Friday, October 7, 2011
The Sin of being 'Nice'
My friend Jim Beyer has written a great response to a post by Bishop Victoria Matthews' of New Zealand
support of the Anglican Covenant. http://blog.noanglicancovenant.org/2011/10/enforcing-nice-response-to-two-posts.html
In American parlance especially in the South the term 'nice' is what boys and girls are taught from first breath. 'Nice' becomes the be-all-and-end-all of all social engagement. Nice is more important than truth, 'nice' is more important than kindliness. It is more important than agreement, compassion, meaningful exchange, or even love. 'Nice' is a plastic expression of pleasantry that usually masks integrity.
In the South for a girl growing up in the 50's, nice was what girls were supposed to be. But catty was what really evolved. We could be 'sweet' to the adults but to one another, nasty was the real outcome. I got out of the South as soon as I could to escape the 'niceities' of my surroundings. I moved back last year and lo and behold I found a Texas that is not 'nice'.
With regards to the Anglican Communion, perhaps what we will have as time moves on is a group of churches throughout the world who can speak honestly to one another, who can discuss important elements of the faith without fear of 'losing face', losing faith' or some other kind of loss. The loss of 'nice' may actually help us clarify what we mean rather than using arcane theological terms that are not understood alike. "If Christ be with us, who can be against" comes to mind. It makes us a bit 'tougher' to face the discomfort of differing opinions or different aspects of what it means to be Anglican. I makes us a bit bolder to address the hard issues of what it means to be a disciple of the One who calls us to peace, not just nice.