It’s best to come to terms with who you are. I’m a critical sonuvagun by nature. In the blogosphere my kind are welcome, for sure, but on Sunday, in church, it’s different. Recently, I read through Hebrews, and in Chapter 12 the writer (somewhat) says, “Pay no attention to that critical guy, stirring up trouble. He’s just a bully with a blog.” Awkward, right?
So, fellow critical Christianers, what do we do? Show up, shut up, sit down? Maybe.
SIDE NOTE: If the pastor shortened his or her sermon, then the church could afford interactive Q&A from the congregation afterwards.
The older I get, and the more I read the Bible, the more I consider the mainstream’s misinterpretation and misapplication of verses—like the one from Hebrews 12—that suggest I shouldn’t speak my mind, or be who I am, in the church (like, say, a critical, tight-jeans-wearin’ hipster).
If you’re a red-blooded, churching going American like I am, then—no doubt—you’ve “taken breaks” from time to time. This involves not showing up on Sunday, anywhere from one month to a year. Inevitably, during your break, you’ll bump in to Mrs. Shwhereavyoubeen, from the church, and receive a hearty lecture about “forsaking the assembly.”
Once I was asked to stop forsaking God himself! Unfortunately I forgot my shun-screen that day and gave her a little lecture of my own.
Christians use the “forsaking the assembly” verse all the time to justify their priggish assumptions and large gatherings and lavish tithe-spending and Christian rock-bands. I read that verse the other day, Hebrews 10:25:
“…not forsaking our own assembly together, as some are in the habit of doing.”
I’m just not convinced the writer was condoning any one form of church. If anything, he was probably speaking to those who met in the home and broke bread together.
It’s just too easy to read the Bible through our own perspective, through our own eyes and ears and times and national flags; I don’t think we’re suppose to. Scripture is a process, one that involves digging deeper. The point is not to find ourselves in Scripture, but God. This means ALL of our preconceived notions should be thrown out the window, shouldn’t it?
SIDE NOTE: Operation Christmas Child feels a bit imperial to me.
We are all limited people who make mistakes (hell, I could be doing it right now!), and, yes, some Christians are a bit more critical than others. Some sneeze more than others, too. Go figure. Why label others as sinful just because they’re different? Isn’t that a bit, ironically,… well, you know.
If church is about coming together and being “real,” then fellowship should allow for all comments and concerns, especially negative ones! Generally, critical people aren’t being critical for the sake of disruption; they’re just being inquisitive. Who knows, maybe the problem goes away after we talk.
SIDE NOTE: Maybe if Christians were encouraged to be heretic, they wouldn’t be labeled “less intelligent” in academic studies.
That first Hebrews verse I mentioned up top, the one from Chapter 12, it warns about “roots of bitterness” in the Body. If I’m bitter, it’s only because I have no place to speak my concerns within the Body. I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, but I do mind being told my opinion is unimportant.
Everyone has a job to do in the Body, even the critical folks. Heck, maybe even especially so.
1. Are Christians afraid to engage in argumentative conversations?
2. Are you ever afraid to criticize even when the situation needs it?
3. Have you ever been shunned for speaking your mind?
4. Does anyone want to go into business with me? Shun Screen.