Criticism Isn't Enough, New Needs Friends

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*." -Anton Ego in the film Ratatouille


I posted last week about Kim Davis. It was fun to write about a situation that encapsulated so much of my less-than-awesome experience with conservative Christianity. The points I made are still relevant, but my writing and subsequent conversation fell short because it was criticism. Did Kim Davis display bigotry? Yes, but there is more to be said. Kim Davis is not evil, she is symbolic of old (and still very prevalent) ways of thinking and being. Criticizing her and others who hop on her bandwagon might feel good for a moment, but it falls utterly short of a far greater opportunity:
It is time to unearth a "new" way of being, living and loving. 

To create space for people to be loved and appreciated for who they are.
To incorporate the best of our traditions even as we shed some of the bloody remnants of the past.
To advocate for the rights and well-being of those who are on the margins.
To see people be courageous enough to share what really matters to them, no matter the cost.
To craft a vision where all humanity thrives, together with the whole planet.
To write a new dream, a vision of heaven on earth.
To let go of the hells of our past and our present.
To see that God is love, not a projection of our own discontent and anger.
To thrive and work for the thriving of others.


Patriarchy, racism, homophobia... these are symptoms of the old dream. We can work together to articulate a new substance, a new dream. 

In the film Ratatouille, Remy is a rat who loves to cook. He stands for his dream even though it was against convention. Ultimately it was the greatest critic (Anton Ego) who was able to stand for his dream with new eyes. We all have a Remy inside us, and we all have an Anton Ego as well. 

I can easily criticize other Christians for refusing to bake cakes or grant marriage licenses, but I am more interested in unearthing the gold that can be found both within Christianity and beyond it. 

The question I'm asking is, how do I make friends with "the new" and articulate a new dream?
Benjamin FaderComment