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Greg, you bring up an interesting point. I cannot remember a time since my undergrad days when I had someone older like that in my life. But even then my questions were too much for him. I have found myself in the "older" role far more often than in the younger. Yet another check against task driven church work. I am honestly trying to recall the last time I trusted an "older" person with the musings of my soul. I do not think I have in the last 20 years (I am only 21 years into my journey) I have longed for it, but have never found someone who could/would take me on when I asked the unanswerable questions that you just have to grapple with, not get answered. Everyone always wanted a tidy package - which you of all people know I am not. Maybe some day that will come into my life. Until then, I keep taking on younger folks and giving them what I never had.


Yes, I think the "generation gap" between us and the boomers is just too great for an effective mentoring. I will go out on a limb here and say the problem resides more in the mentality of their generation than in ours. It is a selfish, "me" generation that, way generalizing here, is too shallow to realize this.


Well, as a member of the boomers, I can say I never have had a mentor either, though I can honestly tell you I have longed for such and asked God fervently to supply this according to His will. Nor have I felt particularly effective at trying to mentor others. Perhaps I am too self-centered, though I would like to think not. (of course)

As I get older I find the idea of mentoring as it is currently experienced seems to ride on the pre-supposition that the older is to bring the younger more fully into believing as the mentor does and practicing faith accordingly.

I wonder if the whole mentoring thing is based on a faulty notion. That is, belief is passed from one generation to the next, and the following generation remains under the mentor until ...hwat? the memtor has died?

Quite frankly that seems to serve the idea of leadership as hierarchial, and the older holds authority by virtue of higher position.

What if we understood the mentor/mentee thing differently. I am only successful as a mentor, if those who I mentor grow into God in such a way as to no longer need me except as a fellow brother.


Well my limb just broke! Thank you David for not letting my irritation with you Boomers annoy you. Of course there are many exceptions and, like I said, I was over-generalizing. This cuts it to the core:

"What if we understood the mentor/mentee thing differently. I am only successful as a mentor, if those who I mentor grow into God in such a way as to no longer need me except as a fellow brother."

Maybe another (better) term is "one-anothering." I think I remember us having a deep convo about that a decade ago.


Annoy? (chuckling). One thing I have learned in the Spirit of God, things that annoy are a gift, and the annoyance is evidence of my fleshly nature. Having that nature illuminated is an opportunity to put the flesh and its weakness away. Thankfully, in my weaknesses He is strong; being successful resisting the flesh is something at which Jesus is exceptional!

However, you raised an interesting point I had to think about. This is good as well. Boomers are often self-consumed. I do not think this is a phenomenon. I think throughout time people with much material wealth have been prone to selfish excess. What is phenomenal is that we live in a day and time when wealth has been held by so many at once, and these many feel the freedom to express their sometimes opinions freely as if we know! In that sense, I am sure we boomers can feel tiresome. A reason why you choose not to live among them, maybe? ;^)

Greg, since I have never stated it before, allow me this moment to tell you that I have always admired and respected you. This is not a compliment intended to flatter. The love of God makes it safe to build one another up, no? I would be surprised if you could ever annoy; however, should you do so, it is my problem not yours.


That is a great point David. The only mentor like relationship I had, the first year or so of my journey, turned very "mentor centered" and I discovered that the guy was deeply mired in the "need to be needed" trap. I have always tried to help grow the people I mentor to a place where they are a peer and a friend. It is similar to the same goal I have for my kids - to grow up and become adults and, God willing, friends. My parents are among my dearest friends. I hope to have the same blessing when my children are grown.



I agree; I think there is a clear analogy to fathering in the mentor thing. Unfortunately, too many folks see parenting as something done for a life time.

Being friends with my grown children is very rewarding. They no longer ask for permission, but often ask for my thoughts. I still am an influence in their lives, but that as a result of releasing them from being under my authority.

Herein is the breakdown in Christian mentoring, I think--the unspoken or clearly expected sense that the mentor is an authority over the mentee.


It's strange to read this because, aside from my own Dad, the two most influential mentors in my life were Greg and Reed. The most profound thing for me (looking back) was being treated for the first time in my life as an equal. As a man. Simply having another man ask you what you think is a powerful thing.

I know all of us look back at that time and feel like we were just a part of the "machine", but it was that mentoring that redeems it all for me (and meeting my wife, of course!).

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