This is the third post on some reflections from my time with Rob Bell last May.
1. Preaching and sermon development.
2. Sabbath and soul care
3. Dealing with criticism
4. Reading, thinking, brainstorming, and idea mining.
This one will be #3 and is some reflections on dealing with criticism, something that if you even distantly follow Rob, you should be aware he's received more than share of in the past few years. One of the reasons I went to this was for this reason alone. I wanted to hear Rob's thoughts on the subject- especially since I knew my next book- which is currently in the writing stage- is on this very subject.
So here's some stuff I gleaned from listening to a man share his life and reflect on his journey with us.
JESUS WAS CRITICIZED AND HIS TEACHING REJECTED.
No, we don't then assume that if your'e criticized, it's evidence that you are like Jesus. Just this... if Jesus was criticized, don't be surprised when you are. The authors of the gospels go out of their way to make sure Jesus was not without his critics
- John 6:52-67 people no longer followed Jesus because of a hard teaching. Jesus even asks the 12 if they will be leaving too.
- John 8:48. Jesus is accused of demon possession
- Luke 22:47-48 Judas betrays Jesus
- Matt 2816-17 But some doubted.
"The bigger and more prophetic your voice, the harder it is to find true community"- Rob
"This is who I married." Kristen, responding to why the front lines junk her husband Rob takes and she goes headlong with him into, is worth it. Her love and grace was beyond profound to me.
"When Love Wins came out- no one said mean things to our face. No one. Even people who knew us and had our phone numbers. They said it on the internet and through someone else."- Kristen on dealing with controversy as a couple and again, causing me to be deeply saddened at the state of the church in America.
"We strived to protect our kids so they could be as normal as possible"- Kristen on raising kids in the wake of ministry and at times controversy where other kids at school would say the most ridiculous things about their dad, Rob, to them- clearly learned from their "christian" parents. This was unbelievably sad to listen to her share but reminded me of our role as parents and influencers on a profound level.DON'T SHARE IT WITH YOUR SPOUSE IF YOU WON'T FIX IT WITH YOUR SPOUSE.
If you're not going to bring your spouse into the solution loop of dealing with criticism, then don't bring them into the info loop at all. If you get a critical e-mail and share with with your spouse and then meet with that person and bring repair the relationship, then you have to bring it full circle and come back to your spouse with the full story. Failure to do this does not help with reconciliation. As a pastor, your spouse should probably not be your primary outlet where you dump your criticism load.
BOTH YOUR FANS AND YOUR CRITICS CAN BE TOXIC TO YOUR HEALTH.
Be careful who you listen to.