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Aging Well: Theological Reflections on the Call and Retirement by Jack L. Stotts

Dr. Jack L. Stotts retired from Austin Theological Seminary in 1996 where he served as president and professor of Christian ethics for eleven years. He had served twenty-two years on the faculty and administration of McCormick Theological Seminary. Published by The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), January 1999, p. 25 . This information prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.

God's calling is the ultimate context of our lives. This is the dimension of depth that is the proper source of our identity and community. This is the ground of our life. From that power we can never be separated. "In life and in death we belong to God." That is a good word we know in Jesus Christ.

I. Calling and Call
Calling is the category by which we seek to understand and to elucidate the dynamic and content of God's calling to us and others.

II. Calling
God's calling comes to us out of the past. It addresses us in the present. It beckons us into the future.

III. Calls
We respond to God's calling in and though the calls that come to us. These calls are, at one level, structures of meaning, identity, attachment, contribution, and satisfaction. We create the particular structures--ecclesiastical, political, economic, familial, etc.

IV. Retirement: Re-considering One's Call
We are called to redefine ourselves, to listen and to look for how God is calling us now through all the potential new calls, what we are to do, where we are to do it, who we are and what are the locations for a call or calls that are being sounded all around us.

V. Retirement and the Call: What Constitutes a Good Retirement?
To be at leisure does not mean to abandon the values we have espoused previously. It is to put them in different forms. We continue to ask whether at retirement we continue to engage in practices that are expressive of the comprehensive love of God.

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