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Jesus Wept: When Faith and Depression Meet

ISBN: 978-0-470-37195-4
192 pages
April 2009, Jossey-Bass
Jesus Wept: When Faith and Depression Meet (0470371951) cover image


In the first book to discuss depression from a faith perspective, Barbara Crafton expertly weaves personal stories and helpful resources to explore depression as it is affected (for both better and worse) by Christian faith. She contends that it is harder for people of faith to come to terms with depression since they may attribute its causes to something they have done, rather than to its true root in physiology and genetics. This is a book people will want to buy for themselves and give loved ones who are suffering from depression and wondering where God is during their pain and suffering.

Barbara C. Crafton (Metuchen, NJ) is an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and author. She is the founder and head of the Geranium Farm (geraniumfarm.org), an online institute for the promotion of spiritual growth.

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Table of Contents


Prologue: What We’re Talking About.

1. Jesus Wept.

2. A Learning Experience.


3. I Just Don’t Feel Anything.

4. Trouble in Paradise.

The Magic Kingdom.

5. Charged with the Care of Souls.


6. The Defendant as Prosecutor.

7. This Is My Last Hope.

Electric Poem.

8. Sorrowful Mysteries.

9. The Dark Night.

Inferno, Canto I.

10. Words Fail Me.

11. Wanting to Die.

To Be or Not to Be.

12. The Family Disease.


Further Reading.

The Author.

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Author Information

Barbara Cawthorne Crafton is an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and author. She is the founder and head of the Geranium Farm, www.geraniumfarm.org, an online institute for the promotion of spiritual growth, which publishes The Almost-Daily eMo from the Geranium Farm, read by thousands of people worldwide.
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Beyond all the vision quests, Scripture explanations, and spiritual exhortations, there are certain regions of human experience that are so painful, so difficult, that even religious writers touch on them rarely and with reluctance. This season, two brave books take a frank look at depression and forgiveness. Crafton, an Episcopal priest and founder of The Geranium Farm (www.geraniumfarm.org), approaches the subject of depression with astonishing candor and courage. Coming to terms with her own experience of this illness, she acknowledges depression's fundamental intractability—its meaninglessness and dullness. While she wisely dispels the Christian fear of suicide ("There's more than enough hell to go around, right here on earth"), she also rejects easy solutions. Love may not be the answer, but it minimizes the worst of the illness.
 –Library Journal (March 2009) Starred Review
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Press Release

April 06, 2009
JESUS WEPT: When Faith & Depression Meet

 “Let go and let God”, “Prayer is the answer”, and “Everything happens for a reason” can all seem like trite (and often inept) advice for people of faith traveling the depths of depression. Years of teaching about the joys and comforts of faith, the importance of trusting in God, and the instructive value of suffering, can cause sufferers to feel that God shares their disappointment in themselves.

In JESUS WEPT: When Faith & Depression Meet (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint; April 2009; $19.95 / Cloth; ISBN: 978-0-470-37195-4) Episcopal priest and writer Barbara C. Crafton uses her own bout of depression as a touchstone for exploring both the positive and negative effects of faith on those struggling with depression.

Religious people face unique challenges when experiencing depression. Sufferers often attribute their condition to something they can control or, worse yet, something they’ve brought on themselves. Instead of seeking appropriate treatment, they can become immobilized by deep shame and stigma within their religious community.

Despite the challenges, the life of faith also brings together unique resources for dealing with depression’s gravity; a powerful mythology about resurrection and healing, a community that, at its best, envelopes the poor in spirit, and an ancient practice of prayer that has taken sorrow seriously for thousands of years.

For those wondering where God is during their own (or a loved one’s) pain and suffering, JESUS WEPT provides an honest response. As noted author Parker Palmer advised, “May the many who suffer from this death-in-life, and those who care for them, read this book, shed the shame, and find the new life that awaits them on the other side.”

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Jesus Wept: When Faith and Depression Meet (US $19.95)

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