As I have said in previous posts I have bird-feeders, but if one expects the birds to care where they leave their droppings, think again. You might think that a bird would respect the area where they got their food, but they don’t. Its the sort of thing that brought the phrase “bird-brain” into the English language. But some Christians are not much better when they speak negatively about those who feed them spiritually. Whether it is the church itself or its leadership. The difference is that they should have the intelligence to realise the damage they are causing. There must be many pastors who feel that they are like my bird-feeder at some stage in their career. It easy to criticise, and nobody is perfect, but there are occasions when it gets out of hand. This is at its most painful when it is those that the church or its pastor has gone furthest to help turns on them. Sometimes this might arise from an innocent misunderstanding, at other times it is deliberately malicious. Of course, the birds that poop on the feeder may not necessarily be the birds that are using the feeder itself, some are too big to use them. Likewise some criticism comes from without a congregation/fellowship. This might be expected from different ends of the spectrum of Christian traditions but sometimes the most vicious can come from closer to home. Some nuance of Biblical interpretation is often taken greater exception to than if a core doctrine is questioned. I know that in the past I have attended meetings with an imaginary tick-list looking for some fault or another for which I can mark them down. In this age of social media it is even easier to say something that should have been left unsaid. There was a report a year or two back from Police Scotland that there had been a decline in reported physical acts of violence, but a corresponding increase in malicious comments online. Too many click the send button before they engage their brain. There is an acronym to discourage harmful statements:- T.H.I.N.K., which asks people to consider what they say before they blurt it out. T, is it True? H, is it Helpful? I, is it Inspiring? N, is it Necessary? And K, is it Kind? I have to admit that not everything that I have said in my life passes that test. Even so Job’s comforters probably would have argued that they were in line with the above acronym but the Lord rebuked them, Unfortunately it is a lot easier to clean the mess off my bird-feeder than restore the reputation of someone who has been falsely accused of something so be careful.
David Rose, 2016.