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Posted November 7, 2006

Book: Ways of the Desert: Becoming Holy Through Difficult Times
Author: William F. Kraft
The Haworth Pastoral Press. Binghamton, NY. 2006. Pp. 166

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Interesting and informative. Ways of the Desert shows you how suffering can foster growth. This book explores how the so-called “negative” experiences like depression, anxiety, loneliness, guilt, and anger can be great opportunities for spiritual growth. With the idea that opposites are necessary and related parts of healthy spiritual development and that positives and negatives are related, Ways of the Desert takes you on an exciting journey through the deserts and promised lands of adolescence, young adulthood, established adulthood, mid-life adulthood, middle-aged adulthood, and the elderly years that will help you find joy despite difficult times.

An Excerpt from the Book:

A particularly painful, but redeeming, experience is to be confronted with our deceptive and foolish selves. The midlife desert is the place where we are unveiled, demasked, and exposed. We come face-to-face with the ways we have deceived ourselves and others. It is the time when we are pressured to realize how we did not live according to the values we professed, how we said one thing and did another, and how we convinced ourselves to believe what isn’t so.

The midlife desert angels pressure us to see more truthfully and to be better. But, we can deceive ourselves in many ways, often with sincere and good intentions. For example, some couples pretend to be happily married while they deny their unhappiness. Some religious and ministers sincerely exhibit one lifestyle in public and quite another in private. Many of us seek spiritual meaning while striving for inordinate pleasure and success. Our repressed and rationalized truth demands examination. Do we discern our foolish selves and become wise, or do we prepare to die as fools?

Table of Contents:

1. Desert stories

2. A vision of spiritual development

Deserts as creative suffering
Promised lands
Is a stage approach valid?

3. Desert life

Being in a desert
The desert as a fundamental life force

4. Desert languages

Boredom apathy

5. Adolescence

Desert of enchantment
Land of enchantment

6. Young adulthood

Desert of discovery
Land of surrender

7. Established adulthood

Desert of self-concern
Land of self-actualization

8. Midlife adulthood

Desert of limits
Land of unlimitedness

9. Middle-aged adulthood

Desert of depression
Land of joy

10. The elder years

Desert of death
Land of life