Our (Tw)interview with David Dark [Vol. 2, #27]

July 2, 2009

 


On June 16, Bloomsday (a holiday in remembrance of James Joyce and his novel Ulysses), we sat down with David Dark to talk via Twitter about his new book: The Sacredness of Questioning Everything.  Here is our conversation:

  1. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate #Bloomsday than to sit down with @DavidDark and talk about his new book. 1:00 PM Jun 16th from web
  2. THE SACREDNESS OF QUESTIONING EVERYTHING is not only a plea for critical engagement, > 1:01 PM Jun 16th from web
  3. it also is a gloriously dizzying tour through literature and pop music! 1:20 PM Jun 16th from web
  4. @daviddark Welcome! Thanks for sitting down with us! 1:02 PM Jun 16th from web
  5. @ERBks glad to be “here” 1:02 PM Jun 16th from web
  6. @daviddark LOL! Your book is very countercultural > 1:03 PM Jun 16th from web
  7. @daviddark Why should people read it, especially ones who tremble at the thought of questioning everything? 1:03 PM Jun 16th from web
  8. @ERBks Well, potential reader, if you think asking questions is at the heart of developing (and keeping) your soul, this book’s for you> 1:04 PM Jun 16th from web
  9. @ERBks and if U think the opposite’s true (keeping your soul saved requires somehow silencing your mind) I’d say this book’s REALLY for you! 1:05 PM Jun 16th from web
  10. @daviddark You cover a lot of ground here ?ing so many thngs,which can be overwhelming. Where is a good place for us to start asking qstns? 1:07 PM Jun 16th from web
  11. @ERBks With our taking in of news (happenings b/w people we know as well as events b/w Letterman and Palin or Iranians and their go’vt) > 1:08 PM Jun 16th from web
  12. @ERBks What are we hoping for in our consumption of stories? Why do we tune in? Here, I always like to quote Fred Friendly > 1:08 PM Jun 16th from web
  13. @ERBks (played by George Clooney in the fantastic film, Good Night and Good Luck.) He said that He said that the job of the news-teller> 1:09 PM Jun 16th from web
  14. @ERBks to create a pain in the audience’s mind, a pain that can only be relieved (or eased) by THINKING. > 1:09 PM Jun 16th from web
  15. @ERBks I think of thinking (questioning, probing, wondering, re-envisioning) as a religious imperative.> 1:10 PM Jun 16th from web
  16. @ERBks Certainly a biblical imperative at least. Without it, the people perish. 1:10 PM Jun 16th from web
  17. @daviddark On that note, as we question everything, how do we fend off acedia > 1:11 PM Jun 16th from web
  18. the sadness/lethargy “arising from the fact that the good is difficult” (Aquinas)? Or should we? 1:12 PM Jun 16th from web
  19. Oh, I’m getting a little sloppy there… forgetting my @DavidDark tag… Sorry! 1:12 PM Jun 16th from web
  20. @ERBks For starters, we can note that we aren’t alone in the good work of redemptive skepticism> 1:12 PM Jun 16th from web
  21. @ERBks We’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (past and present) via popularly sacred texts and songs > 1:12 PM Jun 16th from web
  22. @daviddark “we aren’t alone in the good work of redemptive skepticism” AMEN! 1:12 PM Jun 16th from web
  23. @ERBks as well as the cosmic plainspeak on the airwaves thru comedians, country singers, and all manner of commentators> 1:12 PM Jun 16th from web
  24. @ERBks its communal discernment I’m after, not isolated cynicism. Holding unexamind allegiances up 2 questions isn’t a forsaking of hope> 1:13 PM Jun 16th from web
  25. @ERBks it’s a refusal 2 settle for easy imaginings IN THE NAME OF hope, a determined pursuit (in faith) of better ways of seeing the world> 1:13 PM Jun 16th from web
  26. @ERBks I think the Bible is a tracing of this trajectory. 1:13 PM Jun 16th from web
  27. @daviddark Your comments remind me that individualism is seemingly one of the greatest cultural axioms that merits questioning. > 1:14 PM Jun 16th from web
  28. @daviddark Would you agree, and if so how do we go about questioning it? 1:14 PM Jun 16th from web
  29. @ERBks I do. Not to get overly Buddhist-sounding, but I believe my sense of myself as an individual self somehow divorced> 1:14 PM Jun 16th from web
  30. @ERBks from relation to other people,from relation to other people, the ground beneath my feet, and all of life> 1:14 PM Jun 16th from web
  31. @ERBks Is a death-dealing delusion, what the bible calls a false covenantIt’s probably our religious traditions> 1:14 PM Jun 16th from web
  32. @ERBks (religious in the ancient, life-giving sense) that question psychotic individualism most powerfully and thoroughly> 1:15 PM Jun 16th from web
  33. @ERBks I’d recommend people gathering and watching and discussing Wall-E and following it up with almost any Wendell Berry essay. 1:15 PM Jun 16th from web
  34. @daviddark You’ve touched on it a little already & there are a few references in the book to the local church community, > 1:16 PM Jun 16th from web
  35. @daviddark but could you elaborate on a local church’s place in questioning everything? 1:16 PM Jun 16th from web
  36. @ERBks Well, if I might speak of the church VERY broadly defined (to include everybody even remotely CALLED OUT by and to the ethic> 1:17 PM Jun 16th from web
  37. @ERBks made so powerfully known in the career of Jesus), James Joyce’s HERE COMES EVERYBODY, I’d say I’ve learned (and keep learning)> 1:17 PM Jun 16th from web
  38. @daviddark nice #bloomsday reference to Joyce! 🙂 1:18 PM Jun 16th from web
  39. @ERBks the practice of sacred questioning by way of the example of my ragtag, local AND cosmic church> 1:19 PM Jun 16th from web
  40. @ERBks (which includes people who might wish I wouldn’t call them that) My local church> 1:20 PM Jun 16th from web
  41. @ERBks , in this sense, facilitates (for me) the space of the talkaboutable.We talk about everything: film, gardens, television,> 1:21 PM Jun 16th from web
  42. @ERBks coffee, books, education, affordable housing, all of it. It is precisely within my local assembly> 1:22 PM Jun 16th from web
  43. @ERBks (and here I have Sunday mornings in mind) that I/we are summoned to note that THERE ARE NO UNRELATED PHENOMENA.> 1:23 PM Jun 16th from web
  44. @ERBks We come together to imagine together (again) the world announced, for instance, in the Eucharist. We come together to remember> 1:24 PM Jun 16th from web
  45. @ERBks again the world that we’re in. TO get reoriented within the whole (the economy). I lose my economic sense> 1:25 PM Jun 16th from web
  46. @ERBks (McKibben’s DEEP ECONOMY, for instance) when I forsake the fellowship. Sacred questioning is, above all, COMMUNAL discernment> 1:25 PM Jun 16th from web
  47. @ERBks I’d argue that we aren’t practicing it if we aren’t in consistent relationship with people with whom we disagree. 1:26 PM Jun 16th from web
  48. @daviddark Wow! That’s inspiring (and sadly,I expect, very rare)! Unfortunately in many places today conversation is often a lost art. > 1:27 PM Jun 16th from web
  49. @daviddark What can churches do to nurture practices of conversation, ie, questioning together? 1:27 PM Jun 16th from web
  50. @ERBks We can (must) distinguish unity from agreement and view differences of opinion in many matters as a blessed and fruitful fact> 1:28 PM Jun 16th from web
  51. @ERBks rather than a devastating deal-breaker. Karl Barth noted that when we “pass the peace” with one another> 1:30 PM Jun 16th from web
  52. @ERBks we’d better remember (and perhaps be intimately acquainted) with points of difference between one another. If we don’t, Barth said> 1:31 PM Jun 16th from web
  53. @ERBks the gesture is meaningless. If we believe (heretically, I’d say) that the peace we have with God is DEPENDENT UPON our rightness> 1:32 PM Jun 16th from web
  54. @ERBks of opinion or belief, open-ended conversation will strike us as an insane risk. This is why> 1:33 PM Jun 16th from web
  55. @ERBks I begin the book by questioning this nightmarish view of God. 1:34 PM Jun 16th from web
  56. @daviddark Nightmarish indeed! In American culture, it seems like questioning often comes paired with rebellion (running the other way). 1:35 PM Jun 16th from web
  57. @daviddark Can you address the place of commitment (staying put in a place/people/conversation) in regard to questioning everything? 1:36 PM Jun 16th from web
  58. @ERBks Sure. Don’t confuse bad ideas for the sweet, infinitely valuable human beings who hold them (or who R momentarily possessed BY them)> 1:36 PM Jun 16th from web
  59. @ERBks Look for common ground and work it redemptively. If you walk away from a conversation and the person with whom you disagree> 1:37 PM Jun 16th from web
  60. @ERBks thinks that U THINK she/he is an idiot, this might B YOUR problem. Try again. Look (or pray) 4 the opportunity 2 B good 2 them again. 1:38 PM Jun 16th from web
  61. @daviddark Can you elab. on your idea of the Bible as a “living text” & why that is relevant to questioning everything -including the Bible? 1:38 PM Jun 16th from web
  62. @ERBks Yes. The Bible documents a redemptive-redeeming trajectory in the way a number of people, over generations, envisioned, celebrated,> 1:41 PM Jun 16th from web
  63. @ERBks wrestled with, complained to/of and called upon God. I believe it also traces the ways the the Spirit of God> 1:42 PM Jun 16th from web
  64. @ERBks (thru priests, peasants, and prophets) lived through, and often in spite of, these voices (“You have heard it said> 1:42 PM Jun 16th from web
  65. @ERBks but I say unto you.”). The Bible questions the Bible even within the Bible. The voices within the collection question each other,> 1:43 PM Jun 16th from web
  66. @ERBks call to each other, respond to each other. In my tradition, we say “Listen for the word of the Lord” before we read the Bible aloud> 1:44 PM Jun 16th from web
  67. @ERBks and follow the reading by saying “The word of the Lord.” The word of God, as I understand it, lives in this call and response—> 1:44 PM Jun 16th from web
  68. @ERBks this dialectic—and we receive it by engaging (and being engaged by) the living word. We let it live and receive its life when we> 1:45 PM Jun 16th from web
  69. @ERBks refuse to read it flatly or out of context. The flat reading, where we pull out a phrase to buttress an argument as if the magic> 1:45 PM Jun 16th from web
  70. @ERBks words make our position instantly right and righteous, is not only irresponsible and damaging and perverse. It’s unbiblical. 1:46 PM Jun 16th from web
  71. @daviddark One last question, on a lighter note… > 1:46 PM Jun 16th from web
  72. @daviddark What have you been reading/listening to recently in which you find glimmers of the eschatological good news? 1:47 PM Jun 16th from web
  73. @ERBks Well…so much out of Iran, of course. Watching ostensible power-holders fritter their own legitimacy w/ every act of wanton violence> 1:49 PM Jun 16th from web
  74. @ERBks I think the last few days and the days to come will have produced myriad case studies for the annals of nonviolent resistance > 1:50 PM Jun 16th from web
  75. @ERBks DM Stith’s Heavy Ghost has me very inspired lately, eschatologically speaking. And David Bazan. Lots of David Bazan. 1:51 PM Jun 16th from web
  76. @daviddark Thanks for talking with us! You’ve given me a ton to reflect on… Actually, I’m taking your book on a retreat next week> 1:52 PM Jun 16th from web
  77. @daviddark and am looking forward to re-reading, savoring (and questioning, of course!) 🙂 1:53 PM Jun 16th from web
  78. @ERBks thanks so much. Yay for ERBks and I hope y’all have an intensely rich Bloomsday. Dark out. 1:54 PM Jun 16th from web
  79. Thanks to all who have been following the #twinterview w/ @DavidDark You will certainly want to get a copy of his new bk: http://tr.im/oH1 1:55 PM Jun 16th from web