I’ve been thinking recently about myself and my sinful tendencies. I have a unique ability to take criticism to an art form. But I think criticism as a concept is value neutral. In my opinion, people tend to be creatives or critics. And each group has its unique set of temptations.
Creatives are optimistic. They are the type of people who spend most of their energies in thinking how something can be done, not whether it should. Creatives tend to see technology as basically good; they thrive on innovation. They seek to assess the current situation, work with it, and do what works. In short, creatives actually do things. But the creative person struggles with pride in thinking “it can be done” or “it will be done this way” or “God wants to do great things through me.” Sometimes they think that they know how to do things; they think they have good ideas. They can be immature, not considering the other factors…long term prognosis, individual culture/church, etc. Can be very idealistic instead of realistic. Sometimes if doesn’t work and they fall hard. Sometimes it does work. Creative people don’t always listen well and aren’t always wise. They don’t always listen to counsel very well.
Critics are pessimistic. They think about why something shouldn’t be done the way it is being done. They may look on technology with caution or pine for the way it used to be. They want to assess and reassess before actually doing anything. The critic seems to think that he knows better (and maybe he’s right) than the creative person. Often he does know better. Often it is the critic’s caution which saves any endeavor from major failure. In the theological world, the critics are the ones trying to bring out the unintended consequences of the more pragmatic creative people. But often in this there is some pride and self-righteousness. Often, this person has thought through outside factors or has been through some failure/bad situations. Often older people and thinkers seem to be more of critics. They might not be trusting God to do big things in the future. They might be living in the past. Otherwise, there could be a feeling of perfectionism. God’s work can only be done a certain way or shouldn’t be done at all. Paul didn’t agree with this (whether is pretense or in truth). Also, the critic could be struggling with fear or fear of failure.
Which do you tend to be?
(ht: Amy Hatfield for fleshing out the categories)