You’re too critical…

Would you take that as a compliment in today’s culture?  Probably not.  Remove the idea that the assertion of negativity stemming from today’s culture and ask the question again.  While it might be the same for some of you, it really shouldn’t be.

To be critical is to be smart.  I can prove that statement is logical and coherent.  Thus, to not be critical is to be stupid.  Is the previous statement untrue?  The short answer is yes, but only if you understand which definition of “critical” we’re employing.  There are two common definitions and we should choose wisely which we intend to be…

crit·i·cal (ˈkridək(ə)l) – adjective
  1. expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments.

“he was critical of many U.S. welfare programs”

synonyms: censorious, condemnatory, condemning, denunciatory, disparaging, disapproving, scathing, fault-finding, judgmental, accusatory, negative, unfavorable

  1. expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art.

“she never won the critical acclaim she sought”

synonyms: evaluative, analytical, interpretative, expository, explanatory

My brothers and sisters, we live in a time that not only is low functioning in terms of biblical literacy, but low functioning in terms of vocabulary.  There is an undeniable tether between by the way.  We no longer seem to know what words mean, especially when well expressed.  That scares the heck out of me.  You should be raising an eyebrow.  The culture is shifting ever so slowly into a full propaganda state and you’re bombarded with nonsense every moment of the day.

If I’m critical of a thing I’m assumed to be against it, or contrary in some fashion.  To say that I’m contrary is one thing, even though not necessarily true.  However, the assumptions stemming from that misnomer manifest themselves as real problems.  I tell you truly, when you’re critical you have made yourself an object to be dismantled in today’s society.

If my local school desperately needs an update as the facilities are nearly 100 years old, and we have a school bond initiative designed to address a new school, most people would consider that a worthy thing to discuss.  As do I.  However, the assumption that it is the right thing to do without careful planning and much research isn’t wise.  To march right out and place the initiative on the ballot prior to having one’s ducks in a row isn’t any too bright either.  Agreed?  OK.  So when I roll up and say, “Wait a minute, let’s employ some critical thinking skills to these questions so we can mine for good answers,” there is an overwhelming number of people willing to label me “anti-school” or “hater” and trounce my participation.

It isn’t uncommon to see the labeling come quickly after you make your critical nature known of a thing.  Why?  Because labeling works.  If I’m critical of a person for their mishandling of funds and this same person happens to be black, then I’m labeled a racist.  If I’m critical of a Jewish woman who makes false accusations of local friend, I’m an anti-Semite or male chauvinist pig.  If I’m critical of the guy who hit my car and left the scene of the accident and he happens to be homosexual, I’m a bigot.  ….And so on.  I’m none of those things, but labeling me tosses my credibility out the window.  Thus, labeling works if the opposition is willing to do it.  …An increasing number of the opposition are.

Never mind that all those examples above cite others for their misdeeds.  No.  Today we shift the onerous onto the ‘critical’ person so scorn and contempt may placed onto you for questioning and discerning.  Sounds pretty hairy, huh?  Well.  It is.

There are a few pockets of sanity still left among us out here in western culture, but they’re small islands depending on the day.  The Christian in each of us should be taking note that truth is less and less practiced.  More over I submit to you that truth is less and less understood.  “Tell your own truth,” says Oprah.  #facepalm  Are you kidding me?  What does that even mean?  There is one truth, and it belongs to neither you nor I.  And I can darned sure promise you it isn’t Oprah’s…

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

…And just for context, the scripture you see above was Jesus responding to Thomas.  The disciples had just enjoyed what you and I know to be the “last supper” in every sense of the words.  Jesus is essentially providing some comfort because he’s being betrayed and will soon be crucified.  Jesus knows this, and prepares his disciples.  Thomas isn’t sure how to get the place Jesus is preparing.  And what does Jesus do?  He provides Thomas and the disciples with a statement that solidifies for the ages what is the path, the truth, and the way to live if you intend on being with God.

Truth matters.  To be critical and discerning matters.  The inherent honesty associated with critical thinking will serve you well so don’t discard it.  To be critical does not mean you may act abrasively either.  That distinction should be noted.  There are plenty of ways to be critical without being harmful.  Know the difference and hold yourself accordingly.  He died for it.

Be salt and seek light my friends.  I pray that for you.

PS – Above when Thomas isn’t sure how to get to the place Jesus is preparing…  We’d ordinarily assume that is a destination.  Heaven.  But I have to wonder sometimes that even though Heaven is a place, that the scripture might also imply the act as well as the achievement.  It is the difference between having been saved and being saved.  One is assumed in past tense and the other in the act thereof…  Think about that.

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