A Glorious Dark by A. J. Swoboda

A Glorious Dark

A Glorious Dark – Book Review

If you are a Christian, what happens when your intellectual and experiential faith don’t quite align?

What happens when your beliefs about life and the world around you seem to be at odds?

How do you reconcile darkness and light, goodness and evil, death and life?

These are deep theological questions – and some of things you’ll find yourself contemplating as you work your way through the pages of A Glorious Dark by A.J. Swoboda.

A Glorious Dark – Finding Hope In The Tension Between Belief And Experience is a fascinating book that explores Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday as a metaphor for the Christian faith.

A.J. believes that Christians tend to live out their faith focusing on one of three aspects of Christianity.

  • Good Friday Christians base their spiritual identity in defeat, death and loss, choosing to focus on those aspects of life and spirituality that center on pain and punishment, suffering and sacrifice.
  • Holy Saturday Christians tend to be the cynics among us; their faith is often marked with doubts, with questions, with ambiguity.
  • Easter Sunday Christians are the optimists of the faith. They claim Christ’s victory on the cross as a panacea for the problems that other people have, problems they believe could easily be overcome if only others had a little more faith.

The problem with this, A.J. writes, is that:

We can’t prefer one day and reject the rest. Christianity isn’t a religion of preference… Christian faith is the whole weekend and (we) must enter all days…

Jesus is our Lord to the degree our preferences aren’t.

A Glorious Dark is a beautifully written book that challenges you to think about your beliefs and how you live out your Christian life. It’s a book to highlight – to ponder over – to discuss with your friends.

One of my favorite quotes from A Glorious Dark comes from the opening pages, when A.J. compares our faith to a frozen river, writing:

Underneath every story of death and darkness and doubt is a hidden flow of God’s resurrection and power and glory, which almost nobody chooses to see.

Here’s to seeing below the surface.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

About A. J. Swoboda

A J Swoboda

A. J. Swoboda (PhD, University of Birmingham) teaches theology, biblical studies, and Christian history at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon. A. J. started and serves Theophilus Church in urban Portland. He is the author of Messy and is the coauthor of Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. However, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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One Response to “A Glorious Dark by A. J. Swoboda”

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  1. heidi says:

    It sounds like an interesting book. So often we hear that we need to only focus on the positive. But this book encourages us to focus on the entire process.

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