Welcome to 2007, Young and Old Alike

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And so another year begins. Seattle weather windy and blustery, a perfect day to stay cozy in bed, and yet work beckons (purposeful activity mental or physical) and so I arise, more difficultly with age I notice.

George Macdonald opens the year (Diary of An Old Soul) with unitive words for young and old.

“Lord what I once had done with youthful might,
Had I been from the first true to the truth,
Grant me, now old, to do–with better sight,
And humbler heart, if not the brain of youth;
So wilt Thou, in they gentleness and ruth,
Lead back they old soul, by the path of pain,
Round to his best–young eyes and heart and brain.”

This call to stewardship for young and old begins our year and may it be sustained in all the days of this year.

Are you free to choose your path in resolving to make this a better year than the last? The question is asked and preliminary answers offered in today’s NYT’s Science section.

Is evangelizing” at sports events useful and appropriate? A young man from Bellingham Washington styles his ministry like the Apostle Paul’s, selling tents so he can travel to places like the Rose Bowl. The story includes this exchange¢â‚¬¦”One intoxicated woman whose breasts were almost completely exposed harangued him until he could not restrain himself. ‘Go home and put some clothes on,’ Mr. Ephrata told her angrily. ‘You’re causing me to sin by looking at your breasts. You are dressed that way on purpose. Go and sin no more, woman. Go and sin no more.'”

For those of us who enjoy thoughtful movies, this year escapism is the winning theme, pushing message movies aside with relative ease. “Warner missed with “Blood Diamond,” a big action movie that had something to say. Alan Horn, the studio’s president, said he thought the film had managed the feat, but audiences didn’t, and the film has grossed ($) 36 million so far. ‘The audience is telling us that either they want lighter fare, and they just don’t want to go there and have a movie as thematically heavy as ¢â‚¬ËœBlood Diamond’ is, or it’s the quality of the movie,’ he said.” Nativity, which Michael Medved predicted on “The Kindlings Muse” was “like printing money,” faltered too. Again the NYT: “New Line’s stab at exploiting the religious Christian market, “The Nativity Story,” cost ($)35 million, but grossed just ($)37 million. By comparison, a tiny proselytizing football movie called “Facing the Giants,” made for just ($)100,000 by a Southern Baptist congregation in Georgia, grossed ($)10 million in a limited release.” You may recall that among my concerns with “Facing the Giants” was it’s light, breezy, ‘feel good’ theology” that is its own form of evangelical escapism.

Parents take note—If you think My Space is scary, wait until you read about stickam.com the web site without rules.

Finally, back to the subject of young and old. Here is Alessandra Stanley’s odd piece about “Checking out in style”that makes a bizarre analogy between Saddam Husseins’ hanging and Dick Clarks’ fading. It ends with this note: “But despite a 2004 stroke that left him (Dick CLark) in a wheelchair and his speech impaired, Mr. Clark, wearing a tuxedo jacket with shiny lapels, made brief cameos. His voice was slurred and his face gaunt and waxy, but he smiled gamely as he introduced Christina Aguilera and called out the countdown to midnight. Television has little patience with the aging and not much time for stroke victims, so it was both reassuring and painful to see Mr. Clark struggling to still fit into his nickname, “America’s oldest teenager.”Anyone who thinks that elderly entertainers can gracefully retire and surrender the limelight don’t know anything about show business. As usual, the hardest-working man in it said it best. In an interview he gave in 1989 while in prison for, among other things, a PCP-fueled high-speed car chase, Mr. Brown was asked how he was feeling. ‘I’m well rested,’ the singer replied. ‘But I miss being tired.'”

It is common at year’s end to say “out with the old, in with the new,” but when it comes to the dignity and respect of individual humans ancient wisdom urges young and old to benefit from each other rather than simply displacing. And aso I say, “Happy New Year young and old alike!”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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