Aging as a Spiritual JourneyEugene C Bianchi
Bianchi's wide-ranging book draws together insights from the social sciences, the humanities, and religion to establish a holistic framework for a spirituality of aging. He argues that middle life and late adulthood present opportunities for turning inward for a deeper contemplative life within the context of active, worldly endeavors. This can also augur a reform of social relationships--beyond individual development alone--toward the creation of a more cooperative, just society. In this way, physical decline is countered by a spiritual ascent. He summons aging persons, fortified with universal values and concerns gained from age and experience, to return to the centers of decision making. Throughout, the author ponders such questions as personal power, identity, fear, freedom, contemplation, sexuality, the church, faith, suffering, and hope. In candid interviews, older religious leaders reflect on their early value formation, personal traumas, choice of careers, midlife transitions, experiences of old age, and the prospect of death. In dwelling mainly on human spiritual dilemmas of the aging cycle, Bianchi offers a strong, clear message of hope--one that stands against the tide of our culture which tends to shunt older people to the outer eddies of life's stream. Aging as a Spiritual Journey is immensely valuable to all laypersons and those in the helping professions who are concerned about the quality of the aging process.