John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Christian Cynicism

"If you could ever turn your cynicism into something productive, you'll go far my friend." That's what one of my good friends told me last night over pie and coffee.

The writer of Proverbs said, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted" (Proverbs 27:6a). I'm not saying my friend wounded me; his statement was made in jest. I laughed right out loud when he said it because I knew exactly what he was talking about.

I am a cynic.

I have seen too many of the clowns with their makeup off. I know where too many of the bodies are buried, where the skeletons are hidden. I know too many of the Christian "rock stars" and have heard them tell racist jokes, heard them talk about others behind their backs, heard them say one thing and watched them turn around and do the exact opposite.

I am cynical about this whole business of celebrity -- Christian or otherwise.

I know there are some with integrity that is off the charts, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

Still, one would think that a Christian might give folks the benefit of the doubt more often than I tend to.

I don't mean blind naivete; I plan on going through life with my eyes wide open -- being shrewd as a serpent like Jesus wants.

But should a Christian be a cynic? Are those compatible?

Is cynicism compatible with spiritual formation?