Friday, October 02, 2009

elders

This morning I heard a really interesting story on NPR. It seems that Elderhostel, the popular travel and edu-travel program for seniors, is changing its name because people don't like to be called "elders" and are embarrassed to admit that they went on an Elderhostel trip because it might make them seem old. Simultaneously, they insist that if the program allows younger people to come, they won't participate any more. "If the younger people come, I'm out. They'll make us feel old."

Umm...is anyone else seeing a problem? Or possibly a couple of problems?

How about that tired old complaint that young people are just not the same, that we don't listen to or learn from older people, that there's too much separation between generations and families and worldview and history and whatever else...

Gee, I wonder why.

I think this is like the church in a lot of ways. We want younger people, but not the change younger people bring and certainly not noise or movement from children during worship. We don't want to feel old/worn out/doddering/irrelevant/fading. We want to pretend that we aren't something that we are. And, of course, every group can say "we don't want *them* to come be with *us*..." and with the next breath lament the lack of new volunteers, new people in the pews, new families in the Sunday School.

Elderhostel has been renamed "Exploritas"...but it still doesn't make me want to do it, especially after this story. A rose by any other name...

4 comments:

  1. And here I thought this would be a post about church polity....

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  2. ugghh - makes me tired to think about these semantic gymnastics. And us/them things. But as one who is 55 - I don't mind growing into my crone-ness but don't like to think of being thought of as old/fuddyduddy/stuckinthemud - and appreciate how hard it is to resist the power of the message about 60 being the new 40 - as if young is *better* than old - you know what I mean! Just hope for the chance to be church with children of God of all ages in authentic relationships - y'all come - and figuring out what that is like.

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  3. This will definitely preach!

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  4. Young or old, and everything in between, (I've been the young and now heading to the old) we humans are a funny, quirky lot...I like what I see of your blog, keep on posting.

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