Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I hope my last post didn't come across as me being cynical towards the church. This is something I have been fighting. For as long as I can remember I have had a deep-seated cynicism that rises up inside me for much of what I see in Christianity and Christians around the world.

This may have come initially from from reading non-christian books, travelling to non-christian places, listening to non-christian music, having non-Christian friends, tv evangelists etc... I dont know but I know it has been a part of me that I have battled with.

I think to a certain extent this attitude was of benefit in working out my salvation for myself. However I am convinced that a cynical spirit in itself is destructive and a downward spiral. Oscar Wilde wrote:

"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing"

I don't want to end up as an old man with a chip on my shoulder slagging everything around me and grumbling about people's intentions. I pray the soul will overcome the cynic.


Anonymous said...

I like it bro...and I enjoy the healthy dose of realism (not cynicism) you bring to my life..

Jen said...

Hey I'm the same, hence my last comment on your post, I agree with Al, it's good to hear other people can be cynical too and I too have to bring it back to God and fight it. Finding it hard not to be cynical this week-1 year on from mum's death-can't be bothered. Thank goodness Jesus brings hope.

Anonymous said...

mate like that thought, the soul and cynic at war with one another!!

don't be in love with the dream of christian community, or any community for that matter, says bonhoeffer, but love the actual community itself. disillusionment when it comes is a blessing, and if you find yourself disillusioned with yourself, count yourself doubly blessed!!

so bro, hope you are settling into the love nest with shorty just fine?

remember, we can resist all things but temptation itself


Brian Heasley said...

I don't think it is necessarily unhelpful to be cynical, we need to be a questioning searching people who don't settle for what we have and always ask the questions, like surely there must be more? etc.. I do think that questioning, thinking, artistic people to name a few can easily cross over from that healthy veiwpoint to a negative one. Can you be an optimistic cynic? I'm not sure, I am a cynic but I am trying to make a point of being a lot more optimistic with my outlook. Part of our cynicism is born from being brought up in scientific and rational world, we want answers and if it's broke we want to fix it. Then along comes the church and continually (in our eyes) fails us, we can't fix it, we stop loving it and then cynicism creeps in.

Anonymous said...

Always thot u wer part of the church u analyse????..... maybz u shud try to remind urself of the big picture....ie: the entire 'Emman' thing........and all aspects of the 'worship' and the people/ community u share...... everyone is different..... sure u know that.... cant be perfect for every1 ....every Sunday.... do ya not think ya get out of it ...what ya bring to it????.....(just a thot!?)

i know where ive come from....and i aint goin back.... Emman is full of humans.....

Tryn hard to love them ..... warts and all.

PS perhaps ur cynicism cud be put into practice...perhaps to ensure that the praise/ worship etc continues to develop......????....or sumthin....alot of peeps hav opinions on de praise....

PPS..... i personally think it wud be much...much worse if people just sat back in a state of 'comfort' thinkn everythn is perfect.....kinda shows u hav a heart ...or whatever for perfection/ improvement.... oh ye 'reflective practionr u!!!!'

PPPS suggestion:....all that stuff u mentioned about non-Xian this ...and non- xian that....its all in u past ....right?????......guess wat im tryn to say is....while the past helps to shape who we are today.....uv gotta work hard at not lettin it dominate ur future..... thank heavens we dnt hav 2do it alone :)...

J-Mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J-Mac said...

Anonymous I can't make sense of most of what you have written but I do think some clarification is needed.

When I wrote of the cynicism I have wrestled with I was referring to the worldwide church in general NOT Emmanuel.

I have been part of Emmanuel for 8 years, since there were 30 of us in a chicken shed. I love it and would not want to be part of any other community in the world. I thank God every day for allowing me to worship in a church that loves God and loves people.

If you knew me you would know that.

Kirk Bartha said...

I battle this as well. And as leaders within the younger generation of the global church we notice that most younger voices, like ours, have lost the difference between blessing and cursing.

It's almost like I have become over-entitled to judgment.

To me, we postmoderns are just confused moderns with pre-modern longings.

We want to get back to the sacred, the creedal... but we're punching everyone out to get there... not so good!

Just last night I was reading about Iona being founded by a monk who blessed everything and everybody... people would risk everything to travel over land and sea to see a priest who would bless them.

Anonymous said...

havent we every right to be cynical about the church and all things christian in this country? for too long it has been concerned with bums on seats christianity, and nice people in nice houses with nice cars and nice jobs and nice families living nice lives. where has the unbruidles passion of the great men and women of god in the bibble gone? those who will stop at nothing and do anything just to catch a glimpse of the face of god. people like jacob - why havent we the patience to wrestle all night and then the stubbornness not to let go till we get a blessing. have we the committmnet of job? have we the passion of david? until we [myself included] learn that we have to pull out all the stops, in every respect of out lives, in order to come close to the heart of god then we havent a chance of coming anywhere near. rant over. apologies.