It's not just a hobby, it's a way of life. At least for some of us. It doesn't matter whether we have better ideas or not, we know bad ideas when we see them. Or we can punch holes in mediocre ideas, whether there's merit to those ideas or not.
And it's probably time to work on breaking the habit. While giving something a rigorous examination and citing problems with any given plan, idea, or system is appropriate, there's no reason to do it just for fun.
It's a danger that I'm struggling with. Why? Well, let's see…
In politics, it seems that there have been, for the last several years, many ideas worth simply skewering and going on. It hasn't gotten any better lately. You've got health-care reform, CPISA, baby sling warnings, financial stupidity, and corruption. What's not to be contrary with?
In Baptist life, there's plenty to pick on. There's the debate over the GCRTF report (or the lack of debate), the apparent coming elderly boxing match between Morris Chapman and Jerry Rankin (or not), our slow drift towards hierarchal elites running what's supposed to be a priesthood of all believers doctrine-holding group, and the ever-present Calvinism arguments.
What's the common thread? One that I'm seeing, and trying to corral in my own behavior, is to sit back, poke a hole or two in someone else's argument, and then move on like I've accomplished something. I wrote a blog post a few days ago about bad data and bad conclusions. I used a Baptist life example for it. I stand by it, because I think I was right, but it took several rewrites to tone it down where it is. What I was after was to raise a question without attacking the people involved.
Down in, that's part of where we need to get to. There needs to be the recognition that even our worst of opponents can bring forward good ideas. Whether it's Speaker Pelosi actually backing good legislation or someone in the SBC with a good idea, even though I might not like him or her personally, we need to be willing to let those good ideas come forward.
When the bad ideas come out, we need to evaluate them and stop them based on the merits or lack thereof. It shouldn't be something that we enjoy doing. It's the necessity of evaluating ideas and keeping the good and tossing the bad, but to just tear down others should not be a source of pleasure.
And, for crying out loud, people, if something has to be done and you don't like the idea presented, FIND ANOTHER IDEA TO PRESENT!!! This is why I'm frustrated with the Republican Party of which I've stopped being a registered member. This is a constant frustration to me as a church leader in Baptist life. We have too many people ready to say why one idea won't work but who will not offer one that they think will. While being the party out of power in politics entitles a certain amount of negativity, in churches we don't have time for this. In politics, really, we don't have time for this either.
Be contrary as much as you like, but remember two things:
1. When it's your idea, you're fair game too.
2. If you knock down this one, help find a replacement.