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Hope is Here! Spiritual Practices for Pursuing Justice and Beloved Community

Each chapter of Hope is Here! is chock full of stories where churches renew the hope by engaging Luther Smith Jr.'s suggested practices, theological insights and thoughtful questions. — Amy Pagliarella

Luther E. Smith Jr.
Westminster John Knox, 175 pages | Published November 7, 2023

In an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, talk show host Stephen Colbert asked if Coates had hope for our country. “No,” Coates replied. “But I’m not the person you should go to for that. You should go to your pastor. Your pastor provides you hope.”

I was shocked, but perhaps not surprised by Coates’ blunt assessment. And yet I was grateful that Coates thought pastors – and churches – were the ones to lead with hope in our current climate. Luther E. Smith Jr. proclaims that Hope is Here! as he invites us to practice and pursue justice in our churches and communities. And because he already experiences hope, his thoughtful work for individual (or preferably group) study is energizing and engaging.

Smith begins with contemplative practices, such as prayer, before describing communal practices, such as being neighborly, transforming conflict and celebrating community. Each chapter is chock full of stories of churches who have renewed hope by engaging whole-heartedly in these practices as well as theological insights and thoughtful questions.

The publisher’s website includes a free guide for small groups that helps bring Smith’s words into worship, reflection and action — it’s a useful addition, particularly for churches eager to turn their studies into mission and outreach.

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