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Hope Is Here!

Spiritual Practices for Pursuing Justice and Beloved Community

Availability:
7-10 days processing
Publisher:
Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date:
11/7/2023
ISBN:
9780664268305
Pages:
210
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5
Product Type:
Paper

Joyful and daunting opportunities to live into God's dream of justice and beloved community are compelling and available. Hope, says Luther Smith Jr., is essential to the needed personal and social transformations that prepare us for such sacred opportunities. Yet genuine hope is often confused as merely wish fulfillment, optimism, or perceiving better tomorrows. In Hope Is Here! Smith describes how we truly perceive and join "the work of hope" enlivening us to a life that is oriented toward immediate and future experiences of personal fulfillment, justice, and beloved community. Interpreting five spiritual practices for individuals and congregations to experience the power of hope, this book prepares us to engage racism, mass incarceration, environmental crises, divisive politics, and indifference that imperil justice and beloved community. It delivers the inner resources necessary to work for change through its interpretation of hope.

Additionally, each chapter ends with questions that prompt readers to examine their experiences and their readiness to journey with hope. Written for Christians who want to commit themselves to justice and beloved community, this book will provide helpful guidance for a life sustained by God's gifts of hope and love. Hope is here for our "responsibility" and "response-ability" to live the fulfilling life that God dreams for us.

This book is designed for congregational, communal, or small-group use. To assist groups using the book, the publisher has developed a free, downloadable congregational guide, which includes reflections on the lessons in the book; Scripture references from the Old and New Testaments and prayers, which can be used in study, devotion, or preaching opportunities; practical applications of the spiritual practices found in the book; and space to work together to create congregational commitments. Access the Congregational Guide at www.wjkbooks.com/HopeIsHere.

Product Excerpts and Related Resources:
Download excerpt from Hope Is Here!

Luther E. Smith Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Church and Community, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is the author and editor of influential books on Howard Thurman, Christian community, and spiritual practices.


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Hope Is Here!
Spiritual Practice...
by Westminster John Knox Press
Luther E. Smith Jr.
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"Hope Is Here! is an invitation with a trumpet sound. Luther Smith offers his testimony born from years of adventure, revelation, and contemplation on the revolutionary power of hope. Herein is a glimpse of the expansive depth and inclusivity of the prophetic force of hope. Hope is shown as the agency of the Divine that is always present, purposeful, transformative, persistent, inclusive, boundary breaking, prophetic, and invitational. Hope is not a commodity to be possessed; it possesses us. In this novel book, Smith invites us on a journey of experiencing and exploring the source, depth, and possibilities of hope's transformative power in the lives of individuals as well as the agenda of justice and the vision of the future of community. Furthermore, given the human tendency to resist hope, Smith invites everyone to embrace a contemplative journey propelled by the ongoing practice of the spiritual disciplines that facilitate receptivity to living out the gift of God's hope and expanding the human capacity to be agents for justice and builders of the beloved community. Hope Is Here! is a wake-up call to all persons, regardless of their ideological or theological bent. Here is a book for the ages, indeed the future of humanity." —Thomas Louis Brown Sr., Presiding Bishop, Sixth Episcopal District, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

"Luther Smith's new book is a luminous portrait of the spiritual underpinnings of social justice, nonviolence, and the theological virtue of hope. In lucid prose, he knits his years of wisdom to create concrete examples of love in action. Hope is not only an optimistic anticipation of a good outcome but also a profound practice for the creation of beloved community. Read this book and be inspired!" —Wendy Farley, Rice Family Chair of Spirituality, San Francisco Theological Seminary, Graduate School of Theology, Redlands University

"Luther has given us a timely and much-needed gift with this book. He offers a robust and trustworthy understanding of hope that is worthy of the call to follow Jesus in bringing good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and liberty to the oppressed. All of which are very much needed today. Moreover, the book is full of practical insights and wisdom, describing practices that can help us to live in and from such hope. In short, Hope Is Here! gives me courage, and I am grateful. If you’re seeking support in sustaining courage and aliveness to life, read this book." —Johnny Sears, Director, The Academy for Spiritual Formation, The Upper Room


"Luther Smith is the voice of wisdom we all need. This wonderful book revitalizes our understanding of hope and its transformative power, integrating peace and justice, self and community, social action and contemplation. Hope Is Here! is a life-giving and soul-nourishing read for everyone committed to the beloved community." —Ellen Ott Marshall, Professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"No one but Luther Smith could have convinced me to give hope another try. His trustworthy voice fills this book with such clarity, truthfulness, tenderness, and real-life proof that I’m ready to resign from wishful thinking and join the everyday work of hope. Turns out that’s not a Christian virtue we have to kindle all by ourselves; it’s a force from beyond that is calling us back to life." —Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Learning to Walk in the Dark

"As we continue to work toward the elusive goal of Martin Luther King Jr.'s beloved community, what is the role of hope? Does hope energize us in the struggle for justice, or is it a form of wishful thinking that allows us to evade the fierce urgency of now? In this pivotal book, Luther E. Smith Jr.—drawing on his long, rich, and distinguished career as a teacher, scholar, preacher, and activist—reframes this question with the claim that hope is not a feeling but a force, a transformative ‘force of God that enlivens us to life.’ His evidence for that claim is compelling: story after story of people he calls 'witnesses' whose lives are animated by the power of hope. For Smith, these people are not mere case studies. They are hope incarnate, and they embody the possibility that we, too, may grow into the word of hope become flesh. As one who has sometimes felt distant from hope, this book has helped me understand that hope is never distant from me. May it do the same for you." —Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak, A Hidden Wholeness, and Healing the Heart of Democracy

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