Posts Tagged ‘ Faith ’

Hi, my name is A.J. and I’m a cynic.

I don’t remember when it started. I don’t remember making a conscience decision to be this way. It’s not like when I was a kid I said, “You know what? Instead of seeing the best in most people, I’m just going to assume you’re wrong or have some ulterior motive.” No way man.

A cynic is defined as “a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.”

What a crappy way to go through life, right?

Maybe you’re a little cynical at times too. Don’t we all want to be people who believe that people are capable of selfless acts? That what motivates the good deeds others do is not selfishness, but compassion and goodness. Why don’t we?

Maybe we’ve been burned before? Maybe we’ve had a bad experience that’s tainted our outlook on the rest of the world?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it. I don’t enjoy always assuming there is some other story. I don’t enjoy trying to figure out what’s not being said or what someone is really saying. I don’t enjoy believing that no matter what someone is doing that their real goal is selfish. I don’t like it and I imagine you don’t either.

So, how do we stop? How do we start to fight the urges of cynicism?

I think we can start by looking at what the opposite of cynicism is. The opposite of a cynic is a believer. Someone who trusts. Someone who has faith in others.

How do we stop the cynicism? We have to fight the temptation and the mental battle to distrust, to disbelieve and to not have faith in people. Because it really is a mental battle. It’s you fighting against yourself. When we choose to have faith in humanity we are waging war against cynicism.

Now, that doesn’t mean we start blindly accepting everything at face value and never search for the truth or remain cautious when something feels out of place. It does mean that we will have to start giving people the benefit of the doubt.

There is too much good in the world and in our hearts for us to see the worst in people.

I haven’t got this figured out, but I’m trying. Cynical, is no way to go through life. That much I know for sure.

Join me in fighting against cynicism and believing in people again.

May hope be with you.


Thoughts from Beer and a Bible

Of all the things that I do with my time Beer and a Bible is probably my favorite. Beer and a Bible is a group for people who want to openly discuss life, faith and the bible while enjoying a good brew. It’s something that we started about 2 years ago and I love it. It’s the perfect mixture of things that I love…beer, Jesus, people and talking about life.

To give you a very brief description of the way it works: we gather in the back room of a local Irish pub in Downtown Raleigh and I’ll read a story or a section of scripture from the Bible and then I’ll say, “Go.” The whole point is conversation, so we just let people go where ever the conversation leads them.

If you’d like to learn more about Beer and a Bible you can click on the link above or feel free to shoot me an email at

One of my favorite parts about Beer and a Bible is simply the conversation. We have new people every week and people come from so many different spiritual backgrounds and life situations, so the conversation is always going to be different.

After another night of great conversation and insights into some stories in the Bible that I had never thought of before I thought, “Man…I should start writing these down!” So, my hope is after every Beer and a Bible (which meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday) to share one or two of the thoughts or insights shared at the table I was sitting at.

Last night’s insights were great. We read from Luke 24:13-35, which is the story of the diciples walking the road to Emmaus. (Click on the scripture reference to read it for a little context.)

The main insight I took away from the conversation was this: When we do the things Jesus did we start to recognize who Jesus is.

I love this. These guys who were walking with Jesus could have just let him continue on his merry way after he called them foolish and basically just schooled them in biblical history. But, they didn’t. Instead, they strongly urged him to stay with them. Traveling on would have been dangerous. Walking alone along paths then would have made a traveler a prime target for muggers and thieves along the path. So, these guys ask Jesus to stay with them. They bring him in, they feed him and they show him compassion.

It is through that act of compassion that Jesus was revealed to them.

Compassion is a clear character trait of Jesus. Over and over again in the gospels we read how Jesus had compassion on a person or a group of people. Over and over again we read how he showed compassion to people by healing them and forgiving them of their sins.

When these guys treated people the same way Jesus treated people they got to know Jesus more.

What a concept, right?

I really believe, no matter your spiritual affiliation, that when we put the teachings of Jesus into practice that the world will be a better place. We will begin treating people with love and compassion. We will hand out forgiveness in the same way Oprah gives out free stuff!

Just like the two guys had a choice…of whether or not to invite Jesus to stay with them or to let him continue on down the road, we too have a choice. Each and every day we are given opportunities to treat people with compassion. We are given opportunities to let people continue down the path they’re walking, the path that’s usually lonely, the path that could lead them to dangerous places and situations…or we could invite them into our homes, into our lives, to our kitchen tables and share with them the love and compassion that we should have readily available.

We look to the words of Jesus as a reminder, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

When we do the things Jesus did we start to recognize who Jesus is.

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