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David Dark--Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious (2016)

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Link to our thread on The Sacredness of Questioning Everything

Another one from David Dark. The title is calculated to make two kinds of people uncomfortable: religious folks for whom disavowing the term “religious” has become a kind of tic (“It’s not religion; it’s relationship”) and atheist folks who are far too used to being told that they “really” believe in God. To the first group, Dark offers the insight that religion is relationship; to the second, he suggests that religion is something you do, it’s something you can’t help doing—it isn’t about believing or not believing, it’s about living.

Which is, to be honest, an attempt to stretch the word a bit farther than anyone would be happy with. But Dark is so relentlessly charming in his approach and generous in his references that it’s hard not to be won over. Most of the themes touched on here have been covered in his other books; in this way, Dark reminds me of Faulkner, endlessly writing the “same” story in an attempt to get it right. The result is—as always with Dark—soul-stirring, but there’s also a [small] feeling of repetition that is difficult to shake.

Still—at 189 pages, the book goes down well and Dark’s authorial voice is as challenging and captivating as ever. When I read a book by David Dark, I start seeing the world differently—if only while I’m under the book’s spell—and I feel as if I’m being offered precious insights that are just outside my ken. I may never read another book by Dark that’s as soul-changing as Everyday Apocalypse, but I am grateful that he keeps writing.

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On 4/26/2016 at 11:48 AM, Stephen Lamb said:

I interviewed David about his new book and his "attention collection," among other things, for the Art House blog:

http://www.arthouseamerica.com/blog/attention-collections-and-sneaky-religious-stories-an-interv.html

That's a good interview; I particularly like this bit:

I worry that we may be living in an age when fewer and fewer people read liner notes, read up on the folks who get through to them. It is all about following up. Enjoying the one Shakespeare line enough to want to read the whole play to see what else Shakespeare did, just to keep going with it. All this culture is there. Culture is a gift. We critique all manner of culture, but it is a gift. And it’s not: “I’m going to use The Simpsons to tell people about Jesus.” It’s: “The Simpsons is good, and let’s talk about how it is good, and how it enriches us.” The Art House was pretty essential in giving me the affirmation and the positive reinforcement I needed to find my voice.

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