A "Dark" Perspective...  

Posted by Adam

Last week, Zondervan sent me a book in the mail to consider for review. I'd never heard of the book, but the title grabbed me immediately. It's called, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, by David Dark. I have heard of the author, but I've never really read anything by him before and really didn't know that much about him. Imagine my surprise when I read the following in the first chapter:

"In no small way, I think I owe my ability to hear and interpret stories to my Granddaddy Dark, a farmer, minister, and a math professor with precise ideas concerning the way the parts of the Bible all add up into the irrefutable, always logical word of God. He saw no use of musical instruments in the New Testament accounts of the early church, so worship services he conducted did not use them. It was rumored that he once broke with a congregation when a kitchen was added to the church--there was no mention of attached cooking facilities in his King James Version.

But near the end of his life, my grandfather spake unto my father a saving word that was handed down to me. Seated in the car with my father, he observed that all the straight lines he'd drawn in the sand concerning what God wanted and What the Bible said were drawn because, as far as he could tell, this is what the Lord had spoken. 'But,' he told my father, 'if it ever turns out that I'm wrong about these things, any of it, move on.'" pg. 15

I do not know for certain that Dark has roots in the Restoration Movement, but it certainly "walks and talks like a duck", doesn't it? (UPDATE: I got a chance to ask Dark about this via facebook. His grandfather was a math professor at Lipscomb once upon a time!). I'm only about a chapter into the book, and I plan on posting a full review on it later. I am, however, already finding a ton of resonance with the thinking that Dark is presenting here. Here are a few snippets for you to mull over and interact with (if you like):
"It is only when we're blessed by a feeling of finitude that we can begin to perceive the holy, that sense of a whole before which our limited understanding is dwarfed." pg. 22

"Religion is born out of questions, not answers. Only a twisted, unimaginative mind-set resists awe in favor of self-satisfied certainty." pg. 22

"More humility might characterize our talk of God if we believe that the whole truth can never be entirely ours and that our attempts to nail God down are always well-intentioned human constructs at best, and idols at worst." pg. 23

"When we don't speak agreeably to someone with whom we disagree and don't know how to ask questions because we think we already possess most answers, we're practicing bad religion." pg. 23
Please feel free to interact with any of the above quotes, as I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. I'm not sure where else Dark is going in this book, but the first chapter, in many ways, is a beautiful articulation of where I feel I "am" right now.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 23, 2009 at Monday, March 23, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I saw that David Dark is presenting at the Christian Scholar's Conference this summer under the same title as the book under Richard Goode's session entitled "Case Studies in Questioning Narratives Part II." I'm presenting at the same time so I won't be able to go, but it sounds interesting.

March 30, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Yes, it's true. Harris Dark, the math professor in question, preached at the old Chapel Avenue Church of Christ in East Nashville a number of years in the 1940s. He was "purged" from the Lipscomb faculty in the 1950s when he came down on the "wrong" side in the institutional controversy. Fortunately for him, this wasn't the end of his career: he went on to become the chair of the math department at MTSU.

Thanks for the info.

April 9, 2009 at 4:27 PM

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