One thing that I find curious, though, is how people deliver criticisms. We had one letter from a supporter who largely praised the magazine, had a couple of quibbles about certain points in some of the articles, but was particularly annoyed by the “stupid use of colour” on one of the pages where the text was over the top of a grey background. I do take her point, if you are in your 80s (as she is) and your eyesight isn’t perfect it might not be that easy to read. But:
a) it’s not designed for 80 year olds, it’s designed for uni students who presumably don’t have as much difficulty reading over that kind of design (and personally, in the article she referred to, I had no trouble reading it);
b) how is it helpful to use the word ‘stupid’?
I’ve read (and been on the receiving end) of some really nasty criticism/feedback in the secular world, and of course by comparison this is exceedingly mild. I know that people are generally fairly careless in their giving of feedback, especially when it’s done via letter or email or on a forum where they don’t actually have to speak to the person face to face. But something in me is disappointed that this Christian, who wasn’t backward in telling us what she thought about theological points we had raised, wasn’t a little more gracious in her word choice. Not to say that she shouldn’t have written the letter, but maybe she should have considered whether the person who made that “stupid use of colour” was actually going to read the letter herself.
I’m not really upset about it, especially as she said some other lovely things about the magazine. I just thought it was a chance to raise (yet again), how important words are, and how careful we need to be with them.