HT: My sister, Lisa
Two questions I recently posed to Scot McKnight:
Two questions and I am looking for your quick, gut answers, especially since there is no way to know for certain. So from your own experience in ministry:
How much of an issue (from 1-10, with 10 being a semi truck sized issue) are:
The lack of compelling, joyful, wise, thoughtful, loving, and faith-filled folks over 50?
The lack of regard pastors and other ministry leaders under 40 have for the first group?
My own experience is positive. I am 59 and find lots of young men who desire time and input. However, I certainly see the effects of ageism in the church that is sadly perpetuated by too many, younger leaders.
On #1, a one or two: there are plenty.
On #2, too much but it is less that than a culture that doesn’t think in terms of wisdom but in terms of creativity and newness.
A group of fifty folks over 95 years old were asked the same question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?”
The top three answers were take more risks, reflect more, and seek to invest in things that would last after I did.
Source: Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell
Picture of yours truly with a compelling older Christian, Dr. Dave McCoy.
In any case, it is clearer to me that ever than older people are not typically the lifeblood of churches as they should be. Some is due to them. Did they prepare themselves spiritually as younger folks? I’m sad to say many did not. Lackluster Christians in their twenties and thirties make terribly unimpressive Christians later in life.
Of course, God is gracious and I know examples of those who made course corrections later in life. I also know those who were intentional about their walk with the Lord in earlier life, so it is not surprising they remain so. I am grateful for the men and women I know like this.
This aging stuff has me noticing new things. For example, I check out several blogs and Twitter accounts on a daily basis. One thing that has struck me of late is how so few older people are featured. Sure, there are older people if they are well-known Christian leaders, but that is about it. Where are the older folks? Most feature just the younger folks.
Dan Siegel offers three things that greatly help one’s overall mental health. I rearranged the list (as found in Curt Thompson’s Anatomy of the Soul) so I could make the word FAN. Here are the three things:
Focused attention exercises. These are things such as prayer and meditation on the Word of God.
Aerobic activity. Forty-five minutes a day at least five times a week. We think better when we our body feels better.
Novel learning experiences. Pushing yourself to learn something new. Could be gardening, cooking, a new language, really just about anything that forces the brain to make new connections.
(I once was what you are and what I am you also will be). This memento mori underlines that the painting was intended to serve as a lesson to the viewers. At the simplest level the imagery must have suggested to the 15th-century faithful that, since they all would die, only their faith in the Trinity and Christ’s sacrifice would allow them to overcome their transitory existences.
According to American art historian Mary McCarthy:
The fresco, with its terrible logic, is like a proof in philosophy or mathematics, God the Father, with His unrelenting eyes, being the axiom from which everything else irrevocably flows.
Source: McCarthy, Mary (August 22, 1959). “A City of Stone”. The New Yorker. New York: 48.
One way I’ve thought of aging: It is a secret society which your younger self barely knew existed. Quicker than you can imagine you are made a member of the club. The dues are very steep!
What do you call a group of aging friends talking about their growing physical infirmities?
HT: Dr. Bill Reeves