Greetings to all in the Love of Jesus Christ:
I’m tempted to write about all the good things I experience as I travel around Arizona – Foothills CC celebrating with Pastor Bekah Krevens who just gave birth to her third daughter; our new preaching cohort who met for the first time this past Saturday to study preaching in Spanish; my upcoming visits to Community CC in Tempe, who will be celebrating their 75th anniversary, and to preach at Templo Cristiano Central, which will be the 20th different congregation I will have preached for in Arizona, and my fifth sermon in Spanish; or our recent Anti-Racism training event attended by 27 Arizona leaders.
I’m also tempted to write about some of the horrible things I read about – most recently the horrific shootings in Buffalo and Laguna Woods. We are called both to pray for an end of violence and to do all we can to dismantle our white supremacist culture that fosters warped ideologies that lead to violence.
But today, oddly enough, I’m going to write about concentric circles.
Years ago, I was shown a drawing with three concentric circles. The inner circle was labeled “Comfort Zone.” The middle circle was labeled “Growth Zone.” And the outer circle was labeled “Terror Zone.”
The speaker said that if we stay in our comfort zone all the time, we never grow. So, we were encouraged to leave our comfort zone, to allow ourselves to be UN-comfortable, so that we could grow. The more discomfort we can tolerate, the more we can grow – until we get to the place of sheer terror, in which case we shut down. Our leader encouraged us to not confuse discomfort with terror – to let her know if we were reaching a point of terror, but otherwise to hang in there and see how we grow.
I think of these concentric circles often. In anti-racism discussions, white people often say we feel “uncomfortable,” like that’s a bad thing. But it’s not. It’s a good thing. Only through feeling uncomfortable can we grow. I also think of my first times worshipping in Hispanic congregations: it was un-comfortable for me. I wasn’t sure what to do when everyone put their hands up in the air and started swaying around, or when some people came forward and lay prostrate on the floor and started weeping. It was uncomfortable for me – but not terrorizing. So I kept coming back. And I grew. And now, I am finding that when I show up, I am with my Disciples family. And that’s a beautiful thing.
I am reminded of a few lines from a beautiful prayer called “A Franciscan Blessing”: MAY GOD BLESS YOU with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless us all with enough discomfort to help us grow.
Dios les bendiga!
Regional Minister and President, Christian Church in Arizona
We invite you to pray for the following congregations in the coming months. Visit our Regional Calendar of Weekly Prayers for our annual list.
22 First Christian Church (Globe) led by Pastor Al Beasley
29 Comunidad Limen Christian Church led by Pastor Pedro Ramos-Goycolea and New Church Ministry
5 Iglesia Casa de Adoración (Phoenix) led by Pastors Aurto and Janett Laguna & New Church Ministry
12 Larkspur Christian Church (Glendale) led by Pastor Job Cobos
19 Iglesia Dios de Segunda Oportunidad (Glendale) led by Pastor Minerva Guzman
26 Desert Heritage Church DOC/UCC (Mesa) led by Pastor Derrick Elliot