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Cries From The Heart: Stories Of Struggle And Hope
by Johann Christoph Arnold
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From Publishers Weekly
Arnold (Seeking Peace) recounts numerous stories from his work as a pastoral counselor to demonstrate the power of prayer. Arnold tells these anecdotes to demonstrate how meaning in life is often found during times of despair and suffering. Each story, he says, "shows that courage is rarely won without despair, that joy is often yoked with pain, and that faith is seldom reached without struggle and doubt." In the chapter on "Searching," a woman named Sybil recounts her early rejection of God and the hell of drug use and prostitution she spiraled down into, all the while still searching for God. After her experience at a Christian retreat center, where the retreat leader read aloud the same passages from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov that had caused her to question God in the first place, she "embraces a new thought: it is not God who torments the innocent. It is Sybil...." Arnold concludes from this story that all Sybil's rebellious acts, whether she realized it or not, were unspoken prayers that God finally answered. Other stories in the collection retell the pain of a mother whose small child has died, the hopelessness of a drug dealer languishing in prison, and the pain of a woman whose family has fallen apart. Through each of these tales, Arnold tries to demonstrate the old adage that "God works in mysterious ways." Although the stories are sometimes moving, Arnold's brief interpretations of them are not profound and fail to teach lessons that cannot be found elsewhere in a livelier form. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
John Dear, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Cries from the Heart takes us deep into the inner recesses of life the spiritual struggle of prayer and faith. Because it touches the cries of all our hearts-cries for meaning, love, peace and compassion-and leads us further along to the God of life, it offers a simple but profound gift, a word of hope.
Bo Lozoff, Director, The Human Kindness Foundation
Cries from the Heart is nourishment for the soul, plain and simple. Gliding effortlessly and powerfully between timeless principles and timely personal applications of those principles, Arnold reminds us that our won lives are God's Word made flesh, again and gain, and again. Even in the worst imaginable circumstances, each of us can choose to turn to God in sincere prayer and suffer together with Him rather than alone. What I always admire about Arnold's writing is that he does not pander to our desire to escape suffering, but rather helps us to mine the spiritual gold within the depths of it.
Most Rev. Alex J. Brunett, Archbishop of Seattle
Arnold's book, Cries from the Heart offers the reader a wonderful insight into the compassion and sensitivity that are the hallmarks of the Christian faith tradition. Many of the anecdotal materials discovered in the book will find an echo in the hearts of its readers. Slowly and with much difficulty, we all learn how the cries of the human heart, no matter where we are on the spectrum of faith, are much the same. As we reach out to others with the soothing balm of Christ's message and call, we rediscover the deep secret that we are all children of the Father who can rejoice in the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Donna Schaper, author, Shelter for the Spiritually Homeless
Cries from the Heart is written by someone who knows heartache-and what life is like on the other side. By teaching us to pray, and how to trust prayer, Arnold embraces our despair and restores our confidence.
Offers an honest look into the lives of men and women whose adversities were overcome through turning and listening to God. Their stories may challenge you, but theyll comfort you as well by reminding you that youre never truly alone.
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