She used to be a minister, but gave that up -- partly because the church put too much emphasis on being all bright and light rather than dim and dark.
Like Taylor, I've become much more appreciative of darkness. Physical. Mental. Spiritual.
(Though I really don't know what spiritual means; it's an empty word to me; however, since so many people use it, I sort of feel like I have to also.)
I'm fine with not-knowing.
Like, what will happen after I die. Or how the universe came into being. I used to feel like I had to fill up that knowledge void with religious beliefs. Now, genuine mystery is more appealing to me than fake explanations.
I've only read one chapter in Taylor's book. I was worried it would be too Christian'y for me. So far, not at all. I don't mind a few Biblical references. I look upon the Bible as a work of literature, not a guide to reality.
Here's some excerpts from the beginning of Taylor's "Learning to Walk in the Dark" that I like.
...but when I look around the world today, it seems clear that eliminating darkness is pretty high on the human agenda -- not just physical darkness but also metaphysical darkness, which includes psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual darkness.
...For now, it is enough to say that "darkness" is shorthand for anything that scares me -- that I want no part of -- either because I am sure that I do not have the resources to survive it or because I do not want to find out.
The absence of God is there, along with the fear of dementia and the loss of those nearest and dearest to me. So is the melting of polar ice caps, the suffering of children, and the nagging question of what it will be like to die.
...Instead, I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.
...Plus, Christianity has never had anything nice to say about darkness. From earliest times, Christians have used "darkness" as a synonym for sin, ignorance, spiritual blindness and death.
...To embrace that teaching and others like it at face value can result in a kind of spirituality that deals with darkness by denying its existence or at least depriving it of any meaningful attention. I call it "full solar spirituality," since it focuses on staying in the light of God around the clock, both absorbing and reflecting the sunny side of faith.
...The more they win out over the world of the flesh, the better. The more they beat back the powers of darkness, the closer they get to God. The ultimate goal is to live with that God forever, in a bright heaven where the bottom half of every earthly equation has finally returned to dust.
After years of using this language to pray, teach, preach, and celebrate the sacraments, I fell out of love with it -- not just the words themselves but also the vision of reality they represent.
...If I have any expertise, it is in the realm of spiritual darkness: fear of the unknown, familarity with divine absence, mistrust of conventional wisdom, suspicion of religious comforters, keen awareness of the limits of all language about God and at the same time shame over my inability to speak of God without a thousand qualifiers, doubt about the health of my soul, and barely suppressed contempt for those who have no such qualms. These are the areas of my proficiency.