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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

And while we're ranting...

You know, for the three years I’ve been here at seminary, I’ve seen lots of ups and downs-- personally, as well as in the larger community. And I’ve listened, and participated in the work, as we’ve struggled with the wide variety of issues, with varying levels of success. Race, gender, sexual orientation. . . the same things that face our national church, and every congregation in every denomination across the country, appear here in microcosm.

The one that’s pushed my hot button today, though, has to do with age. This has been a sore point rearing its ugly head with alarming consistency here. Not surprising, I suppose, in a seminary community with students who range from 22 to 60-something, all here on an equal footing and trying to understand themselves and one another as we train for ordained ministry.

The complaint I hear, over and over, comes from younger classmates. They are irritated by perceived slights and patronizing attitudes of the older students, who seem to have insufficient respect for their gifts and talents. Now I’ll be the first one to say that some of the fuss has been entirely legitimate. I have heard more than one condescending reference to “the kids,” or a seen a group of older students who, in one way or another (academically or socially), fail to accept and treat their younger classmate as a peer and colleague. I have said publicly more than once, in person and on this blog, that this is inappropriate and unacceptable behavior. God calls whom God calls, and in God’s own time; and we all have a great deal to offer one another on the road of discipleship, at whatever age we are. It behooves us to remember that, and to respect one another in the face of that reality.

But you know what? The road travels both ways, my brothers and sisters; and if you don’t care for the way you’re treated because you’re under 30, then I’d suggest you consider the ways that you treat your classmates who are over 30. And if you don’t like being on the receiving end, then with due respect, knock it off.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled homework.


Anonymous Shari said...

Why does something tell me that these "perceived slights" may have less to do with age, than with the relative orthodoxy of Gen X/Y and the continued heterodoxy of aging boomers?

Or am I completely out to lunch? Oh well, back to my "premillenium dispensationalism".

May 04, 2005 10:55 AM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

No, Shari-- in this case, it's not "I'm right and you're wrong," in any doctrinal or theological way, but more simply "You're too old (or young), and wouldn't get it."

May 04, 2005 12:02 PM  

Anonymous shari said...

LOL. A different matter entirely! :)

Shari (aging boomer herself)

May 04, 2005 12:05 PM  

Blogger the reverend mommy said...

At my seminary (or rather, School of Theology) the majority of the students (slight majority) are 22 to 24 years old when they enter. The average age has dropped from aroun 36 to 29 in three years. The 1st career students call the 2nd career students "roly-baggers." All the media sent out to prospective students and the website picture the younger students. Here the 2nd career students are the marginalized -- I've heard statements about "isn't time for him/her to be put out to pasture...."

I sign this a pround roly-bagger who longs for her pasture.....

May 06, 2005 7:56 PM  

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