Talk of the Towns 7.18.18

Town & Style Magazine 7-18-18

Webster Groves

The Rev. Dr. David Greenhaw is a preacher, teacher, scholar and theologian. Greenhaw, president of Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves and an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, says many regular folks have too lofty a conception of the term ‘theology.’ “It’s just humans talking about God,” he says. In practice, however, Greenhaw notes that some clergy “talk at you about God. All human beings have to arrive at a concept of their own.” They must also arrive at a viable concept of their life’s work. Some people couldn’t imagine doing anything but devoting themselves to ‘the common good’ while supporting themselves and their families. But others work only to make enough money for a house with a two-car garage and two leased luxury vehicles, to send well-dressed kids to college and to play golf on the weekends. Then, retirement means they can play golf whenever they want. (But how much golf can one actually play after retirement?

To some of you, that’s surely an impertinent question.) Greenhaw never keeps score. He only hopes to make a satisfying shot or two. If he shanks one, he just drops another one of the dozens he’s collected at the fringes of the Forest Park course during walks. Life’s too precious to spend looking for lost balls in the weeds. And at 63, near the age when many of us get the gold watch, Greenhaw has invented a program for professionals who have recently retired, or are planning to, and wish to infuse the rest of their lives with meaning. ‘NEXT Steps: Midlife and Beyond’ is designed for baby boomers serious about transitioning their career experience and talents to benefit the greater community.

Beginning Sept.13, Greenhaw will guide the first 15 or so participants, age 55 and up, to self-discovery through seminar-style discussions, guest speakers, study, networking and opportunities to explore the nonprofit world. The eight sessions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays September through December, and the first already has seven guests signed up and has reached ‘critical mass,’ Greenhaw notes. (Participants from all faith backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to apply.) “A growing number of baby boomers seek new social purpose in their lives,” says program coordinator Dr. Janet Brown. Some seek to start nonprofits. NEXT Steps guest speakers will include theologians, social entrepreneurs, and leaders in the business and nonprofit worlds. The program will be held on the Eden campus at Walker Leadership Institute. The institute strives to equip business leaders with skills and experiences to guide their organizations in better serving the common good, partnering with other academic, religious and business groups to host workshops, conferences and forums to identify, encourage and activate community leadership. “Lots of people make financial plans for their retirement, but fewer make plans about who they will be and what they will do,” Greenhaw emphasizes.

Applications for the first group are due by Aug. 31. Visit for more details.

By Bill Beggs Jr.

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