Living Affirmatively as We Age

As I celebrate another birthday today, I draw inspiration from Progressive theologian and minister Bruce G. Epperly, who writes about the power of living affirmatively as we age. He notes that Boomers and older adults often suffer from discrimination based on nothing more than their chronology.

Indeed, many Baby Boomers and older adults complain that they are often the butt of “old geezer” jokes. Their complaints are backed up by research. A survey by Duke University’s Erdman Palmore, PhD, has also revealed that many older adults report being ignored or not taken seriously by younger adults. This in spite of the fact that we have many examples of people who made their mark well after the age of 60, people like actor Judi Dench, author Frank McCourt, or British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

In the face of ageism, Epperly encourages those in the second half of life to practise affirmative faith. “Affirmative faith,” he argues on page 85 of The Jubilee Years, “challenges us to let go of our self-imposed limitations and embrace God’s possibilities.”  

Here is an example from his book that you may wish to try.

When reciting Romans 8:38-39:

“ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Why not try changing this to:

“ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither ill health or old age, neither people’s jokes nor their failure to recognise my wisdom or true worth can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Epperly grounds his spiritual affirmations in one of my favourite verses of scripture:

” Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

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