Learning to Walk in the Dark

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
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The name Barbara Brown Taylor is not new to any of us and neither are the titles of her books. But her new memoir, Learning to Walk in the Dark, takes us down a new spiritual path for her even if it is not new to the Christian tradition. The via negativa, as it is called, finds God in the darkness, the no-thing, the silence.

Though much of Taylor’s previous life focused on the via positiva, her present trajectory of spirit has taken her in the other direction, not unusual for mystics in general and even more common as they enter the reflective twilight of the second half of life.

So she speaks of befriending the darkness and the speaking voice that can only be found there. Abandon your cheery quest for the happy feet of contemporary always grinning worship. Unplug from your sensory entertain-a-thon.

In her words:

“Turning to darkness, instead of away from it, is the cure for a lot of what ails me. Because I have a deep need to be in control of things, to know where I am going, to be sure of my destination, to get there efficiently, to have all the provisions I need, to do it all without help – and you can’t do any of that in the dark.”

“If we turn away from darkness on principle, doing everything we can to avoid it because there is simply no telling what it contains, isn’t there a chance we are running away from God?”

Go deep, church. Go ancient. Go dark.

  1. leslieclay1 says:

    Have you seen this week’s Time magazine? This is the cover story. I read it and saw a lot of subtle references to the Great Emergence espoused by Phyllis Tickle. And it appears she’s going down the same path as Alfred North Whitehead. As to the theme, I do some of my best thinking and meditation in the dark.

  2. Lee says:

    I wonder whether part of our reluctance to face the dark is the reality that in facing the unknown we must also admit God is so much more than we can know?

  3. Appreciate the recommendation! I am currently reading Altar in the World.

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