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Facing Criticism: Critique, Cutting Remarks, and Unsigned Letters

Video from Matthew Everhard

The Cross and Criticism

"On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger and its crew embarked on a mission to broaden educational horizons and promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. The most outstanding objective of the Challenger 51-L mission was the delivery of educational lessons from space by teacher Christa McAuliffe. A lesson was indeed delivered, but not one that anyone expected.

Just 75 seconds after liftoff, tragedy struck. Before a watching world the shuttle suddenly erupted overhead, disintegrating the cabin along with its crew. The debris of metal, blood, and bones plummeted to earth, along with our nation’s glory.

What had gone wrong? That was the pressing question everyone asked. As teams of researchers examined the wreckage, the specific cause was soon found. The problem was with the O-rings (circular rubber seals), which had been designed to fit snugly into the joints of the booster engine sections. Evidently, the O-rings had become defective under adverse conditions, and the resulting mechanical failure led to the tragedy.

Was that the whole story?

The truth eventually got out. The New York Times put it frankly: The ultimate cause of the space shuttle disaster was pride. A group of top managers failed to listen carefully to the warnings, advice, and criticisms given by those down the line who were concerned about the operational reliability of certain parts of the booster engine under conditions of abnormal stress. Just think: Heeding criticism could have saved seven human lives.

As a pastor, church leader, and lecturer for Peacemaker Ministries, I am blessed with the opportunity to minister to people and congregations in conflict. Among the many things I’ve come to learn is the dominant role that giving and taking criticism has in exacerbating conflict. Yet even more, I’ve learned that the remedy wonderfully provided by God requires us to return to the cross of Christ. For our present purposes, I want us to look at the problem of taking criticism.." from the article: The Cross and Criticism


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