With emphasis on its spiritual and religious dimensions, Apprenticed to Hope: A Sourcebook for Difficult Times, is a compelling compilation of thirty-two essays exploring the nature of hope. Julie Neraas draws from a wide range of sources, offering many different ways to think about hope. She considers hope's relationship with faith, the human imagination, and community; distinguishes authentic hope from optimism and false hope, and draws upon her own experience with chronic illness, as well as what she has learned from places where hope is tested. Additionally, she addresses contemporary questions about where we can look for sources of hope in turbulent times.
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2009
Paperback: 176 pages
"Julie Neraas chose exactly the right title for her superb book on personal and communal hope. She writes clearly and compellingly of how all of us, no matter what sort of individual or collective obstacles we face, can keep hope alive as we seek personal wholeness and a better world for everyone."
"Julie Neraas tackles a seemingly familiar topic and turns it inside out. The urgent questions posed by a baffling illness fuel her investigations into psychology, theology and poetry for a new definition of hope. In the tradition of the best essayists, Neraas moves between the personal and the theoretical, between the dilemmas of lived experience and the wisdom of art and scholarship. The interdisciplinary method of her book mirrors the style of her teaching and academic interests, a product of twenty years teaching in a graduate program at Hamline University. it will be truly useful to a wide range of readers wishing to deepen their understanding of life."
"Apprenticed to Hope is gritty, inspiring, informed, trustworthy - and a real gem. Neraas wants us to see how our relationship with hope is essential, and is no mere matter of wishful thinking, fantasy, desire, or illusion. She succeeds masterfully."
"Apprenticed to Hope is absolutely the right book for our time and all of us! Neraas' invitation to apprentice yourself to hope is irresistible, inspirational, remedial and profoundly realistic."
Apprenticed to Hope is as much about Julie E. Neraas' struggle as it is about hope. As she reveals her own dark night of the soul she somehow gives comfort to the reader. In some way Julie Neraas is like a kind friend who takes your hand and leads you on a journey of discovery. This book explores all the many facets of hope and how they appear in real life. Some of the chapters include: The Nature of Hope, Hope's Limits, Hope as a Choice,Threats to Hope, False Hope, Hope Seeks the Bigger Picture, How Hope Returns, Hope and History, Hope as Partnership between Human and Divine, Hope's Origins in Mystery. I could especially relate to her stories of how the imagination can take over when you find yourself in a difficult situation.
I also enjoyed reading many of the heart-warming stories in this book. Instead of just discussing hope in an intellectual way, Julie Neraas also brings a new understanding to how hope functions in real-life situations. I'd recommend this to anyone who suffers with pain, depression or any chronic illness. This book would also be perfect for anyone who feels jaded, it is a good reality check and will give you a greater appreciation for life. I think anyone can benefit from reading this book because we all need an understanding of hope.
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