Uncomfortable by Brett McCracken is one of those books I’ve been reading where the author dares to say what he’s thinking. So often Christian reading feels like a cheer rally. I put a book down believing I can conquer the world. This isn’t the case with Brett’s book. It’s up lifting. It’s full of truth. But, as the reader, I was left knowing Christianity should be uncomfortable. That doesn’t make it bad. In fact, it is by willing to endure the uncomfortability of following Jesus that we grow. That’s what this excerpt from Brett McCracken’s book is all about.
– Darryl Eyb
In the face of growing secularization and the decline of cultural/nominal Christianity in the West, the Christianity that will survive will be the kind that doesn’t shrink from discomfort or apologize for the increasingly countercultural things it calls people to believe and do.
At a time when young Americans are ever less familiar with Jesus and the Christian gospel, and the spiritual-but-not religious mantra is ever more proliferate, this sort of real Christianity will be clearer and more urgent. The Western world doesn’t need a more muddled, confused, “I love Jesus but not the church” Christianity made up of a million different opinions and to-each-his-own permutations. Rather, it needs a true, unified, and eloquent witness to the distinctly alternative vision for life that Jesus offers. And this will only come with a renewed commitment to the local church in all of its uncomfortable but life-giving glory.
The world ‘needs a true, unified, and eloquent witness to the distinctly alternative vision for life that Jesus offers.’
Nominal Christianity and Moralistic Therapeutic Deism will gradually die off. We should expedite their passing. One way we can do this is by rallying around the true, costly pursuit of Christ as believers committed to the imperfect but essential local church. Not only will this help distinguish true from almost Christianity, but it will renew and revive our churches. It will result in a stronger, more sustainable, more identifiable (and I think more united) Christianity. It will make congregations more mature and effective, because those who remain will be all in, committed, and invested.
Anyone who has ever grown in a skill—a sport, an art form, a job—knows that growth doesn’t come by way of comfort. Growth happens when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and allow our confidence and assumptions to be shaken. Those unwilling to stay the uncomfortable course simply quit. These people are not the ones who win medals or create art of lasting significance. They are not the ones who build the church. No, the builders and changers of this world are the ones who put their comfort aside for the sake of something greater.
Growth happens when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and allow our confidence and assumptions to be shaken.
Taken from Uncomfortable by Brett McCracken, © 2017, pp. 37-38. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.