Old and young

Bad influences, avoid them at all costs… In a couple of months Richard and Christopher Hays (father and son) will publish a book that probably won’t come up with something totally innovative but will annoy the (theologically) conservative world because Richard’s previous writings were used to defend their position, often used as a quote… as Richard Hays says in The Moral Vision of the New Testament

There is already some response to the forthcoming book with one of the best quotes being

Unfortunately, I’ve seen young adult children turn their previously biblical parents toward heresy, not more than once — including a president of a Bible college.

‘Young adult children’… quite a comment!! Richard is 76 years old and I guess Christopher is around the 50 mark… and Jesus was reaching maturity in his early 30s. By the standards of the quote I hope I am deeply influenced in my thinking by a ‘young adult child’, the one who pioneered true faithfulness in God.

Seems the term as used in the quote is simply a convenient way to say ‘don’t read this book as I don’t agree / like the contents’. And I guess we all like to do that at times, to say ‘don’t confuse me with the facts’ or ‘I have everything buttoned down so don’t disturb my certainties’.

The other day I noted that I am getting older(!), that I am just passing beyond the category of being a ‘young adult child’, and crazily a big percentage of my time is as a sounding board (I will progress to ‘mentor’ once I am past middle-age) to those younger than me – with some of them being considerably older than Jesus was, and as someone older I do have a perspective on entering the last phase of life. Circumstances, health and some level of energy allowing that phase should be the most productive of all phases. I however observe that a number of people just seem to keep on with what they were always doing, occupying space so that the multiplication that should take place does not happen; possibly out of a fear of ‘redundancy’ they continue – the world has moved on, they have not, and they continue doing what they have always done but the effect and circle of influence become ever smaller, and often unresolved issues that busyness has kept covered / in check surfaces.

‘Be less visible and more effective’ that I think is the invitation for us who are no longer ‘young adult children’… and to be influenced and challenged by those who are ‘young adult children’.

I hardly think Richard (the father) has at this latter stage of his life is about to become a heretic (Stanley Hauerwas says of Richard Hays, ‘There are few people I would rather read for the actual exposition of the New Testament than Richard Hays’)… he might change some of his views and in doing so adopt something ‘in error’, for like us all when he does pass away he will not have sussed out everything – that is not our goal in life! Life is an adventure, it needs to be centred in on devotion to Jesus so that we do not simply meander and travel into unfruitful areas. But ‘knowing’ the truth as in propositions… no… and hence a vote for all those young adult children (probably in the 20-30 bracket, not the 50+ age group) to provoke, and a vote for those who are intent on making space as they seek to be less visible and yet more effective.

2 thoughts on “Old and young

  1. LOL. Having somewhat recently passed out of what I guess is the ‘young adult’ phase and now into my ‘wisdom’ years I can wholeheartedly agree. Be less visible and more effective. Spot on and am working to move to that in my life. There is a lot for us ‘elders’ to do yet, critical stuff. But those young adults can take the spotlight now. Its their turn.

  2. Haha…I chuckled out-loud reading this Martin. Lynne and I have certainly been wonderfully influenced by our ‘young adult children,’ and we wouldn’t want it any other way. This is part of what I wrote in the dedication of my book;
    “To our three offspring, Michelle, Paul, and Vanessa. Your
    challenging love keeps me growing and has caused me to be a
    learner again, not allowing me to comfortably rest in the safe bed of
    previous dogma. We are in this journey together, and I greatly value
    your input into my life of discovery.”
    If it wasn’t for our young adult kids…I don’t know that I’d be as far down this exciting road of discovery as I am. However, for one who likes to talk…I’m having a challenge time becoming ‘less visible and more effective,’ but I’m working on it! 🙂

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