Book Review: A Glorious Dark

A Glorious Dark by A.J. Swoboda

Even the subtitle of this book, Finding Hope in the Tension Between Belief and Experience, provokes images of deep, intellectual thoughts. And A.J. Swoboda does not disappoint in this area. Through the exploration of Easter weekend, readers find themselves self-examining and questioning ideas they previously understood. Swoboda breaks down all the emotions experienced on Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. He explains the events of the day, what the disciples and early Christians must have been thinking and feeling, and how we reckon with the events that transpired. He addresses issues such as doubt, rest, apologetics, Martin Luther, Mary, tragedy, faith, Mr. Rogers. Swoboda uses real-life examples to convey his points. He uses examples from his own life, as well as examples from the media. Intermixed with theology is his quirky style of writing, where he uses phrases like, “Now, I’ve never hefted an ancient burial stone, but I can guess that they weren’t light” (170). If one can follow the stream-of-consciousness paragraphs, they will find gems such as this that will make the book worth reading:

“There are two kinds of faith. Faith will either be like a Polaroid picture or an Etch-a-Sketch. They share one commonality: both will be shaken. For one, being shaken will cause faith to become clearer. For the other, shaking will cause the faith to blur and disappear. Faith should be an old-timey Polaroid-it should be clearer the more shaken it becomes. Jesus found joy and solace in his Father when life shook him. Shaking brought clarity.” (72)


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