Home is Where the Heart Is.

Comfortable Heart
Comfortable Heart

A blogger i admire has put up a post and it got me ‘thinking’ – and as any who know me well – that can often be a ‘dangerous’ thing – for all. 😉

What i got to thinking about was this:

Are you comfortable with your Church?

Does it feel like a safe place for you? Do you feel like you ‘belong’ there? Like a Home away from Home?

Is that where your Heart Is?

I’m sure most of you would welcome any ‘new faces’ to your Church with Open Arms; growing the congregation is something i think all churches aspire to do, rejecting no-one…. intentionally!

Yet not everyone who visits your church home feels like ‘your home’ is for them. Some may not like the decor, some the music, some the sermon or style of worship. Some may simply not like the whole concept of a church full of believers getting together to pray to God in a ‘uniform’ way.

Your Church makes them feel ‘uncomfortable’ in some way and they choose not to go back. We Humans don’t LIKE feeling uncomfortable – we like to fit ‘in’ and dislike it (avoid it) when we don’t.

So here’s the point… A Church – a Christian Church is NOT a place where we are to ever FEEL comfortable!

At least we are not to be comfortable in the way we most often do; in the ‘normal’ sense – the Human, Earthly, physical sense. (That is, we are never to feel, to be, MORE comfortable in our humanness – our human OVER our God-like ‘natures’ in our church and in our ‘choice’ of church).

It’s about what we ‘accept’ and what we ‘reject’ in our life down here.

Do we accept and feel comfortable in our flesh? In our Sin? In all the many ways we are so NOT like Christ? Do we like to share that comfortableness with people who are just like us?
Are there certain ‘types’ of people who just would never ‘fit in’ to your church? Do they avoid you like the plague so you never come to know anything about them and you begin to believe you are just like everyone else (that you know)?

Our Happiness and contentment is often based upon our human physical and mental ‘comfort’ – with the things we personally are MOST familiar – that are most like us. But the Spirit is NOT of ‘us’ – it is of God and from Christ, as it lives within all and especially all who claim to be truly Christian.

It is PERSONAL to us – closer to us than our skin – but it is NOT of us, of our flesh and thought, nor is it all that familiar to many of us. It is not where we feel the most comfortable… and in a lot of cases i feel a church reflects more about human comfort and the feeling of being accepted in our imperfection than in our Spirit, which is where we should all be learning, through following Christ as well as we are able, to truly Live.

Where our Spiritual Heart is and not our human one.

Where we can live in the Love of God.

Not a man made building/organisation giving lip-service to Him while making us feel ‘comfortable’.

Are you prepared to feel UN-comfortable in Church?

Are you willing to die to this earth and the things it puts above God’s Will?

How Christian are we being and showing to the World while in church and as we share it with others ‘outside’?

And just how human are we/should we be showing to others in a church?
A Church of Christ and His Father Above?

Please feel free to leave comment agreeing or disagreeing with these thoughts – i hope i am not, and you are not, afraid of feeling uncomfortable in this.

Let your Spirit and not your flesh so lead you.

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10 thoughts on “Home is Where the Heart Is.

  1. Just looking at the church part…

    I am very very lucky in that I have a very open and comfortable church. A church really geared for those who have not been, never been, are uncomfortable going, and have a lot of questions.
    We are very casual in that we dress in jeans and baseball caps, bring our coffee and really sit back and enjoy the service.
    It is what got me back in the church after a long bout of not wanting to attend because I had been beaten up over and over.

    I have a really hard time with churches who claim to be “Christian” and then become exclusionary because they think they have it all figured out.

    I think church should challenge those ready to be challenged, support those who need support, and be open and inviting and teach those who are seeking.

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  2. My heart may have been battered, and broken on more than one occasion, but it feels pretty comfortable in my flesh right now. Of course I have more flesh around it now than when I was younger. 🙂

    Even though I am an Atheist I can’t remember feeling uncomfortable in any church. Now as for some of the people sitting along side me, that’s another story. 🙂

    Wasn’t Jesus ready to accept anyone whose heart was filled with love?

    For me a church is a building, beautiful to the eye no doubt. The only thing that is important is does your faith help fill up your heart with love for your fellow man. At times that can be very challenging.

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  3. ohhhh Love. i could go on and on about this topic. sorta.

    i like the points you brought up. the church is not a place where we are necessarily to feel comfortable. it is a place designed for fellowship, and fellowship often makes us feel at “home”, but there’s a lot more to that word than i think we really like to apply. fellowship includes more than just hanging out and enjoying time with each other. it includes the study of God’s word, praying together, correcting and admonishing one another in love, and sharpening each other as iron sharpens iron. some of those are not always the most comfortable things to experience, and in fact sometimes that sharpening and admonishing part can be quiteuncomfortable…for a time.

    at the same time that i think it is important to have a place where you feel you can “belong” in a church family, i feel that the primary responsibility for providing that feeling of belonging is within the individual, not the church decor, atmosphere, or leadership.

    as a minister, i have seen both sides of the congregation–from the inside and from the outside. one of the things that i will never understand about christians, is their quick willingness to leave a church at the first sign of unhappiness there. the church is reminiscent of how a family works. just because there is conflict or a disagreement about beliefs or about what’s the favorite style of music, there is no good reason to simply leave one fellowship just to join another that seems to fit perfectly into your area of comfort or want. no church is perfect, and 5 years from now, that same church that seemed so wonderful will have lost its initial charm and that christian may start feeling restless in his pew to find some other ‘home’ again.

    i’m thinking of a statement that i hear a LOT from church members who uproot and go church shopping again: “i’m just not being fed.” hmm… that type of mindset really bothers me. it makes me think a lot of what is brought up in the first part of 1 corinthians 3.

    moving on…

    i have also been in the “come as you are” types of churches. i think those are great. but not where i’ve known members of those churches to literally make one feel uncomfortable for wanting to dress up, rather than wear jeans and flip-flops. imho…who cares!? i don’t really care all that much if my pastor preaches in flip-flops or dress shoes. what i care about is where my heart is. again, moving on…

    and as far as what ed said about the church being a building…i’d really have to disagree. that’s one thing that i think non-christians and christians alike can sometimes be flat wrong about. no matter what your beliefs are, the church has always been a body, a group of believers, a fellowship, a family. those in another building on sunday mornings are as much my family as those sitting next to me. i think of them more as ‘distant’ relatives who i’ll see at the big family reunion. 😉

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  4. Joy, your description of a what a church should be is more accurate than mine. The “church” is the people who have come together to share in a common faith, not the building they are meeting in. The building can reflect the love, and faith, of the congregation.

    Being told what we need to know, as opposed to what we want to hear, should make us uncomfortable. Even as children we want the cookies and candy that please our palette, and not the veggies that make our bodies healthy.

    Love’s point about using your Holy Spirit as a guide in all matters should certainly be true when it comes to which church to join.

    My perception, as an Atheist, is that a church should help to strengthen your connection to your God. Whether the process makes you more, or less, uncomfortable, I would not think is relevant.

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  5. J-R – i’m only sorry i did not get to hear chapters 2, 3, 4, etc … yet! 😉

    i REALLY like to hear your thoughts and the balanced perspective you are able to bring to this kind of discussion 🙂

    I was reading 1 Corinthians the week before i posted this – coincidence maybe? 🙂

    i confess to being in two minds concerning the ‘modern’ concept of a church, perhaps due in some part to my state as being a former Atheist and only ‘seeing’ church from the outside and having the idea that a church = a building; and then understanding the concept of the church as a ‘body’ of believers who make up various limbs and organs of the whole.

    i do understand the importance for people attending church to have some ‘common’ fellowship in Christ and in not making church attendance into an ‘us versus them’ battle; either between believers/non-believers or between Baptists/Methodists’ or Catholics/Protestants (as is so detestable in N Ireland)

    What my post though was trying more to bring into awareness was the inner conflicts. The battle between what we ‘like’, what we ‘want’ in a church by reason of how it makes us feel ‘comfortable in our self, and how it is necessary for our Spirit that we NOT give into our earthly ‘comforts’. That it is those feelings of the flesh and our weak minds in wanting to have our heart NOT feel uncomfortable in the place where we want our Spirit to be ‘increased’ (in our churches) which is precisely what we should NOT be doing or using in our choice of which church to attend ( or leave) and how our church is to be ‘run’.

    Your comment about those members who do not feel as though they are being ‘fed’ in a church and leave to choose another i think may reflect exactly what i am suggesting – that some church leaders are paying more attention to growing the congregation and attracting new members with ‘earthly’ trappings of our body’s and not our spirit’s needs (like with door prizes of I-pods etc as per Tony’s recent post) than to paying attention to the spiritual needs of the congregation.

    It is a difficult balancing act to maintain – particularly as a congregation grows or is of long-standing in one place.

    I think that is part of why Jesus never stayed in one place too long and why He chose to be as removed from the ‘earth’ as He possibly could, while never removing Himself out of it until His Father so ordered it.

    i could go on… 😉

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  6. Ed – from my perspective i have to disagree with your last comment somewhat.

    i fully believe you are right in saying that attending one’s church should help strengthen one’s connection to God (certainly as much to more so than your connection to man – your sense of ‘belonging’ to others here on earth through a commonality of likes/dislikes and the way of the flesh).

    i believe you did NOT find this from the church you once attended. – there was a failure in the building/establishing of your strength of Faith and the ways of the flesh ‘won out’ in your case – true?

    Whether there is ‘blame’ for this more with the church, your family, friends, or yourself or only through the particular combination of all of them is not for any other to ‘judge’.

    I believe it is VERY ‘relevant’ as to how uncomfortable we feel in the church we ‘choose’, or more particularly, to how comfortable we feel ‘in our heart’ – do we care more for the comforts we feel and obtain from our heart of flesh and our earthly ‘mind’ – or is it the comfort that can only be obtained from feeling our Spirit grow within us and so become ‘closer’ to God and being able to completely understand and follow His will over our own?

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  7. Having said that – all of us are ‘different’ in the ways we best learn.

    In a classroom or church type learning environment where a teacher is trying to help us acquire new knowledge the most common element we all share in gaining in such knowledge or learning is how much we enjoy it – having fun while learning improves our ‘uptake’.

    However some of the strongest held and longest lasting ‘lessons’ we ever learn in life are those in which we are hurt or we have a very strong emotional element ( not always a ‘positive’ emotion) A close family death or a divorce perhaps can make a deeply ‘ingrained, long lasting effect on our life learning that can have long term effects on how we interact with people for perhaps the rest of our life on earth (and beyond).

    the feelings we have play an important role or part in our ‘learning’ and growth as both a human and a spiritual being.

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  8. In acquiring knowledge the question shouldn’t be whether what we are learning is making us uncomfortable, but how useful, or interesting we find it.

    I agree the best learning environment is one that challenges us in a positive way. The classroom does need to encourage us to think and ask questions.

    You are right our emotions do influences are chooses. If a person of religious faith doesn’t not find their church serve uplifting, they will look for a new church.

    I remember my grandfather, who complained about all those dam touchy, feely, churchs. He want a good “Hellfire” sermon that would scare the bejesus out of you, and hopeful the spirit of Jesus into you. 🙂

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  9. Ed – thank you for mentioning your grandfather, that is a very good example of what i was getting at in the previous comment. To Him he felt that fear was a very strong emotion that would make a ‘lesson’ stick so as to stay with us throughout our earthly life – and therefore hopefully be taken with us into the next, improving both. He seemed to have the understanding that if we only ever ‘feel good’ about a lesson that we are not really going to be keeping that learning with us always – say in the ‘hard times’ maybe?

    Your third paragraph above is dealing with the crux of my post though…

    the term ‘uplifting’ is what i am hoping to let us see in a new way so as to make ‘better’ choices concerning our ( ok not your perhaps) 😉 churches.

    i don’t believe our spirit only gains from what makes us feel ‘good’ as a human being or that we are only to have our Spirit ‘lifted’, but it is to be ‘expanded’ or ‘increased’.

    I think our spirits are only to be ‘lifted’ in the sense that they come from ‘Above’ this world – From God. That we are to ‘rise above’ our earthly selves and move into a more ‘heavenly’ one.

    That is how i would hope ‘uplifting’ is seen, not as simply making us feel ‘brighter and happier as that is not how we will grow in Spirit – Christ certainly did not spend much of His Time trying to feel good about Himself – but while sufering sought to lift up others than Himself.

    Most churchgoers when attending their church seem to need to feel uplifted in themselves – far from how Christ acted while on this earth.

    Our choices then seem far from the ones Christ Himself made and i think some if not all churches follow this human need over the will of Christ for their congregations.

    Hence the reason i ask if our hearts are feeling ‘comfortable’ in church – or are they feeling Uncomfortable, so as to increase and not simply ‘uplift’ our spirits.

    Comfort here is only ‘relevant’ for those who wish to increase their spiritual ‘knowledge’ and has far lesser significance for secular learning.

    ( Although the concepts developed by Soviet Block countries and scientists of ‘Super-learning’ do seem to show that the more comfortable one is the better and faster one can learn and retain any knowledge.)

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