Pure Reason for Critique

sue5.gifLisa does not hesitate to sit me down and draw to my attention things that I’ve done or said that are wrong or hurtful. Like a skilled surgeon, she will take that incident and trace its cancerous shoots back to the ugly root that is embedded in my fallen brain with its sinful thought-patterns. I’d do the same for her. I never ever question her love for me. In fact, this kind of exercise is profound evidence of her love. This is what love does.

The truth should set you free. So anything that doesn’t lead to the liberation of the human being must be rejected. In order to reject it, the idea or action must be analyzed and critiqued. I think everyone is responsible for this task. And I think this must be even more intensive within the church and its leadership because the church, like any other human institution, is prime culture for deception, abuse, bondage and slavery. I firmly insist that the gravitational pull of institutions such as the church is towards falsehood and bondage. I’ve experienced it first-hand, not only as a recipient but also as a donor.

Make no mistake: when I critique the church and ministries going on in her name, when I critique other people’s ideas and activities, when I let loose on the goings-on in religion, this doesn’t mean I hate the perpetuators. This doesn’t mean I think God hates and rejects the person thinking or doing those things. This doesn’t mean I don’t count that person as my sister or brother. But if their ideas and activities are questionable, I’m going to question them. And I hope someone would do the same for me. I don’t agree with the popular opinion out there that all roads go to heaven. Nor do I believe that all ministries lead to the same benefits. There’s lots of dangerous crap out there. I think we need to be the severest critics of all that we think, say and do! Do we want others to be free or not? Do we want to be free ourselves?

The tattoo was created and applied by my friend Zara Leaf. The fairy looks like she’s losing her bonds.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • ttm

    True love does not shy away from telling the truth, but it also considers how that truth is presented. The kind of relationship you and Lisa have is rare. What a precious treasure in this superficial and disingenuous world!

    I’m praying for a life partner and a church body who are strong enough to speak the truth in all of its ugliness (and beauty) and wise enough not to use that truth as a bludgeoning club or a worshipped idol.

    Some say I need to lower my standards for relationships. I’ve tried; I can’t. To be completely honest, I won’t. I’ll keep sailing the high seas and poring over the tattered maps until I get my hands on a treasure worth the quest.

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me…

  • Rod

    ttm ~> Keep your standards high. Jesus has high standards for us too. Remember that wherever you are that you run into people who follow Christ by faith, there the body is. It might be at naked pastor – or at your local Starbucks. Never limit God by lowering your standards or confining His body. Your last comment about pirate’s life was cute. I wanted to twist that saying a bit by saying that those who lower the standards that God places for us in their heart or who confine the body are actually the pirates that are stealing from God.

  • ttm

    Rod, I like your twist on the pirate thing! It’s true that lowering God’s standards is nothing less than stealing treasure from Him. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Rod

    You’re more than welcome ttm ~> The word treasure is a good word to use because what He offers us is nothing less than a treasure. There’s that scripture about building up your treasures here on earth.

  • http://craftycurate.blogs.com Richard L

    Bang on … I’ve got into trouble more than once for speaking my mind as a leader, for trying to get at the truth. Maybe “trouble” is too strong, but I’ve ruffled feathers, and it makes life uncomfortable, especially when you’re challenging the fundamental building blocks of vision, strategy or values, or whatever it is that is held dear by a community.

    But I know that in turn I have come to dislike others who insist on being truthful with me – how quick I am to explain away their comments!

    Truth at all costs … freedom at all costs … that’s the kind of person I want to be, and the kind of church I want to lead. This means that NOTHING is out of bounds .. EVERYTHING must be in the light.

  • http://whatisspiritual.blogspot.com/ Richard Harty

    I believe in rigorous honesty. It keeps me from believing a lie. I don’t really look at it as a virtue. In a very practical sense truth does set us free.

    I don’t happen to believe that we are by nature evil. I do believe that we are all beginners and are ignorant about a great many things. I do believe that we have pride, but I don’t sense that pride is about trying to be great. I think it has more to do with a lack of self value and the sometimes painful realizations that we aren’t perfect. In a culture of shame sometimes pride is the only thing a person has to survive.

    That is why I believe that love is such a healing thing. It removes the need for pride. It brings a new awareness of the world. I have not found it helpful to beat myself up for something that is already beating me up. In the interest of honesty I’m not suggesting that we let ourselves off the hook because that reveals the same non-loving world view. In the presense of love we have permission to be beginners. And beginners aren’t evil, they are unskilled and ignorant. And the best way to cure ignorance and lack of skill is to listen, observe, and practice.

    One of the best definitions of humble that I have come across is: Humbleness is not thinking low of oneself, It’s not thinking of oneself at all. Or in other words its not passing judgement on oneself or comparing oneself to others.

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jon birch

    ‘In a culture of shame sometimes pride is the only thing a person has to survive.’

    profound. you could i guess use a lot of words in place of ‘shame’.

    np… if the church advertised its ‘bondage’ tendancies more openly, it would probably gain a whole new and colourful membership. obviously you’d need to keep quiet about the ‘deception, abuse and slavery’…

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jon birch

    ‘In a culture of shame sometimes pride is the only thing a person has to survive.’

    profound. you could i guess use a lot of words in place of ‘shame’.

    np… if the church advertised its ‘bondage’ tendancies more openly, it would probably gain a whole new and colourful membership. obviously you’d need to keep quiet about the ‘deception, abuse and slavery’…

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jon birch

    don’t know why that got sent twice?


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