Some further thoughts about our propensity for evaluation. Is it only my perception or have we become a culture of critics? In past generations, we overlooked the flaws of others to maintain the looks of stability, honesty, and integrity. Now, we love to out leaders (sports, religion, politics, etc.) when they are immature, foolish, or downright evil. And the advent of the cellphone camera and blog means we can catch it on tape and share it immediately with the world.
I’ve noticed that this culture of criticism extends to the local community–even the church. Stand around with neighbors. How long does it take to hear your first gossipy complaint? Stand around at coffee at some churches and you might just hear a complaint about the sermon, the way the youth leader operates, a question about how the budget is being formed. Recently, I was at a function (non-church) of friends and I was surprised to hear catty complaints about whether or not others brought enough food or the right kind.
Why are we inclined to talk this way? What do we gain by pointing out the flaws of others? Pride? Self-righteousness? “Reasons” for why we can overlook our own sins?
One more thought. Do we take greater pleasure in noticing the brokenness of the world than pointing out the good?
I am all for speaking the truth in love; for standing up against injustice and incompetence. But the repetitious meditating on what is wrong with others (including systems) seems to tear down more than it offers a way up.