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Embracing Life and Gathering Wisdom



Edited by Stephen Smith, Edwina Blair and Catherine Kleemann

The book is the second volume in the Sydney College of Divinity Occasional Series. It takes a multi-disciplinary approach to ageing, dementia, retirement, and palliative care – seeking theological, pastoral and clinical insights into human flourishing in the last chapters of life.

In growing old we each share in the inevitable future of our humanity. Yet ageing is not to be feared. While it is a physical decay, it is also a theological aspiration – the journey of the created meeting their Creator.

The Christian approach to ageing is distinct when compared to a purely secular perspective. The secular view sees humans as a physiological machine that houses sentient awareness; however, the Christian view sees the human body as a carrier of an eternal spiritual being. While the physical shell is in decline, the soul is maturing and enduring.

Christians live with the conviction that people are ‘soul beings’ first, and physical beings second. Our soul integrates the interplay of physical, psychological, spiritual and social health, and is an inseparable companion to every breath we take. When we experience ageing the search for meaning that emanates from our soul is radically sharpened. This is God’s calling to us, an inevitable search for the sacred.