I’M NOT SURE WHICH IS HARDER TO TAKE.
- Valid criticism from a jerk.
- Unfair criticism from a non-Christian.
I don’t like either.
I want to blow raspberries at both.
But I need to be kind and loving. Especially to the non-Christian. Too many non-Christians already have a warped and hostile opinion of Christians. I don’t need to contribute to that stereotype.
Here’s an example of the challenge I face.
I created a short video about Roman crucifixion for my YouTube Video Channel. I called it “What Romans said about crucifixion.”
It runs about five-and-a-half minutes. For the first minute, I reported what the Bible says about the crucifixion of Jesus. After that, I reported what Romans had to say about crucifixions they saw with their own eyes.
Pretty graphic stuff.
The video has been generally well received. It gets about 27 thumbs up for every thumbs down.
But it takes its hits.
…I’m not specifically interested in Jesus, but ancient history – accurate ancient history. Why is it that every time crucifixion is mentioned on the net does it have to become a religious issue is my point. A great deal of people aside from Jesus were crucified….My point is that this video suggests it’s going to say something about an ancient execution method, but instead turns out to be just another religious emotional appeal. One attempting to guilt people into accepting your superstitions and your values. Methinks it’s beneath an educated man.
How to respond. Methinks that’s the question.
Here’s what I said.
Jesus pretty much sets the context for crucifixion, what with being the most famous person in history ever crucified. I’m sorry you felt misled. There’s only so much you can put in a title. I tried to give a hint of what’s under the covers by the brief description of the video that I wrote. I apologize. I didn’t intend to mislead or guilt anyone into my way of thinking. I was trying to report history as best I can, given that we’re 2,000 years after the fact. Peace to you.
I struggle over what to say in situations like this.
It kinda makes me angry when people say they know my motive, and that my motive is to sell a sack of lies.
That’s the opposite of my motive.
Clear back in journalism school at Kent State I got my motive branded onto my brain. It happened on the very hillside where Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed unarmed college students. That’s the hill where the School of Journalism is located.
The journalist’s motive: Seek the truth.
That’s what I did as a newspaper reporter.
That’s what I do as a Christian writer covering the Bible beat.
I want to know what the truth is. Whatever it is.
Sometimes it’s unsettling and it makes me reevaluate my notions.
But I’d rather be unsettled than a settler.
Blog subscribers who win books this week
- Maureen Morris
- Dallas Packer
I give away free books each week to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog and quarterly newsletter.
Winners get the option of choosing my newest release: A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible – among about half a dozen other titles.
By the way, I used to send individual emails to the winners. But I’m going to try letting the blog article speak for itself.
If you find yourself listed as a winner, send me an email and I’ll let you know what freebie books are available.
The deal’s good for a month, or for as long as I have giveaway books available.
Criticism is the price you pay for having something relevant to say. If it wasn’t important, people wouldn’t attack you.
Unless you’re talking about Star Wars.
Stephen M. Miller
You’re right about criticism.
Thankfully, I’m a Star Trek fan.
You’re doing fine, Stephen. When I was an active writer, I learned that some people will criticize and say mean-spirited things simply because they can. I once submitted a short fiction story to a small publisher. He sent a rejection letter, asking what made me think I was a writer and that he could write a better story sitting on a park bench. Well, bully for him! The next week, the story was picked up by another publication, and went on to generate a number of nice fan mail letters. So, go figure. As far as Christianity goes, I think people see what they want to see. Anti-Christians seem to always want to focus on the human frailty of believers, they never want to note the upside, such as mission work and servant ministry. I say, if you cannot see both the good and bad, I really don’t care what you think. The same goes with whatever writings I may publish or place on my blog site. Keep up the good work you are doing, whether I am in lockstep with you, or not, it is always interesting.
Stephen M. Miller
David H. Hagen
That video is not biased in the least. I’ve found many people criticize what a Christian says when the Holy Spirit begins convicting them through it. They can’t lash out at Him, but it’s so very easy to type mean-spirited words in a YouTube comment or somewhere else on the Internet! Remember Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” Harsh comments like the ones you’ve received just indicate the Holy Spirit is working through you.
Stephen M. Miller
Ralph E Vaughan
Unfortunately, the kind of journalism you were taught, the same kind I learned in the Sixties and Seventies, has fallen by the wayside. Truth is still touted as a goal, but truth now seems defined by ideologies rather than facts. The Crucifixion is not only a fact but a defining moment in time, so it cannot be ignored, even in an examination of crucifixion in general. To ignore it in that context would be a denial of facts in evidence, therefore a denial of the truth. Your critic is uncomfortable with facts he himself cannot see except in an ideological context, so he shifts the blame to you for “forcing” him to confront an uncomfortable truth. The problem lies not in you or in your presentation, but in himself. Personally, I don’t think I would have apologized.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks Ralph. Jeepers, you are well-spoken. I see the journalist in your style.
I agree. I’ve come to refer to my approach as Old School Journalism, though it seems like I was taught it just a few days ago.
I don’t get my news from broadcast TV anymore, except for unfolding events such as election night coverage…and even there, I’m using apps more. I still read the paper, and I add the AP and Reuter’s apps.
When journalism gets tied to ratings or, worse, to one political party, you have to stop calling it journalism. You have to call it propaganda…not unlike the “news” people get in North Korea, China, Russia, and in political ads here. (I mute those. I haven’t seen a political ad yet this election cycle. Not even as part of a news feature.)