Monday, February 28, 2022

In Search of Sages

M. E. Brockman (L) and T. S. Hill (R)
United Nations photo via Creative Commons

I am teaching Late Life and Spirituality this semester. We are reading Holly Nelson-Becker's 2018 textbook Spirituality, Religion, and Aging: Illuminations for Therapeutic Practice. (Sage Publications, Inc.). In addition to taking quizzes, my students are writing short reports on living sages, aged 60 plus. 

Initially, I let them select the sages. However, they were mainly choosing actors who are cast as sages in major motion pictures. All of my students are in the traditional college age group (18 to 25). I have a feeling that they restrict themselves to interacting with young adults, so it was nearly impossible for them to identify living sages. 

Here are some of the people I suggested that they study as living sages who are 60 plus years old: 

Wendell Berry, conservationist
Fr. Greg Boyle, activist, intervening with gang members
Jimmy Carter, activist with Habitat for Humanity and Council of Elders

Pema Chodron, devotional writer
Daniel Dennett, cognitive scientist
Pope Francis, religious leader