Fighting Cynicism with our Ears and Our Eyes (with help from Josh Garrels and Dick Keyes)

Cynicism by Josh Garrels

Cynicism is the sickness of my culture 
We undress each other with an evil eye 
Concentric circles we look like vultures 
When we feast on the failures of the lives we criticize 
Don't stand alone and cast your stones at her 
Unless you think you're innocent yourself 
The same measure that we use to condemn men 
Will be the same that's poured out upon our heads 

We've all gone astray 
We kick against the pricks so convinced we know the way 
But who can repay 
The love we sacrificed for an empire made of clay 

Self-promotions how we function in this culture 
We fight for the spotlight with a peacocks pride 
And then condescend to all the lesser men 
From thrones we make of payed accolades and a compromise 
There is no power that a man can have 
Unless it's given to him from above 
Our ladders of success descend to hell 
Don't sell your soul and lose your one true love 

We all gone astray 
We kick against the pricks so convinced we know the way 
But who can repay 
The love we sacrificed for an empire made of clay 
We've all gone astray 
We kick against the pricks so convinced we know the way 
But who can repay 
The love we sacrificed to be kings for a day

credits

from Love & War: -ides & Remixes EP, released 05 July 2012

Seeing Through Cynicism:  A Reconsideration of the Power of Suspicion by Dick Keyes.   IVP Press, 2006. 229 pages.

Seeing Through Cynicism:  A Reconsideration of the Power of Suspicion by Dick Keyes.   IVP Press, 2006. 229 pages.

 

In Seeing Through Cynicism, Dick Keyes continues Francis Schaeffer's insightful and Gospel driven legacy as he engages the honest questions and hidden pitfalls of those who are seeking to find truth and sanity in an age of spin doctors, the special interest group, and the jaded hipster.  In short, Keyes helps us to see that in pursuing cynicism we are aiming to see through the spin, but often fall short of seeing truth because, in the words of C.S. Lewis, 

"if you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To 'see through' all things is the same as not to see." (The Abolition of Man, p. 91)

As Keyes has done through his ministry with L'Abri, he engages the honest seeker on their own terms.  Since all truth is God's truth, the cynic is onto something and we should journey with people until God's Word shows us that our paths must diverge.  But since the cynic also shares in humanity's scratched lenses (the Fall) and has unspoken or unknown presuppositions, Keyes offers helpful questions that uncovers the "blindness" behind the acute "sight" of cynicism.

Some examples:  

The cynic, in mocking, let us say, the lying and self-interest of the hypocrite, make an implicit appeal to a moral order in the universe (by which people ought not lie, be selfish or hypocritical). Where does the moral order come from? (p. 78)
How do we know that the cynic's cynicism is not controlled by conscious or unconscious desires for money, self-protection, admiration, tenure, acceptance or power? (p.88)

Throughout the book, Keyes invites the honest and searching reader to do something that Tim Keller has often said:  "Doubt your doubts.  Believe your beliefs." The cynic claims to see with particular insight.  Keyes wants us to ask, "Are these dark glasses in fact helping us to see?" Is there a way to check our "prescription" to see if it is corrective or obstructive.

How is this book helpful for our youth and families? The parents and youth that we minister to at Hope and in the greater Princeton area are products of the post-Vietnam War and Postmodern eras. The Vietnam War area generation often said "Don't trust anyone over 30!" The Postmodern young adult is tempted to say "Don't trust anyone that claims to know the truth." They have been the objects of heavy marketing and are rightly suspicious of what's being "sold". But what if there is True Truth and it can be known? What if we might be rejecting real light and real truth just because it hurts our eyes after living in the dim light of our doubt illuminated only by our smartphones?

This would make great summer reading for our parents and Senior High youth!  Enjoy!