Dark Night of the Soul- Conversations & Challenges: Interviews with Peter Rollins (ThinkJump Journal #52 with Kim Gentes)
As Christian leaders, we can make the mistake of not tending properly to the weightier issues of grief, loss and doubt. This may be unintentional, based on the assumption of a long life of sincere devotion and relationship with God. But the truth is that loss, pain and even doubts about our faith are important questions to deal with. When pain, tragedy and struggle bring a difficulty upon us, not facing it can be the wrong tact to take.
The 16th Century Christian mystic Saint John of the Cross wrote a famous poem and treatise, entitled “Dark Night of the Soul” (the treatise complete version is online here ). In this poem, and the lengthy discourse, the author expounds the pains of the human struggle to reach for deep relationship/union with God. The poem, and its title, became synonymous for Christian writers over the recent centuries as a phrase to echo intense struggle and pain- perhaps even their most painful challenge in life. What is unique about this poem is that it reflects a kind of Ecclesiastical despair that the human soul can encounter in such times. While there is strong scriptural precedent for mournful sorrow, frustrated concern, and even languishing anger, very few modern Christian leaders speak on such topics.
The book of Job, many of the Psalms and certainly the book of Ecclesiastes are all samples of honest struggles from people trying to understand and deal with the pain of our humanity, even while in the context of knowing the Lord God. The New Testament examples of Thomas, Peter (his betrayal and bitter sorrow), Jesus sorrow over the death of Lazarus, and even Jesus own painful struggle at Gethsemane show us that pain, struggle, grief and doubt are very real and must not be avoided, but faced and worked through.
The following two interviews are with Dr. Peter Rollins, author and speaker, who delves into some important thoughts on being honest about our human struggles. Finally, Peter gives a strong challenge to worship leaders and songwriters of worship music to begin to write music that reflects the reality of the dark night of the soul, as part of a balance of complete liturgy- one that reflects not only the joy and nearness of God, but the pain, struggles and doubts of us, his friends, as we try to draw near to him and deal with our broken world.
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments (you can post them at the bottom of this entry).
Part 1: Dark Night of the Soul- Honesty in Liturgical Space
Part 2: Dark Night of the Soul- Thoughts and Challenge for Worship Leaders
walking with you,