John the Elder

Monday Musings for June 01, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

It’s no secret that in the USA we value our young people more than our seniors. Apparently, we didn’t take a lesson from the ancient cultures who valued their elders... like the native Americans. If anything, we immigrants have turned anti-elder over the centuries... seeing the elderly as burdens, squeezing them out of important positions — and even out of our families!

Well, shame on us! Is all of America’s “success” worth dishonoring the people who helped get us here? Shouldn’t “progress” include honoring the people who gave the best years of their lives to serve God, their families and their country?

Ironically, elders are victims of their success. Their job was to raise children to honorable adulthood so they could take the reigns. The problem is, society has farmed a lot of that work out to schools — and unfortunately — to the entertainment industry. The effect is that we have collectively abdicated the job of raising moral people, and today, we are reaping the whirlwind.

You see, America’s de facto philosophy is practicalism... no matter what else we say it is. We are primarily interested in the most efficient ways of doing things. In business parlance, you would say that we’re interested in maximizing profit — which isn’t a problem in itself. But maximizing profit includes minimizing expenses — and this often includes bumping seniors off the hamster wheel!

By way of contrast, some cultures are honor-based or guilt-based. So, what works best for them practically speaking will not always be adopted. The USA should take a step in that direction.

Each philosophy has its strengths and its weaknesses, though. America’s love of youth, speed — and whatever’s new! — might fuel its commerce, but the way we glorify youth dishonors the Father. After all, the Ancient of Days has to be the archetype of eldership... and I’m sure that the unsavory aroma of America is making its way to his nostrils... even as we speak.

Perhaps this is why I’ve put the consummate elder in our crosshairs today... the apostle John. Tradition tells us that he was the only apostle to die of natural causes. He lived to be 93 or so — so, he beat the odds! But he also knew a few things about being an elder, and we’ll look at what eldership could mean for us today... and the danger America’s churches are facing if they continue to marginalize the rare spiritual asset... which is her senior saints.

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