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Featured Book: On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity & Getting Old


A while ago, Parker Palmer’s On the Brink of Everything served as the focus of an adult study at SSUC. With reason. According to infed.org, Palmer has “touched many people through his work. In that old Quaker phrase, he has been able to speak to their condition.”

In his book, the “religious educator in a broad sense,” as Biola University calls him, reflected on eight decades of life and work, and came to see age as a precious gift. Surprised by the fact that he likes being old, he writes, “Welcome to the brink of everything. It takes a lifetime to get here, but the stunning view of past, present, and future…makes it worth the trip.”

As the result of a wide-ranging phone interview with Palmer, Religious News Services singled out from the book these six “spiritual gifts of aging” for emphasis: recognize that you are “on the brink,” and therefore able to “connect the dots”; look back, and find the patterns in your life; reframe your purpose—find what your vocation has been; listen to, and learn from young people; face up to mortality; and speak out, with wisdom (“Old is just another word for nothing to lose.”).

On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity & Getting Old
By Parker Palmer
Berrett-Koehler Publications, 2018

The previous Featured Book, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor, is now available in the Library.