Grow bitter or Grow better?

Don Miller’s blog post about cynicism has gotten me thinking. . . which is never a good thing.

Can cynics be great leaders?

I often have trouble articulating my thoughts the way that I want to (which is why I almost always avoid “serious” blog posts at all costs), but here’s my attempt at trying. . . in a public space.  Don’t judge me.

Let it be known that I am probably one of the biggest (if not the biggest) cynics I know.

I remember watching an episode of One Punk Under God where Jay Bakker shared about growing up in the midst of scandal (Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker), gossip, betrayal, and false leaders – all of which caused him to become a cynic.

And I thought. . . is that me?

I also grew up in “the church.”  My dad has been a pastor for as long as I can remember.  I was never accustomed to taking family trips (as such things were a luxury), but I do remember one camping trip we took with a group of other pastors and their kids.  We sat around, a group of 2nd-generation Korean PKs (Pastor’s Kids), and took turns complaining about our dads, church, ministry, hypocrisy, etc.  In a way, it was a cathartic experience.  There were others like me. I am always amazed when I meet other PKs who have actually had a good church experience.  Are you out there?

So I started making a list of reasons why I am cynical:

  1. If I don’t (or in the very least, pretend not to) care, I won’t ever feel hurt or disappointed – i.e. fear of disappointment
  2. It’s hard for me to believe that people can change. . . for REAL.
  3. It’s hard for me to give people the benefit of the doubt.  My gut reaction is to look for flaws or impurities.
  4. I project my own insecurities on others.  If I’m critical of myself in a certain area, I’ll tend to criticize others in that SAME AREA.

To sum it up, I would say that my past pains/hurts are what make me cynical, particularly those dealing with people in the church.

Sandy Brownlee, a commenter on the blog post said –

“I’ve always thought cynics are wounded idealists. Rather than letting our hurt show or cutting off an ear like Van Gogh, we hide.”


I’ll be thinking about that one for awhile.


2 thoughts on “Grow bitter or Grow better?

  1. some great things you’re thinking about, amy. i love what Conan O’brien said on the topic– among other things saying that cynicism gets us nowhere. I agree with him. i think we become cynical when we are hurt…over and over again. we can be a hurt person that hurts people or… we can be wounded healers.

  2. amy, admitting it is step one. thank you for your bravery. hi, my name is kate and i am a recovering cynic too. 😉 haha i love your serious and funny posts!!!

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