Quailing Before the Critics

When forced to accept the reality of my preaching, I managed to find some good in it.
—Doug Jackson

And you have never heard a worse preacher!—2 Corinthians 10:10 (TLB)

Those caustic Corinthians found preachers they preferred to Paul, and they let Paul know it.

We pastors often deal with similar attacks but without Paul's track record to bolster us. How do we respond when people turn sour and assault our preaching? Two recent experiences taught me that such an onslaught brings pain but also benefits.

Our church property backs up to the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. One morning, as I took a stroll through the desert, the issue of criticism crystallized.

Two Gambel's quail, a male and his mate, skittered among the scrubby bushes before me, picking their way through the appaloosa sunlight of early morning. I studied the male especially. Larger than his partner, he strutted out front by half a length. His James Dean crest flopped over a Lou Costello face, an absurd specimen of gray-feathered ...

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