True Power

True Power

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Comfort Zones

While working as a mistress of ceremonies last night for our state's congressman, I had set up two tables for the other people on the program that would be speaking. As time neared for the event to start, the speakers began to take their seats on stage. We all knew each other from participating in various organizations within the community together. I began to notice something strange; all of the men sat at one table and all of the women sat at another table.

After reflecting on how the night went (succesfully) I thought about why the men sat together and not one sat at the table with the women. There were 4 chairs at each table and there were three women and five men. The men added an extra chair unwilling to sit at the table full of women. If I knew this was going to happen, I would have assigned seats.

There was nothing wrong with the sexes dividing in such a way, but it is odd how people will group into groups of fimiliarity, common interest, and likeness.

At our local county school; it never fails that at events for the children; the white people sit on one side of the gym and the blacks sit on another side of the gym. In our rural country churches, it is not odd to see the men sitting on one side of the church and the women and children on the opposite side of the church.

I am a northerner by birth and my husband is a southerner. When we first married we would go and visit his elderly parents. He and his dad would be in one room and his mother and I would somehow end up in another room. I voiced to him that WE were visiting his parents and I did not understand the separating of the sexes even in the home environment. So, needless to say, they became accustomed to me not being led into another room. WE all visit together in the same room.

What is it about this unconscious gravitation to the familiar - to the more likeness that we seem to do? If we have some built in tendency to surround ourselves with the familiar or sameness of ourselves, how are we ever to experience diversity?

When I go to the school programs I purposefully sit on the white side. I look like a black dot in a sea of white. When I go to church I sit next to my husband. We stick out like an odd couple and people think my husband is hen pecked and that's why I sit next to him (Why can't I be the one rooster pecked?).

The familiar or what makes us comfortable is not necessarily the best for us. We will never grow or find out different views or new ideas if we constantly surround ourselves by people like ourselves who shares our every view.

In Christianity I have wrestled with the idea of Christians just surrounding themselves with other Christians. This is good of course in learning the Bible, for support and edification, and to bond in the body of Christ. But, you can also run the risk of becoming irrelevant in this comfort zone.

In a circle of like Christians, who is there to evangelize? Who is there for you to be the light and salt for? How can you understand the needs of the unsaved if you are always around the saved.

I had a professor who was a pastor and home schooled his children. He said someone was going to indoctrinate his kids so it might as well be him. The kids exposure to the evils of the world was only relayed by his word of mouth because their lives were sheilded at every avenue- books, television, internet, friends, relatives, and extra curricular activities. When you saw them they were mini copies of him. I often wondered what type of evangelist they were going to be. Academic wise they will be able to answer any Bible related question, but they will never be able to empathize with life experiences of the unsaved. Have they been rendered ineffective as evangelists?

How wonderful a life would be with others just like me. We all know that would not be a wonderful life. When I was a teen I believed in some things whole heartedly only to grow older or be exposed to new things to discover what I had believed in unto death was inccorret. This pattern would continue in my 30's, 40's and I am sure will go on and on as long as I live. Being with someone just like me is stagnation.

COMFORT ZONES. Are they really the best we can do for ourselves? Should it be the best we offer ourselves? What happens when we get out of our comfort zone of likeness?

I have a rainbow of associates and I have learned something from each and every one of them. I can honestly say that a friendship that I had with a lesbian formed me into a better mother. Seeing the struggle of this young lady as she denied, faced, accepted, and then embraced her sexual orientation at the loss of her mother's love (oh, yeah, she was an only child so the stakes were high for her) made me realize that individual happiness belongs to every one and she could not and should not live a life to make me happy or comfortable. I wouldn't for her. Her soul and judgement would be between her and God. I would not be there for her judgement or have any imput. We all would meet our maker alone. So, I learned that my kids were given their lives and they alone would live it. What I may consider easy choices in life for me may not be an easy choice for another. I can disagree with someone without disagreeing with their existance on earth or right to live as they choose. God does not even do that or He would have a lot to say about all of our choices at our daily living.

COMFORT ZONES are in place for the protection of our vulnerable parts. We have them without even knowing it. Everyone wants to have comfort. But every once in a while we should challenge ourselves to step out of them knowing that differences are just that. They are not contagions built to destroy. They are differences that God wanted and intended to make each of us unique for his kingdom's function. There is value in each of us in our differentness.

Let's take time to actually appreciate those differences God created in each of us. Let's celebrate those differences and learn the good things from each. When we do group off into those comfort groups and look across that aisle, let's remember that there is a likeness, a comfortable sameness in all of us and that is THE IMAGE OF GOD.

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