Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock. Psalm 137:9
‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:34-38
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, or else, having too much, you will vomit it. Proverbs 25:16
These are among the Bible verses that make me uncomfortable. Nevertheless I read them, try to understand them, and allow them to convict me and stretch my understanding about who I am and who God is.
Other things that make me uncomfortable: Eating raw fish. Wearing heels. Listening to preachers who say women are not called to ministry.
Lots of things made me uncomfortable in high school: Chemistry. Singing in public. FOMO.
Some of our state legislatures are moving bills through their process which will prohibit making white students uncomfortable, especially in history classes.
Florida SB148 includes this statement: Examples of theories that distort historical events and are inconsistent with SBE-approved standards include the denial or minimization of the Holocaust, and the teaching of Critical Race Theory, meaning the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons. Instruction may not utilize material from the 1619 Project and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.
I’ve read The 1619 Project and find it hard to believe that the majority of Florida legislators have read it. (I wonder how we can require legislators to read whatever it is they want to govern before they prohibit or laud it.) Did The 1619 Project make me uncomfortable? Sometimes. Did it make me hate America? Not at all. Did it make me hate myself (the descendant of slave holders)? Not at all.
Liberal education (and I use the classic definition of that term) involves critical thinking and grappling with hard truths. Thought Police are for fascist countries.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, where our FBC in a public high school teacher, the new governor set up a hotline for parents to report teachers whose teaching practices are “divisive.” (You can offer your input here, Virginia parents: firstname.lastname@example.org) And a follow-up bill has been introduced to the Virginia State Senate to legislate a ban on any curriculum that teaches that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race, sex, or faith, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, sex, or faith.”
Talk about snowflakes.
One of the great things about living in a free country is the ability to wrestle and disagree and push back. Okay, Jesus didn’t live in a free country and he, for one, was executed for pushing back. But do we want to live in a nation that doesn’t allow us to be uncomfortable in our conversations and lessons?
It was the newspaper industry that first coined their role in society as “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” and preachers have adopted that phrase as well. By grace, the Holy Spirit makes it possible for a single sermon to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. If your preacher doesn’t make you uncomfortable every once in a while, maybe you need a different one. Are we interested in growing spiritually or do we want a community that merely affirms what we already believe?
Jesus was killed for making people uncomfortable.
Things that make humans uncomfortable: Being told we are not pleasing God. Loving our enemies. Praying for those who condemn us. Forgiving those who have sinned against us. Crossing boundaries to care for the Samaritan, the Canaanite, the Leper (or in the 21st Century – the Muslim, the White Supremacist, the Black Lives Matter Activist, the Transgender, the Republican, the Democrat, the Undocumented, the Mentally Ill, the Imprisoned.)
We have got to talk with each other, people. We have got to have difficult conversations in hopes of building bridges. I am not afraid to grapple with you, especially if we disagree. God is with us.
Note: The National White Privilege Conference will be in Charlotte, NC March 9-12, 2022. This is an excellent opportunity to embrace discomfort. It’s where the Holy happens. Scholarships available. And in spite of the ban against “divisiveness” there are workshops for middle and high school students, as well as adults. Join us.