Last night I was listening to a group of advisers and one of them shared an insight that for me broke a mental logjam of not-understanding the core difficulty we face as a parish in Boulder. His team's task was to look elsewhere for best practices in other parishes so as to advise us with some good research. One of his points was that we need to face the crux of the problem we face in our parish: that we are in Boulder, Colorado! And, he continued, there is a culture in Boulder that is decidedly different from elsewhere. His example was a look at the blogging that happens on the Daily Camera, our local newspaper, versus the blogging that happens at, for instance, the Denver Post. Our local paper's weblog is filled with cynical comments, while this is not so at the weblog of the Denver paper. "And that is the crux of our problem."
Aha! It all came together for me. Then one other participant said, "And when faced with so much cynicism, we have reacted cynically as well, with a defeatist attitude." (The "we" I think is "me." Or, at least it's something I recognized in myself with absolute clarity, like never before.) So now, I know what to tackle: what is the antidote to cynicism? This is to be taken to prayer, for only God can change an attitude, especially when it's a deep seated one.