Hope in Pastoral Care and Counseling, by Andrew D. Lester, 1995, 180 pages, reviewed by Pastor LaMont Bonath.
Chapters 1 and 6 are the key chapters to focus your time on.
Chapter one presents the author's point of view — In the pastoral care and counseling field, the predominant cause of human suffering has been omitted. It is the author's belief that when human beings lack hope this produces a sense of hopelessness for future possibilities. A sense of time is basic to our human consciousness. One of the divisions of time is a future orientation. Lester asserts the future category of time has been neglected in personality theory. So if one part of time, like a future orientation is omitted or neglected, an individual's personal identity is not able to construct or visualize themselves with any sense of time continuity. This produces hopelessness.
In chapter six, Lester begins defining and categorizing how one might understand the feeling of hopelessness. Hopelessness is attached to unreality and the impossible. While hope is attached to reality and the sense of what is possible. Hopelessness manifests itself through dread, anxiety, suspicion and apathy.
While Lester develops the theory of hopelessness, Dr. John Savage's book, The Apathetic and Bored Church Member, might be worth a supplemental read to help further develop the apathetic category of hopelessness for a greater understanding by the reader. Savage focuses on how a feeling like hopelessness might manifest itself. Specifically if a church member possess an apathetic feeling or point of view it may lead to what Savage calls the church drop out cycle. I would recommend you read Lester's book first to understand the theory of hopeless and then read Savage's book, paying attention to the drop out cycle diagram.
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