Published: 7 years ago

“We Don’t Do Comfortable.”

Warning: this post has the potential to make you want to respond. Don’t fight it.

One of our pastors received this from a friend. The friend is on staff at a church in the Triangle area, and this very real email found its way to the office of that very real church:

Hello,

Our family has just moved to your area. We are seeking a church home and have a few questions please:

*We know the Lord loves all of us, but we believe in honoring the Culture the Lord gave us, so we are seeking a traditionally “White” church as opposed to Multi-cultural. Is your church White?

*Do you have a separate church service for children?

*Does your church have a softball team?

thanks in advance for replying.

For once, I’m speechless. I’ve tried coming up with the way I would respond to this, given the chance. Try #1 was snarky and witty. Try #2 was serious and preachy. So since I can’t figure out a way that I’d respond to this person, let me just say a few things to you, my blog friends:

  • “White” isn’t a culture. It’s a color. And it’s not even an accurate color, at that. I’m not white. I’m sort of a Pasty Peach.
  • “The Culture the Lord gave us” is the city we’re in. And our culture is a little bit white, a little bit African-American, a little bit Latino, and a little bit of a whole lot of other colors, tints, and textures. It’s the culture we’re called to. It’s the city we’re to bless. It’s the people we’re to love. Jeremiah 29:7 says, “…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
  • Any church that hopes to reach its city had better be a reflection of its city. Unless you live in Caucasianville, U.S.A., you’d better have a little bit of color in your pews and on your stage. I’m happy to say that although we’re not as far as we’d like to be, we’re a lot further than we used to be.

Those are my thoughts. But I ran the draft of this post by a few friends and fellow pastors to make sure I wasn’t way off base and just venting. One of my sounding boards was my buddy Sam Fisher. Sam had this to say:

“[It sounds like] the person is speaking more to preference. This person is obviously sheltered and comfortable which means he/she wouldn’t like Summit to begin with [even if we weren’t a diverse church]. We don’t do comfortable. We challenge folks to leave comfortable and go make disciples of ALL nations.”

Well said, Sam. Thanks for bringing some balance to the post. For the rest of you, I’ll let you make the joke about the softball team. I’m still too speechless to be funny right now.

Comment below. Be nice.

5 Comments.
  1. Josh Dyson says:

    I think letters like this give you the opportunity to stretch yourself to be more Christlike. There is a very strong temptation to react to this letter, rather than respond. It’s important to realize that your unfiltered reaction will certainly not reach this guy – it’ll most likely shut him down or tick him off, and he’ll just move on.

    You and Sam both bring much-needed perspective in response. This is a person created in the image of God, and loved by Him. He has a story, and like most of us, it’s not all good. But he needs a serious wake-up call, and the unapologetic gospel of Christ is it. It’s about time for some uncomfortable.

    • Danny says:

      Very good point Josh, and you’re 100% correct. The fact that this email went to another pastor at another church made it easier for me to react. I would hope that had it come to me or another Summit pastor, we’d take the time to respond and use it as a teachable moment.

      …and to sign them up for the softball team. We’re dying for a good 2nd baseman. 🙂

  2. I suppose if you had time, you could arrange to meet such a family and find out why they feel this way, and maybe hope to nudge them on a little. I thank God that I was born in a family that did multiculturism – my aunt was Ghanaian, people of various ethnicities came to the house, my sister-in-law is Iranian. But if I had been born into a family with very different views, maybe to this day I would be imprisoned by them.

    Or maybe this family has suffered, as it sees it, at the hands of some other ethnic group. Perhaps only a gentle face-to-face interaction could find out the reasons, and see if they have any potential for movement.

    Blessings

    Tony

  3. Adam Hoffman says:

    Good call Josh. I agree we must be sensitive to not make quick judgments. I think this is a case where you say, “Let’s talk in person – this church is probably for you, yet its not what you are looking for.” Win this guy over with your niceness (or whiteness) and then walk with him side by side until the uncomfortability of the gospel isn’t scary.

    The church isn’t a “Christian club”. If we aren’t uncomfortable, we aren’t being confronted with our own sinful nature. Church is there to honor and serve Christ, to bring humanity into the changing (for us) presence of God. The church isn’t a retreat center stationed in a building, its a disease that spreads through person to person contact – outside of buildings.

    My prayer is that this guy can’t find what he is looking for and ends up finding more depth in the gospel instead.

    As for softball – when are churches going to commission their members out to join COMMUNITY sports, where the gospel can influence others across natural lines of society?

  4. Courtney says:

    I may be a little bold here, but I am betting that a lot of us know this kind of person. The person may never be so upfront to admit it and we may also not be transparent enough to own up to it either.
    This makes me think about who in my life is held back by their beliefs that are not gospel centered. It actually brings a little insight to my prayers for them.

  1. […] Read the rest of the post here, and then read the comments. They’ll make you get glad in the same pants you got mad in. […]

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