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Financial meltdowns, protracted unemployment, endless wars, melting ice caps, and unprecedented droughts, floods, and heat waves all point to one central reality: Like it or not, it is all but certain that both as individuals and as a nation Americans' future will be marked by disruption and discontinuity. It's not that we don't have a future, but the future we do have will differ radically from what we have come to expect as "normal."
Although this can be a frightening thought, writer and educator Jack Nelson Pallmeyer builds on a more positive premise: that today, every one of us has both an opportunity and a responsibility to shape the quality of our common future. Whether events five, ten, or thirty years from now play out according to our worst fears or our best selves will be determined by many factors, including our capacity to face problems honestly, to envision and embody alternatives, and to cultivate and sustain, as a community, an authentic hope for a new future.
For all those who are wondering "where do we go from here?" Authentic Hope offers a new way of looking at and remaking both our world and ourselves.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is associate professor of justice and peace studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has written extensively on issues of hunger, poverty, U.S. foreign policy, the historical Jesus, and problems of God and violence and is author of 13 books, including Saving Christianity from Empire (Continuum 2007), and Is Religion Killing Us? (Continuum 2005) and School of Assassins (Orbis 1998). He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three daughters.