I give a big clap to Tim Challies for his recent reconsideration of his review of Ann Voskamp’s book. Not because he has “changed his mind,” but because he recontextualized reading and reviewing: it is about the words — read that closely — the extension of another person in words, in this case a sister in Christ, and so he has asked for forgiveness and so I ask my readers to give Tim Challies a big clap for listening to the power of the gospel embodied in fallen creatures — like Tim, Ann, me, and you — and for learning that all writing is personal communication.
Tim says this at the end. May this be the beginning of a new iWorld.
I did poorly here and I can see that I need to grow in my ability to critique the ideas in a book even while being kind and loving to its author. There was reason for the shame I felt when I saw that name in my inbox. I had put effort into reading the book and understanding and critiquing it, but no real effort into showing love and respect for the author. I had assumed poor motives and in arrogance and thoughtlessness had squelched useful discussion of the book’s strengths and weaknesses.
There is value in engaging the ideas in any book, and especially a book about this Christian life, but the desire to uphold truth has no business coming into conflict with love for another person. Truth and love are to be held together as friends, not separated as if they are enemies. In my desire to say what was true, I failed to love. I ask Ann’s forgiveness for this.