A Response to Ageism
Ageism, Darwinism, Initiative, and Access
I have heard some disturbing news over the past couple of weeks. It seems that there is a strong undercurrent of ageism that is permeating various responses to the plague sweeping the global community. Much of this ageism is driven by Darwinism and a general lack of concern for those who are immunocompromised. I would love to say that this has no place in the Church community, but I have read or heard disturbing comments that must be addressed from a Biblical perspective.
Ageism is defined as forming prejudicial constructs based upon a person’s age. This is the act of judging someone based upon their age rather than the content of their character. Darwinism is the belief that by removing the weakest links from a people group, the group will become healthier and better off. Survival of the fittest was the driving philosophy behind the ethnic cleansings between 1930-1950 and is directly derived from Darwinism. You don’t have to look far to find this same philosophy in Facebook or Twitter feeds.
The ugliest response to this virus is the title of “Boomer Remover.” There have been virus parties all over the world celebrating the sad reality that this virus seems to target those over 60, (Boomers typically are those too young to remember Pearl Harbor but old enough to remember JFK). This is incredibly disturbing and causing an even bigger generational divide – which cuts both ways. Do not judge anyone based upon the poor decisions by others in their age group.
The other issue evident in this time is a devaluation of human life based upon issues of longevity or capacity. All human life is created in the image of God. Though marred by our sin, the craftsmanship of God is best displayed through His prize creation: Humanity. May the Church value every individual regardless of race, creed, generation, or capacity. God knit each one of us together in our mother’s womb and His thoughts about each person outnumber the grains of sand on every beach in the world.
This brings me to our response as a local church. We are living in an age where many are considering whether they should embrace a value of isolation. While physical isolation is important during this crisis, this is not a Biblical value as it relates to community. We must remain connected to one another and use every tool at our disposal to create some semblance of community. Call each other and use video when possible. Sit outside when possible, (I love talking to my neighbors across the street and fence, or those who park in front of my house). Take the initiative to connect early and often, (U.S. Mail is still delivering!).
Finally, what if this became a season that reflected a renewed commitment by our church to create access to the whole Gospel? Who needs to be invited to a live streamed church service? Do you have a neighbor who needs the community that only a church can provide? How could our facility be used during this season? I for one would love to hear your responses to this. I know these would be great discussion questions for a Compass Group meeting over Zoom. Let us press in, take initiative, and create access during this difficult season.