Safety, Security, Comfort, Convenience

Excellent three minute video from Alan Hirsch (Desiring God). Middle class comfort is dangerous to the gospel and turns faith-filled Christianity into mere civil religion almost without us realising it.

Alan Hirsch - Are You Stuck In A Rut? from Verge Network on Vimeo.

I think this critique is relevant in so many ways. Here are three:

1. Societal values create our sense of what discomfort is OK for a reasonalb person to put up with - and it is very little. Nowhere near what the gospel requires. But those values are STRONG and subtle. Therefore Christians tend towards the unthought assumption that risk is bad because that is the message we are fed every day

2. People shaped by these values are usually conceptually unable to evangelise outside of the middle class, but don't evangelise the middle class either, because of middle class embarrassment and a vague feeling that middle class people don't infringe each others comfort zones by talking about religion or politics. It is somehow impolite, unseemly

3. People shaped by these values are the ones funding and shaping many of the current mechanisms for training the next generation of leaders. Therefore the institutions and programmes unwittingly reflect their values from the ground up. Why is so much training for Christian leaders done in a setting that mirrors expensive secular teritary education? Because that is what middle class, risk-averse people are familiar with. Why do almost no minister training schemes include planting a church or leading mission trips or running local evangelism trainings as core training requirements? Because middle class risk-averse methodology has replaced them with mostly abstract classroom learning.

As my old mentor Nigel Lee used to say "you don't learn to fish in a class room, but on the river bank". Middle class desire for safety is likely to keep us away from the river bank and turn us all into armchair anglers.