Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2009
Paperback: 176 pages
ISBN-10: 0806657642
ISBN-13: 978-0806657646

Apprenticed to Hope

This book is a compilation of essays exploring the nature of hope in human life, including the many ways in which it can be lost and found again. She draws from her experience as a chaplain and minister, working in settings where hope is tested. They include a prison, a hospital, a treatment center, as well as colleges and religious congregations. She also draws on her own experience of living with a chronic illness. Julie offers a variety of ways to think about hope, including its relationship with faith, its partnership with the imagination, as well as the importance of community. She distinguishes between authentic hope and optimism, and offers suggestions about where hope might be found, or created, in turbulent times. 

Praise for Apprenticed to Hope

 “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.”

— Parker Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Active Life


 “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.”

— Margaret Todd Maitland, author of The Dome of Creation

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.”

— Sharon Daloz Parks, author of Big Questions, Worthy Dreams and Common Fire


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.”

— Ted Loder, author of Guerillas of Grace


From ‘The Rebecca Review:’

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.