Book Review: Learning To Walk In The Dark

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Jennifer Haupt

Learning to Walk in the Dark
By Barbara Brown Taylor
Harper One

Theologian Barbara Brown Taylor, author of the best-selling An Altar in the World, challenges our negative associations with darkness and our attraction to light in this thought-provoking new book. She draws on her own experiences—from exploring caves and experimenting with blindness, to her questioning of her own religious training and faith—to explore what might be gained by embracing darkness. What she finds are the possibilities of emotional healing, a deeper appreciation of silence, living in the now, and peace of mind where there once was fear.

The arc of this book is structured around the phases of the moon, beginning with the author lying in her front yard on an air mattress, watching as the sun sets and the stars come out. Taylor delves into her own spiritual darkness, a loss of faith in traditional religion—really a mistrust of a “solar spirituality,” focused on the false dichotomy between light and dark, good and evil, right and wrong. Instead, Taylor argues for a “lunar spirituality,” which places these religious concepts on a continuum that waxes and wanes like the phases of the moon. Ultimately, this is a book about the author’s own struggle to believe in God, even when the world turns dark, and to keep one foot moving in front of the other, seeking the answers to these eternal questions.

Read an interview with Barbara Brown Taylor here.

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