Monday, November 4, 2013

Retire on Jesus' terms?

 About a month ago, a reader asked Billy Graham if a recent move was a mistake. And Billy simply regurgitates the same answer he did last time...
Make retirement a time of renewal and service

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: For years I looked forward to retiring, and at first I really enjoyed it. Then we moved to a different part of the country. We don’t know anybody here, and anyway, I feel so useless with nothing to do. Did we make a mistake by moving here? — G.R.
DEAR G.R.: One reason I wanted to reprint your letter is because it illustrates a problem that’s all too common, I’m afraid: Most people don’t plan sufficiently for their retirement years. They may plan financially for retirement, but then fail to plan on what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.
Did you make a mistake moving to a new part of the country? Not necessarily (although it would have been far better if you had prayed and sought God’s will about your decision, as I hope you’ll do in the future). But it would be a mistake for you to sit back and do nothing to change your situation. God knows your concerns and wants to help you overcome them.

What can you do? First, seek out a church in your area that not only can help you grow spiritually, but also has programs for people your age. (You mention elsewhere in your letter that there are many retirees in your area; many local churches probably have programs to meet their needs.) Not only will you meet new friends, but you’ll also be challenged to grow in your faith.

In addition, seek opportunities for volunteer work in your new community. Your church already may offer some programs. Local hospitals or social service agencies may also depend on volunteers. Ask God to guide you; he isn’t finished with you yet! The Bible says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10). 
 Seriously, Billy? A person writes him about a real estate and social matter and you question their level of belief? Graham writes a religious advice column, yet GR writes him of all people to ask if a recent move was a mistake. Personally, I feel that anyone that writes a religious advice columnist about a non-religion matter is probably pretty damn religious.

Yet Graham just says that they should have prayed for God's guidance before they decided to move. He simply assumes that since the move hasn't been all they hoped it would be, that they simply didn't ask God what they should do. But maybe they did. Maybe they prayed and thought they saw a sign that the move was the right thing to do. Maybe they asked God to tell them if the move was a bad idea, but they heard no answer and considered that a nod of approval.

That's the thing with a personal god. They always seem to conveniently like what you like, and dislike what you dislike. So would it be any surprise if it came to be known that they did pray, and thought they were signaled that the move was a good idea? Also, if they should pray before a move, what else should they seek guidance on. Maybe they also need to ask God if they should buy the Ford
Ketchup or mayonnaise?
Better ask God, or risk divine indigestion.
or the Subaru... Maybe we should also ask God if ketchup or mayonnaise are the proper condiment for fish and chips, lest we risk divine indigestion.

Graham also opines that these retieries need to grow their faith in order to meet people and find something to do. First off, we have no idea how long it's been since the move. Maybe they just need to give it time. But it's also possible that they are somewhat to blame for their isolation. Perhaps they are much more religious than those around them, and lead every conversation with Jesus this, and Jesus that. So, maybe the problem is that they already have too much Jesus, to the point of annoyance.

Billy also brings up their church. Sure, churches can provide some with a social group. That's not something that you can't get outside of a church as well, but what if they belong to a serious and strict church. Perhaps they feel like they have nothing to do in this new town, because their new church says that all the fun places are off-limits, sinful, or the Devil's playground. So instead of trying out the things their new home has to offer, they shut themselves in with the same old, same old. It's possible that religion and/or their church is to blame for GR's feelings of isolation. Obviously, I don't know enough details to declare that to be the case. But hey, Billy loves jumping to conclusions, so I might as well share the counter...


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/10/28/4582622/make-retirement-a-time-of-renewal.html#storylink=cpy

-Brain Hulk

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