Reading and Writing Through the Darkness: An Advent Journey

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In the midst of life’s turbulence, and the external, hectic rush of the holiday season, we may long for a peace that continues to elude us, for some still point or silent place where we can remain present, waiting. Perhaps, also, we are reluctant to acknowledge the desert places within us, what may reside in the emptiness or darkness.

The paradox of waiting is in this tension between fear and hope, and it would be dishonest to deny either. Without silence, no word can be heard. We walk though darkness, to see a great light. But maybe, also, we are tempted to rush too quickly towards anything that looks like light, without having found yet what the darkness has to say.

This course is intended to be an accompaniment through the silent space, an exploration of the darkness where the light breaks, the emptiness where the word is heard. We will look at the writing of poets, storytellers, and spiritual writers, who send us messages from one desert to the next, stylites shooting lightning from atop their poles.

Writers Jessica Mesman Griffith and Rebecca Bratten Weiss will guide you as you read and respond to writings from Rainer Maria Rilke, T.S. Eliot, Caryll Houselander, Flannery O’Connor, Mary Oliver, Suzanne Lewis, and others. These studies will help awaken you to the messages sent through your own encounter with the mystery, as you journey through the darkest days of the year.

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