27 June 2011

Judging books by covers

As I think I may have mentioned, sheringham has a few elderly inhabitants, and today I got to 'go solo' and visit 2 different couples who are longtime members of the church to which I am attached. It's very tempting to make assumptions about people before you've spoken to them properly, and it's easy to dismiss people on the basis of their age and infirmities. I'm sure I've done it in the past, though I make a conscious effort not to.

One of the conversations I had today was with a retired military man. We talked and talked, covering lots of varied ground from old testament source criticism, the new atheists, the use of military idiom in civvy life, local history to Greek philosophy... In the end, I was there for nearly 2 hours, and had a really nice time. I'm not sure if that's the aim of a pastoral visit!

My point is, though, that it's easy to forget that in our congregations, there are many elderly people who we neglect on an intellectual level, and who need to be cared for in more ways than just the physical ones. I know when I get out in to full time ministry that my time will be pressured, but I hope I can make space to do what I did today; to sit and talk with people who don't often get the opportunity to exercise their intellects in that way.

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