Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Signs of a Failing Civilization

Juanita and I heard a commercial on the radio yesterday that bothered us. Most commercials are just white noise, but we picked up on the basic idea of this ad (I’ll try to listen more carefully next time so I can avoid this company). The outfit was selling gaming equipment – pool tables and the like. The actors were happy to have a pool table and said something like, “Finally, something to get us away from Grandpa’s stories.”

Seniors are tedious. They are a waste of space and time. If we can only find something important to do like, say, playing foosball, instead of taking time with Grandpa, then our lives will have more meaning.

Disgusting.

I have been thinking about this ad today. Are our churches much better? Do we care that many of our seniors are just as “non-Christian” as the young parents in our community? Do we notice that unlike many of our “target demographic,” many seniors have abundant spare time to teach, listen, serve and pray? Do we care that the wholesale reinvention of evangelical worship services has pushed many faithful older saints to the back row?

The whole area of seniors ministry was one of the areas of need that our board identified at a board retreat a couple of years ago. What have we done? We’ve brought it up at meetings a couple of times. Is our church a model for others to follow? Nope. Not yet, anyway.

Commercials that mock our pioneers are in very bad taste, but perhaps they are reflecting rather widespread biases against the elderly, biases that have crossed over into the church.

Mia culpa.

8 comments:

Garry Weaver said...

You are absolutely correct! It has been said that by the way we treat the elderly, we are teaching our children how to treat us.

BugBlaster said...

Amen

Ian said...

This might sound like a cheezy plug for church history, but I think that one of the reasons why the church doesn't respect seniors is because they don't respect history.
Maybe one of the ways a pastor can provide a framework for those younger people in the church to have respect for seniors is to give them a love for church history. That way they can appreciate the significance of the lives the seniors lived and the experiences that they can share.
Great post. There is much to learn from those who have gone before us.

Annette said...

and yet, my parents church and the church that we are currently serving are predominately seniors. and they are constantly saying,.... we're too old to do anything. we want our church to grow...but we're too old to help it change and grow and so forth. So yes, seniors ministries ARE important, but if the seniors themselves don't want to be involved in the change and growth, how can we assist them? We offer easy ideas for outreach to these seniors, but no one actually wants to do the reaching out, and we (my hubbie and I) can't do it all ourselves. It's frustrating to want to reach out to seniors and not have the help and support needed to really do so, especially from people who should have some common ground with the older generation.....

Carla said...

I don't think I've ever commented here before, and I'm not really sure why.

In any event, this post really struck a chord with me.

When I was a little girl growing up in the late 60's/early 70's, my gpa had a pool table in the basement of his house. Along with a shuffleboard, dart board & various assorted trophy shelves that housed a slice of his life when he was a younger man. Gpa was good, and that's all there was to it.

When all the family would get together at my gparent's house (which was usually once a week) you'd find all of us cousins in the basement playing pool on gpa's pool table - hoping one day to be as good as gpa. I doubt any of us ever became as good as he was, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.

We listened to gpa's stories. We liked his stories, and we were a rather captive audience. We didn't listen because we were any "better" than kids and young people today, but I think we listened because we weren't being raised up in a generation that sent a message to young people that our seniors were a waste of time, or boring. Different time, different message in society.

In church we sit in the pew just ahead of an older lady (she turned 84 this month) that just adores our kids. They look forward to seeing her every week, and chatting with her (as much as we do). I hope that by example our kids wont be getting the message that our seniors in our church or community aren't worth listening to. They have a lifetime of wisdom that we'd all be wise ourselves, to pay attention to.

Just a few rambling thoughts this morning.

SDG,
Carla

stauf46 said...

Thanks for the thoughts, folks, and welcome, Annette and Carla!

Terry

wade said...

It's a sad commentary on our society that it has taken a "disposal " attitude towards our seniors. Many people forget that barring an unforseen tragedy in their lives they too will one day be a senior, and the golden rule would be well remembered. Our seniors were the ones that built the foundation of the lives that we enjoy now and for the most part I think they did a [pretty good job. It behooves us to show them some respect in their golden years. Many of them, contrary to the old cliche are not able to grow old gracefully and we should not be adding to their misfortunes. Good blog Terry!

wade said...

It's a sad commentary on our society that it has taken a "disposal " attitude towards our seniors. Many people forget that barring an unforseen tragedy in their lives they too will one day be a senior, and the golden rule would be well remembered. Our seniors were the ones that built the foundation of the lives that we enjoy now and for the most part I think they did a [pretty good job. It behooves us to show them some respect in their golden years. Many of them, contrary to the old cliche are not able to grow old gracefully and we should not be adding to their misfortunes. Good blog Terry!