The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a
Most of the time, I think that people who live in Christian cultures – both Christians and non-Christians – would mightily profit from a moratorium on reading, commenting on, and preaching about certain biblical doctrines and ideas. Which doctrines and which ideas? The list is far too long to even list, much less annotate. So instead, I will pick a specific example: being “born again”. I make bold to assert that we would all be better off if, for perhaps a generation or so and per impossibile, Christians stopped talking about being “born again”. We – meaning “all inhabitants of a Christian-dominated culture” – think we know what the New Testament means by the phrase “born again”. We don’t. In fact, we have, at best, only the palest and most emaciated notion of what the term means, th
This will probably sound strange coming from me. But … here goes … I miss God.
Well … even that is not quite accurate. If by the term “God” you understand the traditional, orthodox conception of God as basically “a really, really, really big Person writ large,” then … no … I do not miss that God, the kind of God Samuel Taylor Coleridge, somewhere or other, referred to when he said that the average Englishman’s conception of God is as “of an immense Clergyman”; the kind of God Whose eye is on the sparrow; the kind of God Who numbers the very hairs of my head (in my case, a task easy even for human beings, let alone God); the God Who browbeat poor, innocent Job. In other words, I do not miss the kind of God who Sees Things And Runs Things, the Great Cosmic National Security Agency,