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shiloh357

Ageism in the Age of Hipster Chrsitianity

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http://deeperstory.com/ageism-in-an-age-of-hipster-christianity/

 

A couple years ago I attended a splashy conference full of vibrant energy. The speakers donned hipster clothes (they knew the trend before it became a thing), shared relevant messages, and generally pumped me up to rah-rah-rah follow Jesus. I left the conference energized but also a bit jaded and cynical. Where were the matriarchs and patriarchs of the faith?

 

When I attended Cape Town 2010, I had two very significant encounters. As a table group leader, I had the privilege of leading six people in discussion during our time there.

 

One man, an Iraqi Christian, told of his imprisonment for his faith, how he dared to operate a Christian radio station before and after regime changes. I wanted him to become my father. He was old, grayed, and definitely not hipster, but oh his heart, how it radiated Jesus.

The other man told of his son being shot (and paralyzed) in their home in South Africa. He had a beautiful story, one of anguish, yet full of God’s restoration. He heard my story of abuse, and at the last moment we shared together, pulled me aside, put his hands on my shoulders, and said this, “Mary, on behalf of all men, I apologize to you.” Tears wept between us as this patriarch salved a wound I thought would never heal.

 

Both these men were over sixty years old. They did not wear skinny jeans. They had no platforms, no real “tribe” to call their own. They didn’t have people chasing after their guru ways. Neither had a Twitter handle, a blog, or a podcast. They seemed unaffected by trend and The Next Big Thing. They simply spent their lives in sacrifice for the One who sacrificed for them.

 

I appreciate younger Christians. And, of course, I’m grateful for their gifts, verve and guts. I even think they’re cool.

 

But I believe we miss out on the breadth and depth of the Christian life when we marginalize or dismiss those who have walked with Jesus for decades, who have successfully moved away from Me-First, Ego-driven Christianity and have settled into selfless service. Who have learned the beautiful art of finishing well, of practicing long obedience in the same direction.

 

Instead of tattoos, they sport battle scars.

Instead of skinny jeans, they’ve endured lean years, learning to rely on Jesus.

Instead of piercings, they’ve been pierced by health concerns, death of loved ones, ministry failures. (Oh, why is it that we flock to those who only have ministry success?)

Instead of highlighted hair, gray punctuates their crown.

 

We should welcome these voices to the platform, sit at their feet, listening intently. The author of Hebrews reminds us to remember them. “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 Notice that we’re to view the OUTCOME of their faith. This indicates a track record of faithfulness, not just three awesome years of church planting success.

 

R. C. Sproul wrote, “When I last crossed a decade barrier in my own aging process, God was good enough to grant me this small bit of wisdom—the Bible honors age, not youth.”

 

And yet, our celebrity-obsessed culture that values trend and the hip factor, worships youth, deifying and idolizing perpetual adolescence. This may be true in the world, but it should not be true in the church. We should look different, act different, value the marginalized, the powerless, the overlooked.

 

Job 12:12 reminds us, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” The Apostle Paul whose words we prize admitted to being old as he wrote from prison, “Yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:9) Peter warns all of us to walk with humility, subjecting ourselves to those farther along the journey than us. “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5).

 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we dared to listen to and honored those who have walked before us by giving them the stage? We stand on the shoulders of our predecessors, but God is not yet finished with them. Why not dignify those whose lives have played out well, who have so much to offer?

 

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Not meaning to argue against your point - for I agree with the concern - but I wonder:

 

If a pastor asked the older members to work with the youth groups, how many would volunteer?

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The older people are well advanced in years and knowledge than we are.

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Not meaning to argue against your point - for I agree with the concern - but I wonder:

 

If a pastor asked the older members to work with the youth groups, how many would volunteer?

Lot's of older adults are willing to mentor youth and serve as  sponsors for youth events.   What a lot of youth pastors don't realize in many cases is that older people (the ones who still believe in tithing) often underwrite youth events in the churches.  

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Shiloh357 - We stand on the shoulders of our predecessors, but God is not yet finished with them. Why not dignify those whose lives have played out well, who have so much to offer?

 

So true, I remain fascinated, as I do with how couples met, of the conversion stories. My pastor as an example grew up with a alcoholic father who finally committed suicide when he was quite young. It was the witness and testimony of various Christian men who helped the family, and their farm, that led him to the Lord. Or my friend who grew up in South Africa, his parents were missionaries there and his mother was murdered there, and still his faith endures. I find the stories, some of hardships to overcome, quite amazing in scope and ultimately inspiring. ( a wonderful godly man who when he received a telemarketing calls would suggest a trade-off - he would answer a question if the telemarketer would do likewise, an opportunity to witness.)

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Not meaning to argue against your point - for I agree with the concern - but I wonder:

 

If a pastor asked the older members to work with the youth groups, how many would volunteer?

Lot's of older adults are willing to mentor youth

I have been through different experiences. But something like this may vary from congregation to congregation.

and serve as  sponsors for youth events.   What a lot of youth pastors don't realize in many cases is that older people (the ones who still believe in tithing) often underwrite youth events in the churches.

OK, but I am failing to correlate footing the bills with what is written in the OP?

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I have been through different experiences. But something like this may vary from congregation to congregation.

Yes, of course it varies from congregation to congregation, but in smaller churches, the older people have a closer relationship to the youth.   You will find in many smaller congregations, the youth and senior adult members are closer and older adults are more accepted.

 

 

and serve as  sponsors for youth events.   What a lot of youth pastors don't realize in many cases is that older people (the ones who still believe in tithing) often underwrite youth events in the churches.


OK, but I am failing to correlate footing the bills with what is written in the OP?

 

I wan't correlating it to the OP.  I was addressing your question.

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It's rare to find someone who will give all their possessions away and go follow Jesus in america. It's just not realistic in this world anymore, no matter what age you are. Everyone is banking on the corporation idea.

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I wan't correlating it to the OP.  I was addressing your question.

 

Oh, I hadn't thought of footing the bill as being a part of volunteering?

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And yet, our celebrity-obsessed culture that values trend and the hip factor, worships youth, deifying and idolizing perpetual adolescence. This may be true in the world, but it should not be true in the church. We should look different, act different, value the marginalized, the powerless, the overlooked.

 

 

 

 

I have chatted with many young Christians who have said you are too old to understand faith, too old to know what being a Christian means. This seems to be especially true in the new movements of Christianity, the belief that they are newer and better and us older generations are too pathetic to realize they are better. This may be a part of the social justice emergent church philosophy.

 

More young believers dont believe older Christians are less valuable, but there are just enough who do believe that.

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