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A Glorious Dark


It wasn’t until I was well into the first chapter…somewhere around Scooby-Doo…that I realized it wasn’t an old theologian speaking, but a young man’s voice I was reading. Author A. J. Swoboda is a Pastor and Professor from Portland, Oregon who was unknown to me before I read A Glorious Dark. The title and cover piqued my interest as I am someone who sometimes struggles with, “…the tension between belief and experience.”

From the back cover:

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 the silence of Saturday. They ran. They doubted. They disappeared. From their perspective, all was lost.

Yet, within the grave, God’s power was still flowing like a mighty river beneath the ice of winter. And there was a Sunday morning.

In A Glorious Dark, Swoboda reflects on three Holy Days and how Christians walk out their faith in reference to each day. In Part I, he speaks to Friday Christianity which he describes as the, “…religion of those who’ve chosen to find their identity in a spirituality of defeat, death, and loss.” Swoboda addresses the Saturday Christian in Part II. He suggests this is, “for those of us who’ve come to consider doubt and ambiguity as final destination rather than conduits through which we actually enter into resurrection.” Lastly, in Part III, Swoboda address Sunday Christianity. This is a very popular Christian walk at this moment in time. It is the victory and prosperity walk.

This book touches on so many areas, anyone who reads it will find a golden nugget of truth applicable to their own walk. For instance, Swoboda speaks to our self-selection of truth. We pick and choice what we believe and back up the belief with books and people who agree. He also speaks to cynicism which is usually rooted in hurt and disappointment. The pages he spends on cynicism are the ones I underlined most. Maybe the most impactful sentence from the book is this: “No matter how beautiful it was, the final note everyone’s melody is silence.” Seriously, this book is jammed full of those kind of one line zingers, direct and poignant.

I also enjoyed Swoboda’s thoughts on “resurrection community,” and the need for Christians to belong to a body of believers. With so many churches offering online service opportunities, many people opt to watch from home and never attend in person and in turn, miss out on becoming part of a community of believers.

In the end, I appreciate the overall message of this book. The idea that the Christian life is meant to be lived in and through all three Holy Days. This is a book I will pass along to a friend with confidence it will be enjoyed, dog-eared, and highlighted. I was given a complimentary copy of this book by its publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated.