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Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line Paperback – Illustrated, May 1, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Pramuk's passion in Hope Sings, So Beautiful is nothing less than overcoming every form of discrimination, but especially racism, to gaze on Christ 'in ten thousand places.' It is spiritual theology at its most satisfying. If you want uplift and are not afraid to be turned upside down and inside out, this is the book for you. -- Drew Christiansen, SJ, former Editor, America magazine

Hope Sings, So Beautiful
dares to interrupt readers, inviting them to reflect more deeply still on systemic racism's dehumanization of us all. Pramuk writes with eloquence, integrity, and urgency. -- Kimberly Vrudny, University of St. Thomas

Kiss doubt and small living goodbye and prepare to take a tremulous step across the color line. Hope Sings gracefully shepherds the reader beyond isolated, self-centered prisons into inspiring worlds of scholarship, story, and song. Pramuk does not present a simplistic diagnosis of race problems, but an alternate horizon painful, partial, mysterious, but nonetheless resonant with music. To those who help us see, we owe the deepest reverence; this author is one. --Kathy Coffey, Author of The Best of Being Catholic

Pramuk creatively interweaves music, scholarship, art, the natural world, theology, personal experience, spiritual writings, and much more to examine discipleship in a racist and fractured world. But above all he unveils the everyday mystery of divine love that beckons us to new life and a new way forward. --Timothy Matovina, University of Notre Dame, Author of Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America's Largest Church

About the Author

Christopher Pramuk is associate professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton (Liturgical Press, 2009), the recipient of the Catholic Theological Society of America's 2009 Catherine Mowry LaCugna Award, and numerous best essay awards from the Catholic Press Association.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier; Illustrated edition (May 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814682103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814682104
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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To read "Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line" is itself to be party to a graced encounter that invites the reader to identify where the color line lies in her life, to understand her relationship to it and to the people on the other side of it, and at last to cross it. Christopher Pramuk mines the tradition and his own experience to eloquently approach the question of what authentic encounter between people of different races might look like. His approach integrates various experiences and disciplines and reflects the many hats he wears in his life. He draws upon artists and theologians alike, in expected and unexpected ways - from M. Shawn Copeland to Etty Hillesum, from Stevie Wonder to Thomas Merton, from Billie Holiday to Abraham Joshua Heschel. He is forthcoming with insights from his own personal life, dwelling especially on his family's experience adopting two orphaned children from Haiti and his earliest experiences of stretching imagination across the color line, most often through music. His writing reflects a balance between speech and silence: there is an underlying recognition of the current impoverishment of language and the importance of the imagination in creatively overcoming that impoverishment. Art, for Pramuk, is a key entry point to voicing the ineffable and stretching the imagination in the question of race. With the increasing presence of race-related discourse in the media and the growing awareness of the need for authentic dialogue across cultural differences - and power differentials - work like Pramuk's is increasingly important, especially in its accessibility to the everyday human being. Perhaps the book's greatest strength is its broad accessibility: Pramuk demonstrates his academic aptitude in his extensive end-noting, but the book as a whole reads not as a dense tome but as a letter from a friend reflecting on life's most important questions.
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Pramuk does not try to "solve" the problem of racial division in the church, but recognizing it as a deep and abiding human issue, he offers a series of prayerful meditations to provoke hope. Unlike other treatments of race and theology, Pramuk approaches human division aesthetically, so that beauty redirects the nasty habit of "othering" which lies behind racism and others forms of divisiveness. Each chapter focuses on a cultural artifact - a song by Stevie Wonder or Billie Holiday, a film by Godfrey Reggio, paintings by Georgia O'Keefe - and explores it through the spiritual writings of theologians and mystics such as Thomas Merton and Howard Thurman. He writes: "Perhaps truth, goodness, and beauty are found, after all - or find us most ready to receive them - not in what we win but in `the act of struggle itself,' the willingness to immerse ourselves body and soul in the history we have been given, and thus to be drawn into that same horizon of grace that rendered Jesus' own struggle unspeakably beautiful, even where it plunges into violence and death on a cross."

Pramuk's own beautiful prose gives his thoughtful reflections a melody which carries one quickly to the book's end and leaves one whistling the tune after it's over.
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This book was delivered yesterday and I can already give it a 5 star! Pramuk, a theology professor at Xavier Univ. in Cincinnati, (my undergraduate Univ. - years ago!) shows the way forward - "Graced Encounters Across The Color Line" indeed!!!!
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Christopher Pramuk puts his heart and soul into every chapter! The chapters cover many aspects of how "Hope Sings" with stories of various situations where hope does literally sing!

It's theology about the people of God and how we all can raise the bar of racial tolerance and even love each other as Jesus has commanded. I recommend it to book clubs as it is a natural catalyst for fruitful discussion. I found it a passionate and engaging read!
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The deeper I got into the book the more I treasured its riches! Our book review group will start discussing it next month.
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Intelligent and prayerful, the author reflects not only his beliefs about God, but also his experiences of the Divine in his own life. It is especially in the cracks and margins of life and Church that offer Godself through justice, inclusion and compassion. And this book reflects this.
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