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Good Things

by Tony Creech on Monday, December 1, 2014

Some people ruin it for everyone.

We’ll have a cool nice site, like MySpace, and soon there’s a million gifs and songs loading on everyone’s pages and a million fake messages from fake accounts in your inbox.

In that instance we say, “we can’t have nice things.”

There’s an understanding that someone somewhere will be the sleaze that messes everything up for the rest us.

This is lame, since I like nice things.

I’ve always liked nice things, except for a spell. There’ve been a few years, after I converted from atheism to my young combat-based stream of Christianity, that I rejected anything nice, for the crazy hair and green clothing of the trenches. God is about justice, and gospel, not nice things.

It’s easy to think of people able to enjoy nice things as being rich, evil, self-obsessed people who can’t really know the Jesus who had ‘no place to lay his head’

But. Maybe that’s more a part of our jealousy and needing to boost our own position in life by thinking low of others, than anything much connected to God. There’s certainly as many ways to sin for someone in a low position, as for someone in a high position.

The truth is, nice things aren’t about your wealth. I know poor people who are poor but drive too-nice a car and own too-nice a game console. Growing up in the ghetto you see all sorts of ways that people choose to spend their meagre means.

It appears to me that much of the hatred I’ve seen against ‘nice things’ are like a nerd hating the captain of the football team for merely being the captain of the football team, regardless of whether he truly is a big ole jerk after all. That’s the trick. You see, we are all big jerks from time to time, and so you can choose anyone -from the cynical and falsely-intellectual computer nerd -to the physically obsessed jock who’s been told a little much that his talent means something positive about his future. And we’ll all prove you right, that we can be a jerk.

We can’t have nice things.

As I write this on a beautiful iPad Air and sip my pour-over coffee, I’m in a different spot then I was when I looked like a homeless guy was somehow in college.

I see God and enjoyment of God in our ability to really enjoy the nice things of this world. Like a hike. Like a well cooked high-quality steak from a farm that’s not a factory and that you are under an hour’s drive from.

Taste isn’t all expense. It’s a lot of saying no. I’ve seen a lot of poor hoarders that could have much nicer things if they chose to have less of them, and become more discerning in what they buy.

It’s not about others approving of me. You might be building a nice chair for yourself, only to have others judge you for having a nice chair. We hate churches that are run down for being so, and still hate churches that are well maintained for being so.

I’m done with hating nice things.

I guess I don’t want to go through it all right now, suffice to say that nowadays I find God in the experience of nice things. I can’t reconcile my former mistreatment and mismanagement of the world and its things to the Christianity I see in the Bible.

God may come first, and at anytime could call us to give up anything, but I’ve learned to let God be himself and not to step in to do his job or redistribute the wealth for him as much as I used to.

Maybe it’s time for some of us to stop worrying about ruining the nice things of others, and to be thankful and praising for the nice things we get to enjoy. Maybe it’s time for more of us to be concerned with helping others have nice lives and be able to enjoy nice things, like clean water, in the ways we can, not as a mission against our own lives, but as a direction of improving the station of others. You aren’t headed in that direction if you’re tearing down one person to lift up another, just because one has more than you and one has less.

Maybe it’s about good things. Fair, connected, and healthy things. That we all work for and celebrate.

To use the word ‘good’ is to add that notion of discernment.

What is good?

What are good things?

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Tony Creech
anthony thomas creech is Founder of Citadel Magazine. He's a marketing executive, filmmaker, screenwriter, columnist, and university lecturer on film, audio, media, and faith. You can find him at thecreechleague.com