Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shaping of the Church: Comfort & Convenience

In his book, "Forgotten Ways", Alan Hirsch writes about life in suburbs as being all about having life comfortable, convenient, and safe. He goes on to say that the suburban churches cater to this mentality and must offer the same for the people or they will go somewhere else.
I forget where it is in the Bible that calls for a comfortable, convenient, and safe faith. The Bible I read talks about followers being imprisoned, beaten, and killed for their faith. We read about people called to go into dangerous lands, to live with integrity even if it effects the income, to fast, pray, give, love, forgive, and to serve the least, the worst, and the most difficult. We hear stories of passion that can't be quenched, of faith that can't be shaken, and of a God that will be praised.

As I think about these things I wonder how the suburban church can create this environment. The truth is that life in the suburbs is good in the sense that we can be safe and comfortable and it is convenient to do almost anything (and frankly I like this life). The problem is that this can easily create complacency but since we can't move out of the "burbs", what can the church practically do to get followers of Jesus to reclaim the dangerous (or forgotten) ways of Jesus and the first Christians?

6 comments:

Rich said...

who says we cant move out of the burbs?

Ryan said...

You can move out of the burbs but if all churches/ christians moved out of the burbs, then a greater void would be created. One day there will be no "burbs" so you can look forward to that.

Anonymous said...

Kim gets mad at me when I burb in public.gREG

Jon Chenot said...

perhaps to live the sacrificial spirit filled life in the suburbs will be a harder task because it takes voluntary acts of faith and service rather than forced dependence and trust. what does this look like specifically?... hmmm... Im still thinking.

Jon Chenot said...

Ryan, I think you would agree (maybe this is even what you are getting at) that we can't use the lack of opposition to our faith or luxurious lifestyles as an excuse to be spiritually complacent and comfortable in life. Jesus said that the world will hate us because it has hated Him first. And Paul says that everyone who wants to live a godly life in in Christ will be persecuted. we don't have to go looking for opposition or persecution, i think that if we do our part in following Jesus and living by faith then it will not go over easy with the world. Maybe as we ourselves live like we believe God's promises, other believers will see what they are missing and jump on board.
Also, this problem I think has deeper routs in the secularization of the way we think as Christians. That is, the little need that we feel to depend on a Higher Being in life because of our "self sufficiency" and superiority as humans.
(still not very practical but it's a start..)

Ryan said...

jon- well said... "it takes voluntary acts of faith and service rather than forced dependence and trust".

This still begs the question of how can we help people engage in voluntary acts of faith and are there acts of faith in the suburbs that push people to the edge of comfort? Is there something more a part of daily life than "mission trips", work projects, ect.