Son of God. 

But I don't often like Jesus for the same reason I don't like flying on an airplane. It's uncomfortable not being in control. 

Even though I profess Jesus as my Saviour, I often snapback at him as my Lord.  Thankfully he is much more gracious and patient with me than I deserve. But still, his Lordship makes me uncomfortable. It brings me discomfort. 

But Jesus and I working on that. I recognize his place as Lord, it is the submission that takes so long to get the hang of. 

Other Things About Christianity that bring me discomfort

I don't like sacrificially loving others. 

I don't like a call to holiness.

I don't like "living on mission."

I don't certain types of church music.

I don't like commitment.

I don't like the idea of submitting to authority. 


But just because I don't like something does not mean that I don't recognize the value of it. And I know that these are some areas that are going to be pain points for me as we walk through this journey together. 

I am making a promise to embrace this discomfort and hopefully, in time, I will learn to love it. 


About the Author | Josh Schaidt
I love cookies and I still buy music one album at a time. @EmptyChurch is one way I live empty, talk faith, and opt in to follow Jesus.

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