Book of the Month: August 2015

learning to walk in the darkLearning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

This is, as Barbara Taylor Brown admits, “not a how-to book”. It is however a how to see, how to re-think, how to open to darkness through walking a collection of stories, reflections and insights as personal as they are immediate.

It is most certainly a book about ‘darkness’. Darkness experienced sitting on a hill waiting for the full Sabbath moon to rise; the utter surrounding darkness found deep within a cave; the darkness of tragedy – personal and communal.

To understand darkness, internal or cosmic, one must reflect that darkness in lightness. This then is a walk in the light also, an exploration of the shadows formed as light becomes something else, the time in between and the time after dusk. Yet even then the moon shadows, the half light remains. We are never wholly walking in the dark for the darkness is never wholly, completely black – for we are also ‘the children of light’.

The book is a reflection on the loss of darkness through the wonders of modern technology, cultural, educational, economic transformation. The well-lit outline of Parisian boulevards may be seen from the International Space Centre but light pollution has robbed us of the chance to see falling stars and the expanse of the Milky Way. The nursery light chases the fears of the dark away – but to where?

Readers familiar with the writing of Barbara Taylor Brown will relish this walk accompanied by philosophy, theology and the kind of personal anecdote one can imagine listening to as you sit on the back porch waiting for the sun to set with the crickets sounding the beginning of a new night. A highly recommended walk.

Reviewed by Reverend Jonathan Plows

Special price of £10.99 in the shop (posted out for free) or buy it online for £8.99 + postage from http://www.sarumcollegebookshop.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=13527 until 31st August 2015. RRP £12.99.

 

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