Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Aged Out of Church
Even in our congregations, midlife has become a joke

By Michelle Van Loon
April 1, 2014

Ask anyone who's hit midlife, and they'll tell you: this stage is no joke for us.

The emotional, spiritual, physical, and relational shifts that occur at midlife can lead to disconnection from old social networks and a profound sense of loneliness, which brings with it serious health risks. At this point, many also feel drained by the increasingly common occurrence of death, disease, divorce, and the changes that redefine old friendships.

And yet, rather than engage these important but uncomfortable issues that come with aging, our culture—including, at times, the church—would rather laugh it off. We see midlife as a caricature: the man with a bad comb over buying a red convertible or a thick-waisted woman drenched with sweat after her internal thermostat cranks itself up to the "temporary inferno" setting. We make the middle-aged into a punchline:

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