Comfortable faith

“I think it’s nice that people have something to believe in. It’s comforting, and makes life easier for people.”

Gosh. Really? This was said to me in a conversation recently and I was temporarily floored.

Earlier in the evening I’d explained why I hadn’t read the book club book (PhD things) and then the topic of PhD led on to a more general conversation about church and faith. It was interesting listening to a church-going atheist and a complete outsider compare their experiences and for once I was quite content to let other people do the talking. It is not rocket science to know that the more immersed in Church World one becomes, the less one hears what real actual people outside of church think about it. It’s not the militant atheists that I find so interesting but people whose opinion is basically ‘meh.’

So there we were, scooping up chocolate mousse, and then that comment was made, stopping the transport of chocolate from dish to mouth.

Now, my rider to all this is that it is entirely possible I am Doing Faith Wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised to be told that. I have been told that. I sort of think that if you are completely sure of everything, and never doubt, you might be Doing It Wrong. (Anyone ever hurt or annoyed you by dishing out a neat certainty in the middle of your pain? No? Then you’re lucky).

But.

Comfortable?
Nice?
Easy?

If I wanted a comfortable and easy life, following Christ would not be top of my list. I could close my ears and eyes to pain and injustice in the world. I could concentrate my efforts on earning as much money as possible rather than being of some use to the world. I certainly wouldn’t have to wrestle with finding a sense of purpose. (Anything else I might have wanted is probably TMI). And my neighbour becomes an ignorable inconvenience, not someone whom I am commanded to love.

Looking at the world from here, I find I notice pain, injustice, greed and envy…I know where I help and where I am frankly a hindrance. I know where I ignore the things I could do and where I choose the easy option…all wrapped up with a conscience that doesn’t just prick, it bloody kicks at times. I don’t want a nice, comfortable faith, that insulates me from the ‘real’ world (remind me of that later…)

Comfortable would also remove the need to nurture my own faith, replacing it with a rational humanistic perspective which fits my need for proof and certainty. Oh then, how easy life would be.

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3 thoughts on “Comfortable faith

  1. I’m with you – never understood the Comfortable/Nice/Easy thing and jealous/suspicious of those who express that’s what it is about for them.
    My faith has often forced me to choose against comfort, at sometimes significant cost, (although, of course, as a Western consumer, I am incredibly comfortably materially), and my present circumstances are such that NOT having a faith could well be a release from mental and circumstantial processes.
    Hey ho

  2. Nice pondering, thank you.
    Activist and author Shane Claiborne, who had an ‘easy-life’ Christian upbringing, speaks of observing how for many ‘coming to Jesus’ makes their lives a lot better, especially if they come from appalling life situations beforehand. He says that’s wonderful, but for him things were great before he ‘came to Jesus’, then his life got really messed up!
    I find that challenging.

  3. Easy but no doubt fairly boring. Jesus is not MEANT to be easy “take up you cross and follow me” does not sound like easy – or comforting. It means giving up ME and concentrating on what HE wants from my life.

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