"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
In this ground-breaking book, pastoral counselor Andrew Lester demonstrates that pastoral theology (as well as social and behavioral sciences) has neglected to address effectively the predominant cause of human suffering: a lack of hope, a sense of futurelessness.
Lester examines the reasons that pastoral theology and other social and behavioral sciences have overlooked the importance of hope and despair in the past. He then offers a starting point for the development of addressing these significant dimensions of human life. He provides clinical theories and methods for pastoral assessment of and intervention with those who despair. He also puts forth strategies for assessing the future stories of those who despair and offers a corrective to these stories through deconstruction, reframing, and reconstruction.
This book will be invaluable to pastoral caregivers who are looking for a vantage point from which to provide care and to pastoral theologians who are seeking to develop a theological lens through which to understand the human condition.