FAKING IN RETIREMENT 7-7-17
Well, that didn’t work out very well.
I wrote Wesley Dickson. He’s being appointed to the UMC in New Lenox, IL, after serving several years in Sterling, IL. I wished him well in New Lenox and thanked him for his service in Sterling, to a congregation we were once a part of and cherish in memory and hope and softball.
Wesley is a young man of great “gifts and graces” for the ministry, in part because his undergrad degree was in computer stuff, so he comes at ministry both scientifically and theologically. We’ve had quite a few opportunities to work together, or at least in the same geographical areas, and so I’ve been able to see firsthand how able and effective he is. In one of those settings, he was the minister for the youth group my granddaughter was a part of. She profited so much from the group and from knowing Wesley, even became the Lay Leader of a congregation where she lived later when she was only sixteen.
[Wesley, of course, is a great name for a Methodist preacher.]
But he replied to my note. He said that I am an inspiration, that he wants to be like me when he comes to retirement. But I am old and decrepit and irrelevant and useless and tried and depressed. I can’t tell him that, though. Now I’ve got to start acting like an old man who is a good model for younger people.
Come to think of it, that’s no different than how it’s always been. I’ve always faked it, faked courage, faked goodness, faked faith, faked hope, faked forgiveness, faked interest, faked belief. It’s been remarkably effective, really.
When John Wesley was a young man, about the age Wesley Dickson is now, he realized he had no faith. He asked Moravian bishop Peter Bohler [sometimes Boehler] what to do. “Fake faith until you have it,” Bohler said. Actually he said, “Preach faith until you have it,” but it’s the same thing.
So here’s my advice to Wesley: Fake it ‘til you make it. Or maybe that’s my advice to me.
Because of Learning to Swear in America, Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. [She is also our daughter.] She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her new book, What Goes Up, comes out July 18. It’s published in paper, audio, and electronic, and available for pre-order even now, from B&N, Amazon, etc.