Crowdsourcing Sermon

Crowdsourcing August 15 Sermon

For this summer’s sermons, we’d like to incorporate your perspectives. The clergy will pose a question at the beginning of each week. Your responses to the question will help inform the sermon for that week.

Please respond to the August 15 sermon topic: “What are your ideas about aging with dignity? How do you find the true meaning and purpose in life as you grow older?”

5 Responses to Crowdsourcing Sermon

  1. leftytowhead says:

    By remaining intellectually and mentally active. I think I’ll work until I either die or am quite infirmed as it gives me a routine which is very important to humans and loss of that often leads to depression and death. Remaining involved and up-to-date on what’s going on is the best prescription, IMHO, for remaining truly “alive”.

  2. docbzf says:

    Aging , Dignity , Meaning ,Purpose

    Let’s unpack these ideas .

    Aging : growing older . Oh , what Mazel !

    the Mazel to be born in the first place ;
    the Mazel to be breathing now .

    I know the day that I will die . . . I really do .
    I will die the day in which I am no longer amazed . . . RADICALLY AMAZED ..
    by the fact that I was born in the first place .

    Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s concept of Radical Amazement overwhelms me
    every time I consider Cosmos and Consciousness .
    I am so grateful to God to have been given the unexpected Gift of Life .

    I will be lucky to die . . . lucky in that I had the good Mazel to be born in the first place .


    Some degree of dignity depends on Mazel ; to be blessed to with the freedom from the afflictions of debilitating and degenerative diseases . I find no elegance in severe brain disease .

    With gratitude for good health , I hope that dignity translates into Gamut Chasidim ( deeds of loving-kindness ) .
    Our Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria put it best :
    Be kind
    Be kind because everyone you meet
    is fighting a great battle .
    That battle is a a constant inner conflict between Good and Evil ,
    between what the Rabbis called the Yetzer ha-tov and the yetzer ha-ra .

    Judaism’s analysis of the nature of human nature is not Original Sin , but more like Original Split or Original Swirl :
    the rustling and wrestling in our soul between the Yetzer ha-tov and the Yetzer ha-ra .
    I have enough self-awareness to know that this insight is true :
    I am my own worst enemy ;
    I am my own best friend .

    We humans are all flawed .
    As Leonard Cohen sings :
    There is a crack in everything
    that’s how the light gets in
    that’s how the light gets in .

    Psycho-poesis : to grow in soul .

    Tikkun Olam : to fix this broken world by Mitzvot ( good deeds ) .

    To favor Euology Virtues over Resume Virtues .

    by that distinction I mean that
    our society emphasizes Resume Virtues : conquer the world;
    Judaism’s morals stress Eulogy Virtues : conquer yourself .

    A Good Life needs both the skills of marketplace … materialism ,
    and the ethical jewels of Moral Logic
    such as are taught to us in our Wisdom literature :
    ” What is hateful to thee , do not unto others ”
    :” Who is content ? He who is satisfied with his portion ”
    ” Who is strong ? He who has self-control . ”

    To help the next generation to grow in soul ,
    we can all help to perpetuate multi-generational Jewish institutions ( such as Rodeph Shalom ) .

    We will die , but the institution will live . . live to enrich the lives that follow ours .
    That continuation is my concept of transcending death .

  3. docbzf says:

    A final maxim :
    you make a living by what you get ;
    you make a LIFE by what you GIVE .

  4. Bob B. says:

    My goodness. My dear friend docbzf (yeah, I know who you are) is the eternal optimist whose faith and love of life I truly envy. But, let me play devil’s advocate for just a moment. I don’t think we particularity age with dignity, I think we just age. Sure, 60 is the new 40 and 80 is the new 60, but that’s just feel good new age, baby boomer wish fulfillment. Of course like most things it’s a bell curve and there are those on one side or the other of the curve who stay young for what seems forever, and those on the other side who get old young. (That should be a Yogi Berra quote). Also, we at RS, most of us middle to upper middle class, able to avail ourselves of good doctors, good food, regular vacations, etc. age pretty well. Every Friday night our Rabbis talk about the bigger community of Philadelphia, the poor, the homeless, the struggling. Look at these people carefully and tell me that aging with dignity is an option for them. It’s not. They just get old, and quickly.
    I want to finish my little tirade with something from the end page of a New York Times magazine article from last year. It is the story of a man who is taking care of his grandfather living in a nursing home. While it was an upbeat loving story of a man and his grandfather, there was a line which has stayed with me. The grandfather says: “I’m a normal, virile, good looking 30 year old man trapped by an evil spirit in an old man’s body”. That’s aging…………

  5. Betsy Fiebach says:

    Trying to focus on gratitude for the positives/blessings. And the benefit of time/experience. Hoping those outweigh fears/prosoects of aging/illness and knowledge/realism that there are fewer years going forward than behind!

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