The last post was positive - how good it is to be genuinely thanked. But I was challenged by a conversation after Sunday morning's service.
I was talking with someone who sings in a quartet. She had just returned from a contest in Gateshead alongside hundreds of singers who had performed in different categories before judges. ''It's scarey,' she said, "singing before people who are so knowledgeable and who will give you several pages of comment about your performance! The first time we went to this festival we were so nervous thinking what they might say! Yet, I have come to realize that it is the only way you grow and improve, isn't it?' Actually, this year they won the award for best in their category so she was flushed with victory.
I really liked her spirit. Of course she was willing to put herself through this with her three friends and expected rigorous feedback. But her point about learning from others' critique as the best way to grow and improve is a critical one. I loved my beam of encouragement about my bible notes but I never stop needing honest feedback which may not beam! I have just been involved in a viva for a DMin thesis on preaching and I was surprised that the student ended by quoting me: 'The one golden rule of preaching is that you never stop learning.' I still agree with myself. Honest feedback is vital for growth, isn't it?