A few months after my father died, Aunt Jeanne Marie dropped me off at a Sunday school class at New York Avenue Presbyterian church in Washington DC.
As I sat down in the small room with lots of little girls in frilly dresses, I immediately knew I didn’t belong. My tomboy pixie was no match for their bouncy curls. I vividly remember the stares and whispers as quick glances shot across the room at me.
At that moment, I knew I wasn’t enough for these girls. I wasn’t sure what I needed to add, but I knew I was lacking. And that lacking made me uncomfortable.
It can consume us, this need to fit in. It can cause us to shun any who are different. To create little circles of friends with rules that are easy for us inside the lines to follow. Aren’t we really just more comfortable when things are the same?
It seems weekly, a firestorm erupts because a famous Christian speaker says something outside the circle of some group or another. DonaldMiller
confessed he got nothing out of going to church. Andy Stanley,
oh my, dared weigh in on bakers and photographers providing services for gay and lesbian weddings
. Suddenly, their faith was put under a microscope. Bloggers and their commenters chimed in from all over the world.
Any more, I’m hesitant to state my point of view. Not because I’m afraid of rejection. I’m proud to say I’ve moved past that childhood incident.
The reason – I may disagree with say, Anne Lamott’s stance on abortion. She’s very pro, and I’m very anti. But I believe we both serve a God whose death on a cross provides the grace for us both to be wrong. And yet, abortion rates have steadily declined. And not because pro-lifers stood on street corners holding signs. But because advanced technology has proven Gods truth, that we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.
It all swings around to our need to feel comfortable. But isn’t that just really putting our faith more in our rules and less in the God who saves us?
Ann Voskamp, in a blog post written from a trash heap in Guatemala,
summed it up best,
“We all like being comfort-handlers but let a comfortable life wrap itself around you and that’s what ends up being the snake that snaps it’s head and poisons your life with pointlessness.”
Jesus, when he walked this earth, made the religious leaders uncomfortable. And they were the only people he called out.
As a Christian, I want those around me to be stunned by the grace of my loving God. And I know that requires me to put myself inside circles of uncomfortableness. But I am confident that the God I serve is the only God who can set people free. And leading others to that freedom should always be worth being made uncomfortable.