Flourishing Inter-generationally, Dr. Bill McAlpine, Professor of Practical Theology, Ambrose University
Five or six years ago I had a conversation with a friend and colleague in which we were comparing pictures of our recently born grand-daughters. My friend is a member of the Plains Cree First Nation. He shared with me these words: “You know, Billy, in my culture, the most important contribution you will make in the universe is as a grandparent.” There is an assumption in that wisdom, namely, that there will be significant contact between grandparent and grandchild. One of the trends over the past several decades that troubles me is the fallout silo effects of age-specific ministries within our churches. I need to clarify that I am not opposed to children’s and youth ministries, or young adult and/or seniors’ ministries. There is great benefit and even need for such designations. But there appears to be a dearth in the number of intentional and regular occasions and opportunities for inter-generational interaction.
The danger I see in this tendency is that we may be fostering generations that are less and less comfortable with people outside their own age bracket. The absence of such meaningful interchange can engender a profound lack of understanding and appreciation and even worse, uncritical suspicion between generations. A flourishing congregation or parish is one that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of those it serves, and recognizes the benefit of age-specific events. But it also appreciates the need for meaningful interaction among various generations beyond occupying seats in the same venue at the same time.
Seniors can provide life wisdom and demonstrate how to age with grace. Younger generations can bring energy and even a sense of purpose into the lives of those who more and more are being shifted into facilities for the aged. Keep our communities together – as long as possible.
iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives.
Marshal McLuhan said: “Resenting a new technology will not halt its progress.” Detweiler’s book (published 2013 by Brazos Press), provides excellent, well-researched insight into the history, the benefits and the liabilities of the technologies that have changed our world and now govern our lives. He demonstrates how it has raised the bar of our expectations for speed and efficiency.
He warns of the dangers of allowing new authorities, Google, for instance, to replace long held authorities, including the Bible.We have developed an insatiable desire for “newer, smaller, faster.” Detweiler offers challenging insights for the church to consider in responding to this latest idolatry of our age..