A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension between Belief and Experience

A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension between Belief and Experience

by A. J. Swoboda

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801016967
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/03/2015
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

A. J. Swoboda (PhD, University of Birmingham) teaches biblical studies, theology, and church history at George Fox Evangelical Seminary and Fuller Seminary, among others. He pastors Theophilus church in Portland, Oregon, and is the author of A Glorious Dark and coauthor of Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 Friday

1 The Monster at the End of This Book 9

2 Leaving Room for Imagination 21

3 The Gospel according to Lewis and Clark 39

4 Numb 54

5 Coretta 67

6 Did God Become an Atheist? 78

Part 2 Saturday

7 Awkward Saturday 97

8 Picking and Choosing 111

9 Rest 125

10 Sitting in the Tomb 140

Part 3 Sunday

11 Whore 153

12 Surprise 169

13 Hymnals and the Need for Ignorance 184

14 A Different Kind of Hero 195

15 First Breakfast 209

Notes 221

Bibliography 226

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A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension between Belief and Experience 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
michelemorin More than 1 year ago
For years I celebrated Easter as if it were a stand-alone holiday, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” without giving much thought to the horror of the Dying or the silence of the Dead. Providentially, my early efforts to incarnate and to enliven an invisible God in the hearts of four sweet boys found a way into the obtuse heart of their mother as well. Therefore, this Lenten season, I will be re-reading A Glorious Dark, a book about believing which confronts the loss and defeat of Friday and the awkward silence of Saturday with Sunday morning resurrection truth. Where memoir meets theological pondering, author A.J. Swoboda’s story winds through his faith journey, with the bonus of startling spotlight quotes which he aims at himself and at all of us who say that we believe. Here’s one of the dozen or more: “Many envision faith as a kind of hall pass for laziness, excusing them from a life of action, doing, and working hard.” Ouch and amen. What we believe about one weekend in history, the three days’ journey from Golgotha to the garden tomb, impacts our whole experience of the Christian life. A Glorious Dark challenges the reader to enter into Friday, to “own up to our part of the evil in the world.” This involves trusting for the lavish grace to have our emptiness filled, our requests denied, and our fatherlessness remedied by the Father. On Friday, we turn our faces away from our “sponge” of choice and embrace our identity as pilgrims, lifelong seekers of the will and the voice of God. With candor, Swoboda describes the bleak-hearted rising of post-crucifixion Saturday, and because much of the Christian life is lived under Saturday-like conditions, it is helpful to hear that we must “sit in Saturday;” we must “squat in the tomb” in order to enter into the grief and disappointment of the original disciples. Saturday is our opportunity to remember our own mortality, to remember that we live with Jesus in his death. On Saturday, we evict ourselves from the center of the universe by “embracing the gift of waiting,” and by mourning our failure to see others and their grief. Resurrection Sunday not only verifies all that Jesus claimed, but it points to his future coming, the ultimate surprise which will serve to further verify all that we hold true. As the church meets to celebrate the resurrection every Sunday, we also reenact the resurrection, celebrating the mystery with “people we normally wouldn’t love, [who] breathe down our necks, [but who] hold our feet to the fire of our beliefs.” Sunday faith perseveres when my theology cannot account for the chaos I see around me. A Glorious Dark reveals a God who “stand[s] tall” above human history and invites (rather than scorns) the questioning heart. After all, of the thirty-one questions Jesus posed in the Gospels, He answered only three. When God does not break into history to rectify the list of problems set forth in my latest memorandum/prayer, it will be helpful to remember the messy way in which that one weekend in history played out for those who were on the scene. Once again, the life of Jesus will be made manifest, a glorious life emerging from a glorious dark. This book was provided by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my unbiased review.