Radical

What do you think of this Francis Chan video about aging?

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About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Joe Canner

    He’s got the right message, but I’m not sure he’s the right person to deliver that message (i.e., 20+ years younger than those he is speaking to), and I doubt that an online video the best way to deliver the message.

  • Kate

    I guess my question is why does age matter? Certainly, chances of death are greater at an older age, but shouldn’t we ALL be seeking to live Kingdom minded lives–whether we’re 8 or 68? I certainly don’t want my generation of 20-somethings thinking it’s okay to live “of the world” because we’ve still got a lot of life to make things right. Yes, I think, naturally, my generation is a bit more “radical” (if that’s the word we’re using) than most, and I’d LOVE to see older generations embrace that. But, I’m worried about the latent message this soon-to-be-viral video might send.
    Also, I don’t appreciate the tone Chan is speaking in. It almost seems like he thinks he’s got it all figured out. That doesn’t sit well with me.

  • http://noggingrande.wordpress.com Joe Watkins

    I would first echo Joe’s comment above, and I would also ask, where in the church are we actually telling the people Chan’s talking about any opportunity to imagine that they can live a radical life? Is this the natural fruit of a juvenilized church?

  • Percival

    I feel the same way as Chan sometimes when I look at old people. Why do they want to hold onto stuff and retire? I guess it comes down to a lifetime of direction and momentum. Those things don’t change just because you get old.

    But, then again, as I get older I realize a few things. 1) You get tired, and 2) Young people aren’t that interested in your hoary wisdom or experience. They are usually attracted to excitement and cool-osity, which are two things I never had an abundant supply of in the first place.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Every cynical bone in my body cries out in watching that video. Petty much all the old people I know have started to do more and more as they get older. They campaign for political events, they feed people at the shelters, they read the newspaper to the blind. And, many have the burden in our society for taking care of the elderly that are in poor physical condition. Those who are healthy help the weak instead of the young helping the weak.

    Perhaps it is a reflection of his church where the old people look at the message being preached and wonder why they should contribute to something like his gig instead of taking direct action.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    “excitement and cool-osity”

    You need to change your name! ;)

  • Deets

    This is a sensitive issue, but one needing someone to speek to. I admire Chan for doing so. I don’t know how many times in Family Ministry I have heard elderly folks say, “I did my time with the younger people. I don’t need to do any more.” Probably dozens of people 50+ have told me that. How wrong they are.

    I don’t know how much money senior Christians spend on going to Florida, but I don’t know more than a handful that spend their winters on anything other than living a nice life. I’d love to hear about more seniors like my father, who spend their trip money bringing relief to refugees in Thailand.

    This isn’t an issue of our seniors though. It is the goal of just about every generation to live a life of comfort and prosperity. Those are human goals through all time. They aren’t God’s goals for us.

    What if the bumper sticker was changed from, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance,” to “I’m giving my children’s inheritance to those who need it more.”

  • Bill McReynolds

    Is this not a good example of pietistic, puritanistic dualism in the church? If the message were simplicity, that would be good. But this seems to me to be a denial of this “bad, material, non-spiritual world/creation.” Platonic? I’ll take renewal over annihilation, thanks!

  • Phil Miller

    Personally, Chan gets on my nerves. I find his constant nagging tone to come off as overly forced, to be honest with you. Perhaps it’s because I grew in an environment where I was constantly being told in similar ways that I need to be more radical, sacrifice more, blah, blah, blah. Really, it’s a symptom of serving a God whom you believe can never be happy with you. I’m afraid that Chan’s brand of evangelicalism leads to burnout and spiritual fatigue. One can only keep up the facade of being a radical for so long.

  • http://www.geekpreacher.com Derek W. White

    The heart of Chan’s message seems to be “You’re dying so get rid of all your stuff.” So, it’s the same old message that the ascetic life is the only life for a Christian.

    What about the concept of leaving behind a heritage? Instead of saying give everything away because death is stalking you why not say that there are lives to be touched and changed in service to Christ’s kingdom and that will surely last forever.

    Also, what is wrong with the idea of leaving behind “things” that will be a way for our children to touch their heritage? Mementos and such can be great memory tools for further generations.

    I also think Bill hits the nail on the head with his comment. There is a very dualistic bent to Chan’s message. Doesn’t he realize we were created to be embodied beings?

  • http://timmhallman.blogspot.com Tim Hallman

    I kept imagining all these old people being rallied by William Wallace to storm the forts of their English oppressors! The Braveheart movie soundtrack to the Chan commentary was an odd mix. The simplistic presentation by Chan undermined the important message of simplicity, resistance to consumerism, and a missional life-style all the way to the last breath. Chan is right to invite Christian senior citizens to not burden themselves with excessive materialism, nor waste their retirement days. But I think the video used guilt as a motivator, and that was unfortunate.

  • Percival

    DRT,
    Sadly, Percival is cooler than my real name.

  • Richard

    Braveheart, really?

  • http://www.northminstersandiego.com Markus Watson

    Personally, I think that, rather than a message that says, “Do stuff for Jesus before you die,” a better message would be, “You have been gifted with talents, abilities, experience, and wisdom. You can bless the world in a way that your grandchildren can’t (yet)! How is God calling you to bless the world?”

  • Dana Ames

    Perhaps Chan is simply advocating for simplicity and rejection of consumerism, and a reminder that elderly folk have love to give in Jesus’ name. DRT knows people like this. So do I. So in “the church” there are elderly who are lovingly serving.

    As Kate @2 says, something about the tone bothers me. As someone who suffers from judgmentalism, I hear what he says as being very judgmental. Perhaps that’s not how he means it, but that’s how it comes across to me. And just because someone is older, that does not mean he or she is actually mature. I’ve known 12-year-olds in 70-year-old suits, who still need some healing before they can even consider the possibility that self-giving love for others could be safe for them in God’s universe.

    I think Bill @8 makes a very good point. In addition, does Chan think the way elderly serve and live has to be “radical”? Why is that? It’s not ok that health issues or other responsibilities or considerations limit the time and energy older people have?

    I think Chan’s message is very short-sighted.

    Dana

  • http://tinglypoet.blogspot.com Christina

    Oh boy, this bothered me from the very beginning. Instead of an encouragement, it’s a judgement. Not, “Think of what’s possible for you still as an older person!” but, “Older people aren’t living for God.” OOOF! An indictment that is, in my experience, totally not true.

    I am a 34 year old youth pastor, and the seniors in my congregational are AMAZING witnesses. The majority of them are so giving, so compassionate, so committed, they are constantly a challenge to ME to live more radically. A woman in our church, who just turned 100 this year, has been encouraging us as a church to tithe our income to missions for three years now, and this year we are FINALLY doing it. But we would not have done it without her urging and fantastic testimony to the power of God.

    I want Francis Chan to come meet Virginia, and see if he still wants to say these things.

  • Tim

    Good= encourages radical generosity

    Bad= scapegoats a particular age group

    Good= talks about our addiction to stuff

    Bad= suggests that “meeting Jesus” is primarily for after we die

    Good= reminds us to let go of selfishness for service

    Bad= platonic evacuation from earth

    Back to the basics…

    The Lord’s Prayer– God’s will be done on earth, God’s Kingdom come to the earth, may people be fed and forgiveness spread. May we in the process of “fighting” evil avoid the temptation to be turned into that which we are fighting. To the glory of God. Amen!

  • Kenny Johnson

    I used to take some of Chan’s calls for radicalism to heart. Now, they just annoy me. I think, because like others have said — they feel more like judgment than encouragement.

    With that said though, there’s a part of me that probably just doesn’t like the message. I like comfort. I like stuff. I didn’t grow up with much. We lived in a small house in a working class neighborhood. My mom didn’t work and my dad worked overtime. We had 1 car and it was always many years (10+) old. As an adult, I often feel like — compared to my peers, I don’t have much to sacrifice. We drive older cars that are paid off. We live in a small (900 sq feet), rented house in a good neighborhood. We sometimes struggle. We sometimes stress about paying our bills or making rent. We don’t have cable. We have pre-paid cell phones. And yet, we are still not able to give much to the church/charity. This is not self-imposed. :)

    So, I kinda look forward to my older years when I will have more. Sorry. Maybe I’m not really hearing Jesus’ radical message of self-sacrifice. But… yes… I like and seek comfort in material things.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    After letting this settle on me today and reading many of the other comments I realize that Chan may not necessarily be unkind and discriminatory to others, he may just be jaded to the point that he can’t recognize the good in others anymore. In either case I think he needs to take a step back and consider that he just insulted a great many people in our world that are very very good people. And those people may have little to no time to change what they have done in their lives. I get it that Chan thinks he may not have time and he is trying to give more, that’s great. But that is no reason to take such a broad brush and paint people to whom we are all indebted as selfish.

    My intuition tells me that Chan is bucking for them to give more to his church and if I am wrong then I apologize, but I was not born yesterday.

  • Christine

    Quite frankly I think this is arrogant in the extreme. Firstly, most of the people in the generations he’s talking about have often done it hard, especially those in their 80′s. Remember that little stoush called WW2? Perhaps they feel like they’ve earned a little bit of rest and relaxation. As others have said material accumulation is not the preserve of the aged. Francis has chosen his way of life, just don’t expect everyone else to see it the same way. As one of the other commenters here has said, younger people don’t seem to be interested in the views/opinions of the older generation so why should the oldies worry about what younger people think. If Francis is worried about aging at 44, he’s going to be in real trouble at 64!!

  • gerald

    Wow! Way to skinem alive dude! I think once this guys lived a while longer he will realize that he has been standing on the shoulders of these “elderly people” , what a _______!

  • http://azspot.net Naum

    He’s (Chan) trying to be respectful, but he’s making a crass generalization based seemingly entirely on anecdotal evidence. Elderly people (and speaking as one only a few years older than Chan), just like younger people, are all packages of possibilities. The only difference is that the aging process can be quite destructive — physically and mentally. And as other posters here have pointed out, many elderly are indeed strong mature Christ disciples whereas other in that demographic have never matured in their Jesus walk.

    And I agree with Tim (#17) that there is both good and bad in this.

    Odd, I just started reading Crazy Love, and am about two-thirds through, and experienced the same good/bad polarity. Some sentences and passages are beautiful while others are cringe inducing.

  • http://roncabay@sbcglobal.net Ron C.

    I’m 61 years old and somewhat surprised by the comments re: Chan’s video. This is not to say that I totally disagree with the comments, I’m just somewhat concerned and taken aback by them.

    I have a very close Christian friend named Laura who is 55, has Parkinson disease, is very outgoing and she lives and breaths to share the Good News of Christ. I know of no one like her. She also resides in the largest assisted living complex in the area. The place is absolutely huge and is the grandest that I have witnessed.

    A few years ago, another friend (Clete, 65) and I started having community with her on a weekly basis in an effort to try and figure out what it means to be the ekklesia. We have a long way to go!! The three of us have all but given up on the traditional version and this is our way of being the “church” (the reason for the quotation marks is that I somewhat despise this expression/label because it is possibly the most mistranslated and thereby misunderstood word in the entirety of the N.T., but I digress).

    On numerous occasions Laura has remarked that she is surrounded by elderly residents that “just don’t get it” (her exact words). This is extremely hard for her because on a regular basis she finds out that another resident no longer resides on this side of eternity. I can’t wait to share Chan’s message with her because it sounds so similar to her own narrative.

    Clete and I have also discussed this same issue. Both of us are surrounded by individuals in the twilight of there lives who unfortunately seem to fall into Chan’s version. There are some “bright spots”, but very, very few.

    This is what I have experienced in my small sphere, and with all honestly I hope that I’m wrong.

  • http://charlieschurchofchrist.wordpress.com Charlie’s Church of Christ

    What I see frequently with Chan and John Piper is a form of ask me a question on any subject and I’ll give you a “biblical” answer. Does the Bible really give a biblical view of aging? And it is strange for someone at 44 to be giving advice to older people. Though he keeps saying “respectfully” I learned long ago that elderly people know a heck of a lot more than me.

  • Jaymes Lackey

    I think I agree with Chan. Having had numerous seniors tell me (a 20 something) that they served their time and it was time for the younger folks to step up is insane. Even for those seniors who are “doing” stuff, I want to see someone who lives the gospel. I know that is loaded but Jesus makes some insanely hard sayings about money (Luke 12, 14, 18) and disciples, about violence, about enemies. I need someone to show me that Jesus meant what he said.

    I would love to have an old, wise “elder” come to church, sunday school, or preach a sermon and let me sit at their feet and teach me by what they are doing. Instead, as the worship and assistant pastor, I received complaint after complaint as if Jesus were turning his face from us because I refused to sing a certain style or feature the organ/piano. I need an Apostle John coming to church in a wheel-barrow every week exhorting me to “love one another for it will be enough” not an John of the US telling me to vote republican and learn more Charles Wesley.

  • Ron C.

    Jaymes,

    Your comments ring true and are appreciated. However, I’m concerned and disappointed over the tone displayed by many of the other repondents.

  • Joey Elliott

    A few comments that cover the gamut of opinions.

    1. I agree with Ron on the tone of the comments. Not much patience to understand the heart and message behind Chan’s ministry.

    2. DRT, Chan’s motive is likely not fundraising for his church, as he left his church last year.

    3. All I hear in Chan’s video (and in similar messages from Platt and others) is elaboration on the Parable of the Rich Fool, and warnings in 1Timothy 6 about the love of money (not money, notice, but the love of) being the root of all kinds of evils. All I hear in these messages is pleas for old people (and by extension all people) to not desire to be rich, and hence fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that cause ruin and destruction, in which way some have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Just preaching the Bible, really. Who would resist just a message of hope and encouragement? Those who desire riches, perhaps. Not sure.

    4. That said, my church is filled with old people who are living radically for Jesus and are great examples akin to Hebrews 11 even. However, I certainly don’t think they would be insulted at this message, but encouraged to further live as examples to their elderly friends and family who are perhaps falling into the snare of riches.

    5. I do believe that the “live radically” message can go too far promoting sacrifice where perhaps Jesus doesn’t call. And it has. My personal stance is that neither Platt nor Chan have taken it that far, but it is worth watching out for. Meanwhile, I am convicted by it, and am attempting to live below my means wherever possible, for the sake of others who do not know Jesus.

  • Hamo

    I see Francis point and I felt challenged by the video, but I also saw the manipulation in the video.

    I am around mostly elderly who are living their faith and ‘spending’ their $$ but I fear becoming one of the other sort.

    I think Francis (like most preachers) is speaking to himself first and he is seeing stuff in his own life that turns his stomach. The ability to not project that on others is a challenge

  • michael

    Chan is both dead wrong and right on.

    He’s right on in that SOME folks are completely caught up in a life that isn’t oriented around seeing the kingdom come on earth. But that’s NOT a demographic issue, it’s a humanity issue. Analyze any segment of society and you’ll see the same thing: some living for Christ, some for themselves.

    He’s dead wrong in:
    - his tone. Whiny and guilt-motivated. Give folks a picture of a new way please.

    - his perspective. #8 comment hinted at this. Let’s please not go down the road of labeling some things as spiritual and others not. How about just asking if we are using whatever God has given us (time, money, wisdom, etc) in appropriate ways for God?

  • michael

    If we want to look at video’s that challenge on this topic, I find this one to be much more helpful, challenging, and inspiring.

    http://edsstory.com/films/it-aint-over.php#view-film

  • Bev Mitchell

    Deets (7) Find a better “class” of older folks to talk with – if you can catch them. :)

    Phil (9) Exactly. We could probably find an equally nagging older person to make a companion video haranguing youth over a variety of issues – but what we need is to develop understanding not polemical prowess.

    “it’s a symptom of serving a God whom you believe can never be happy with you” This is especially on target.

    Tim (11) “The simplistic presentation by Chan undermined the important message of simplicity” Yes and yes. Simple living is the message, and we all need to learn it. Just speaking from a biological/climatological perspective, this is true as well. The message our poor old damaged world is already beginning to send us is far stronger than Chan’s silly tirade, and it is universal.

    Marcus (14) Well said!

    Christina (16) From the longer-in-the-tooth section, thank you!

    Christina (20) “If Francis is worried about aging at 44, he’s going to be in real trouble at 64!!”. Touché

    Joey (27)  You complain of   “Not much patience to understand the heart and message behind Chan’s ministry.” I see loads of patience in the comments re the basic message of the dangers of materialism and easy living – but very little patience with Chan’s tone, choice of words and approach. These are crucial when speaking to any age group.

    It is surprising that no one has mentioned the very bad practice in most mid-size and large evangelical churches of dividing adults up into college/careers, singles, young married, “adult”, seniors – there seems to be no end. In vain will you search for the “it matters not what gender, age, status, or anything else group.” To divide and avoid is to misunderstand and eventually depreciate. 

    A closing note. Having recently moved back to my hometown after 40 + years away, I can observe the adult version of a good number of childhood friends and acquaintances without the blur of intervening years. Change, as opposed to growing older, is not something many do much of. Chan, and those like me who are annoyed by his approach should take note.

  • Addicted to My Stuff

    Do we not have a serious problem with materialism & love of money in our culture? Chan could have addressed all of us. Perhaps we all come with baggage when listening to a preacher. The retiring boomer-gen, once dubbed “the selfish generation” is the most giving of time & money across the age demographic. Who wants to live radically? It goes against the grain of everything we value in our culture. As for getting burned out, ive experiencd it a few times. Henri Noeuwen calls it a symptom of less dependancy on Jesus. I hate to admit, but it’s accurate. I all spend a life time accumulating stuff, no wonder I have trouble letting go. An ethical exhortation is a an invitation, not you “ought or should”. How do you see a mature Christian living in regard to money & possessions in retirement years? If its worthwhile to pursue what can you do now to prepare your heart for that lifestyle?

  • Tyler

    There is this senior couple at my church that have been involved with the youth for many of their years, they have a passion for youth. We have a night service as well, and they are always there, and I can tell you, they are a blessing to everyone. Before the service, a small group of us gather together for prayer, and they are always there. I love hearing them pray, to hear their wisdom, and the confidence in their prayers has be greatly encouraging. This couple lives like they will see Jesus tomorrow, and let me tell how refreshing it is to be around seniors like that. So when I watched this video and heard Francis Chan’s message, I was like ‘yes, I agree!’ He said it with the most respect too. May God bless his challenging words, and may God grant us more people like the couple I know.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    bev Mitchell#31 “It is surprising that no one has mentioned the very bad practice in most mid-size and large evangelical churches of dividing adults up into college/careers, singles, young married, “adult”, seniors – there seems to be no end. In vain will you search for the “it matters not what gender, age, status, or anything else group.” To divide and avoid is to misunderstand and eventually depreciate.

    That is why we have you here! Excellent point.

  • Phil Miller

    Chan was my “small group” leader when I attended a couple of the Passion Conference. Small is a relative term, so there were still probably 400 – 500 people in the group. This was before he left his church and all that, but he came off as a very tortured soul to me back then, and honestly he still does. Whenever I hear him speak I just want to scream, “relax, man! God isn’t upset with you! Quit killing yourself to impress Him!”, and then I want to give him a few Brennan Manning books to read.

    I’m not saying that he doesn’t speak truth or that he even has a message that some people need to get. But the line between being a prophetic voice in the wilderness and piling burdens on people’s back can be hard to tread.

  • Phil Miller

    I will also add this. I’ve been slogging my way through Diarmaid MacCulloch’s massive book, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, and the tension between asceticism and a more mundane (I mean mundane not in a negative sense, but more like normal or “doable”‘) version of Christianity has been something that has existed almost from the very beginning. I think of asceticism much like I do other spiritual disciplines. The motivation to practice it has to come from one’s own heart, otherwise it quickly breaks down into a form of legalism.

  • Joey Elliott

    Tyler #33,

    Appreciate your example and encouragement.

    Bev #31,

    “I see loads of patience in the comments re the basic message of the dangers of materialism and easy living – but very little patience with Chan’s tone, choice of words and approach.”

    I think that if people truly had patience with the basic message, then the tone, choice of words, and approach would be a lot more appreciated and even tolerated. The fact that it isn’t is what gives me cause to say that there is little patience with the message.

    I mean, in light of such an important message, why are we bickering about tone? So what he is whiny.

    That said, I agree with your point that DRT also agreed with, and Chan’s point hopefully will not further the divide between age groups, etc. inside our churches. My point was just that I don’t see why anyone who is trying to, or interested in, living “radically”, at any age, would be offended by the approach, for sake of the message. Sure, he could change his approach and tone and whatever. But why do posts like this always turn into critique of the messenger, his style, etc. What about the message?

    Is it Biblical?
    Does it apply to us?
    What does it mean I should actually do? Sell my house? Move to Africa? Give away my life savings? Or something else?
    Does it look differently at different stages of life and in different situations?

    This is what we should be talking about.

  • Bev Mitchell

    Joey (37)
    You ask,
    “But why do posts like this always turn into critique of the messenger, his style, etc. What about the message?”
    Simply because style is such an important part of communication. Have you had much experience dealing with people in settings where there is serious disagreement? Style of presentation is the first thing you have to be concerned with. The Young, Restless and Reformed need a bit more reforming (or formation) and a bit less restlessness. Young is good. :)

    Phil (35)
    As for the tortured soul that you speak of, it would be great if that whole movement would sit down and actually read Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”. It would do their souls a world of good!

  • Joey Elliott

    Bev,

    I understand what you are saying, and I personally dropped the restless long ago. But while style is important, do we expect to change someone’s style, or just understand it, on the way to discussing the content? And in this case, do we understand Chan’s style enough, or accept it enough even in disagreement, to go on to discussing the content?

    And I am sure Chan has read Love Wins at length, hence his response book to it. At least I know I have, and it certainly did not do my soul good! Haha, lets not follow that tangent!

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Bev Mitchell#38, you really made me laugh out loud, though not quite a belly laugh with that.

    Joey Elliot and Bev, I tend to be much harder on people who put themselves into the spotlight as someone whom others should follow, and it is quite clear that Chan is placing himself there in this video.

    I regularly question myself about my negativity toward his ilk, and wonder if I am doing the right thing, but I am still on the side of thinking that I should be critical (skeptical) of what they are doing and I should try to do it politely. I am sure I fail in that.

    Phil Miller#35, thank you so much for that color on Chan. I can see that and I pray that he can find peace so that he can give peace.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I must also contrast what Chan is doing with what Scot (mostly?) does. I generally don’t see Scot putting himself out there as the thing to be emulated. Scot seems to be very scientific (that is a compliment, sorry if it gets you kicked out of the evangelical club) in his approach to understanding and recommending what to do. Chan does not. He is making it personal.

  • Joey Elliott

    DRT,

    So with the content of Chan’s message on the table, and the style and approach aside, what do we make of it? Is it Biblical? Does it apply to us? Does it mean we sell our house and give to the poor? Or something else? I think what both Scot and Chan desire is for conversation on the topic, not conversation on delivery of the topic. But I could be wrong.

  • Bev Mitchell

    Joey (39, 42)

    First, I cannot imagine someone not having their soul made joyous by “Love Wins” Most of us on here have read the book or could easily do so in an evening, so we will not go on with this. But the Spirit in you and the Spirit in me are not responding in the same way to such messages. What does that mean?

    On style, it does not bother me when someone goes on, in spoken or written word, like Chan does – he is very easy to ignore, and there is so much better stuff coming from other reformed folk like Torrance and Chris Wright, for example. (Not to mention the ‘unreformed’  :)  )Who should be worried about his style is Chan himself. Who is he getting through to? Who is he turning off? Is he satisfied with the mix?

  • Joey Elliott

    Bev,

    I won’t follow the Love Wins tangent. I won’t follow the Love Wins tangent. I won’t…

    Ok, back to Chan. I still feel like the content of his message is being ignored. Well, actually, you straight up said he is easy to ignore, so you apparently do. And since you mentioned “better stuff coming from other reformed folk”, I sense you are dismissing many more than Chan, which is unfortunate. Why are we concerned with whether Chan is concerned with his style?

    My question remains, when can we talk about the content of the message in this video?? What does it mean to be radical? Is Chan completely off his rocker? Is there some truth to his message? How should we process it?

  • http://lylemook.com Lyle Mook

    Good balance in the comments. I am writing a book on the fourth quarter of life at age 62. I would add that it would be great to give stories of people who are living radically without the assumptions about everyone. On the other hand I think it’s a good thing for seniors to be challenged not to fall into the trap of age-ism’s preconceived notions. Living fully human and fully alive involves a positive theology of both ageing and eternity.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Joey Elliott,

    If the content is simply that older folks should tutor younger folks, and that is his last pitch in the video, then I agree.

    But everything before that is filled with unbiblical assumptions and gross generalizations.

    - he assumes that each of us is on a linear path from less to more connection with god
    - he appears to assume that each of us should be on a similar path
    - he does not recognize individuality
    - he uses himself as a reference point

    Here is the basic problem I have. Let’s take Donald Trump (please!), he may be one of the people that Chan is talking about, but if he just says that he wants to be remembered in Jesus Kingdom then he may have achieved what he needs to achieve.

    Or if I take all that I know, and then don’t help that poor woman who needed me to save her and all it would take of me is some love, then I would fail.

    Chan is assuming way too much in this.

    If what he wanted was to tell people that we should be pursuing giving more in terms of time, dollars and prayers as we get older, and giving ways that we should do that then that is good.

    His content is inseparable from the style.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Joey, what do you think is the content of his message separated from style?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Joey, what do you think is the content of his message separated from style?

  • Joey Elliott

    DRT,

    I think you addressed the content to some extent in your comment, you just seem unwilling to dwell on it because you don’t like the way Chan approached it. The content is:

    What does it mean to live for God all the way to the end (for Donald Trump, even!)?
    What does it mean to finish well?
    What does it mean to fight the good fight?
    What does it mean to keep the faith?
    What does it mean to take hold of the eternal life to which you were called?
    What does it mean to finish the race?
    What does it mean to charge certain people not to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God?

    Does it not make sense to target the elderly in these questions, seeing as how the questions are the most urgent for them just from a time standpoint? Again, just very confused why anyone would be offended or turned off by this message, even if he was yelling profanities. Well, maybe not then.

    But I’m not ruling out disagreement here. Let’s just talk about it. What do we make of the Parable of the Rich Fool? 1 Timothy 6? Acts 20? The life of Paul? Jesus?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I agree Joey, but the problem I have is that he seems to think there is one answer and there is not.

    The answer to all of your “What does it mean…” conjectures is that “it depends”. These things are situation specific. Chan is making them absolute and that is wrong.

    Now I can look beyond what Chan is actually saying and deduce that what he intends is for people to dedicate themselves to god more and more in their life and continue to do better, but that is not what he actually says.

  • Joey Elliott

    DRT,

    That is fair. But it is a 3 minute video. Chan is a discipleship guy, so his ministry is living this message alongside people daily, so I think its fair to assume that he is humbly working through the “it depends” situations with people. I think we both agree that it wouldn’t be feasible to address all these things in the video. But the purpose of the video was to start the conversation, which is what we are (kinda) having. So he is trying to start the conversation so we are working through the “it depends” situations with people in our lives, in the context of discipleship.

    I’m not sure I agree “he seems to think there is one answer” in this case. But either way, the lack of one answer is not reason to not pursue the multiple answers.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Ok, I transcribed most of the video just to make the point

    I just want to respectfully say, I meet very few ederly people whose lives make sense to me biblically, becasue I am 44 years old, I think about how I am closer and closer to the end of it all…I almost feel that way about my posessions and my stuff. I want to give it. I want to give it to the poor, I don’t want to have this stuff hoarded, saved, doing nothing. So I am constantly looking at my life saying “God, I want to be ready to face you, I want to risk it all, because I am 44 and I don’t know how much longer I have.”

    Then he goes into how life goes faster as you get older.

    “Respectfully, I don’t meet a lot of ederly like they are about to see Jesus, and saying goodbye to the things of this world,……and risking more than ever, and some of you are buying stuff like you are going to enjoy it…and saving stuff…my life has been about letting go, letting go, letting go, because I am getting closer to the end and I want to live by more and more faith every year”

    Then he goes into that backwards thing where people did more when they are young.

    Then this telling statement “the older we get the more we realize that this world has nothing left for me”. The church is in need of elderly people who are living radically for their faith. And some of these young people are dying to come under the tutalage…..”

    Joey, he is not even surfacing the questions that you are asking. You are reading all of that in to what he is daying. He is pretty much saying that people should reject this world and concentrate on the next one. And he is reducing it to possessions and money.

    There are so many problems here that it is difficult to even start. Disrespect. Focus on possessions. Elevating himself. Using fear as a weapon. Accusing of hoarding. Lack of empathy. Dualistic thinking.

    Yes, living radically for your faith can be good. But that is not the message of this video.

  • Bev Mitchell

    Joey,
    There is a big difference between ignoring the messenger and ignoring the message. Your little stumbles  like this make me wonder a bit. But let’s leave that and talk about ‘radical’. The root of the word is….. well….. root, as in ‘the root of the matter’. The ‘root’ of Christianity is God’s amazing decision to become like one of us. So, to begin, we need to define what ‘like’ really means. There is more than enough disagreement and misunderstanding in Christian circles to occupy us for some time – and Chan covers none of it. Then there is God’s revealed reason for becoming one of us – so that we might become like him. Wow! That is radical (in the sense that Chan means, I suspect). So the real radical is God. Amazing. So how do we respond to such a radical God – well, the way his Holy Spirit leads us to, of course. Christians find themselves in all sorts of situations (not all are young, restless and reformed, for example) and God is doing things, as the Holy Spirit, everywhere. Each one of those Christians has the responsibility, before God, to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in their specific situation. Many are doing so, praise God!  How do we know when they are following the Holy Spirit where they are, right now? Fortunately Jesus anticipated that question and said “you will recognize them by their fruit”. (but we should read all of Matthew 7:15-23). That’s challenging enough for me, and does have at least some bearing on the question of style. So,  we are back where we started from, and I’m done.

    My afternoon has been enriched by a great new book by Kenton Sparks entitled “Sacred Word, Broken Word” I recommend it highly and shall now return to it.

    Blessings,
    Bev

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    …and he keeps saying “respectfully” Nothing that he says in the video is respectful to older folks except the last sentence where he says that younger folks could use their tutelage.

    Here is an alternative. He could have set it up something like this:

    Older folks, we all feel that we have accomplished what we feel that we need in life, but I urge you to keep on pursuing our Lord. I believe that Jesus wants us to continue to love and support others as much as we can throughout our life, and it is as difficult to do in old age as it is when young, perhaps more difficult.

    You have the wisdom and experience that so many in the church need today…etc .

    Do you see? Chan’s message is not respectful.

  • Joey Elliott

    It would interesting to see if you surveyed 100 people on this video how many would say he was respectful vs. disrespectful. We’re still talking about style.

    It doesn’t really matter. I know enough of Chan to know he is implying Biblical questions here, which are serious. If you (the majority) didn’t see them in the video, than I think that feedback would probably make him change the video. But the message would remain the same. The fact that we are arguing whether he presented this message “respectfully” or not is a bit ludicrous. I am actually pretty convicted this very moment that I’m wasting my time on a blog when I could be sacrificing my time or talents for someone for the sake of Jesus. I think he just sees a lack of seriousness and he is addressing it. I think I see the same. He could certainly be way less humble.

    Your paragraph:

    “Older folks, we all feel that we have accomplished what we feel that we need in life, but I urge you to keep on pursuing our Lord. I believe that Jesus wants us to continue to love and support others as much as we can throughout our life, and it is as difficult to do in old age as it is when young, perhaps more difficult.”

    Is good, but perhaps Chan (and others) are more urgent and passionate than that? Wouldn’t that be fair?

    By the way, if we ever get to the topic of what it means to be radical, you might be shocked at my areas of disagreement with Chan. Oh well.

  • Joey Elliott

    Also, do all older folks feel like they’ve accomplished what they’ve needed? What of those who haven’t? Do we have no message of hope for them? Doesn’t Paul tell Timothy to charge people to set their hope on God so that they can take hold of that which is truly life? What does that mean? Isn’t it a pretty urgent question?

  • Sherman Nobles

    Frankly, Chan’s video and other material comes across to me as negative and judgmental. I’m reminded of the saying that we should not judge another until we’ve walked in his shoes for a mile! I’m also reminded of a quote from the movie “Gettysburg” by Sergeant Kilrain where he says that “Anyone who judges by the group is a pea-wit!”

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Joey, please tell, what is the substance of his video that you disagree with? He is saying people need to continue to give it all to Jesus imo and that is good. The rest is style.

  • Phil Miller

    I am actually pretty convicted this very moment that I’m wasting my time on a blog when I could be sacrificing my time or talents for someone for the sake of Jesus.

    I think you just Jesus Juked yourself, Joey… :-)

    http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/2010/11/the-jesus-juke/

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Joey, I highly doubt that I am with the majority on many issues.

  • Pat Pope

    I would be interested in seeing him revisit this topic in another 20-30 years. I see his point and it’s valid, but there psychology does play a role when it comes to thing like holding onto possessions. Many of them are people of faith, but there is still this need for something tangible to hold onto and I’m not sure that makes them people who are not living up to their potential.

    Personally, one of the things I hope is that as I age I will continue to evolve in my thinking and not become a stick-in-the-mud who resists change.

  • PaulE

    To give some context, everything spoken in the video is from a sermon he gave during MBI’s Founder’s Week earlier this year. He was expecting to be preaching to a crowd of mostly students, but was surprised to find many older faces in the seats (a lot of the students were sent back to overflow rooms on the campus). In my recollection, the first line of the video came after a pretty lengthy preface in which he talked about the esteem due the elderly. It felt that night like a lot of people came to be entertained by him, and instead he pulled no punches.

    It certainly made me stop and evaluate again my life and the direction of its current course. Francis Chan may very well be too radical. But as someone risk-adverse I need to constantly be asking myself what are the risks I’m taking for Christ? Where are the places I am stepping out in faith? And as Jesus teaches in Luke and Acts and James, one of the biggest areas to ask these things is that of our possessions. I thought Chan delivered an appropriate challenge to ask these questions all the more as our end approaches. It reminded me very much of Piper’s haunting line from Don’t Waste Your Life: “Look Lord, my seashells.”

  • Allan Gibbs

    I read -some- of the comments, some were right on, others, well, let me say it’s all perspective. Everything is about perspective, how we see things, there could be a million and one reasons for everything we think. Out of the abundance of the heart ” the mouth speaketh. If Christ has truly chosen a person, that person will believe The Gospel, which in essence says The only thing that will deliver a soul from Hell, is the righteousness of Christ imputed, every thing else is just fluff, icing on the cake. It’s the cake that delivers from death. Righteousness imputed, a believers only hope for life everlasting.

  • http://tinglypoet@blogspot.com Christina

    Thanks for the context, PaulE. I watched the video on youtube, and saw that it had been created and posted by what seems to be a third party ministry (run by and for 18-35 year olds, interesting). Even though they are Chan’s word, I wonder how much input he had, if any, about the visuals (and the Braveheart soundtrack!). Not really on topic, but it makes me wonder…

  • http://Melindaschmidt.com Melinda Schmidt

    When I heard this at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week in February, I was elated to hear someone “calling out” the Boomers and challenging them to be, do, think, live more. Why should all the vision-casting be driven toward Millennials? I featured this sound bite on the radio show I host, http://www.middayconnection.org this spring.

  • http://www.internetmonk.com chaplain mike

    Main problem: there is no gospel whatsoever in Chan’s message.

    Nor is there any recognition that anything short of his definition of “radical” is sufficiently Christian. I wonder what he makes of 1Thessalonians 4:10-11: “But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you…”

    A quiet life of minding my own business. I imagine preachers like Chan would not be happy with that.

  • Ben Thorp

    If Chan is too young for some of you, then it’s worth hearing John Piper on the same subject.


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