the weblog of Alan Knox

When mutuality is uncomfortable…

Posted by on Apr 28, 2009 in blog links, gathering | 10 comments

Yesterday, in my post “What does not come naturally“, I quoted Dave Black as saying, “Some of this work is beyond what comes naturally to me. There is much growth and grace in that,” and “But if I am a serious Christian, I cannot do only what comes easily to me”.

Arthur, at “the voice of one crying out in suburbia“, wrote about something similar in his post called “Speaking of mutuality“. But, in the case of Arthur’s post, he was talking about something near and dear to my own hear: mutuality. Arthur shares his experiences of meeting with a church which practices mutuality. He says:

Where we are gathering for fellowship has taken some getting used to. It has been jarring to have someone different bring the primary message each week. It is hard to get comfortable with the idea of lots of different men contributing to the teaching instead of the typical model of one man teaching and everyone else listening…

It is a far cry from the single individual giving the message Sunday AM, PM and Wednesday PM that we are used to. That is familiar and comfortable. I don’t think it is Biblical but it is what we have always known and it is the cultural norm in the civic religion of America.

So, why does Arthur put up with this “uncomfortable” feeling when he meets with the church? He says,

I think it is healthy to have so many different people getting involved. The tendency of people is to get lazy. Why study for myself when the pastor will do it for me?

He continues to say that he thinks (from reading the New Testament examples) that this is how the early church met together. So, Arthur is willing to meet in a way that is “uncomfortable” to him because he recognizes the benefit. And, as Dave said, “There is much growth and grace in that”.


10 Comments

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  1. 4-28-2009

    Thanks, Alan.

  2. 4-28-2009

    Alan-
    This is great brother. We must be willing to set aside our ways and watch as God purges us of our old mindsets.
    Steven

  3. 4-28-2009

    Alan,

    We have tended to focus our attention on one member of the betrothed of our Lord Jesus. Maybe that’s why most Christians don’t seem to appreciate her beauty, which is far superior to diamonds.

    Image looking at a beautiful diamond and only observing one facet. The magnificence of such a gem can only be understood by seeing it from all facets as they reflect light in their particular manner.

  4. 4-28-2009

    Ashlee,

    You’re welcome. I miss you and your family.

    Steven,

    Yes, you’re right. But, we all know how “uncomfortable” that can be. :)

    Aussie John,

    That’s a good analogy. I like that.

    -Alan

  5. 4-28-2009

    I agree, this can be a hard thing to accept (the fellowship “style” Arthur refers to), but only one I’ve battled with because of what we’ve grown accustomed to accepting as the “norm.”

    Go fig…

  6. 4-28-2009

    Faithful Servant,

    Exactly. Comfortable doesn’t mean “right”, but it always “feels” right.

    -Alan

  7. 4-29-2009

    I know it must sound crazy-silly, but the first time we shared the Lord’s supper with some friends in our home during dinner, my hands literally shook. I was brought up Catholic, and the very idea of protestants touching the bread themselves was incomprehensible. Forget not doing so in a church building with proper authorities trained in some dark secrets.

    But we and our friends had come to understand what we were doing was OK, was right. But it sure felt VERY wrong. It doesn’t matter if our confusions and discomfort come from bad traditions or from bad culture. Everything about God is upside down from our natural inclinations and understandings. An old line church goer is no more confronted with change than a devout atheist or a “good” person. Walking with God puts everyone out of their comfort zones in so many ways, and I think that process lasts a lifetime of stepping further into the light.

  8. 4-29-2009

    As one who really had a rough time transitioning to small, intimate settings, I can relate. I knew however that the Spirit was calling me to such a place, so what else was there to do? Transparency and vulnerablity lead to true Body life. There is no other way. If one is willing to place themselves in uncomfortable settings, forgoing “personal preference”, it allows the LORD to bring about the desired result.

    This is why it cannot be a “I’ll do what I like, you do what you like” Church. We have been told what the LORD desires – He sets the guidelines, not me.

  9. 4-29-2009

    You know, the other side of this coin is that when the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, life springs forth.

    When you taste the deep connection and find freedom from yourself, whatever your cost and whatever your fears were they pale.

    Life is still messy, and you still get confused and this dying thing is not a once for all experience. You continually find new levels that you have kept away and hold onto that you need to let go of. But it gets much easier. You don’t fight for your life anymore, once you have tasted safety and acceptance.

  10. 4-29-2009

    Art,

    I can empathize about your taking the Supper for the first time.

    Of course, we don’t want to do something simply because its uncomfortable. How do we decide what to do in spite of being uncomfortable?

    Joel,

    You’re right. And, in many cases, we’ve decided that we don’t have to follow God’s guidelines.

    -Alan