The Life to Come: Re-Creating Retirement

Team Members/Contributors

Steven M. Tipton Candler School of Theology, Emory University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

One third of American workers will retire in the next twenty years. This moral and social inquiry into the cultural re-creation of retirement probes its practical religious meaning in their everyday experience and social imagination, with a feel for its saving promise of true self-renewal and graceful fulfillment in the life to come in this world, however unsure salvation seems in the next. I focus on the extraordinary opportunities and challenges that this seismic shift offers to congregational communities in particular, to engage the aspirations of a legion of newly active volunteers and channel their commitments to serve the commonweal. I weigh the balance of its impact, as it opens church doors wider to a generation remarkable for its selective, shifting participation in religious institutions no less than its spiritual enthusiasm. I assess this emerging ethos of retirement, its iconic advertising and compelling genres of pastoral, therapeutic, and financial advice, in light of the deepest convictions Americans share and contest in thinking through what makes life worth living, and a society worth living in. Can these redemptive visions of who we are and where we are headed keep the promise of our progress as a people of plenty, and keep the covenant of our integrity as a people of faith? We'll find out, in the life to come.

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The Life to Come: Re-Creating Retirement 2018 Book Steven M. Tipton