Readers write …

The following came in response to my post replying to a post about Don Miller, Rob Bell, and me that was formerly on one of CT’s affiliate blogs. The original CT-affiliate post was later taken down:

Thanks for not being divisive. Thanks for your books as they have helped me come terms with my 30 year old faith. I would not be a follower of Jesus if not for you, Ron and Don.

Also this one …

On another note, a read your recent FB post regarding the “Strange but Familiar Tale…” CT thing. As always, you’re a voice for multitudes of us who remain in evangelical institutions because of calling or pay checks (likely some of both) and who cannot be quiet so bold or bold at all. Thank you, Brian, and know that your ministry is impacting us here at [this Evangelical university].
Just wanted to send you encouragement and wish you blessings as you stand your ground strongly … with grace that does you credit. The courage and humility that you, Rob Bell, Steve Chalke and others have shown is inspirational.
I have long thought that evangelicalism’s number is up, and your post on the cat being out of the bag is spot on. It seems to be the ultimate insult for a Christian to be regarded as not an evangelical. And it seems to be de rigeur for evangelicals to put down, mock and dismiss anyone who disagrees with them. This is such a long way from being Christ-like that it is scarcely believable.
Instead of trying to convince people I’m “in” I have decided I am out. Once I’ve come out, I’m sure I’ll feel much happier!

This discomfort about being affiliated with the word Evangelical was intensified this week with the sad reversal of World Vision’s change in policy regarding LGBT employees. Tony Jones posted about it, and the comments section after his post tells the tale. The Evangelical “brand” appears to be one of the most embattled brands on the landscape, at least among younger and more educated people.
Finally, this:

Do you ever consider asking those persons who criticize you so heavily to please write something themselves that will be published for wide public consumption so you might have the opportunity to pick it apart? Not that you would, I’m certain, but it bugs me terribly when people who have no platform of their own ride the coat tails of persons who do for the sole benefit of complaining. A rhetorical though, I’m sure.

Yes, I wonder how they would handle being on the other side of the keyboard, so to speak. Three quotes about critics come to mind …

“I have spent a good many years since―too many, I think―being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
“Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs.” [Time Magazine, October 31, 1977]”
― John Osborne
“Critics are our friends, they show us our faults.”
― Benjamin Franklin

In light of Ben Franklin’s words, one might wish some critics had more critics of their own. But maybe many do … they’ve just lost the capacity to take in what they dish out?