Critics: they’re everywhere! It feels like something in our public air waves has changed and everyone really IS a critic. Is it social media? Is it “post Christian” society? Is it a God-given right? Are we just a grumpier people?
I was talking about this dynamic with a ministry friend just yesterday and I don’t like where we’re heading. She and I both partner with a lot of churches in evaluating their ministries and staffing. I think this line of work is what makes me hypersensitive to the difference between evaluation, coaching, critiquing, and criticism. What’s good and what’s really just damaging? What’s within the realm of “saying only those things that edify one another” and what isn’t?
Two examples: The Super Bowl and SNL’s 40th Anniversary show. Why would Christ-followers decide its a good thing to get on FB or Twitter and keep sharing negative things about the performers? What happened to, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I watched the SB half-time show and enjoyed it in the moment for what it was: Katy Perry performed, the tiger was something else, and you don’t see dancing sharks every day. Why would I post criticism before posting positive comments? The world is watching us, church leaders, and when we’re snarky, it just proves their point. “See? What kind of love is that? I don’t need any part of that.”
Or take last night’s SNL show. Of course there were dumb skits, bad acting, and off notes. Its SNL! You got what you paid for, so to speak, when you tuned in. I thought it was epic! Did people look older? Yes, thus the reason it was a 40th anniversary. Me? I was blessed by being united with “old friends.” Through the magic of TV, I spent time with different decades of my past.
Church, why criticize? Don’t tell me its all “a teachable moment” or “its a free country so I can say what I want.” The truth is we do “catch more flies with honey.” We earn the right to say tough things when we’ve earned the rep for saying positive things as well.
And yes, I get the irony of me criticizing criticism.