Apr 27, 2007

i'm positive about this

I was just surfing someone's blog site who happened to review a book that I have really enjoyed reading in recent years. Naturally, I was curious as to his thoughts on the matter because you never quite know if you might've missed something insightful someone else caught. Instead, the post was more of a critique of the author's simplicity in what he wrote (i.e. "First of all, there's nothing new about calling Christians to a life of complete submission to God.") - as if there is something wrong with that.

In sharing this, I know I run the risk of critiquing his critique and thereby defeating the whole point of this post. Honestly, I have to confess I was bothered by it... not because this is one of my favorite books but because I find it an odd practice we've gotten into of taking what someone has poured out of his/her soul and deconstructing it into tidy little parts in order to place certain labels of approval or disapproval on it. To be fair in this case, the writer of the blog did say, "If it inspires you to innovate for God, go for it." This, though, was one sentence in a small paragraph after a detailed criticism.

Which brings me to the main point of this post... am I the type of person who is more inclined to look for the redemptive potential in something and celebrate that or am I more the type of person who is inclined toward a "right" way of thinking that sees the holes in the world, ideas, and people and points them out?

And here's the million dollar question... which do you think is more biblical?

Be careful how you answer.

And then ask yourself why you immediately jumped toward that way.

And if you tried to say "both," ask yourself if you try to say "both" to every question like this and why.

We have this strange desire, it seems, to put down the thoughts and ideas of others...
  • "What were they thinking with that color on their house?"

  • "Nice outfit... if this was 1979."

  • "How did she ever get that kind of authority?"

  • "Did you hear about what they do in their church services?"

  • "That's such a bad wig."

I know a bit about this in that one of my side gigs is to review products for YouthWorker Journal. Basically, publishing companies send me stuff in the hope that I might say something positive in a magazine, while the magazine hopes I'll write objectively and include appropriate critique so that people don't waste their money if it's a bad product.

Which raises an interesting question for me as a Christ-follower... if something is done to promote the name of Jesus, should I even bother critiquing it or should I celebrate the effort and really applaud where I think it most hits home?

Some people are pessimists... others optimists... then there are the pragmatics and a whole bunch of other variations. I think that I'm a redemptionist... even though something may be off base, I tend to look for a way to bring out the positive. In doing so I'm sure I annoy those who would rather me point fingers at all "those people," but I think I've been "those people" and probably still am "those people" and so I'm not quite so sure my role is to point at anyone, let alone "my people."

Yet here's the rub - you can't pursue restoration without first seeing something as broken or fallen; likewise, you can't see something broken or fallen without on some level acknowledging that you are aware of a "different/better way"(whether you personally live in that "different/better way" yourself).

Maybe where it all fleshes out is if you find yourself feeling more positive or more negative about this when all is said and done.

So right now I'm reading a book that hasn't been released yet called "Finding Your Plot In A Plotless World." It's a great read and talks in some real cool ways about interacting with God's Story in our daily lives. Just like many books, it will probably connect with some and not others. If you're into better understanding how your life is a part of the Grand Narrative, it's definitely something you should snag.


That felt good.

(Comparatively to that other guy's post, of course.)

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (Philippians 1:18)


Thurman8er said...

I am my own worst critic. I suppose most of us are.

Your thoughts led me to think about how often I see the bad in myself without taking time to recognize God's hand in making me better, in transforming me.

Anonymous said...

So, I've said it before, in different ways, and I say it again.

I wish I lived in Medina or you lived in Ionia.


Tony Myles said...

I know a house for sale in my neighborhood if you're interested.