The twilight years of life can be some of the most difficult—and rewarding—ones of life or ministry. Pastors ministering to the aging face significant challenges, as well as the opportunity for laughter, wisdom, and contemplation. But what if we were at the twilight years of aging itself?
In a fascinating blend of technology, futurism, and medicine, Google has announced the launch of Calico, "a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases" according to Google CEO Larry Page.
Page said in a recent announcement that the company's tackling aging and illness because "[t]hese issues affect us all—from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families. And while this is clearly a longer-term bet, we believe we can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people."
The question of exactly how Calico (a contraction of "the California Life Company") plans to do this is unclear. But it's telling that Google, poised as they are at the cutting edge of augmented reality, human-centered search algorithms, and speech translation, has decided to try. Commentators agree that Google's focus will likely not be limited to simply a cure for cancer or other diseases, but actually work to combat aging itself.
Despite the hype of some headlines claiming that Google's investment could signal the end of human mortality, ministry to seniors will probably never be obsolete. But it will likely look very different in the future than in the past, and in hindsight, Google's strange choice to engage the challenges of aging might be a cultural milestone—for pastors and all the rest of us future octogenarians.
Copyright © 2013 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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