Take Up Your Uncomfortable Cross

Take Up Your Uncomfortable Cross

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.

The cross should make us uncomfortable. When you really think about it, God's wrath and righteous judgment against sin was not fully satisfied until His son died a brutal and bloody death on a Roman torture device. And we, as the followers of the Son who willingly subjected Himself to this death so He could be resurrected for our salvation, we proudly display this torture device in our homes or on our necks. Chapter 2 speaks about this uncomfortable tension and it opened my eyes like never before.

Loss Comes With The Cross

In chapter 2, Brett describes the various forms of loss one will encounter when choosing the cross of Christ.

  1. Being your own boss
  2. Consumer religion
  3. Pride
  4. Power, coolness, and cultural respectability
  5. Health, wealth, and comfort

It is uncomfortable to have these stripped away. This discomfort is what keeps many of us from diving head first and instead choosing to dip a toe or two in and stop as soon as we have ventured outside our comfort zone. The fear of this discomfort is what keeps many of us sitting on the sidelines, watching someone else walk in grace and being amazed at what they see but too terrified to do it themselves. It's uncomfortable to come to terms with the fact our ever loving and good God doesn't suddenly spare us from all harm when we choose Him but rather promises it.

What makes me uncomfortable about the cross?

Reading through the 5 areas of loss Brett mentioned in this chapter, I realize that I identify with the first and the last the most.

I'm uncomfortable with surrendering control over my life. Even though I can often relate to the words of Paul, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15) I still feel that I am in control of my actions and therefore where my actions lead me. I am uncomfortable with letting God control my life, especially when I'm not sure what He will ask of me.

I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of surrendering my relationships and the comfort I have in knowing we are financially secure. My family means very much to me so when Jesus says you must hate your father and mother, I feel an internal conflict arise. When you read of how the disciples were called and left everything behind with no concern of how they would care for themselves, I feel a knot form in my chest. I love God, but I suppose I need to confront myself with the ugly truth that I love my own comfort more. Paul's words in Philippians feel foreign to me, to count everything as loss (Philippians 3:7-9). I suppose I understand to an extent that nothing compares to the love of Christ, but I would be panicky at the thought of losing my family, my home, or my job.

Gain Comes With The Cross, Too

Brett also points out that amidst the loss of pride, being cool, personal comfort, etc. we also gain something. 

On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished,” and it was. Uncomfortable, ugly, bloody, rugged, and shameful the cross may be. But it is sufficient. It is everything.
— Brett McCracken

Even though I am uncomfortable surrendering control, I am surrendering to the one who wrote the book on surrender. Even though I am uncomfortable with the thought of losing health, wealth, and comfort, I could not possibly sacrifice more than Jesus did. I am starting to understand what Paul meant earlier in Philippians; it becomes clearer how we can count it all as loss when compared to what you gain in Christ. Clearer, but still uncomfortable.

About the Author | Sarah Schaidt
I love web design, my family, photography, traveling, music, Jesus, sleep, and Food Network (not necessarily in that order).

This American Church
A place for exploring the Church in the American context. Issues may get political, cultural, and philosophical — but it’s always personal.

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