An Overcritical Society


While I was painting my new digs yesterday, I was listening to an audiobook called Love Does, narrated by the author himself, Bob Goff. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first. Whenever I see a new Christian book get a lot of attention and it’s written by an author I’ve never heard of, I fear that it might be off in some serious doctrinal sense or something. But I needed an audiobook to listen to and this one had caught my eye a few times.

By the end of the first chapter, I was in awe. By the end of the second I was cracking up. Three hours later I had experienced every emotion under the sun. This guy is clearly the most interesting man in the world and has so many crazy stories that I am just awestruck. It is by far the most interesting, hilarious, and enjoyable Christian book I have ever read.

It’s full of stories that all find a strange way of relating back to God. And for that reason, there are a few (and I mean very few) critics of this book. From what I can tell, nearly everyone love is. But I was checking it out on Amazon today when I saw that someone gave it a one star review. Feeling anger come over me (as I hate one star reviews on anything), I clicked on it to see what could possibly make someone give this book one star.

And as usual, the one star review was a bunch of crap. They took things too seriously and saw the enjoyable jokes and stories as sin and stupidity.

This picture isn't me dissing XKCD. I think that site is typically hilarious :D

Let me just tell you that when you live a life of criticism like this, you become bitter and difficult to be around. No one likes it when someone’s there to rip everything a part. I know this because I’ve been that guy plenty of times.

  • “Yeah, that album is their worst.”
  • “Yeah, that movie was awful. I know you liked it but…”
  • “Yeah, he’s okay at guitar but…”
  • “Yeah, but etc…”

Look, we all have preferences and thoughts about things, but if you find yourself consistently leaving negative comments on every YouTube video, book and music album that comes out, there’s actually probably something wrong with you—not with the things you’re rating.

  • That’s why people who talk too much trash on online video games now have to pay money at times to play online games.
  • That’s why YouTube is trying to figure out how to stop people from leaving awful comments on videos and is thinking of displaying your actual name so you can’t hide behind the internet.

I had an ex who once told me that there was absolutely nothing words could do to hurt anyone. All they are, are in fact, words. It was as though we were back on the playground singing, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” But we all know that’s not true. I’ve never been in more pain from the things people have said to me than the physical pain I’ve experienced.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:6-12)

I know: the irony (and perhaps hypocrisy) is that I’m criticizing critics. But my goodness—grow up! You live in a world full of creativity and there is no need to be so overcritical about every little thing, ESPECIALLY in the church!

  • You know why so many pastors burn out? Because for some reason, people think that their pastor needs to know everything they don’t like about what they do or say.
  • You know why worship leaders go to another church? Because for some reason, we give the worship band one star because she’s flat, he hit a wrong note, that beat was lame, and the intro was just a bit too loud.
  • You know why that new person left? Because for some reason, she saw more love at the bar with her drunk buddies than she saw in the pew next to her.

Despite our call from Jesus not to judge one another, we consistently whack people in the face with the 2×4’s sticking out of our eyes.

Over the past two months or so, I’ve been practicing holding my tongue more than I ever have in my life. Yes, things still slip out here and there, but I’ve found that when I just shut up about things that annoy me, I don’t care much about it. I don’t give it room to fester in conversation—I don’t give it the ability to overtake my thoughts.

I can feel an incredible change in my life because of it.

Alright, there’s my thoughts for the day. If you leave a nasty comment on this blog post or leave one star, you’ve obviously missed the point.

More thoughts on this post? Read my post All Christians are Called to Missions, listen to my message Forgiveness under the Luke series on the 1208 iPhone app, or read Greg Boyd’s book Repenting of Religion.

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Getting DeathSpanked

I have plenty of stories of people who freaked out about something little  and took the chance to make sure that someone on the receiving end understood their frustration. It’s uncomfortable for everyone around. You want to make it stop, but the situation has already entered Hulk mode and there’s little going back.

  • All they wanted was a soft taco without lettuce!
  • All they wanted was to make sure you understood how much they disagreed with your opinion!
  • All they wanted was to let the ref know that they didn’t know how to make calls!
  • All they wanted was to make sure you knew your Youtube video was the dumbest thing they had ever seen and that 30 precious seconds of their life had been wasted!

They erupt. They explode. They become a person that you don’t want to be around (as well as a person that they don’t want to be around). We all know these people. In fact, we all have probably been these people! If not externally then at least internally, right?

That was my situation awhile back. I had spent hours in my room (a problem in itself) playing the weirdest video game known as DeathSpank 2!

Now this game is actually pretty hilarious. You’re a rather humorous “hero to the downtrodden” who is bringing justice to the world. You need to find the thongs of virtue that were given to other heroes who ended up being corrupted by their awesome power.

Awkward? Yes. But nothing in this game is meant to be taken seriously (except, of course, DeathSpank’s awesomeness).

Well, after playing this game for hours, I finally arrived at the North Pole, which was the place where I had to get the final thong of virtue from Santa (see, I told you this game was weird). I had beaten every single side mission up to this point and I was finally about to finish the game.

And then came the Roodolph glitch. I was so close to beating this game when I became one of the few people who experienced the pain of this irreversible glitch. After you destroy Roodolph (who is also evil by the way), he is supposed to drop an item for you to pick up. It is the mighty ear muffs that block off Santa’s supersonic sound! Or something like that…

But Roodolph didn’t drop it. Nor did he respawn. I was left with a glitch I couldn’t fix and I was pretty mad about it. And so, naturally, I did some googling to figure out what I could about this situation, when I was confronted by a post on a message board that showed me the ridiculous potential of what I could become:

ATTENTION ALL GLITCH VICTIMS:

If you have been a victim of this unjust crime by Hothead games, and have purchased the game for XBLA or PSN and were unable to complete the game they paid for. Please do not let the go and let all developers know that if they do not give issues like this priority, we will organize and stand up.

Please go to this page, sign the page, and at least provide your email to the author if you do not want to make it public, so I can form a mailing list, so we can organize and really make a dent, next time this company releases a product. Even if we were to delay our purchases for a week or two next release, trust me, they will learn they can’t take advantage of their customers.

 

We boil, we fester, and eventually we erupt after trying to tame the flame long enough. In some situations we need to confront others about the pain we feel.

But in little situations like these, I think we just need to learn to shut up. We are far too good are voicing every single opinion and thought that we have – ESPECIALLY online where we can hide our face behind the angry bold text we type. We need to learn to understand what is important to say and what isn’t and perhaps more importantly, we need to learn to not get so upset at every little thing that happens. Myself included.