Does Your Church Ever Make You Feel . . . Uncomfortable?
If we're honest, sometimes the church can be a pretty awkward place. Whether it's something as mundane as shaking hands with an extremely friendly greeter or (more seriously) listening to a fellow believer ask for prayer for his crumbling marriage, we've all felt the sometimes subtle, sometimes nearly overwhelming urge to retreat from the uncomfortable realities that accompany life in the local church.
And yet, as Russell Moore writes in his foreword to Brett McCracken's new book, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community (watch the trailer),
That sense of awkwardness can hinder us, in many ways, but it can also be a gift. That uncomfortable feeling can remind us that there are times when we don’t know just what to say or do. It can give us a compassion for the occasional awkwardness of those around us. It can remind us that we are part of a humanity that, from our near-earliest history, found ourselves furtively hiding in the bushes from the presence of our God (Gen. 3:8–10).
We often, though, want to protect ourselves from awkwardness. We want to appear to know just what to say, just what to do, just how to act—in ways that can either distinguish us or help us to blend in with whatever herd we’ve chosen. Sometimes that self-protection means deflecting the very reality—presence and relatedness—that can draw us out of ourselves and toward wholeness. The intense moment, the “I love you” or the “I am concerned about you” or the “Here’s what you mean to me” moment, becomes deflected with a joke or a change of subject. Sometimes it is not comfortable to be loved—especially if you don’t believe you are worth loving.
In July 2017, we asked our readers questions about how they view the church—especially the awkward parts—hoping to explore some of the issues McCracken addresses in his book.
In total, over 10,000 people filled out the survey, revealing some interesting insights into how we approach community as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of the results from that survey are presented in the following infographic.
Learn more about Brett McCracken's new book and watch the trailer at crossway.org/Uncomfortable.
Finally, if you found this infographic helpful or informative, please share it on Facebook!
- Why Listening to a Podcast Is Not a Substitute for Going to Church (Brett McCracken)
- What to Do If You’re Chronically Frustrated at Church (Brett McCracken)
- The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community