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The wisdom of elders

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, I am very grateful for the wisdom of those who have gone before me.

I met yesterday with my research supervisor, Prof (Emer.) Haddon Willmer. His experience and deep theological understanding forged from a life of thinking and living theologically has helped significantly in shaping not only the direction of my research toward a (hopefully) worthwhile project, but also my own way of thinking, and my nascent but developing skills as a theologian. The meeting has also made me reflect on the numerable other mentors, theological, academic and otherwise who have steered my life and thought over the years.

In our society today we are, as often observed, more infatuated with the ideals of youth and beauty than appreciative of age and wisdom. In fact, contrary to other eras and cultures, our still very modernist (and dare I say arrogant) thinking causes us to fall victim to what CS Lewis referred to as ‘chronological snobbery,’ assuming that we know better than our elders and previous generations.

But I wonder which actually provides the greater – or at least, better and more valuable – influence in our lives? Celebrified youth and beauty? Or the wisdom of our elders?

Perhaps it takes wisdom even to heed wisdom?

If so, Lord grant me such.

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding. For her benefit is more profitable than silver, and her gain is better than gold. (Prov 3:13-14)