ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, June 23   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Migration
Do Christians in your country have a Bible-based understanding of how migrants should be treated?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



René Breuel
 

A few half-baked thoughts on mid-life crisis

The second act is often the place of the false project, where the protagonist pursues a wrong goal before realizing what his true need is.

CULTURE MAKING AUTHOR René Breuel 02 JUNE 2018 17:00 h GMT+1
Photo: Danka Peter. Unsplash.

I’d love to write an article on the subject of middle age and its difficulties. But, as someone who is starting to feel some of the pressures of this phase, I’m afraid I have for now only a few half-baked thoughts.



But let’s start. (I’m thinking of the challenges that can accompany us in our thirties and forties.)



What are the marks of this phase? Some weariness; a sense of burden brought by the responsibilities we accumulate; cynicism as we come to understand something of the ways of the world; wounds caused by ill-intentioned people and by our own stupidity; tension between the adult we want to become and the still-present adolescent impulses we find in ourselves; diminished impetus, at least when compared to the youthful zest of one’s twenties.



The opening of Dante’s The Divine Comedy illustrates the sense of lostness that can accompany this slog in the journey of life:




In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost…. I cannot rightly say how I entered it. I was so full of sleep, at that point where I abandoned the true way.




Russell Moore recorded an excellent podcast about the theme. Among several good observations, he suspects that leader’s moral failings can act like “escape valves” one uses to feel young and energetic again.



This week I’ve found this sentence in Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, where the Roman Emperor reflects at one point:




As in the bad days of Antioch, before my adoption by Trajan, I thought with a pang that nothing is slower than the true birth of a man: I had myself passed my thirtieth year before the Pannonian campaign had opened my eyes to the responsibilities of power…”1




In a similar way, in the Three Uses of the Knife, playwright David Mamet makes an analogy between mid-life and the second act of stories, the hardest part to write.




In his analysis of world myth, Joseph Campbell calls this period in the belly of the beast–the time which is not the beginning and not the end, the time in which artist and protagonist doubt themselves and wish the journey had never begun. This is the stating ground for the assault on the final goal–the time in which the beginning goal is transmuted into a higher goal, in which the true nature of the struggle asserts itself… The hero must revamp her thinking about the world. And this revamping can lead to great art.2




In movies, for example, the second act is often the place of the false project, where the protagonist pursues a wrong goal before realizing what his true need is; of the false victory, where triumph in the false project is actually a distancing from others and from his true self; and of defeat before the final struggle of the third and final act.



It is where the protagonist often “gets lost” or is increasingly defeated, before coming to his senses and triumphing in the third act.



Mamet quotes Leon Tolstoy about the potential of rebirth and renewal of one’s thirties:




Tolstoy wrote that if you don’t undergo this reexamination, this revision, in your thirties, the rest of your life will be intellectually sterile…. [T]his state is the beginning of great opportunity. Tolstoy suggested that it was the opportunity to change myth by which one lives; to rethink everything; to ask, ‘What is the nature of the world?’”3




To change myth, to change the narrative by which one lives. What is the world? Why am I pursuing what I’m pursuing? Is it the thing I should be really pursuing? Are my successes the right successes and my defeats instructive defeats?



That’s a salutary reexamination, no matter where in the journey of life we find ourselves in.



 




1 Margherite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian, pag. 216.





2 David Mamet, Three Uses of the Knife, pag. 38.





3 Ibid., pags. 38-39.



 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - A few half-baked thoughts on mid-life crisis
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Trailer: “The Peace Between” Trailer: “The Peace Between”

A film about the experience of refugees in Europe. Churches, small groups and individuals are encouraged to use it during Refugee Week: 17-24 June.

 
How can churches better support singles? How can churches better support singles?

Tina Tschage, on some areas in which other Christians can encourage singles.

 
The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines

The Kirk has begun official procedures to investigate the status and the role of the Westminster Confession of Faith within its denomination.

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.