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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
256 pages
Aug 2007
Baker Books

Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction

by Dr. Robert W. Kellemen & Karole A. Edwards

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Engrossing, important, well researched, deeply biblical - what more can I say? This may well be the book of the year! Presenting imperative Christian nurturing, vividly illustrated by significant, scripturally-based, lifesaving lessons gleaned from some of our most downtrodden Americans, Beyond the Suffering provides essential truths for all Americans, no matter race, creed, or history. Let’s extend the arena - the rest of the world will profit from this heart/mind/spirit catching book.

Written for the express purpose of showing how Christ snatches triumphs from the jaws of defeat and transforming victims into victors, Beyond the Suffering is based on documents, biographies, and quotations from American slaves who learned that when absolutely everything else fails Christ is present, real, loving, in control. The format revolves around ministries which help hurting and hardened people. The examples used are shocking, horrifying, uplifting, always pointing to Christ. A term found often throughout these pages is ‘Soul Physician’ - one who, from the depth of their own terrible yet wondrous experiences, helps others to reach out of their own particular pit toward the healing Lord. These slave Soul Physicians were lay-people whom our Lord had touched; a concept which today’s world desperately needs. Beyond the Suffering will not only heal and prepare us to face life, it will equip us to be Soul Physicians. Many materials in this book encourage the reader towards victory. The questions which summarize each chapter are thought- and action-provoking.

The history is well-researched; ideas are amply, tellingly illustrated. No punches are pulled. The authors tell about slavery exactly as it was, and about Christ and His ministry exactly like it is. Beyond the Suffering is not a book for those who like their American comfort and traditional misbeliefs. Be prepared to have growing pains and spiritual toothaches as you read. This book is a must for all Christians. It will make an excellent preparation for our youth as they head into a dangerous future. – Donna Eggett, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

The African American Church has always helped hurting and hardened people through the personal and corporate ministries of sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding. This four-dimensional model is the traditional and widely recognized pattern for understanding lay spiritual friendship, pastoral care, and professional Christian counseling. Beyond the Suffering seeks to uncover the buried treasure of wisdom about soul care and spiritual direction contained in the history of African American Christianity.

Written with the blended perspectives of an African American woman and a Caucasian man, Beyond the Suffering offers an in-depth exploration of this rich tradition, showing Christians proven ways to help people find hope in the midst of deep pain and sorrow. Pastors, counselors, and lay people, as well as African Americans hungry for the legacy of their ancestors, will appreciate both the history and the practical applications found in this book.