We all know that our own perspectives on the world are horribly limited, and are far more likely to be skewed and squint-eyed and biased if we live in a bubble with only our own thoughts, or the unquestioning nods of yes-men, for company. We all know that, right? Right Tony?
But, savage satire aside, I do have a point to make. We do (pretty much) know that we need to be in relationship (ie. with the wider world) in order to get a bit of balance/correction/not-be-a-total-jerk – that why it's good to read/hear things by people you disagree with, and also why it's good to have friends who can point out how you come across. We presume it's because we need our egos deflating.
Yesterday morning, I led worship in church. I've had a pretty rubbish week, came straight from a night-shift, and then found the whole thing pretty hard – it just didn't feel like I, or anyone else, was 'getting it'. By the end of the service I was consciously thinking, "Maybe I shouldn't do this stuff anymore; maybe I should move on to something else."
And then the deluge began. Person after person after fricking lovely person came up to me, telling me (with such kind insistence that I couldn't help but admit that it was genuine) how 'lovely' [x4], 'sensitive' [x5], 'worshipful' [x3] it all was.
And then a grieving family, who don't usually come to church but did because one of them was killed in a road accident this week, asked me to sing at the funeral. It just went on and on like that. I'm not great with compliments, but after the 20th-odd person, I had to admit that I stood corrected.