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Sunday, 27 February 2011

On taking criticism...

Releasing a book is a very risky thing to do. Its makes you feel extremely vulnerable. For every ten encouraging remarks, it is the one that is harsh that sticks in the craw.

The Yorkshire Post asked for an opinion piece to go along with the launch, and it has not gone down well with some readers. One called my attack on the 'big society' as full of lies and distortions. One claimed that my extreme left wing views was the reason that the number of people going to church was diminishing. He talked of the strong link between the Conservative Party and Anglicanism.

I can deal with criticism from what used to be called the 'Conservative Post', it is to be expected. But suddenly, even minor issues echo loudly in my mind. Did I consult enough people before a particular direct action; did I forget someones name, or fail to ring when I should have done? I am supporting my congregation enough in their prayer life? My failings seem more acute in the searchlights of this publication.

But our Gospel reading today asks me not to worry, to 'consider the lilies of the field'. I worry really well. I can worry for England. How does one release oneself from the need to always please others, from the fact that we are all full of imperfections?

I ask for forgiveness, from others and from God. And I need to forgive those who harm me, directly or indirectly. God give us strength not to be anxious about the past or the future, to be rooted in the present, like the lilies of the field.

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