Fortress Press

Elders Rising: The Promise and Peril of Aging

Elders Rising

The Promise and Peril of Aging

Roland D. Martinson (Author)

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Riding the age wave with grace

In this inspiring book, Roland D. Martinson draws on the folk wisdom and experience of over fifty persons between the ages of sixty-two and ninety-seven. He puts this wisdom in conversation with scriptural and theological understandings of elders in the last third of life and sets forth perspectives on aging for individuals, groups, civic organizations, and congregations to utilize in developing a vital, resilient, and productive quality of life for elders.

The book explores some current age-wave numbers and explores elderhood in relation to Scripture, theology, and the wisdom of "pioneers and pathfinders." Practical direction is given for conversation and action based on exploring elder identity, presence, partnerships, passions, purpose, powers, and promise.

Martinson lays out a process for helping communities, including faith communities, become "vital aging centers" where elders are called to look honestly and hopefully at life's third chapter and to make it a time of discovery, adventure, and capacity. The volume will help congregations better serve the needs of elders and integrate elder wisdom and capacity in their mission and ministry.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9781506440545
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date December 1, 2018


What a hopeful and helpful book!

“What a hopeful and helpful book! Whether you or someone you love is navigating the transitions, losses, and sorrows of aging, these stories of fifty-three elders will encourage you to connect with others, claim your gifts and power, live your faith, grieve your losses, and mobilize your congregation. Martinson joins their stories to the Biblical narrative and offers insights and thoughtful questions about the experience of aging. These elders will inspire you and your congregation to take specific steps to join the movement of Elders Rising.”

Mark Hanson | ELCA Presiding Bishop Emeritus

A marvelous resource for congregational study groups

“This book, a marvelous resource for congregational study groups, is based on Martinson’s deep, respectful listening to the complex stories of elders who are far from perfect, yet whose narratives display faith, playfulness, and spirit. Against the ‘me-first’ emphasis of many self-help books, Martinson believes that elders can ‘rise’ and be strengthened, not only for their own benefit, but as powerful contributors to the intergenerational work of making the world a more hospitable, safe, and creative place.”

Janet L. Ramsey | Luther Seminary

This book can serve as a wonderful guide to the issues and possibilities as baby boomers move into their retirement years.

“In Elders Rising, Roland D. Martinson skillfully weaves social-science studies, theology, and first-person stories from elders into an optimistic and empowering book for older adults. He explores how elders are navigating changing relationships, finding purpose, living with loss, and much more. This book can serve as a wonderful guide to the issues and possibilities as baby boomers move into their retirement years.”

Duane Paetznick, pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church

Martinson’s book blends a wealth of sage wisdom with sensible ideas on the aging process

“Martinson’s book blends a wealth of sage wisdom with sensible ideas on the aging process. The concept of three periods of elderhood has given me a valuable context for my own ministry. Martinson’s questions at the end of each chapter allow an individual or a group to make the narrative their own.”

Patricia Hendricks, Vital Aging Coordinator at Nativity Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Table of Contents

1. The Age Wave and Early Navigators
2. Aging and the Christian Faith
3. Elderhood: A New Life Stage
4. Presence: The Capacity to Accompany
5. Relationships: Better Together
6. Passion: Compelling Interests
7. Purpose: Making a Difference
8. Power: Ability to Influence
9. Playfulness: Enjoyment and Leisure
10. Peril: Vulnerability and Resiliency
11. Living with Loss
12. Navigating Change
13. Elders Rising
14. Elders Rising in Families and Churches
End Notes
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