A professional counselor told me last week, after I said something was “cheesy,” that more often than not, in her experience, people who use words like “cheesy” and “corny” find the emotional side of their relationship with God rather lacking. That is, something about the use of those words triggers in her questions regarding the person’s emotional connection with God.
And her intuition is right when it comes to me. I don’t know that I’ve ever really felt long term emotional closeness with God. Quite often, because of the lack of emotional connection with God, I have sought God out in other ways – intellectually, for example.
But I don’t know what to do with her insights. I don’t want to go the rest of my life and never “feel” God’s presence in a meaningful way. The psalms of Lament are great sustenance in hard times, but it’s hard to live your entire life on the diet they provide.
And the other element of this is, I genuinely think some things really are cheesy. Bad art really does exist…especially bad “Christian” art. And I think we need to be aware of it.
Now, I have no doubt that the same cynicism the pops it’s head up in my usage of the word “cheesy” is somehow connected to my cynicism and lack of “feeling” God’s presence in my life.
But is all of it? Is cynicism always a bad thing? Could it be that cynicism is exactly what the church needs at times to challenge our cliché’s and easy answers? And wasn’t it cynicism that ultimately coincided with some of the post powerful spiritual revivals in Christian history? (No one can deny that Luther and Calvin were cynical!)
But if my cynicism is ruining my ability to see and feel the love of God, ruining my ability to communicate the depths of that love to others, then I want to change – I want to be more “cheesy,” if that’s what it takes.
So what do you think? Does her observation ring true in your experience? Is there a middle way? Is cynicism always wrong? Or is my cynicism more a product of my postmodern context than Christ’s activity in my heart? Am I just spiritually justifying my cynicism?
I’ll be asking her these same questions next time I see her. But for now, I’d like your thoughts.