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A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension Between Belief and Experience

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  22 reviews
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, somehow even worse, the silence of Saturday. They ran. They doubted. They despaired. Yet, within the grave, God's power was still flowing like a mighty river beneath the ice of winter. ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Baker Books (first published January 27th 2015)
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4.31  · 
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 ·  137 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Summary: An exploration of living in the tension of the glorious hope of Christian faith and the dark, unsettling realities of our lives through reflections grouped around the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the Triduum of Holy Week. A great book to read reflectively during Holy Week.

A. J. Swoboda opens this book with the image of a frozen river, apparently dead and still on the surface, but beneath the ice, flowing and alive–“a glorious dark”, he calls it, which he sees as an image for our fait
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A. J. Swoboda wrote A Glorious Dark about three days. The Friday we call good when Jesus died on the cross, Sunday when Jesus surprised everyone by refusing to be dead and the Saturday in between ( 'awkward Saturday')--a day of silence when defeat appears complete and we are full of doubt and questions. The fancy-shmancy word for these days is Triduum,the last three days of Holy Week. Many denominations and spiritualities major in one of these three days. Friday people enter into suffering and l ...more
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meaning-packed and prose-delightful. I enjoyed the intellectual and spiritual experience of reading Swoboda's look at the powerful implications of the events and pauses during three day: Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday.

Key quotes:

The religious system of Christianity or church is not the only way to God. Jesus Christ himself is the only way to God. I’m not a keeper of the way; I’m just a journeyer on the

Another struggle people have with Christian faith is the guilt associated with it. Gui
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
There were definitely some parts of this book that were quite good. For instance, the portion about how we must wait in the tomb on Saturday, hopeless and scared. There were other bits that I quite liked as well.
But, the overwhelming majority of the book seemed like it was unfocused thoughts that were pieced together from blogs or sermons. I had trouble relating ideas back to the point of the chapter or section. The tone was also somewhat irritating, although I don't fault the author for his per
Ruthline Ignacio-Capriles
This gave me much peace!

So honest and real! Bold! He says what he thinks and feels. Few people can do this. It helps tremendously.
Travis Heystek
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I’ll start by saying that A Glorious Dark wasn’t what I expected it to be. That turns out to be both good and bad. But first I want to talk about the layout a bit briefly.

The cover design is both engaging and consistent with the theme of the book, one that enticed me to read the book in the first place. The books layout is smooth and easy to follow. There are very few subtitles, which can be a breath of fresh air, as each chapter seems to flow seamlessly from start to finish. On the other hand t
Michele Morin
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For years I celebrated Easter as if it were a stand-alone holiday, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” without giving much thought to the horror of the Dying or the silence of the Dead. Providentially, my early efforts to incarnate and to enliven an invisible God in the hearts of four sweet boys found a way into the obtuse heart of their mother as well. Therefore, this Lenten season, I will be re-reading A Glorious Dark, a book about believing which confronts the loss and defeat of Friday and t ...more
Jennifer Pickwell
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
When I read a book, be it fiction or nonfiction, and I come across something that strikes me—a turn of phrase or an important point—I fold the corner of the page over, marking that spot. Then, when I’m finished with the book, I go back to that page, reread it, and see if something strikes me again. If it does, I must have really meant it, and I underline it.

In A Glorious Dark, I had 23 pages folded over. In a 15-chapter book. And I almost skipped the folding over and went straight to the underl
Create With Joy
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 Expe
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is a collection of stories and the author's thoughts. They are loosely organized under the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Easter weekend. His writing style was hard for me to follow. It was almost like stream of consciousness, jumping from one story to another, one thought to another. The author generally takes an illustration from modern culture (a person, movie, or event) and likens God to it. I am used to taken truth from the Bible and working out to culture, not the other way arou ...more
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Glorious Dark offers readers a series of reflections on faith and life based on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the Easter weekend. Laid out this way, I found it helpful to spend time considering what each day brings to the Christian life. As the author says, we so often jump from Friday to Sunday without much thought of how this first Easter weekend would have played out. The underlying message is one of hope in God’s presence in the midst of confusion and doubt. God is always with us, de ...more
Rob McFarren
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
It was a little to scattered in its composition through the chapters, particularly with the created structure of Friday-Saturday-Sunday the author lays out. I often got to the end of a chapter with maybe a few nice quotes, phrases, or anecdotes but without really understanding what the author was getting at. It really turned more into a format that let him move from big topic to big topic and not have to dive deep into any of them but rather stay glued to his stories and anecdotes. Some good tak ...more
Douglas Graves
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
The content of this book is absolutely brilliant! Swaboda presents both common and uncommon themes of the Easter season. I highly recommend this book for during the Lent season to prepare for a celebration of the resurrection but wouldn't want to discourage anyone from reading it ASAP!

The only qualm I have with this book is Swaboda's tendency to chase rabbits (no pun intended!). From time to time Swaboda will include an illustration that doesn't seem to quite fit, and occasionally seems off top
John Lussier
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
The river might be frozen, but there's something underneath it that is alive and moving. A glorious dark, says Swoboda. He compars this glorious living dark to God and Christian belief in the midst of doubt. The book is a reflection on the end of Holy Week, and the death doubt, and resurrection we experience there. As a pastor and theologian Swoboda is a wonderful writing partner to help us reflect on moments of suffering, hopelessness, and joy.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I received a copy of the book from goodreads. I found the book a bit confusing and it wasn't what I expected. Although I didn't tend to enjoy the book, I did pass it on to someone who found it very interesting and uplifting.
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I finished this one during Holy Week: very fitting since the author uses Holy Week as the central organizing device for this compelling book. There is a lot of meat to chew here, along with perhaps a couple bones.
Ross Slough
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Some excellent insights. Per usual swoboda gives fresh eyes to old truths and concepts. I loved the ideas of our Christian walk in the lens of Death Friday, Sabbath-waiting Saturday, and resurrection Sunday but I did not always see the connection of the content to the "three days"
Chris Nye
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not only does A.J. have deep pastoral and theological thoughts on suffering, but his writing is so good you're simply carried along. I found myself finishing this book without even meaning too. Fantastic prose and helpful reflections on human suffering/experience.
So great. I love AJ's ability to combine such deep relationally to his theology. His voice is one of honesty, truth, and a deep love.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised at this had some wonderful points in it. Smeone who evidently knows about Spiritual things. Very enlightening. Thank you.
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A. J. Swoboda (PhD, University of Birmingham) pastors Theophilus Church in urban Portland, Oregon. He is executive director of the Seminary Stewardship Alliance, a consortium of Christian higher education institutions dedicated to reconnecting Christians with the biblical call to care for God's creation. Swoboda also teaches biblical studies, theology, and church history at Portland Seminary and F ...more
“Faith isn’t just Good Friday and Easter Sunday; faith is awkward Saturday too. So much is sitting in that tomb with the soon-to-be resurrected Lord. It’s so dark. So damp. So scary. The silence is deafening. But there is hope in there.” 2 likes
“How does God deal with evil? He puts a ring on it.” 1 likes
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