Handling Criticism - Part II

Back in January I made this post about handling criticism (and text is in continuation below).

I thought I'd repost it, and some additional thoughts, as the criticism of Brian McLaren, Emergent, myself and others intensify.

I still don't understand why people on third party misrepresentations feel the need to write, blog, speak critiques others, without talking to them first.

Surely if I have a concern I am supposed to go to the person/s directly, to try to help them. If not why else am I doing it? All that happens is polarization, and entrenchment.

What a wonderful opportunity for dialogue and help, to have people critique us out of love and support. I know it's painful to have someone come to me out of concern and share those, but when done to help me, I try to embrace it, and it's life giving. Yet when done publicly, however dressed up, the worst in me wants to kick in.

One of the things I love about being part of Emergent, is it's openness to input, critique and being asked hard questions, so ask us in person :-)

Originally Post January 2005 ------------------------------- Emergent is not the Emerging Church

There has been a lot in blogdom over the last few months criticising Emergent, that has intensified recently. It affects me personally as I am deeply invested in Emergent, and it has been costly to be involved. Part of me wants to ignore and not respond, but another wants to respond to clarify and help the misconceptions (as I see them). I'm not offering and apology for Emergent but I think I'm trying to say how do we handle criticism and I'm finding alot of it unhelpful. It has also caused me to take a long hard look at how I engage in critique of others (and no doubt have failed miserably in the past). I know my perspective is limited, and I lack a great deal of perception, but here goes. 1. Emergent is not the emerging church. The emerging church is much broader, bigger, than emergent will ever be. There are many people better connected, with a bigger perspective and probaly doing better things, but Emergent is not the emerging church. It think it would help to hear critiques of emerging church and not Emergent. I also need to learn to filter when people use the word Emergent bu mean Emerging Church. 2. Now I am open to critique and dialgue but for me here is what I try to engage in for my process of criticism: - The Church: Let's critique the church, the modern church, the emerging church, we need to and do that whilst seeing how we are part of the problems, even some of the new things we are doing. Healthy critique of church is vital to our futures.
- Ourselves: Let's critique ourselves. We can't take ourselves so serisouly that we never questions who we are and what we are doing.
- Others: Let's invite dialogue partner and people who are in a different place to us, to input into what we are doing. Reading books by people we don't agree with, getting others to say what they see about us.
- Friends: Let's also talk with our supporters and our friends, people who are involved with what we do, and let them question what we are doing, by invitation or if they come to us with concerns and listen. But in all this it is not my place to be critical publicly of anyone else, any church, any movement, any organisation. If the modern church defined itself by what it wasn't, what it was against, what it disagreed with, it was pathological. Medics realised a long time ago that pathologist were not the people to go to define what was healthy. In other words we end up defining who we are by what we dislike in others or disagree with...I might go so far as to say it's called judgement (and I point a big finger at myself with that statement). Are we in danger of repeating this pattern and critising others in the same way. It certainly feels that way to me. If any one comments that I am not open to criticism please above again, I am :-) But some criticism causes hurt and pain and does not encourage, comfort, strengthen and cause us to grow.