the baby and the bathwater

Wisdom 3: Take it on the chin
March 2, 2009, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The road to life is a disciplined life; ignore correction and you’re lost for good. Proverbs 10:17 (message)

It’s unfortunate that that the journey of most worship leaders, including this one, is littered with critisism. But over the years I have learned to deal with it. I have some filters I apply, and most of the unhelpful stuff that comes my way now is more often than not like water off a ducks back.

But whereas I may now deal with critisism reasonably well, there is still something that I find hard in life: correction. That knowledgeable, wise and truthful pointing out from someone I love and respect that actually, I was wrong. I still find that hard. It may come from a close friend, my wife, my boss. I hear what they say to me and I know that they are right, and I have made a mistake. It disappoints me, because I want to be right all the time, and I want to be known as being right all the time.

I’ve been doing some writing on worship recently, and I put some of it front of a theologian friend of mine, and he corrected me on some things I had written. Some of it was the most beautiful, well constructed writing I think I have ever done.

But it was wrong.

And he told me.

And I was disappointed.

And of course, the moment he told me, I knew it was wrong. But I had two courses open to me. I fight my corner, or I just accept it and move on. I chose the later. And now I have re-written the piece, and hopefully it is better now. And hopefully I am the wiser, made more alive in the truth because of it.

One day soon, I may even show my theologian friend the revised piece.

Once the pain is over.

Once I have stopped taking the tablets.

The writer of the proverbs says that if we chose the path of open-ness to correction, we chose the path of life. But if we ignore correction we are lost for good. In my case, my openness to accept correction has meant that, should this piece of writing ever ‘get out there’ I won’t be ridiculed for the rest of my life because people keep quoting it back to me.

You see maybe one of the reasons that us worship leaders have attracted so much critisism in the past may be because we have not learned to take correction from the leaders around us.

And maybe we would all be a little more full of life if we just accepted it, and moved on.


1 Comment so far
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So true, Neil.

And, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matt 7:14.
Funny how the next verse goes on about false prophets. One of the recognised traits of unhealthy cult leaders (Jim Jones, David Koresh) is their insistence on unquestioned authority.

I find this aspect you are drawing out to be one many (including myself) seem to miss. It is one thing for someone to say they want accountability or constructive criticism, and even go through the motions, but quite another to wrestle with what it means to have our iron sharpened by another. To accept that despite how far my innate sense of things should be has taken me, that I am far better when shaped in community than on my own. My instincts may be good, but they are not complete. I need others for that. And I need to embrace that need by taking things on board and to heart, allowing them to change me, rather than simply acknowledging it.

Comment by Brian Howell

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