Renewing the Life(span)

Posted: August 16, 2018 by Ty in Belonging Pyramid, Spirituality
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In John Shelby Spong’s 2009 book Eternal Life: A New Vision the former Bishop of Newark tackles the thoughts of lifespan development and afterlife. Within he breaks down the lifespan into approximately thirds. The first 30 years being the building; the next 30 years being and then the elder years. When you think of the Anglo-Catholic tradition this would flow out of older concepts of Christening (birth); First Eucharist; First Reconciliation(Confession); Confirmation around the ages of Bar/Bat Mitzvah;

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, text

My wife’s Facebook e-collage with some of my favourite things for turning 40 yesterday.

Sacrament of Marriage; Anointing of the Sick and Last Rites.

Colloquially, we have our own secular time tables. Pre-School (4 yrs old); K-6; then ages of culpability (12 years and up). That at 18 years old in Canada you become an adult Federally (19 years old in B.C.; Saskatchewan and Ontario for drinking). That is at 18 you can vote and serve in the military; smoke (cigarettes, and this fall Marijuana); and partake in gambling and alcohol. Psychologically and socially they have extended adolescence to around 24-30 years old (Biblically Jesus would have just left his childhood behind when he started his ministry). Then at 40 years old you are judged to be at midlife; and 65 years old is looked upon time of retirement and golden years.

In Spong’s theory. The time at 60 and beyond is looked upon for the new work, that which rejuvenates the soul and keeps one going. It is intriguing these thoughts come upon me. As usual our family is pilgrimaging, and listening to the still quiet voice of the Holy Mystery.  Especially as we continue the journey of discovery on my neuro-a-typicalness and what it means. As we await the new chapter in the new book.

This past Sunday, a sermon actually caused me to pause and contemplate. It has been a few years since this has happened (okay more than a few). And it must have been a good reflection because my son stayed tuned in, and did not heckle (yes he heckles when he dislikes preachers, it is quite a good barometer–yes I have been heckled by him).

The passages were wrapping up what the lectionary (a set up of reading through the whole Hebrew Bible-Christian Testament in church on Sundays over 2 or 3 years) has brought through the life of David. David is not a favourite of mine, but it was an intriguing message grown out of these two passages:

29 You, Lord, are my lamp;
    the Lord turns my darkness into light.
30 With your help I can advance against a troop[a];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

-2 Samuel 22:29-30 (New International Version)

and from Acts 12:17-23 & 36:

17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct[a] in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.

-Acts 13:17-23 (New International Version)

David’s celebration of his life. His victories, his sorrows, his atrocities (rape, murder, infanticide) and jumping to the book of Acts, Paul speaking of the history of what one has been brought forth through.

What struck was Acts 13: 36:

36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. (New International Version).

For this is what was zeroed in on. The end of life, as this man of horror and holy was dying. He had fulfilled a purpose in the then and now.

The question put forward to us, was to move forward from the past, and live into the generation we are now. The stark reminder that even though we continue to attempt to label our generations as a barrier (Greatest, Baby Boom, X, Millenial, Z) we are all here in this generation.


Whether you are in the first third, mid-third or last third, or reached beyond…

There is a reason.

There is a purpose.

More importantly there is a passion that continues to spark and renew.


Make new.

What is the passion that drives you today? Right now to seize the new.

This has been my humble Wisdom Keeper contemplation since Sunday, welcome to the journal.


  1. Awaiting Inspiration | Ty Ragan, Psy.D says:

    […] Renewing the Life(span) […]

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