Opinions and Complaints

Opinions and Complaints The Francis Chan Conversation, part 5

By Jonathan Allen, Monday 3rd June 2019 at 8:23am

Three things seem certain in this world.  What, three?  I thought there were only two: death and taxes.  No, there are three: death, taxes and complaints.  Why do we complain so much?  Chan offers this analysis:

We live in a culture today where we are used to evaluating and giving our opinion on everything.  Whether it’s the pizza we ate, our Uber drive, the movie we saw or our friend’s picture on social media, everything is set up for us to be able to critique and compare.  So in the church, rather than marvelling at the incredible mystery that we are a part of God’s body, we critique the leadership, the music, the programs and anything else can think of.  We point out the flaws in our pastor’s sermon with the same conviction we critique a movie star’s acting or our favourite team’s recent loss.

In our highly individualised society, we have grown accustomed in the West to the freedom to criticise and complain about anything and everything, even or especially authority figures.

Sometimes, critique can be positive and healthy, but – as I am sure you will have experienced many times – often it is far from that and is based on perceived threats to our rights and privileges, efforts to disciple us and make us more like Yeshua, or what we think of as an attack on the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Do you think Chan might have a point here?  How might we respond to his critique in a way that brings us closer together and builds up our congregations and the Body of Messiah?  How often do you complain – particularly, in this context – about the leaders of your congregation and the other members?  What could you do to reduce that and instead work to build up and encourage the elders and congregation so that we all arrive “at the unity implied by trusting and knowing the Son of God, at full manhood, at the standard of maturity set by the Messiah’s perfection” (Ephesians 4:13, CJB).

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