Moving Away From Cynicism

Today is Sept 27. Exactly one year ago today is when I was fired from my job as Pastor of Worship & Arts at The Grove.

I wrote about the journey of this past year earlier last week, so check it out if you haven't yet.

But today, as I reflect on walking in to that meeting a year ago uncertain of what was about to transpire, I can tell you that I'm still hurt. Still jaded. Still bothered by what happened. And still a bit cynical about many things related to faith, church, and people.

However, I am reminded today of a talk I heard Ian Cron give at Wild Goose Festival earlier in June. In it he confessed his own journey of being fired and dealing with so many of the things I too have dealt with (and am still dealing with).

He talked about cynicism. How cynicism has become quite the trendy posture for a lot of Christians.

It is hip and cool to be anti-stuff.

Anti-church. Anti-Christiansthatdon'tlookthinkactlikeme Anti-religion Anti-anti-anti

The reality is, cynicism feels good.

It feels good to be the victim. To know that you were wronged. To know that you were partially the scapegoat for issues that went way beyond just you. To know that you were terminated for taking a stand on an issue you believe strongly in, and to not have caved to pressure or sacrificed integrity.

Anyways, I digress.

The point is, even though I've tried not to, I know that I've operated from a place of cynicism at times in this past year.

But I want to be done with that.

Ian said that the opposite of cynicism is resurrection, and I believe him. I experienced a type of death a year ago today, but when someone chooses to walk in the Way of the Christ it always leads to resurrection... eventually. And in many ways that resurrection reality is always available to us, regardless of what our external circumstances may be. So I have a choice: to keep living in cynicism, angry at the "church," angry at theological systems that force people to make unChrist-like decisions, angry at people who I felt betrayed me... or, I can choose resurrection. I can focus on the amazing church I currently serve and the wonderful people I get to do it with. I can focus on the fact that I still believe the church is the hope of the world. I can choose to orient myself towards advocating positive theological systems, while peaceably trying to subvert the destructive ones. I can stop letting people have power over me, people who hurt me a year ago or still continue to hurt me, I can stop giving them such power.

I choose resurrection.

I choose not to criticize the church, but to try and do it better.

Like Ian said, "let the excellence of your life be your biggest form of protest."

I like that. A lot.

Today marks the day of a new year. One where I move away from cynicism.

(For a GREAT post on this, btw, I point you to Sarah Bessey's post called "In Which I'm Practicing." Excerpt:

I want to practice faithfulness, and practice kindness, I want to fill my ears with the repetitions of wide-eyes and open hands, and innocent fun, holy laughter. I want to practice, with intention, joy. I won’t desecrate beauty with cynicism any more, I won’t confuse critical thinking with a critical spirit, and I will practice, painfully, over and over, patience and peace until my gentle answers turn away even my own wrath. I will check the notes, ask for help, and I’ll relax my shoulders, straighten my spine, and breathe fresh air while I learn, all over again, the gift of grace freely given and wisdom honoured, and healing, and when my fingers fumble, when I sound flat or sharp, I’ll simply try again

ChurchColby Martin