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A Vision for the Aging Church
Reviewing Ministry For and By Seniors
by James M. Houston & Michael Parker
Publisher:IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Seniors aren’t the problem. They are the solution! Ageism is a form of contemporary ‘social apartheid’. The authors summon those they call Seniors (though they actually seem to prefer the term elder, with ‘more subtleties of moral evaluation’) into the ‘late-life version of the crucified life’. They expose six ‘myths of aging’ and describe how we may ‘age successfully’. The goal is ‘an army of spiritually inspired, successfully aging seniors’. How may the Church ‘meet the demands and embrace the opportunities of senior living’, given that many churches are ‘aging to death’, through their failure to adopt an ‘intergenerational’ perspective. ‘Today’s church fails to recognise sufficiently the unique resource available in its senior members.’
In addition to providing better care for their seniors, churches should not only be offering ministry to and for them, but also be enabling ministry by them, so that older members of the church should not just be passive recipients of ministry but active participants. I found this book generally informative and thought provoking, for example in its material on Alzheimer’s disease, and Biblical perspectives on aging and Elders, but have to say that, particularly when I got to its later Appendices, I felt that its usefulness is limited by its being so firmly anchored in the North American context.
Reviewer: Barry Vendy (09/08/12)