Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Aging and Maturity

Yesterday I commented on an article by Carl Trueman which criticized infatuation with youth and appearance. Just this morning I read Dorothy Sayers essay “Strong Meat” in her book Creed or Chaos and it addressed this very issue. The entire piece- indeed the whole book- is valuable reading, but here are just a few samples on this topic:

“There is a popular school of thought (or, more strictly, of feeling) which violently resents the operation of Time upon the human spirit. It looks upon age as something between a crime and an insult. Its prophets have banished from their savage vocabulary all such words as adult, mature, experienced, venerable; they know only snarling and sneering epithets, like middle-aged, elderly, stuffy, senile, and decrepit. With these they flagellate that which they themselves are, or must shortly become, as if abuse were an incantation to exorcize the inexorable. Theirs is neither the thoughtless courage that ‘makes mouths at the invisible event’ [Shakespeare] nor
the reasoned courage that foresees the event and endures it; still less is it the ecstatic courage that embraces and subdues the event. It is the vicious and desperate fury of a trapped beast; and it is not a pretty sight.”

“From the relentless reality of age they seek escape into a fantasy of youth – their own or other people’s.”

“Now, children differ in many ways, but they have one thing in common. Peter Pan – if indeed he exists otherwise than in the nostalgic imagination of an adult – is a case for the pathologist. All normal children (however much we discourage them) look forward to growing up.”


Adam said...

Having recently watched the William Carey "Candle in Darkness" movie, I was reminded that wigs are nothing new to our culture. Perhaps the motivation to appear young may be novel, though.

On a related note, we can also observe the influence of the youth-culture upon the way people dress. 70 years ago, men went to their blue-collar jobs and sporting events wearing a three-piece suit and a full-billed hat. Nowdays, some preachers and teachers look like teenagers. In a future post, I would love to see your thoughts on how our theology should affect the way we dress for different occasions (not just as regards modesty but a more general treatment). I think the majority of people my age would say dress is largley irrelevant and nothing but vanity. Should a pastor dress "one step up" from the people he is preaching to? Should a professor be free to dress like students while teaching class? Is it all relative to culture? What role does doctrine play in dress?

Ray Van Neste said...

Good question/point, Adam.
I do think many, esp. younger guys, too quickly bruch thigns off as cultural. We never exist outside of a cultural setting. There is something to the way we dress. I'll have to think more for a full response, but this wouldbe a worthwhile topic.