The twilight years of life can be some of the most difficult—and rewarding—of life or ministry. But what if we were in the twilight years of aging itself?
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 is tackling aging and illness because "these 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 commentators agree that Google's focus will likely not be limited to simply a cure for cancer or other diseases, but will actually work to combat aging itself.
Despite the hype of some headlines claiming that Google's investment could signal the end of human mortality, the aged will never be obsolete. But old may look very different in the future than in the past.
We recently polled our readers on a common ministry problem: "Have you experienced burnout in ministry?" Your answers were overwhelming—burnout is nearly universal. Here's how your responses broke down:
Yes, I'm fried to a crisp right now. 18.5%
Yes, but I'm learning to endure the heat. 28.3%
Yes, in the past, but I've made significant changes and it's better now. 26.7%
I'm not sure if what I experienced was burnout or something else. 17.3%
No, I've never been burned out. 9.1%
Visit LeadershipJournal.net's media library to take our latest poll and view results from other polls, plus enjoy cartoons, videos, and more.
If you feel that technology is making people more self-centered, you're not alone. Author Tad Williams sees the Internet as dynamic a sociological shift as farming or the invention of writing, but also one that is already putting individuals in personal digital "bubbles." And it will only become more profound in the coming decades. "We're all going to be a lot more invested in other, like-minded people's lives" he says.
But the key word there is "like-minded."
From Williams' article at the BBC:
"Our challenge in the coming century will be to resist hiding in the comfort of these self-made bubbles, to remember that there will also be a growing number of other bubbles, large and small, and each one will contain people who feel just as strongly as we do about their own individual truths, passions, and needs. For all our differences, we are sharing the same planet. It may be difficult, but we will still need to hear what we don't want to hear, sometimes from people we don't like. We will still need to think about others, and not just ourselves. In fact, as the old ways disappear, we humans will need to find entirely new ways to be neighbors."
The technological revolutions the near future will bring will continue to redefine how we interact. But while the modes and methods of connection will change, will the root realities—conflict, peacemaking, comfort, love—really be that different?
There will always be neighbors different from us, and there will always be Christ's call to love them, to break out of our bubbles and allow our bubbles to be broken into by others.
Copyright © 2013 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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