Monday, September 28, 2015

A Glorious Dark {Review}

A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension Between Belief and Experience 
A Glorious Dark by A.J. Swoboda
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Baker Books
Publishing Date: February 3, 2015
On Thursday as they ate the Passover meal with Jesus, the disciples believed that the kingdom was coming and they were on the front end of a revolution. Then came the tragedy of Friday and, somehow even worse, the silence of Saturday. They ran. They doubted. They despaired. Yet, within the grave, God's power was still flowing like a mighty river beneath the ice of winter. And then there was Sunday morning. 
Real, raw, and achingly honest, "A Glorious Dark" meets readers in the ambiguity, doubt, and uncertainty we feel when our beliefs about the world don't match up to reality. Tackling tough questions like "Why is faith so hard? Why do I doubt? Why does God allow me to suffer?" and "Is God really with me in the midst of my pain?" A. J. Swoboda puts into sharp focus a faith that is greater than our personal comfort or fulfilment. He invites readers to develop a faith that embraces the tension between what we believe and what we experience, showing that the very tension we seek to eliminate is where God meets us.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today!

My Thoughts:
'A Glorious Dark' explores Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday as a way Christians view and defend their faith. We often pick a day and get stuck there when we should be living in and through entire weekend as a whole. In Swoboda's words: " isn't found on Sunday alone. Life is found in all three days-- pain and death on Friday, doubt on Saturday, and resurrection on Sunday." (pg 3). Thus the book is broken up into three different sections, one for each day, which each chapter giving a glimpse of an aspect of that day's 'theme'.

One of my 'Lost Books' --a few months back I was reworking my bookshelf (yes, singular now :( so sad), and I lost a stack of books in the mix. Lo, I have found them again! This was a pile of books I was supposed to review ages ago (of course). I picked this one up first and it took me awhile to read through it. I had to really focus to stay on track with the author and what he was trying to convey in each chapter. Still, I am not sure I really comprehended a lot of the book :/ Hopefully it is just me and the fact that I haven't delved into non-fiction much this year.
Communion speaks to God's incredible power--that the same God who is big enough to take all the sins of the world is small enough to get stuck between your back teeth. (pg 179)
The author's voice comes across, to me, as confrontational, but in a way that it is just the author being bold for Christ. Swoboda share hard truths about God's love and grace that we too often sugar coat and gloss over. Swoboda also likes to make a lot of broad, profound statements that make for great highlighting, but are frequently a bit jarring to read.
Christianity isn't all that fanciful because it lays real, actual, difficult claims on its followers. It says that there is a way to live and a way not to live.
Christianity, true Christianity, will always be inconvenient. (pg 116) 
'A Glorious Dark' would make for a good small group discussion book. Doesn't come with a guide in the book and I can't find one online anywhere, however discussion would be easy to start with the way the book is broken up and all the highlighting you will be doing.

Overall, sticky, heavy, and needs a highlighter close by while reading. Because I really had to struggle through, and the author really isn't my 'type', I can only give it 3 stars at most. But I would love to see this topic explored further by some other great teachers!

No comments:

Post a Comment