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Retirement as Spiritual Pilgrimage: Stories, Scripture, and Practices for the Journey Paperback – April 12, 2016
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From the Back Cover
"Retirementas Spiritual Pilgrimage: Stories, Scripture, & Practices for the Journey"offers a Christian perspective on the personal dimensions of preparing for andliving life beyond full-time work. First-person accounts of retirees, reflectionson relevant passages of Scripture, and suggested spiritual practices provideinsight and guidance for each phase of this journey. Questions for reflectionand discussion at the end of each chapter make this book suitable for use by bothindividuals and small groups (e.g., adult classes, small group studies.)
As someone presentlyliving into the challenging transitions that come in our mid-sixties, I findmyself greatly in need of a realistic and inviting vision for the years ahead.This was the gift given to me in this book. In a warm, personal and accessibleway Jack and Jerry explore some of the critical ingredients of such a vision.They helped me to catch a glimpse of this uncertain time of life as a grace-filled opportunity to deepen friendship with God and with some significantothers, to keep growing and learning, to continue giving my life in service toothers, to give expression to locked-up creativity and, most importantly, tobefriend my dying as a time of new beginnings. I was blessed in my reading andgreatly encouraged. Thank you to Jack and Jerry for the life-giving gift oftheir reflections and words.
TrevorHudson (Pastor and Author)
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Top customer reviews
Similar to their first book, Hansen and Haas use a combination of literature-based and original empirical research as the basis of their text. The literature includes richly diverse voices ranging from luminaries in theology, philosophy, and literature to psychology and other social sciences. Among authors quoted in this book are a number of personal favorites including C.S. Lewis, Parker Palmer, Joan Chittister, Howard Gardner, and Henri Nouwen.
The empirical research the authors conducted involved personal interviews with both recent and long-term retirees. As one might assume from the book’s title, these interviews focused substantial attention on the spiritual aspects of the retirement experience. The individuals who were interviewed had backgrounds in a wide range of professions including religion, medicine, business, and education.
Hansen and Haas state early in the book that they envisioned three audiences for Retirement as a Spiritual Pilgrimage. First, it may be used by middle age and older people as a guide for private reflection. Secondly, it can serve as an educational tool for small group study in adult education, neighborhood book groups, churches, and other settings. And thirdly, it would be a resource for adult Sunday School classes that focus on issues related to aging and spirituality. I agree that this book would serve all three potential audiences well.
As a Professor of Adult and Higher Education who often teaches courses related to human aging, I would like to say a little more about audience #1. Aging is a threatening reality to many Americans and the fact that we humans age physically, socially, psychologically, and spiritually is often denied. Hansen and Haas take a positive and hopeful approach to aging, a perspective that is enhanced by numerous testimonials by people they interviewed as they spoke about their own aging journey. I love the fact that the authors encourage journal writing as a companion exercise to reading this book because I know first-hand from having journaled more than 40 years and also having assigned personal journal reflections to my university students, how evocative and powerful this form of reflection can be. I also see journal writing, which would be helped by discussion and reflection questions the authors provide in each chapter, as a good pedagogical tool if this book were to be adopted by an adult education seminar, community book group, or church-based class.
Pastors, religious education coordinators, and other leaders of faith-based adult education will also relish the fact that Retirement as a Spiritual Pilgrimage is deeply scripture-based. In fact, the book is subtitled “Stories, Scripture, and Practices for the Journey.” The authors do not falsely advertise on any of these counts and this is especially true with this book’s rich use of scriptural referencing.
I would like to end this review with a quote from one of the final chapters, a chapter dedicated to the all-important theme of identity after one leaves full-time work and enters the retirement years: “Retirement is an opportunity, not a fate; an enrichment, not a diminishment.” Even in these few words I believe there is ample grist for spiritually-related thought and conversation.
E. Michael Brady is Professor of Adult and Higher Education at the University of Southern Maine.