495: Readers Tell Us About Becoming a Faith Leader, Gifts of Aging, Woodstock

Once again, thanks to readers like you,
we’ve got your feedback to share …

Thanks to Artist Nancy Thayer and 
Readers Reflecting on
Emerging Role of “Faith Leader”

THAT THEME runs throughout our coverage this week and we appreciate readers who commented in a variety of forms—from Email and Facebook to comments posted directly at www.OurValues.org. Here is a sample from a reader named Grace:
    What is a “faith leader”? Grace defines it as someone who encourages “working together across difference. We are creating a new understanding
of what a spiritual community really is. I don’t believe it needs to
be exclusive to a single faith tradition or belief system; a spiritual
community is any community of people who feel spiritually connected to
one another and responsible for the well-being of one another.”

    As Editor of ReadTheSpirit, I agree. To rebuild American communities after the recent crash (and to help meet the world’s many human needs)—we need diverse communities working toward common values.
    IF YOU’RE JUST JOINING US, check out Nancy Thayer’s week-long series, which starts here with her Introduction to “What’s a faith leader?”

Holidays Are Coming— 
And So Much More This Fall—
So, Keep In Touch! Get Our Free Planner.

THERE’S A WHOLE LOT HAPPENING! “Thank you” to readers who already are sending notes about Ramadan and the Jewish High Holidays! Keep sending us ideas, thoughts, stories, prayers—anything to enrich the lives of our readers.
    AND, let us help you keep in touch! Looming on the horizon are the Muslim fasting month, Lift Your City in Prayer, Rosh Hashanah—and so much more.
    The easiest way to keep in touch—and to learn the latest news about spirituality, values and media—is to Email us and say “Subscribe” If you do that, you’ll receive our free Monday-morning Planner. The newsletter contains no ads. You can cancel any time. Did we say it’s free?

Speaking of Emerging Themes … 
Our Review of “The Window”
—and Clarity of Vision in Aging

NO! WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT our vision fading in old age. We’re talking about YOUNG people needing to clarify their vision about the aging process.
    The day our review appeared of the newly released Argentinian movie, “The Window,” we heard from author Missy Buchanan about her latest online article, “What Young Folks Should Know.”
Missy is a pioneer in writing about the spiritual gifts of aging—and encouraging congregations to do a whole lot more to connect with older members.
    Here’s an excerpt from  Missy’s new online article. In preparing this column, she spent time talking to elderly people about what they wish younger adults would understand:
    “One of the most intriguing comments came from a former church lay
leader who tactfully questioned the open-mindedness of some young
adults who claim to be tolerant and inclusive. Her experience had been
that younger people often have a narrow mindset when it comes to older
    “Perhaps the most telling comment came from my
79-year-old friend, John Quinlan: ‘I just want to be recognized as me.
I am now slower and weaker than before. I tire easily, but it is still

    That comment by John Quinlan perfectly voices the theme of the new movie on DVD, “The Window.”

Woodstock Anniversary
Means More to Baby Boomers
Than the Image of Smoky Haze …

THIS IS HARDLY SCIENTIFIC DATA, but some comments on our Woodstock-anniversary story were along the lines of this note from David J.W., who commented via Facebook: “Hey, I’m thankful for the Jesus movement. I was set free from the Woodstock lifestyle. Drugs only lead to bondage and death.”
    Deanie Wills emailed from Orlando: “Don’t you realize if you claim to remember it—that’s proof you weren’t there! Spiritual? No, smoky haze is more like it!”
    It’s true that Woodstock was fueled by a lot of dope smoking. One historical source says that 90 percent of the crowd at least sampled marijuana before the three-day festival ended. But memories of drugs aren’t a big factor among Woodstock attendees looking back. Check out the Woodstock Facebook group, for example, and you’ll find fond memories spreading far larger than a puff of smoke. The group’s 5,400-plus members are pretty happily recalling the landmark festival this week.
    There’s also some buzz this week about Woodstock polling conducted by a group called Eon, which is a corporately sponsored social-networking project for Baby Boomers. Eon reported on a survey of 2,000 Baby Boomers on Woodstock. The results sound reasonable. Here are some of the findings that Woodstock fans are talking about this weekend, including fans of the Facebook group:
    “Nearly half of all respondents (47%) said the music was the most
memorable part about Woodstock. Interestingly, those who attended
Woodstock said the sense of peace and togetherness (47%) was more
memorable than than the music (19%). Overall, 40% said growing up in
the ’60s heightened their interest in music as a universal language.”

    Reader Greg M took a middle course in his Email on Woodstock: “Woodstock the event meant little to me at the time it was happening.  Woodstock the movie, Woodstock the album, that is what I got “into.”  Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner, Joan Baez, the music with a message, the songs with a statement or a cause. The aftermath said volumes, too: No one was murdered, lives were changes, life went on in some terrible conditions, music played, and all had a good time.
    “Did Woodstock change me? Not really.  FK, MLK and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations, Apollo and the Moon, the Detroit Riots, Watergate, now those were changing moments. Woodstock to me was an event, like Super Bowl I, the 68 World Series, not a life-changing event.”

    So, what do YOU think? What are your memories—whether you were there or not? The 40th anniversary runs through Tuesday (Jimi Hendrix closed the festival on August 18, 1969.).


    Not only do we welcome your notes—but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube and other social-networking sites as well.
    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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