We’ve highlighted our friend David Dark‘s uncanny ability to turn a provocative phrase many times over the years by featuring his words in the daily asterisk. Recently, we distributed this gem from a short piece promoting his new book, Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious:
Our big ideas have nowhere to happen but bodies. In this sense, my religion is the shape my love takes, the direct devotion of my energy and resources, for better and worse. Or, to a borrow a phrase from a well-known, Jewish peasant artisan, you’ll know me by my fruit. To drive this point home, I like to tell my students I suspect they all have weird religious backgrounds. Puzzled looks ensue. Let me explain: “I imagine many of you were raised capitalist, for instance.” There’s usually at least one appreciative nod. We’ve each received instruction, a multitude of catechisms on any given day. How’s your religion coming along? Do you like what your life says? Take your time on that one.
Another section from the same piece alludes to the project David is undertaking in the new book:
Your religion is the story you tell yourself about yourself to others. Show me your online history, your gas mileage, your receipts, a transcript of all you’ve done and said on a given day and we might begin to assemble a rough picture of your religious identity or, more generally, the witness that is and will have been your one wild and precious life. We’re never not broadcasting, testifying, worshipping, and making plain our core commitments. Did we somehow think there was an off-switch to our beliefs, our values, the expenditure of soul? There isn’t.
The book was just released this month and is well worth diving into. David’s singular ability to weave together pop culture, classic literature, politics, theology, and philosophy into artful and kind reflections on matters of great import has always been both an encouragement and a challenge to us in our work. I’ve only just begun reading, but I’m already underlining whole paragraphs.