Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fifty years on this planet

The Constructive Curmudgeon (to obnoxiously speak in the the third person about oneself) has now turned fifty years old. Please tell me (back to the first person) what sort of crisis I should have or what manner of theological revelation I should receive or what kind of physical therapy (or psychological counseling) is appropriate. I did manage to hurt my back doing the strenous work of hunching over endless receipts--five months worth--that needed to be sorted out. I'm sure John Eldredge would be proud of my gallantry and warrior spirit in that. I couldn't find any cliffs to leap over or any Hummers to drive fast and burn up three miles a gallon. Wild at heart; sore at back; fifty in age; curmudgeonly in spirit. "The grasshopper drags himself along."

29 comments:

David said...

Happy Birthday, Dr. G! I think 50 is a great age. Enjoy it.

Tim said...

Congratulations Doug! And many more, of course.

Therapy? I suggest a hot shower and a heating pad for the back. And given the weather in Denver, if you don't already own one, it might be time to get a snowblower ...

Yossman said...

I haven't been there yet, so I can't recommend anything. Moses started ministry at 80... So there's hope for all of us. Happy birthday!

Soulcraft - East of Eden said...

Doug,

Undoubtedly, you will get many comments on this post. My input?

It is certainly commendable to have a work ethic like Edwards.

But:

1) Also, bike more (have more fun), take up fly fishing.

2) Read more on family systems material related to why people join cults and ...

3) By all means develop some fashion sense. Please no more black socks with the sandals nor white socks with dark shoes and shorts. Buy (and wear) some tennis shoes (with white socks).

Nicholas Z. Cardot said...

Ahhh...you should have already dealt with all that psycological mid-life trauma back in your 30's and 40's. You should be a happy granpa by now! Happy birthday!

Timo_the_Osprey said...

Dr. Groothuis,

Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President at 50.

Darwin had his Origin of the Species published at 50.

Bill Clinton won his second term at 50.

George Lucas sat down and began writing his Star Wars sequels at age 50.

Ghandi was elected President of the Home Rule League at 50.

May it be a blessed year of life for you.

Sir Fab said...

No advice here (I am not wise enough to dispense any, and I am yet to hit that milestone.)

Happy Birthday, Dr. Groothuis.

Fab

Ken Abbott said...

George Lucas sat down and began writing his Star Wars sequels at age 50.

While I am generally appreciative of the Star Wars prequels (could have been better) there are many who do not consider what Mr. Lucas did to have been much of an accomplishment!

How old was Tolkien when LOTR was published? Perhaps that would be more encouraging to those of us in the 50/pushing 50 crowd.

Douglas Groothuis said...

Fast, fun, facts:

1. On his 50th birthday, Kierkegaard was dead.
2. Pascal was dead.
3. John Coltrane was dead.
4. Eric Dolphy was dead
5. Bonhoeffer was dead.

At 50, Francis Schaeffer had yet to publish a book.

Ed Darrell said...

Harlan Sanders hit with Kentucky Fried Chicken after his 65th birthday. Get thee to the kitchen.

Paul D. Adams said...

Crisis? There's supposed to be a crisis of sorts at/after 50?

Signed,
-- 51 (and counting)

Douglas Groothuis said...

I'll try to skip the crisis and seek first the Kingdom.

John Stockwell said...

Dear Dr. Groothuis,

Happy Birthday!

As you enter your sixth decade I wish you good health and happy times.

-John

Callmeteem said...

Happy birthday. And trust me, 50 is not so bad.

nancy said...

Happy B-Day (a day late)Dr G!!

Perhaps in this midlife stage it is time to purchase a very large and obnoxious SUV, fully loaded with sub woofers. And of couse if you heed my wise advice, please do not drive down my street. :)

MikeKoz10 said...

Congrats on being 50!.. I wonder if the Eldredge comment is a left-over from my comment on you Sayers posting... anyhoo, I'm sure you understand the importance of not misrepresenting another's view in the course of an evaluation and, even though it was made "off-hand", you do seem to misunderstand Eldredge a bit in your comment...

Please don't misunderstand, I am closer (probably much closer) to you theologically and philosophcially but we still need to be fair in our criticisms...

Frank Walton said...

You're fifty? There's nothing to worry about. You should be happy to know that you're a half of 100! J/K.

Douglas Groothuis said...

I take Eldredge to be quite off-base and, frankly, embarrassing, because of his reification of a certain sense of "masculine" and "feminine" (thus perpetuating stereotypes) and because of his downplaying of propositional theology in favor of stories. So, it wasn't an off-handed remark.

MikeKoz10 said...

I imagine you would agree that there are differences between man and woman. Do you disagree with his teaching that man embodies certain aspects of God's character (primarly strength) while woman others (primarily beauty)? Even here, Eldredge's issue is more one of emphasis since he admits men can be beautiful and women strong...

I agree that he largely butchers the issue of propositional truth. He does have statements in his books that affirm it. His major problem is that he overstates his case when he makes such a sharp dichotomy between head (propositional) and heart (story-based) knowledge. While stories do tend to "move" us, without propositinal truth, there's no foundation for anything, including stories. A story that that does not truth in the categorical sense is ultimately meaningless...

And when I wrote that your comments were "offhand", I was referring to your manner of speech. It didn't read as though you were making a careful critique. Rather, it was "off the cuff" based on your understanding of his teachings and thus more prone to minor errors...

Douglas Groothuis said...

"Do you disagree with his teaching that man embodies certain aspects of God's character (primarly strength) while woman others (primarily beauty)? "

No! The list of virtues in the Bible is not gender specific; female and male are equally made in God's image; women and men can be morally strong in a variety of ways. Physical strength is not a moral virtue.

MikeKoz10 said...

Would you then say that:

- the difference between men and women is strictly biological?

- that the image of God does not include our physical bodies?

- that there is a correspondence between our physical bodies and the other aspects of our being (mind, emotion, will)?

Other thinkers including J. Budziszewski have argued that God's design includes our physical bodies that corresponds to our emotions and desires.

Also, I (and he) does not limit "strength" to physicality anymore than "beauty". While both men and women are capable of moral strength, the distinction being made in one of emphasis. He argues that men want primarliy to be strong (ie. whether it be athletic, intellectual, or emotional; are task/accompishment-oriented) while women want to be beautiful (ie. want to be noticed, pursued and enjoyed; are relationship-oriented).

nancy said...

Mike - As a women, I want to be strong, physically, emotionally, morally and intellectually. I am very task/accomplishment oriented. Forget the being pursued part. I relegate that to my immature single days. Am I any less of a woman?

Douglas Groothuis said...

Let us drop the stereotypes and simply get to know people, male and female, for who they are. Some generalizations can be made outside of strictly biological differences, but since they are not universal, they cannot be essential differences. Virtues of character are not gendered.

I'll join Nancy and, mutatis mutandis, own a "feminine" quality." I want to be pursued--by people who want me to speak publicly, write books, articles, and reviews; and I want students, journalists, and other professors to pursue me by taking my classes and seeking my advice. I like attention concerning the things that I do well. If women whistled at men, I'd like that too (but would do nothing about it, since I am happily married).

I hate hunting, trucks, motorcycles, football, and violent movies or games--typical "guy stuff" (to some). I am not a sissy, however.

MikeKoz10 said...

Nancy, you say that you relegate the desire to be pursued to your immature days. First, I'd like to point out that you admit that you DID WANT to be pursued. Second, I'd like to ask, now that it seems that you are married, do you no longer desire for your husband to pursue you? Don't you want him to puruse your heart, pursue intimacy, and show you his love anew each day?

Nancy and Dr. Groothuis,

There is a lot of misunderstanding going on. I imagine part of the reason is that neither of you have read Eldredge very closely. He himself says repeatedly that women are very strong individuals (a la Nancy's comment). Further, he spends a paragraph mentioning traditional "manly" things that he does NOT like (a la Dr. Grouthuis' last comment). The point he makes is the distinction that women, in their heart of hearts, most desire to be beautiful... and thst most men, most of all, want to be strong...

Again, the key is one of emphasis. Think of it like a bell curve. Whlie there will be some men who will exhibit more "feminine" qualities and women who are more "masculine", by and large, women are identified by certain characteristics and men by others (basically admitted by Dr. Groothuis). Some examples:

- I would bet a million bucks that Dr. Groothuis struggles with lust more than Nancy.

- I was in an apologetics program that consisted of 95% men and am currently in a counseling program that consists 95% of women.

- More women teach while more men do engineering and are CEOs. And of those men that teach, they do so with a "masculine" twist and those women that are CEOs, they tend to put a "feminine twist" on it (for a pop culture example, compare Martha Stewart's Apprentice to Donald Trump's).

What surprises me the most is that Dr. Groothuis seems to suggest that there is no essential difference between men and women beyond mere biology. If that is the case, then the only 2 arguments against homosexuality are (1) procreation due to biology and (2) Scripture says its bad. However, as in the case of Mary Cheney, lesbian women can now have babies. So, it would seem that Dr. Groothuis would disagree with Dr. Dobson that children need daddies.

He can not point to "complementarity" as to why women and men ought only be married to each other, except as a function of procreation.

The end result being that the only
reason why homosexualty is wrong is that the Bible says so. Of couse, the Bible does say that but God is not arbitrary. I think the Bible says its wrong because it is harmful: and not just physically. It is harmful emotionally and spiritually. That would seem to require more difference than mere biology.

The apostle Paul seems to imply some gender differences. He tells husbands to love their wives but for wives to respect their husbands. This comment is running long but the gist seems to fit with Eldredge's view. Women, being relationship centered, desire love most. Men, being accomplishment driven, desire respect most (why else would Dr. Groothuis close by stating that he wasn't a sissy).

And last of all, I appreciate Dr. Groothuis emphasis and re-emphasis on that men and women are equal and that "virtues of character are not gendered". I totally agree. I think that what Dr. Groothuis is seeking to avoid is gender differences being used to exalt one gender over the other. If you read his posts, that seems to be the tenor of each of them. I, and Eldredge, do no such thing. Eldredge's point, and I am inclined to agree with him, is that men and women complement each other by each emphasizing different attributes of God, yet with neither missing any of the imago dei...

Douglas Groothuis said...

1. Homosexuality is wrong because it comes out of the fall; it perverts the character of God's good, heterosexual creation.

2. Children need fathers and mothers because God designed humans that way. Men and women in marriage and parenting complement each other without the need for hierarchy. Note that last qualification: Eldredge, Grudem, Piper, et all, all think that maleness gives men authority over women. That is what I deny. It is not intrinsic to maleness to have authority over women. "The greatest is the one who serves," as Jesus said. Whatever generalizable differences exist between women and men, they do not ground hierarchy on the basis of gender. These difference do not make a difference for leadership in the church, home, or society.

My wife's niece is a crack engineer and is over many men. There is nothing unfeminine about that. Look for the gifts and callings, not to the gender.

Moreover, if men tend to sin more with lust, then why reserve the the pastoral position to men (as the traditionalists claim)? They are more likely to fall into sexual sin than women.

One could go on...but I'm moving in the next few days. Enough.

MikeKoz10 said...

I guess this is the end of the discussion. Thanks Dr. Groothuis for taking the time and effort to discuss this issue.

Douglas Groothuis said...

You are welcome.

Dr Mike said...

FWIW, Tolkien was 62 when FOTR & TT were published, 63 when ROTK was released. He died before TS came out.

Of course, he did start working on TS & LOTR when he was in his twenties!

Douglas Groothuis said...

Not being a Tolkien fan, I have no idea what these acronyms mean.