Drop the cynicism


THE late Erma Bombeck relates an incident about being in church one Sunday. She was intent on watching “a small child who was turning around smiling at everyone.” She reports that…
…he wasn’t gurgling, spitting, humming, kicking, tearing the hymnal, or rummaging through his mother’s handbag. He was just smiling. Finally, his mother jerked him about and in a stage whisper that could be heard in a little theater off Broadway, said, “Stop that grinning! You’re in church!” With that she gave him a belt on his hindside, and as the tears rolled down his cheeks she added, “That’s better,” and returned to her prayers.
Erma Bombeck wrote:
“Suddenly I was angry. I wanted to grab this child with the tear stained face close to me and tell him about God. The happy God. The smiling God. The God who had to have a sense of humor to have created the likes of us….I wanted to tell the child I’ve taken a few lumps in my time for daring to smile at religion….What a fool, I thought. Here was a woman sitting next to the only light left in our civilization, the only hope, our only miracle, our only promise of infinity. If a child couldn’t smile in church, where was there left to go? ”

The opposite of joy is cynicism. Cynicism is a sense that, at its core, all life is disconnected and without meaning and value. Cynicism lives for dis-integration and distrust, it feeds on, and flourishes in a world of suspicion.
To be light hearted – or different – does not mean to be nonchalant and uncaring. It is to refuse to accept the currency of cynicism and despair. It is to be caught up in the wonder of our world and in the great power of God’s love to bring healing and wholeness to us and to our world.


4 thoughts on “Drop the cynicism

  1. Reminds me of my early years when going to church was a serious affair. I recall being VERY afraid of God, it seemed from all of the lecturing and finger pointing from the pulpit that he was quite difficult to please and quite ready to throw us to hell for our transgressions – so many them I felt I was walking a tightrope with hell below. As a child it was more than a little confusing to be told of a God that was loving and forgiving but to be told stories from the Old Testament where god brought down such brutal punishments to those on Earth that displeased him.
    Needless to say I tried very hard to be an Atheist for many years, but I don’t think my heart was truly in it, but the alternative for me was unthinkable – a God of wrath and anger. Due to a serious disease that I will always suffer I joined a fellowship that suggests I should choose my own concept to God, which, strangely, has led me to be interested to hear ALL concepts of God as objectively as I can. I have read Thomas Paine – The Age of Reason(Not an Atheist), The Road Less travelled and Further Along The Road Less Travelled, Where The Hell is God, I love the Faithworks Blog, have listened to talks by Jiddu Krishnamurti and Bead Griffiths. All of this has so far led me to the conclusion that I should really focus on living my life as best I can today and leave matters of the afterlife to faith.
    Of course I am only really just beginning to now understand. I know some pretty wise people in their 70’s and 80’s, speaking of themself, that always seem to say “Gee, I have a lot to learn!” The scariest people in this world seem to be the ones that hold their personal beliefs in Black and White, Right and Wrong – the path to extremism regardless of chosen belief system.


  2. That’s beautiful. It seems your are truly being blessed on the journey Michael. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I’d like to hear more.


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