Published by Beaming Books on July 12, 2022
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In God's Holy Darkness, Sharei Green and Beckah Selnick deconstruct anti-Blackness in Christian theology by celebrating instances in the story of God's people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy. From the darkness at the beginning of creation to the blackness of the sky on the day when Christ's birth was announced to the shepherds, children learn that blackness is something to celebrate as an important element of the life of faith. Lush and vibrant illustrations by artist Nicolette Peñaranda underscore the mystery and beauty of these wondrous acts of God's holy darkness.
Perfect for reading and anti-racist reflection in worship, as an affirmation and celebration with children, and at home with caregivers, God's Holy Darkness is a gift to cherish.
The metaphors of light and darkness in Scripture are not always kind to darkness. God is light, and in him is no darkness, says John. Christ lives in unapproachable light, says Timothy. We accept these things as axiomatic to the point we forget they are only metaphors and that God works within darkness as well. David writes that God makes darkness surround him. Solomon proclaimed that God said he would dwell in deep darkness. Metaphors matter and when God is portrayed as light and bright (and white) then it can subconsciously contribute to anti-Blackness. God’s Holy Darkness is a stunningly illustrated survey of how God uses darkness to accomplish his will.
The first panels of God’s Holy Darkness sets out the book’s thesis using a pure black page and white text. Darkness and blackness and night are too often compared to lightness and whiteness and day and found deficient, but let us name the beauty and goodness and holiness of darkness and blackness and night. Authors Sharei Green and Beckah Selnick take readers on a journey beginning with Creation, where in the beginning darkness covered the face of the deep and God’s creation is made in Holy Darkness. The slaves in Egypt are set free through a salvation that comes in the dark. Samuel hears God’s voice in the middle of the night. Angels appear to the shepherds in the dark. Darkness falls over the earth at the death of Jesus—God saved all creation, and it was the work of God’s beautiful, good, and holy darkness.
For some of you, God’s Holy Darkness might make you a bit uncomfortable. It’s a paradigm-shifting perspective you may never have considered before. I highly encourage you to sit in that discomfort and ask why it feels so disconcerting. Nikki Faison’s illustrations utilize deep and dark colors—blues and black and purples—to bring a vibrant majesty that showcases the beauty of darkness. Green and Selnick include a note for caregivers at the end of the book that speaks about the importance of what they call “disrupting the binary” as we “seek comfort and rest at night, wonder at the mystery of the dark, [and] celebrate Blackness.” God’s Holy Darkness is a powerful, engaging book whether you’re a child or an adult.