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Will Willimon – Aging: Growing Old in the Church

Baker Academic 177 Pages ISBN 976 1 5408 6081 8 Price £13.99

As a teenager I worked on a building site for a year or so. One of the older builders used to end each day with the saying: “One more – one less.” He was talking about our days. It is a reminder that time flies and that all of us are subject to the process of aging. 

This timely new book deals with how this process seems to gather pace from midlife and sweep over us with ever increasing waves of reduction as we get older.

Willimon reminds us of our strange and contradictory attitude to aging:

“Most people want to live longer; few want to grow old.”

In this wise book the author is honest about the negative impact of aging on us physically, mentally, socially, economically. For many older people everything seems to be reduced, especially the sense of security and significance.

Willimon helps those who are wrestling with aging to concentrate less on what they do not have or cannot do and concentrate more on what we still have and can still do.

The author reminds us that the church can have an important role in helping older people feel welcome and useful. Churches need to learn not to waste the valuable resource of wisdom, experience and time that our mature members offer. Willimon also reminds us that the gospel prepares us for the last lap of aging:

“The Christian faith has its origins in a cemetery and the jolt of God’s surprise move – the resurrection of the body of the crucified Lord.”

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex

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