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Doing “Serious Nothing”
By |   April 23, 2014 |   in Words That Matter |   BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT

How do you feel about being interrupted? I’m not good at it, so I was surprised and mildly horrified that so many of Jesus’ healings were interruptions in his day. He had somewhere to go and something to do, but then someone walked up to him and asked for help. I’m sure I would have been an impatient disciple standing next to him thinking, I so wanted to get to Capernaum by sundown! If Jesus had been as we are—strategic planners of time, often scheduling every moment of life–a lot of people would have remained diseased and blind.

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Who Are Our Sages?
By |   April 15, 2014 |   in Wisdom & Aging |   2 Comments

What would you tell your 20-year old self if you could make a telephone call back in time?

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Wise Beyond Your Years
By |   April 11, 2014 |   in Wisdom & Aging |   1 Comment

Every year, I am blessed to serve the new church planters in our network by facilitating retreats for them. One of the things I love about these retreats is that they help church planters discern a greater sense of calling in their lives by uncovering their God-given mission, values, and vision.

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In Process on the Process of Being in Process
By |   April 7, 2014 |   in Wisdom & Aging |   4 Comments

“Let no one despise your youth…” St. Paul to Timothy

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise…” Book of Proverbs, 13:20

Three recent, personal milestones all point in some way either to age and/or wisdom.

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I Am Old and I Like It
By |   April 4, 2014 |   in Wisdom & Aging |   BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT

I like playing the “I’m old card”, and appreciate the gradual decline of my vision so I do not shock myself every time I look in the mirror. I like that my body and mind is affirming the value of the Sabbath, that I no longer need to be concerned about adding to my resume and I love being a grandparent and having no children living at home. But, thanks to the graciousness an old man, 35 years ago, I know there is much more to growing old than those things I just mentioned.

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Gathering Widsom: The Golden Fruit of Later Years

When the editors of Conversations Journal decided to do an issue of aging and passages, we knew we had in our own community a voice to speak wisely and well to us. In Emilie Griffin’s latest book, Green Leaves for Later Years, she shares wisdom from her seventy-five-year spiritual journey.

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Journey Into Joy: Celebrating the Wisdom of Dallas Willard

The question began a journey into joy. Dallas had asked me to comment on The Divine Conspiracy as he wrote it. Every few months there would be a newly finished chapter in the mailbox. The explosive themes of the first two chapters- the invitation of Jesus to experience external living right now, the integration of our little kingdoms with the big kingdom of God, the limitations of the gospels of sin management- challenged me deeply. But the opening theme of the third chapter did not. It evoked tremendous resistance.

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Growing Older: Struggling with Doubt, Alive in Community, Moving Toward Wisdom

Years ago, noted behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, then in his eighties, presented a speech at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference titled “Growing Old Gracefully as a Psychologist.” Skinner’s understanding of the human condition, reflected clearly in his remarks, revolved around two assumptions: the empty box and control by reinforcers.

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O Taste and See: Meditations on Shoshannah Brombacher’s Yaakov Blessing Ephraim and Menasheh

It doesn’t go without saying that age confers wisdom; from King Lear to Captain Ahab, literature offers
us images of old men who make colossal and foolish mistakes. “Do not let me hear of the wisdom of
old men,” T. S. Eliot writes, “but rather of their folly.” His reminder not to sentimentalize the archetype of the wise elder, or to reduce it to cliché, reiterates an ancient truth: that wisdom and folly often look strangely alike. Joseph’s effort to correct Jacob as he reaches to confer his blessing on the younger grandson is the kind of intervention any of us might attempt when we witness the momentary confusion of an old person whose vision or memory or clarity of mind is unreliable. We redirect them. We lead them back into the safe bounds of propriety, trying to cover over their unruly and wayward behaviors. We give them diagnostic labels that sometimes serve only to relieve us of the more subtle and arduous effort to interpret the logic of the dreams they inhabit. Certainly clinical evidence attests to the literal, tragic loss of brain function that afflicts many elders. But it behooves us, if only to err on the side of dignity, to honor the humanity and inquire into the hopes that underlie their foolish mistakes. Some of them speak more than they know. Some of them know things that cannot be contained within the limits of convention.

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The Journey from Innocence to Character

As with many new mothers whose bodies have gone south on them, swimsuit shopping can be a nightmare. In a dressing room that makes a phone booth seem like the Biltmore, I squished two young children, myself, and all their circus gear. I chose a conservative one-piece, black and fully functional. The girls were still and focused, no escapees this day. After the sheer miraculous act of getting in the suit, I stood looking in the mirror, uncertain of the outcome.

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