Advice to Boomers: Think Like a Millennial

I had a conversation with my neighbor that got me thinking about the nature of work these days. My neighbor retired from his career as a radiology oncologist last year. He was just 62. As he has reminded me over the years, “I’m the doctor you don’t want to see.”

He certainly helped a lot of people extend their lives, but he also saw a lot of death. “All of those cases accumulate and finally they get to you,” he told me. Besides, he observed, if you do just one thing all your life, there finally comes a time when you say, “I don’t want to do that any more.” So he retired.

I suspect a lot of people in my Boomer generation are in this place right now. Those who can afford to retire have done so or are strongly thinking about it. Those who aren’t there financially wish they could be. I feel for those who are ready to retire but have no choice but to keep their nose to the grindstone. I have no words of wisdom for them.

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Does the Bible bore you?

The Bible is the most remarkable book ever written, read by more people than any other book by a mile, and yet if you're completely honest, you'd have to admit that at times the Bible bores you. We'll admit it. There are times when we read the Bible out of obligation rather than from a heart of expectation. Why is that? Why do we sometimes get bored when we read the Bible?

We've thought about this and have a theory. See what you think. Our theory starts with the fact that we humans are a self-centered bunch. We're always looking for our own best interests, doing things that make us feel better, and basically orienting everything we do around us, including the Bible. Even as followers of Christ, we live as if we're the center of the universe, and so the Bible becomes just one more thing to add to our lives, like a self-help book.

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Hitchens' Presumption of Meaning

Even though I don't agree with his ideas, I must admit Christopher Hitchens is a talented writer.  Here he writes an interesting account of his battle with cancer

What I find highly interesting, and inconsistent, is Hitchens' presumption of meaning.  Hitchens is an atheist.  In his worldview, any objective transcendent meaning to life or its events is utterly illusory.  No purpose here.  Just a random collision of atoms in this cold dark universe we call home.  Hitchens implies as much:  "To the dumb question 'Why me?' the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply:  Why not?"  "Why me?' is indeed a dumb question when there's nothing or no one to answer.

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The American Work Crisis

Having spent last week in at a conference in San Diego, I was struck by how cool it was to come to my room each afternoon and find that someone had made my bed.  This someone (I met her) was hard working, knew more languages than me, and was terribly polite - possibly even more polite than some of the conference speakers and attendees.  I appreciated her acts of service, and wondered if she could live on what she was getting paid.

He works "hard" for the money? This morning I woke up and remembered that I'd need to make my own bed.  Then, on the stairmaster, I heard about Ryan Howard's five year contract extension to the tune of 25 million per year.  He's not providing a cure for cancer, or world hunger.  He's not healing people or playing an integral or even peripheral role in creating a more peaceful world.  He gets all these dollars for playing baseball.  Meanwhile, I recently met a rural Montana school teacher whose salary is less than 18 thousand a year, and know pastors who barely get by, while Goldman Sachs brokers and execs bet on the housing bubble and walk away with millions.  It all feels so wrong somehow, don't you agree?

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The Promise and the Paradox

Many Christians see nothing wrong with being the captain of their own ship, charting a course in search of meaning and purpose. Whether it takes 40 days or 40 years, we know for certain that a life of substance exists because Jesus himself promised it to us: 

"Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:9-10, NLT).

For purposes of clarification, a "rich and satisfying life" does not imply riches (despite how proponents of the prosperity gospel might interpret this verse).  Christ did not come to earth to make us financially wealthy (sorry, Joel Osteen).  Neither did he come to make sure we were comfortable and safe.  Just ask any of the first-century Christians.  Oh, wait--you can't ask them because they're dead, having been tortured to death because of their allegiance to Christ.  They took that whole "take up your cross and follow me" directive seriously.  

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