Today I'm taking a brief pause in the ongoing series, for those keeping track.
I get the same feeling sometimes, and sometimes I think I see it in the people that I know. We could be building something beautiful, something enduring. We could be doing something that matters. We could be changing the world. And our frustration can turn into temper, and criticizing people that we dislike can look like problem-solving, even if it doesn't actually solve anything, even if it's an exercise in self-righteousness and judgmental attitudes.
It's easy to find a scapegoat. All kinds of people have all kinds of problems, and I can justify myself by pointing the finger at anyone who isn't myself. I can stay outraged at other people all day long. It builds self-esteem, but not in a good way. Honestly, nobody else's faults are stopping me from doing something more productive, and spending my time that way turns me into part of the problem. I'm just passing the buck for my own lack of direction.
So: here are my thoughts for a good half-dozen things I'd rather be doing than criticizing others (including things where I could hope others join the effort):
- Working on reunification among the Christian churches. How many of our theological differences should honestly prevent fellowship?
- Striving for complete honesty and mutual respect when discussing our divisions.
- Training in kindness.
- Contributing to the quality and integrity of Biblical studies as an academic discipline
- Finding my voice outside of my blog, and no longer allowing myself to be silenced by those who claim the right to judge me or to make up stories about people like me
- Reclaiming fellowship and hospitality as necessary parts of the faithful life, and advocating for it in the life of the church. Church involves community, and belonging, and mattering. These are not optional parts of human life or optional parts of Christianity, and deserve better than to be dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration.