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Learning to walk in the dark de Barbara…

Learning to walk in the dark (original: 2014; edição: 2014)

de Barbara Brown Taylor

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431643,526 (4.09)20
Offers advice for finding spirituality in times of darkness, questioning the traditional association of darkness with evil and danger, and suggesting that being in the dark may lead to greater spiritual growth.
Título:Learning to walk in the dark
Autores:Barbara Brown Taylor
Informação:San Francisco : HarperOne, 2014.
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:Spiritual Life, Darkness

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Learning to Walk in the Dark de Barbara Brown Taylor (Author) (2014)


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Learning to Walk in the Dark is the the third of a trilogy of memoirs of Taylor's transition from ordained ministry. And it was so good. In fact, I immediately bought a copy for my mom to surprise her soon after finishing it.

The book was different than I expected in that I thought it would be a thorough exploration of "dark" or mystical theology and learning how to accept the mystery and "darkness" of God. That was part of it, but she looks at darkness much more broadly. She has chapters on:
- the "dark" emotions, such as sadness and anger.
- being blind and the gift therein
- traversing caves and their importance in many religions
- "the dark night of the soul" and feeling the absence of God.
- the impact of the lightbulb and its affects on sleep and consciousness.

She does have a chapter on mysticism, or connecting to God darkly. And despite being fully on-board with her theology, to me it felt rushed. Folks a bit more conservative might feel pushed too quickly.

That said, her truths were powerful. For years, I have been genuinely scared of the dark. I don't know if it's living in cities that never go dark or what, but anytime I'm in real darkness, I get scared. I even love going camping but will avoid darkness with intensity. When alone, I stay in my tent whenever it's dark. One point she made I won't forget, which is darkness is not inherently dangerous. Our fear of it is usually much worse than the darkness itself. And resting in that fear makes us more courageous.

In short, I will never think or be in the dark in the same way. In fact, I plan on seeking darkness and dwelling in that perceived danger more, to grow in courage. This was a beautiful, challenging reflection that I wish the church would read. If I could implement half of what she suggests, I'd be a deeper, more thoughtful person.

I definitely plan on reading her others, and will likely get to this one again! Highly recommended! ( )
  nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
Refreshing openness in her personal theology. I was thrilled to see her quote Thomas Merton's prayer which is the one quote I have had on my mirror for many years. Her experiences were great reading. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
Barbara Brown Taylor writes of her journey into considering darkness as equally important to life as light. She speaks of discovering endarkenment as the natural complement of enlightenment. She asks why we are so afraid of the dark, why we fear what we will find there. Why do we drown ourselves in light? What have we lost by language that demonizes darkness and technology that keeps us in light all our waking hours and more?

This book reads like a shared journal. She is not trying to be “all cleaned up;” she shares her sometimes intent and sometimes ambling study of darkness.

Taylor writes, “’darkness’ is shorthand for anything that scares me – that I want no part of – either because I am sure that I do not have the resources to survive it or because I do not want to find out.”

By studying darkness from various aspects, she opens up concepts that exist there. In darkness, there are different skills, insights, and ways of being than in the light. She explores caves, blindness, moon phases, natural night darkness, dark emotions, “the dark night of the soul,” and religious icons of darkness.

She understands darkness and light as coming from the same Source, and questions the tendency to separate them, categorizing one as good and the other as bad. Though darkness is her journey in this book, it is a similar journey into silence and absence. Why are we so afraid to stay with these still and alone places until they are through with us? Why do we have so little tolerance for the discomfort of our dark emotions that we cannot stay long enough to learn what they have to offer us? Why must we cover silence with noise, absence with presence, stillness with activity, and darkness with light?

“The energy required to keep darkness at bay was fast becoming more than I could manage. Perhaps there was another way? So here at the end, I think this may be a book about living with loss…especially difficult in a culture that words so hard to look the other way.” Taylor gives Pema Chodron credit for this description: “The real problem has far less to do with what is really out there than it does with our resistance to finding out what is really out there. The suffering comes from our reluctance to learn to walk in the dark.”

"When God is Silent" is more elegantly written (more like a sermon than a journal). "Learning to Walk in the Dark" seeks to raise our curiosity and prompt our own journey. "An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith" is about practices. They are all three meaningful to me. ( )
  lgaikwad | May 12, 2015 |
Using physical darkness and all the fears and uncertainties it summons, Taylor leads the reader to explore the darkness of the soul and the darkness of uncertainty. Beginning with an exploration of nighttime darkness, she moves to the "fascinating mystery of God...this darkness and cloud is always between you and God." A chapter on the intrusion of light into our culture and environment focuses on now too much light affects our lives and what she calls "solar spirituality."

Moving from the physical darkness of night, she explores the world of the blind and undergoes a physical experience of blindness. Losing eyesight causes one to strengthen the other senses of sound and scent. How much of the world are we missing due to too much seeing and not enough listening.

And what seemed at first to be the most unusual chapter "Entering the Stone," Taylor uses caves metaphorically and literally experiencing what to me feels light a frightening experience in a cave. I admit, I was puzzled and thought the entire experience seemed a gratuitous and somewhat weird; however, moving from the cave to the dark night of the soul is some of the best explanation of faith I have ever read.

This is a challenging book and one that will provide much to think about. This is the first book I've read by Taylor, but I immediately sought out more. Taylor's writing are those to be read and re-read. ( )
  maryreinert | Jul 27, 2014 |
This was exactly the book I needed at this time. The author has written about her journey through darkness both spiritual and physical. She shares with the reader her discoveries that darkness in itself is not evil. That not being able to see and feel God during dark times of your life is not sin, but can be an incredible learning experience, discovering what God is not, and the misconceptions we have about Him. She talks about the concept of "Solar" Christianity and how the metaphors in the Bible about dark and light have been twisted, so that now Christians fear the dark times of the soul and feel like failures if they experience them. She also shows how many of God's mightiest works were accomplished in the dark. Aside from the religion, she explores the darkness of depression and fear, discussing the need to live in the moment and not run from it.
This isn't a book of answers, it is a book of questions and exploration. It is affirmation for those of us who don't seem to fit into traditional Sunny Christianity anymore, but can't explain why. It is a book of promise that the dark of the soul or of the night can be a tremendous place to explore and not fear if we will stand still and listen. I will be rereading this, slowly, thoughtfully and spending more time outside at night without a flashlight. ( )
2 vote MrsLee | Jul 25, 2014 |
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There is a tendency for us to flee from the wild silence and the wild dark, to pack up our gods and hunker down behind city walls, to turn the gods into idols, to kowtow before them and approach their precincts only in the official robes of office. And when we are in the temples, then who will hear the voice crying in the wilderness? Who will hear the reed shaken by the wind.
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Offers advice for finding spirituality in times of darkness, questioning the traditional association of darkness with evil and danger, and suggesting that being in the dark may lead to greater spiritual growth.

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