Those of us who struggle with cynicism toward and within the church tend to assume that once we have been disillusioned with the way the church acts and thinks, then we are excluded from church service. The opposite may actually be true. In an earlier post, I wrote about how disillusionment is a gift. It is the dispersal of illusions. We do not need illusory people leading and serving in our churches. We need folks who have had their illusions exposed as false and who are living in the sobering realm of reality.
It is not disillusionment that disqualifies us from church service. It is the bitterness that often comes along with that disillusionment. Cynicism is disqualifying because the enlightenment is too bound to pain and anger. If, however, cynics can seek healing and restoration from their spiritual wounds, then they will be of immense service to the church.
Unfortunately, cynics-in-recovery (or, cynic-saints, if you will) lack invitation from the church to lead and to serve. Also lacking are the active promotion of models for how the disillusioned (or, the painfully enlightened, if you will) can be valuable members of the church body. If we can all agree that the church is in need of reform, then the non-cynics among us need to welcome the voices of cynic-saints who have so much wisdom to offer, and the cynic-saints need to embrace their vocation of constructive service to the church. The second half of my book provides biblical models for how disillusioned “saints” in the Bible were powerfully used to edify and reform God’s people. I would love to hear more thoughts from out there as to how cynic-saints can embrace fresh new vocations among us not as dissenters or jaded critics but as prophets, sages, and tragic poets….