Unspecified change

by Stan Mitchell

I was fascinated to read a sign of one of those Wall Street protesters: “We demand,” it said, “sweeping, unspecified change!”

Nice! What it seems to be saying, is that it doesn’t matter what you’re protesting against, just protest.

Personally I’m not sure if they should be protesting in front of Wall Street, or Congress, but I thought about how this attitude sometimes describes church critics, too.

Church critics don’t have useful solutions to offer, just protests. Whatever the church is doing, they’re against it. Whatever is considered traditional, they’re against it.

Wall Street protesters seem to represent an amalgam of responsibility avoidance and wishful thinking. They want to be able to spend as recklessly as an avalanche in Colorado, yet be absolved of all responsibility.

How long do you suppose a nation could survive when those who take responsibility must pay for those who do not? And how long does a church last when those who refuse to invest in its activities insist on contributing by criticizing?

No alternative offered, no responsibility taken, no offer to put the shoulder to the wheel, just a protest.

It makes me think of Jesus’ complaint:

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn’” (Matthew 11:16,17, ESV).

In other words, one is condemned if he does, and condemned if he does not. It doesn’t matter, because all the critic wants is to criticize, not suggest solutions. It takes hard work to lead.

Critics see the cost of everything, and the value of nothing.  In the end, there is, specifically, only one person you can change. You might go to work on him (or her) this week.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan began preaching in 1976, and worked in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He served as preacher with the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He was Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He was married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He authored five books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs; Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song; Equipping the Saints for Ministry; and Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation. Stan passed away 19 Feb. 2019.

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