In a black and white world, where there is only one alternative to each and every choice, John may be right to say that acquiescence seems to be the only other fork in the road. I’m not convinced.
The moral world is actually far more complex, and requires the believer to consider a great many possibilities. From my experience in parish ministry, I’ll say that the Culture of Complaint is alive and well outside of the blogosphere. Unfortunately, it even rears its ugly head at my parish now and then. But there are alternatives to the false scenario of kvetch or shut up.
Discernment, in which a person is choosy about going public about what offends them. When a discerning person does complain, she or he will get more notice than the person who is consistently against something in a public way every day.
One-on-one, in which a person approaches an offending person quietly, privately, and directly. Would Archbishop Niederauer have issued an apology having received thousands of e-mails and letters, sans the blogposts calling him an apostate and false shepherd? It would have been more dignified, so to speak, than the name-calling and sending the missives to Rome.
Get involved, in which a person who consistently complains about some aspect of the Church actually signs on to do something positive. Sing in the choir. Help the coat drive or the food pantry. Tutor a child. Join the prayer chain. Granted some of our most vociferous complainers are active in any number of parish ministries. But some aren’t. These people often lack the perspective of what’s really going on.
Cultivate a sensibility of gratitude, in which a person examines their life for signs of God’s grace and makes a point to be as expressive about one’s positive experiences as the negative ones. The advantage of this is that a person doesn’t get sucked down into negativity, and again, when an authentic complaint arises, the person is more likely to be listened to and considered rather than dismissed as a whiner.
I’m sure others can think of other alternatives. Have a go at it.