Conversations, VOLUME 2

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


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

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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