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Jesus Wept: When Faith and Depression Meet

Jesus Wept: When Faith and Depression Meet

Barbara C. Crafton

ISBN: 978-0-470-46184-6

Apr 2009, Jossey-Bass

192 pages



Praise for Jesus Wept

""What courage it took for this priest and poet to explore depression in people of faith. Barbara Crafton writes with exquisite nakedness about the futile search for meaning in the meaninglessness of despair. Her own salvation is a beacon to those who believe God means them to suffer in order to understand.""
Gail Sheehy, author, Passages; Understanding Men's Passages

""Writing well about depression is not nearly as challenging as surviving the beast, but it is still a hard thing to do. Having written about my own depression, I can say with some authority that Barbara Crafton, a fellow sufferer, writes wonderfully well on this difficult topic.... This book offers truth about the devastating darkness of this disease and about the hope that makes it possible to find one's way back to the light. Barbara Crafton offers up her truth with humor and gritty stories as well as candor and care.... May the many who suffer?and those who care for them, read this book, shed the shame, and find the new life that awaits them on the other side.""
Parker J. Palmer, author, A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach

""Having known the tension of faith and depression in her own life, Barbara Crafton offers us wisdom that comes from years of reflection, of faithful practice, of knowing 'dark is not dark to you, O Lord.' (Psalms 139:11) She has no truck with pablum Christianity; she knows that faith that does not meet our darkest days is no faith at all?. Crafton offers sound insight and speaks the truth in love, offering hope and acceptance to those of us who struggle with depression.""
Mary C. Earle, author, Broken Body, Healing Spirit: Lectio Divina and Living with Illness and Beginning Again: Benedictine Wisdom for Living with Illness


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.

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 (, 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