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In a Dark Wood: Journeys of Faith and Doubt

Author: 
Linda Jones (Editor) Sophie Stanes (Editor)
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Description

Doubt is as natural an experience as faith and what theologian Paul Tillich called an indispensable component of authentic faith. In this book an extraordinary range of writers talks about the moment—often devastating—when they turned to God only to find neither God's presence nor consolation. Where once silence was filled with peace, now that silence signals only emptiness. In a Dark Wood features a diverse group of voices describing unlikely and often moving journeys toward or away from faith—Protestants, Catholics, and Jews; laypeople and religious professionals; activists, poets, politicians, and ordinary people. In addition, dozens of readings, poems, and prayers reflect on belief and doubt, on the loss of faith and its rediscovery, from the Psalmists, medieval saints, and such luminaries as W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot, James Baldwin and Joseph Heller, Maya Angelou and Isabel Allende, Henri Nouwen and Walter Brueggemann, Nelson Mandela and Daniel Berrigan.
ISBN: 
9780800636241
Price: 
$17.00
Release date: 
December 31, 2003
Pages: 
232
Width: 
5.50
Height: 
9.25

Excerpts

"Whatever the reason for your doubts or loss of faith, we hope you will find something here that helps you realize you are not alone. And you will also find here stories of the journeys people have made back to faith, once or many times. The phoenix of hope can rise from the ashes of abandonment."
— from the Introduction

Reviews

Doubt haunts even the most faithful. It assails us when tragedy occurs, a question offers no answer, an upbringing no longer satisfies a maturing understanding. In A Dark Wood: Journey to the Light gathers interviews and readings on the subject of doubt and presents a rich spectrum of response.

All the voices in Part One, "There Is No God," shudder from a loss of faith and the absence of God — what Jane Harvey describes as "the end of safety." They describe poignantly the weight of their pain and the shadow of their hopelessness.

In Part Two, "Doubts on the Journey," the writers speak of the doubt that often accompanies faith. I was drawn to the varied stories of people whose religious upbringings didn't give them space to think for themselves. As part of their journey, these writers chose to be more engaged in the world — as peace and social justice activists, as politicians — and to forge connections between what they believe and how they live.

The writers in Part Three, "Phoenix of Faith," share a certainty of God's existence and goodness, yet refuse complacency. Gerald O'Mahony refers to such a response as "using your spiritual muscles all the time." He contends, "it is the people who find faith difficult that have the strongest faith."

The stories and readings gathered in this book are satisfying and engaging in their honesty. They describe a contemporary faith that is more compassionate, more personal, and, ultimately, more reflective of the world.

—Lenore Franzen, communications consultant from St. Paul, Minnesota, recently completed a historical novel

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    PART ONE — THERE IS NO GOD

    Anonymous
    Jane Harvey


    PART TWO — DOUBTS ON THE JOURNEY

    Tony Benn
    Rupert M. Loydell
    John Bell
    Sr. Petra Boex
    Annabel Shilson-Thomas
    Christopher Hall
    Bruce Kent
    Colin Parry
    Lionel Blue
    Chris Cole
    Gerard W. Hughes
    Jeannine Gramick
    Bernadette Farrell
    Myra Poole
    Dame Joanna Jamieson
    Geoffrey Duncan
    Stephen Timms, MP
    Gerald O'Mahony
    Denis Hurley
    Dr. Hans Popper
    Joan D. Chittister, OSB

    Acknowledgments
    Bibliography
    Index of Authors