Seeing the Sacred: A Year In Snapshots

This book is a thought-provoking exploration into how the simple act of taking snapshots can be a spiritual practice. It is an invitation to busy people who wish they had more contemplative time, to make this simple practice part of their day. Neraas explores the meaning of the sacred, she offers tips about how to be available to the sacred, and she relates it to: relationships, work, home, beauty, blessing, time, the city, the sea, and much more. Forthcoming from Wipf and Stock Publications.

Hope and Poetry: How They Sustain Us

In this challenging time in our world, hope may be our greatest need, its viability our greatest question. Many forces threaten to force hope into hiding. For hope to thrive people have to feel they have a future. This is at the heart of young peoples’ anguish about our planet and our world. But even in times of crisis hope sustains us in our living. I believe there is a deep human intuition of hope. Like an invisible signature, the capacity to hope is an indispensable human quality. I draw from poetry to illustrate how hope works in peoples’ lives. Poems distill the nature of hope, highlight its many sources, name its greatest threats, offer suggestions about the habits and practices that can strengthen it.

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. 

Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2009
Paperback: 176 pages

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