Reviewed: The Divine Heart of Darkness

Added about 4 months ago by Sacristy Press

“Deeply moving, beautifully written and – even though this seems like the wrong metaphor – illuminating!”

“Powerfully inverts our customary imagery surrounding light and dark”

The Divine Heart of DarknessTwo glowing reviews of Catherine Bird’s The Divine Heart of Darkness have been published recently in the Methodist Recorder (12 January 2018) and the Church Times (16 March 2018).

The Revd Nicola Vidamour, of the Methodist Recorder, declares that Bird “is in love with darkness! She can’t wait to put the clocks back in October and leave behind the long summer days in order to embrace the gifts of the night.” Bird explores “how darkness is visible, sacred, mystical, sublime, nurturing, creative and political”.

Vidamour continues:

Cathy [Bird] is not trying to turn the light off completely, but rather to question the commonly held understanding that light is good and darkness is bad – and to open our eyes to the presence of God in the darkness.

Finally, Vidamour concludes that:

I found this book deeply moving, beautifully written and – even though this seems like the wrong metaphor – illuminating! It has encouraged me to treasure the darkness and has also stimulated some thinking about her sister, silence, and how we need to give more space to her amidst all our words and music.

In the Church Times, The Revd Richard Greatrex describes how Bird shows “with lyricism and passion” that “darkness is not to be feared: it is not the nadir, the abyss of grief”, but instead “a region of rest, recuperation, reflection, and regeneration”. In demonstrating this successfully, the book “serve[s] to challenge the complacency of cultural thinking and lazy theology that stigmatises an essential ingredient of God’s purposes for creation”.

Greatrex goes on to say that:

The concluding “Dark Creed”, which powerfully inverts our customary imagery surrounding light and dark, comes with a “health warning” — so averse are we to associating darkness with the divine. It takes time and intellectual effort to recalibrate our natural inclinations towards the status quo: titles such as “Prince of Darkness”, which is re-appropriated for Christ, feel uncomfortable.

Intrigued? You can get your copy of The Divine Heart of Darkness now!

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