Friday, May 22, 2009

Anna Quindlan's Last Word

As I prepare for an Ascension Day sermon, when Jesus stepped out of this world leaving a massive space for his disciples to fill, I'm reminded of the last column by Anna Quindlen in Newsweek.

She is stepping aside in order to make room for younger writers with more diversity, technological savvy, and energy. I loved her article in part because she acknowledges openly one downside of the way that her generation hangs onto youth. It doesn't allow the next generation freedom to claim their adulthood. Our institutions and our world suffer when 15-30 yr olds don't have real responsibility.

From our use of technology to rethinking the whole way we do church, young people's voices are vital to the future of the church, yet they are largely absent from power or decision-making. (By the way, in the category "Young Adult" I don't include me. I technically fit the bill, but I no longer consider myself a young adult - certainly not of the generation raised on the web or cell phones)

I think Quindlen is making a great move in stepping aside. But it also gives me pause. I hope she will keep writing in some form, because even as America and the world need the fresh insights of youth, we also need the wisdom of age and experience. We especially need power brokers who understand that youth is a precious and fleeting commodity to be valued.

There is real wisdom in the gathering of the generations. I'd never want a church where, once you hit 30, you became an irrelevant relic. As we think about how young people have real power in shaping the church, there is a challenge before us to be a church that is truly inter generational.


  1. Amen to the church being "intergenerational"! Taking it a step further, how about "inter-everything"? POP can continue to foster that attitude/culture by continuing to have groups and activities that are for everybody. There are certainly needs/places for gender or aged based groups within the church, as long as not one person feels alienated or left out. I've seen too many instances (at other churches) where people think the church is "forgetting them" - a very serious offense.

  2. Hadn't read Quindlen's column.  Makes me sad, since I love her, and hope her writing continues to be available.  But I do agree with the premise that people need to let go and get out of the way and have trust to let the seeds they've sown take root and bloom in younger generations. Bob Holum


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