23 January 2011

The Most Overused Phrase In The Whole Of Western Churchdom

There is one phrase that seems extraordinarily popular with Christians. It's especially popular with teens and those in their early twenties, but it's even been heard from those over fifty. I should know -- I'm what you might call an 'insider.'
This phrase appears, very convincingly, to embody the twenty-first century church's entire mission. It's the perfect foil to make the other Christians think they're actually accomplishing spiritual goals instead of putting them off. This is the phrase that signals 'I am serious about this and dang it I'm going to pull it off this time!' It's like a new year's resolution, renewed every two weeks at Bible study.
'I guess I just have to get out of my 'comfort zone.''
Everyone under thirty says it as if they're forthrightly taking responsibility for their own role in it -- 'I guess I just have to...' This makes it sound far more impressive, like you actually mean it this time.
It would be so admirable if there was actually fruit after a while.
I realise spiritual growth is a dreadfully slow and often painful process, but seriously, after four years (or more) of us attending the same Bible study; after more than four years of hearing you say this with such gravity every two weeks; I should be able to pinpoint at least one or two areas in which you have grown spiritually and at least made an attempt to step out of your 'comfort zone' a bit.
In most cases though, I still see the same person who knows all the right words, who knows all his lines by heart, whose 'I'm really going to do it this time' act is worthy of an Academy Award, but who has done nothing to even attempt stepping out of said comfort zone.
The over-thirty crowd is a bit more passive about it -- 'We all just have to get out of our comfort zones.'
'We,' of course, meaning 'everyone else does the stepping out while I sit back and point fingers when they screw up.' Self-explanatory really. Generally nobody does anything except pray in the most fervent-sounding voices possible for revival, then go back home and grumble about how this corrupt this world is and why doesn't so-and-so do something about it? They have such a talent for singing 'Christian' songs in church (heaven forbid they try for a record contract, that would make them worldly and selfish)... where only those who have made a name for themselves are worth anything.
And what of those who haven't managed to make a name for themselves? The transplants from a church that was on the verge of a split? The twelve-year-old who came along with her parents in that move and was hoping to connect with the substantial-looking youth group at this new church? Why was she rejected so soundly? Why couldn't her well-settled-in peers take even that miniscule step out of their 'comfort zones' to welcome her? Why have they not only remained snuggled down into their little 'comfort zones,' but have poked merciless fun at her as she struggles alone, desperately trying to navigate this sea of ever-morphing intertwined alliances and the dual faces of all the members? Why didn't their parents model Christian compassion and love to their children so they could help this poor kid?
And then all these Christians wonder why nobody comes to Christ.
'They've been let down and rejected their whole lives. Why don't they come to church and find Christ's love?'
Because they don't want anything to do with a God who is apparently hypocritical, cruel, and choosy about what company He keeps. After all, His 'ambassadors' are these things and much more and they're quite proud of it... while vehemently denying that they partake of anything of the sort.

Before you ask, I rarely (if ever) use the 'comfort zone' line... mainly because it's cliched, but also because I want to be able to mean it. If I'm not going to make an honest attempt at it, I'm not going to claim to. But that's just me. ~ Kate

4 comments:

Brittney Biotite said...

Unfortunately, hypocrisy seems to sum up a lot of what is going on in every church. I kind of think that if Jesus were around today, a lot more than table turning would be going on, and at least some of it would be my fault. EVERYONE is a hypocrite sometimes, it's just human nature, and unfortunately, our hypocrisy has become a comfort zone, which, as you said, means that basically everyone will talk about changing, but very few will intend to.

Kate said...

I know. I'm not perfect either, but one would think that guilt would eventually start to bother them. I know it bothers me if I do something like that.
Think about it though... how many people have been eternally lost because of this sort of attitude from those who claim to have found abounding love and joy in Christ? How many Christians have renounced their faith and turned their backs on the God who loves them because of this kind of treatment from the self-proclaimed 'higher ups;' their own brothers and sisters? We can't afford to settle for this anymore. Lives are at stake here.

Brittney Biotite said...

I agree that it sucks and that we need to collectively stop, however, are we any better sitting here talking about getting out of the hypocrisy comfort zone?

Kate said...

No. But now that we're aware of the problem and disgusted with ourselves for being part of it, we'll be more likely to change that, right?
I'm actually kind of hoping that we get new people in church soon. Then I can work on that.