Archives For Darkness

 

We Don’t Have to be Afraid

 
A Feature Review of 

Night Driving:
A Story of Faith in the Dark

Addie Zierman

Paperback: Convergent, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Anna Visser
 
 

In the darkness of an endless Minnesota winter, Addie Zierman packs her kids (ages two and four) into a minivan along with toys, games, DVDs, and an elaborate tote system for clothing, and she drives, away from the darkness and the death and the emptiness, to Florida. It’s a familiar enough story: an epic road trip to escape a winter both literal and metaphorical. A mom a little worn down by the typical routines of everyday life. An adult who’s not quite sure what to make of faith in a life that doesn’t look like the big, wide, passionate life promised by church groups and Christian rallies for kids in high school. Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark isn’t all that different from a lot of the memoirs that line our shelves—Christian or non—it is, at its heart, a story about searching. But the thing that is different about this story and about Zierman, and the thing that makes this book refreshing and valuable is that she’s not angry.

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Entering the Night

 
A Review of

Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and other wanderers)
Eric Elnes

Paperback: Abingdon, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Michelle Wilbert.
 
 
Not long after I completed my education and training in spiritual direction, I found myself inexplicably launched on an uninvited foray into what St. John of the Cross called, “The Dark Night of the Soul” experience. After more than three years of intense exploration, immersion and formation in response to a convincing sense of call to the vocation of spiritual direction, I suddenly found myself mired in doubt, anxiety and a sense of utter bewilderment surrounding the idea—now seeming like utter folly–that I had anything to offer a spiritual pilgrim seeking guidance.  Mind, not only did I receive a top notch education in the discipline but ongoing discernment of “call” was central to the process and I was under the direction of experienced Jesuit Priests and educated and experienced lay leaders—in short, I had been thoroughly vetted and was graduated from my program with the assumption of a clear charism in spiritual direction.  Yet, only months later, in Dante’s familiar words: “In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a Dark Wood where the true way was wholly lost.”  And it was a very dark wood indeed. While sparing the gory details, suffice it to say that I entered an immersion experience of darkness and doubt that nearly destroyed me spiritually and emotionally.  I was well and truly lost, and it took an exceptionally long and torturous time to locate and live into the light and blessings this challenge presented to me–the “Gifts of the Dark Wood” that I now understand to have been an absolutely necessary “Vision Quest” without which I couldn’t possibly have done the work that had been given me to do.

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Lent is almost upon us again …

(Ash Wednesday is Feb 18…)

I’ve been asked a few times recently to recommend some books on Lenten themes that churches might read and discuss this year during Lent. And since, I think reading and discussing books together is an important practice for the health and well-being of churches, here are 10 new-ish books that would be appropriate for reading and discussion during Lent.  I offer each one with a brief explanation of why I have included it.

NOTE: I’m not recommending that any church or individual should read ALL of these books during Lent, but wanted to offer a range of options so that churches might have some flexibility in picking a book to read and discuss during Lent.

Meeting God in Mark: Reflections for the Season of Lent


By Rowan Williams

I’ll start with the only traditional collection of Lenten reflections on this list.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of this sort of devotional-type books, but Rowan Williams is always thoughtful (and sometimes provocative), and this book’s focus on Mark’s Gospel challenges us to stay focused on Jesus, which is an important reminder in our age of ideology.

Book 1 of 10
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[ This list as a 1-Page Printable PDF ]

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