Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Towards a Theology of Maturity?

Yesterdays post, and the discussion that resulted from it made me think again about something that has been bothering me for a long time. It seems that my generation, me included, have lost all sense of what it means to be an adult. I see people around me turning 30, 35, marrying, buying houses and having children, and still spend large amounts of there free time on the latest X-box release, on various absurd hobbies, and in general behaving like kids.

My problem is: I don't know what to think of this. On the one hand we have maybe more free time than any other generation before us. We have time to play. On the other we are working harder, in jobs with less security than before. Maybe we need to do silly stuff in hour free time. My question is, isn't there something a little bit more mature to do than to build model railways, collect stuff (cd:s, action figures, books) and fight virtual monsters in order to relax? Or is this really ok? Maybe the ability to play shows that we have contact with "our inner child" that we are still alive and open like children are.

I think maybe somewhere we lost the meaning of being an adult. As a young person you try to find out who you are. At some point this ceases to be a urgent question. Before, it is my impression, people at this point would start to culture their personality, broadening their influences, growing better at what they do, "acquire virtues" as the desert fathers would put it. We watch TV.

Right... Theology. Errm. I'm not sure where I should go with this. Anybody else sharing my confusion?

I believe the meaning of my life is to acquire greater freedom over my own actions. Not in some hedonistic sense of course, but in the sense that I am really able to do what I understand is the right thing to do. This to me is what Christ represents. This what was he was like at my age. Is there a connection between sanctification and merely growing up?


Looney said...

It sounds like Finland's culture is converging with California and Singapore onto Laura Croft video games. Where is multi-culturalism when you really need it?

I am also wondering if the Finnish pastor has anything more helpful regarding purpose and maturity to say than California or Singapore. Given Douglas Adams, Looney is a bit reluctant to recommend any advice from England to the congregation.

I am all ears on this topic, because it is one of the most important and practical that I have seen in my few weeks of blog surfing.

Aaron G said...

Some helpful resources come from James Fowler who has investigated the development of faith (not religiosity) along the life span. Check out Stages of Faith and Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian.

marcus said...

One important question I'd say is: what place does playing x-box have in your life (if one assumes it isn't automaticly corrupt to own one... - personaly i'm not sure if it is corrupt or not).

Anyway: Me and a chessplaying friend have just discussed buying somekind of strategy game for our computers - we both easily get hooked on that sort of thing. After a little discussion we both agreed on not buying - we know we could easily spend weeks playing the game and having a good time while doing it - but somehow it would feel like a waste of time - we'd propably feel we didn't get much out of it after we are done playing - it's unclear whether it would give us anything apart from a good time - somehow this felt relevant.

We also agreed on that we wouldn't, or that we don't feel like we are wasting time while we are watching a good movie or reading a good novel (while that's exactly how we feel after wathing a bad movie, or reading a bad novel - someone has stolen time from us - not delivering what they promised - or what we thought they´d promised).

Anyway - I certainly don't have any thoughts set in stone about this subject - but it really is a very interesting one. An urgent subject too - connected to morals in very important ways and what one does with ones life (or perhaps this is an unneccesary/ a double statement - if something has moral relevance it is the same as saying it has to do with what one is doing with ones life...?)

Someone might be wathing a movie or reading a novel with the attitude of killing time - which I would say is decadent per definition. Someone else might watch the same movie or read the same novel with somekind of interest/focus that somehow makes the experience important in the persons life even if the movie or novel would turn out to be crap - there's a difference in attention - one is trying to see (learn) something, another is just killing time. I'd like to say that there's a fundamental difference here and that the difference is a moral one.

I'm not trying to say it is wrong to relax but but I'd be inclined to say watching television with dead eyes is not good for the soul. Better to not watch then, better to not fill your mind with something that's trying to corrupt you - or would someone say commercial TV is interested in educating people?

With an attentive eye watching television is something other.

I'd also say it's the same about music - one easily puts something on to drown the appartment in noise - a television set might have the same function - filling your head with somekind of background noise - I think this is partly a reaction to NOT wanting to experience silence - in silence you might start asking questions about yourself and reflect upon your life - something television and background music can steer you away from - becouse one wants it to. (?)

Myself, I'm really into movies, books, music and roleplaying games - but as I said in the beginning of this rambling, I'd like to think it's important what place these things have in your life - perhaps a little like food - there's is a difference in what you eat, how you eat, if your aware of the gift your food is, etc.

Motto: Attitude is everything.

OK... My thoughts are not moving in ery straight lines today either...

- Marcus

byron said...

Great question Patrik. Not sure I have any brilliant answers. I'm tempted to reach for a high/low culture category, but my cultural studies background makes me cringe as I do so...

Anonymous said...

You are not talking about grups by any chance are you?

Skoegahom said...

Just remember that Chess is evil. It's an addiction that will take over your life and you will lose touch with reality... It's all about war and defeating you enemy as opposed to loving your enemy. Remember, blessed are the peace makers. It teaches you to deceive your opponent and hide your true intentions. It even has it's own god...Caissa.

Or is that just what it did to me...which reality is this anyway?

Patrik said...

Thanks for the link to the grups article. Interesting text, though way to long for an internet article...

Of course clothes and pop music are superficial things, and should probably be considered symptoms of some underlying ... thing.

Consider parenthood. I am myself not a father, but I would assume the interaction with a teen, who is growing up, would be very different if the teen at some level would like to become and adult, which is what the parent is, or if the adult secretly wants to be the teen. Clearly there are important implications to this.

I think Marcus comments about attitude are important, but in a way something a bit different. Attitude is always important, and have probably always been and always will. I mean there are lots of thirty-somethings that feel british indie music is really really important (Hi everybody!) and studies this with a very serious attitude, and may even get a lot out of it. Still, my unnerving inclination is to say tha this is no way for a 30 year old to behave.

The question is, then, is this feeling of mine cause by guilt put on me by older generations ideas of what is worth-while, or is this guilt caused by me doing something that goes agains my true identity (a la my definition of guilt...)

BTW, Radiohead's new song Down is the New Up is floating around the net in a great sounding bootleg mp3.