Reordering Our View of Comfort

Brad M. Griffin | Apr 20, 2010

Yesterday I shared some of Mark Labbertons thoughts about worship and justice from his book, The Dangerous Act of Worship. In it he argues that justice and mercy are core to the identity of God and therefore must be core to our worship. As true worship reorders our reality, we begin to see the world in light of the injustices that grieve the heart of this God whom we profess to worship.

One danger to experiencing this right ordering of reality is comfort. We love to be comfortable in our churches, and we talk a lot about making people feel comfortablewhether thats welcoming newcomers to our youth ministry or helping visiting families feel hospitably cared for throughout their church experience. However, Labberton suggests we take something else to heart about comfort:

[Most American churches] have made an art form of figuring out how to make unchurched people feel comfortable. The best intention of most churches is to show people the comfort of Gods love in Christ. However, it ought to be of more than passing significance that comfort has not been high on Gods methodology list. Wilderness? Exodus? Exile? Incarnation? Crucifixion? Taking up your cross? These elements of the biblical narrative suggest that God does not prize comfort

Doing justice, unfortunately, seldom feels comfortable. Yet that is the comfort God longs for the oppressed to know through the lives of those who worship in spirit and in truth. ((Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (Downers Grove: IVP, 2007), 56-57.))

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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