Monday, September 21, 2009


I Hate This

The Louisville Courier-Journal recently wrote that many churches are "overlooking the elderly:
After all, surveys show that church-affiliated populations are older than the national population as a whole -- and in many Protestant congregations, overwhelmingly so. Many churches do have plenty of classes and groups for older members.

Yet many churches have paid so much attention to attracting the young that they may be overlooking the needs of those in their midst, United Methodist blogger Missy Buchanan said.


Twenty-three percent of such "mainline" Protestants are 65 or older, as are 19 percent of evangelical Protestants such as Baptists.

Catholics and members of historically black churches are right at the national average, according to Pew's categories.

While many statistics about high numbers of elderly members can be seen as an ominous sign for a denomination's future, the numbers also represent a big constituency.
This is an interesting viewpoint - there are limits to the whole "Church as service organization" thing, yes, the church provides a lot of things, but that is not it's raison d'etre. We respect the elderly because there is wisdom there - maturity, things we as Christians should really need. But this pullquote:
But reaching young people doesn't have to conflict with reaching the elderly, Buchanan writes.

She cites the example of her grown daughter, who, attending a funeral, was drawn to a conversation with several elderly men who she realized reminded her of a beloved grandfather.
from the person that is advocating for the elderly is so narcissistic and so patronizing that I had to grunt out loud when I read it the first time.

I have been sitting here pondering a while why this upsets me so. Simply put, it is dehumanizing. Younger people are reduced to consumers and the elderly are reduced to a burden, The church reduces people to constituencies. Somehow it all just misses the point. People are valuable because they are valuable, not because of what they can bring to the church or what they remind me of - it's not about me or the church - It's about them!

If there is a challenge for the church today it is to learn to value the individual for themselves. If there is a challenge for us as Christians today, it is to learn true sacrifice - to truly count the other as more important.

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