Thursday, November 7, 2013

#236 Labeling dissent as cynicism



Christian culture doesn't have a category for grief and anger over wrongs done in God's name. They see it all as cynicism.

Anger is messy and frightening to Christian culture. It puts you in close touch with your raw humanity and doubt. This makes an essential step of the grieving process, anger, a threat to those who don't know how to hold grief and sadness alongside possibility and mystery. They feel Jesus's tantrum in the temple was okay, but all other anger stemming from abuses by those in religious authority will be swiftly shamed.

34 comments:

James said...

Possibly one of the best examples of this is reading through the Religion and Spirituality section of Yahoo Answers. Anyone who attempts to bring this up is either a cynic or a "hater."

The religious folk do not seem to understand what "cynicism" is. (They don't seem to understand a lot of things.)

pats0 said...

I love this post...

Anonymous said...

i luv u stephy

Anonymous said...

I don't know how many times I was called "cynical," "bitter," or "dramatic" whenever I expressed frustration with my church. Your blog is always spot-on, but this one in particular struck a chord with me...

Ctoph1@gmail.com said...

Ok, so how DOES someone hold grief and sadness next to possibility and mystery? Just curious.

Serena said...

Ctoph1, isn't that that pretty close to the essence of the human experience?

stephy said...

Ctoph1, right? There's no formula other than being honest with yourself. All I know is since I've been trying to do it I've been healing.

Cindy said...

Language is a powerful tool to express what's inside of us. The fact that Christian culture "frowns upon" swearing is problematic, because they then can't properly channel the DEEP sadness inside of them. If you've been abused or something terribly tragic happens, "gosh darn it" doesn't cut it, and forces you to bury it deeper inside of yourself, rotting you from the inside, or pushing you outside of Christian culture .

Andy Lee said...

This is such a generalised and unsupported claim.
So you've had a bad experience with someone (or a group of people) who calls themselves a Christian? And somehow it becomes ok to label 'Christian culture'.
That's very naive.

stephy said...

Hi Andy,
I explain in the margins of the blog and in the subtitle that I'm a preacher's kid who is married to a preacher's kid and that that is what qualifies me to make scientifically substantiated claims on American evangelical culture. Thank you for your understanding and continued support!

Joe said...

You keep attacking those dirty Christians you don't like, girl. That'll show 'em who's boss!

stephy said...

I'm really involved in a Christian church.

Anonymous said...

There's a fair argument that states that "taking the Lord's name in vain" has nothing to do with using God as an expletive or casual phrase, but instead, is about using God's name to abuse and mistreat others. Those so careful not to drop their GDs are the ones chastising healthy 'cynicism' that calls out those likely breaking one of the big 10.

However, as gram always used to say, don't knock the anointed.

Uh...

Anonymous said...

Wow. This one REALLY hits home for me. My church is slowly losing members due to some controversial controversial changes that have been made in some very (IMO) deceitful ways. Instead of looking for the actual causes for declining attendance and tithing, the pastoral staff simply labels the dissenters as "immature Christians." The people feel that having questions or concerns is looked down upon, so they end up leaving for churches where they are made to feel welcome.

Masked Sincerity said...

Christian culture doesn't find any emotion acceptable unless it can be theologically traced back to and proven to be "good", "okay", and "God-honoring" on the spot BEFORE YOU EVEN ALLOW YOURSELF TO EXPERIENCE IT.

It's the absolute antithesis of any sort of normality, humanity, or reality.

There's no such thing as simply experiencing emotion in Christian culture. Ohh no. Any emotion must be closely examined for whether or not the motivations and thought process leading up to and surrounding it are all without sin. If anything other than perfect blamelessness is discovered, then it's time to do some repenting, or if your heart isn't repentant then to pray that it is...

Damn, just let yourself live for once. I think that's what Jesus did, right? If he put himself through the thought process Christian culture expects for every emotion he would have driven himself completely insane.

Okay, that's out of my system now. Ahem. Good blog.

Pastor Joe said...

It looks like Andy and Joe are feeling a bit cynical about the people who are accused of being cynical by Christian Culture. Perhaps it's rude of me to point it out, but I find the humor too palpable to ignore.

melissa Scott-Ticknor said...

i love your blogs keep posting please we missed you for awhile.

Tamara Rice said...

Amen to this post, Stephanie. Being raised in fundamentalism I often feel that I was raised to be a cynic. Cynicism is what fundamentalism had/has for "the world" ... am I right? But when you turn it back on them in any form--even if it's just realism--it's bitterness, it's unhelpful, it's negativity. Well, I'm calling their bluff. If I'm a cynic, it's because I was raised by cynics, taught by cynics and around cynics for most of my life. They were cynical of the world, I'm cynical of the church. We both have our reasons. Keep on keeping on. There is just too much truth here on your blog for some people's comfort.

Kayfabe said...

yup! spot on post. Many in todays institutonal church put on the fake smiles and swear they are doing great as if admitting that you are going thru stuff makes you less of a Christian. When I have developed close relationships with some in the Church they were not very good at healthy confrontation as they always wanted to be happy even tho that meant sweeping issues, emotions and troubles under the rug.

Tony D said...

Uh huh. I'm going to take spiritual advice from someone who doesn't know a plural from a possessive.

Oh, wait, that's cynical, isn't it? Sorry.

idk :P said...

I'm a Christian and I am not against anger. Neither are all of the Christians I know.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between just anger and tawdry gossip interleaved with covetousness. StuffChristiansLike.com is back up by the way.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, stuffchristianslike.net
.com is held by a typosquater

Still Breathing said...

I was thought of as cynical but as far as I was concerned I was being truthful - it turns out others weren't.

Anonymous said...

Nice SCCL mention in this piece
http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/January-2014/The-Story-of-Elevation-Church/

Oak Park Dave said...

Stephy-

Science = Observable, Measurable, and Repeatable

Until the cringe meter has been fully perfected there is no science going on here! ;)

Ragnarok said...

Oak Park Dave:

Sarcasm = Ironic Use of Language

The literal mind will never understand the ironic mind, but it will almost always fear it.

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Tony D. said...

Perhaps the preceding comment would be more at home here...

Doug Jones said...

I'm a Christian and gotta tell ya, that's just patently false.

Evil done in God's name is evil with a lie on top (as opposed to a cherry).

Tell me, does putting a cherry on dog doodoo make it a sundae? You seem to pose many of your "things" as if they present a problem to Christianity and frankly its just kind of dishonest or short sighted.

Have a blessed day :)

-Doug Jones

Mark said...

Some dissent form modern cosmology. The Principle is a documentary that explores recent findings of modern cosmology that indicate the Copernican Principle is wrong.

http://beforeitsnews.com/science-and-technology/2013/12/earth-is-in-special-location-in-universe-the-principle-documentary-

https://medium.com/we-are-in-a-special-place2659044.html

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how this blog isn't bitter and cynical. It seems like your words are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why don't you promote what you love instead of wasting time telling people about what you hate? If you love Jesus, why not talk about that? If you don't, why don't you have a blog on something that doesn't spread libel about a specific group of people?

stephy said...

I like that you're asking questions. Keep asking questions about everything.

Eric Skaggs said...

Great blog! I've been reading it all night. My super hot wife keeps asking me what I'm chuckling about.

I'm a Xian who is happily involved in my local church, but I have a few pet peeves you may want to consider:

"It's time to get out of your comfort zone" (means: "I want you to do this so I can spend more time in MY comfort zone")

Missions letters from kids and adults alike asking for enough money to go see the world on a mission trip and share Christ. "But above all, please pray." Who are they kidding? They really just want the money. I have personally seen it go as far as, "God has called me into the makeup ministry and I need $200 for a starter kit. Would you consider $20 to help me start the business?" No, but I'll certainly pray that you find the $20 I gave you last month at graduation!

You probably already added these previously and I didn't find them. I had to stop reading your back entries. You are interfering with my quiet time.