I work with church people.  Most of them are part of the family I serve–the Baptist General Conference of Canada.  We are not the largest tribe in the forest, nor are we the loudest, and to be honest with you–we don’t get a lot of press because we don’t rock the boat much.  We make friends not enemies.  I have posted in other places about my identity as a “Canadian”.  Canadians are pretty well appreciated around the world as peace keeping, balanced, sensible, and kind hearted.  When I travel in denominational circles and meet other leaders, and identify myself as part of the BGCC–well, they call us the ” real Canadian Baptists”.  As opposed to being aggressive, or loud, or opinionated, we tend to be conciliatory, and peace making and gentle in Christian gatherings.  That’s okay by me.  I am baptistic in my theology and Canadian in my personality.  Great combination if you ask me.    It doesn’t mean we are perfect though.  In fact I think we have a propensity that keeps us from progress at times.

I think we are too timid at times.  Too thin skinned for our own good.

We tend to be gentle, conflict-averse, sensitive to each other, more given to saying “nothing” than saying something hurtful.  It reminds me of some advice my dad gave me years ago—“If you can’t say something nice about a man’s car, then don’t say anything at all”.  We in the BGCC have captured that truism pretty well.

If it truly were because we are nice people I’d be happy but sometimes I think our culture behaves as it does because we are afraid of hurting, and being hurt in return.  So, we have shied away from heavy conversations.  We have taken politeness to a new level.  And when people say heavy things, we are not used to the rough and tumble ways and consequently bruise easily and feel incredible shock and pain.   I don’t think we are bad people but we have perfected the jello-mould pretty well.  That’s okay in the short run, but in the long run we’ll need to speak openly and helpfully to each other.

When people render their opinions we need to not let it get to us.  We need to see it as it is–their opinion.  It’s not right, nor is it wrong.  In fact, chances are there is a bit of both in their statement.  But it’s their opinion.  We have to be careful of not letting the bullish statements of others gore us into pain even death.  I don’t always like it but I have learned to say “thank you”.  But I have also learned to see it as an opinion.  Are there other “opinions” out there?  I know when I visit a medical practitioner I am entitled to a second opinion if the first one seems sketchy.

Civility allows difference.  It doesn’t allow bullying or pugilism.  I try to be a civil person.  Sometimes it’s hard.  I won’t lie to you.  There is a lot of unsanctified flesh still operative in this soul.  God be merciful…to me and to you.