That’s not me asking you, dear reader, that’s you asking me. Corby, why are you so critical? I know, I know. I am. But from my perspective I could easily ask, why aren’t you more critical? How can you not see what I see? I know why. You’re normal. The thing is that I’m not really critical, it just looks that way. What am I? I’m a born troubleshooter who cares a great deal about the health and growth of Christians and the church.
What is a troubleshooter?
A troubleshooter is someone who can identify the problem and fix it. They look for problems to be fixed. Their whole function is to see what’s broken. Their job is to be critical.
When things are working as they should, they don’t talk about how great things are, at least not very often. Things are working and it is good. At the same time, when things are working they don’t have much to do. They serve no purpose and can’t use their gifts and skills, so they look for ways to make things work better. That’s not to say that they aren’t happy when things are broken. But they do get a thrill when they solve the puzzle, when they fix the problem, and things are working as they should.
We want and need these people around.
When your car doesn’t work right you take it to a shop where the mechanic looks for the thing that is broken. They test things. They isolate things. They get really nitpicky about what is specifically broken and how it affects other systems in your car. They go to school for this. They read magazines and websites and journals about cars and problems to stay up to date. They learn how to look for broken things so that they can fix them. They are critical. You don’t criticize them for this, you pay them for it.
The I.T. Crowd
I’ve spent over 20 years as a professional computer troubleshooter. I love it when things work. I don’t want things to be broken. But I also like fixing broken things, particularly when the nature of the problem is of interest to me and I learn something new. I could share some boring nerdy IT stores but I won’t. I will say that I also love the response when something gets fixed. People get so happy about being able to print! I get paid to know what’s wrong, to know how to look for what is broken, and figure out a way to fix it. I am critical.
Sometimes fixing it is not enough
When things are working well enough, I’m one of those weirdos who wants to figure out how to make it work better. Better can mean more productive, more efficient, smoother, cleaner, more better. This means identifying the good and the bad, improving the good and getting rid of the bad.
Being a troubleshooter and an improver means appearing extra critical. This is what gets me into trouble in church and ministry circles. I see what’s working so I’m not going to pay much attention to that. I see what’s broken and what can be better and I just want to fix/improv it!
Paul was critical
Just read 1 Corinthians. It’s referred to as the “harsh” letter. Or take a look at Galatians when he addressed those who were being legalistic about circumcision. He tells them they might as well cut off their manhood! It also records Paul calling Peter out publicly on his hypocrisy. None of these are done out of malice or hate, they are done out of love that got worked up a bit. He wanted to fix and improv.
Let’s just say it. Jesus was critical. He called people on their crap. The woman at the well in John 4. The rich young ruler. The pharisees. Twice he cleared out the Temple and people ripping off others. When Jesus said, “You heard it said, but I say to you,” Jesus was being critical and trying to improv people’s understanding of God’s word.
When God spoke through the prophets to correct His people God was being critical and corrective.
Doesn’t answer the question
But why am I so critical? Because I want things to work well. I want things to be better than they are. I see broken things in me. I see broken things in the church at large and I just want to fix them.
Unfortunately, it seems that all that American Christianity wants to hear today is happy and positive things. To me that’s like having a nice car that happens to have an oil leak. “I love my car! It’s so great! Praise my car!” And then I come along and point out, “You have an oil leak.” “Corby, your so grumpy and critical. Why can’t you just be happy?”
So when I see churches growing huge in numbers but not in depth and say something like, “Church, you’re limiting people’s diet to cheese and crackers when they are supposed to mature up to meat and potatoes,” I get labeled as negative and critical. But I’m not wrong.
In the end
I am so critical because I love God, I love His church, and I love His people. I want to fix what’s broken and improv what’s better. I’m still trying to find a way to do that where I will be heard and not tuned out. Maybe that’s not possible, I don’t know yet. I’m a work in progress. We all are. The church is continually. But that doesn’t mean we stop. We need to run the race in such a way as to win, setting aside everything that slows us down.
Thanks for indulging things. I hope to be more useful in the future.