On Thursday as they ate the Passover meal with Jesus, the disciples believed that the kingdom was coming and they were on the front end of a revolution. Then came the tragedy of Friday and, somehow even worse, the silence of Saturday. They ran. They doubted. They despaired. Yet, within the grave, God’s power was still flowing like a mighty river beneath the ice of winter. And then there was Sunday morning.

Real, raw, and achingly honest, A Glorious Dark meets readers in the ambiguity, doubt, and uncertainty we feel when our beliefs about the world don’t match up to reality. Tackling tough questions like Why is faith so hard? Why do I doubt? Why does God allow me to suffer? and Is God really with me in the midst of my pain? A. J. Swoboda puts into sharp focus a faith that is greater than our personal comfort or fulfilment. He invites readers to develop a faith that embraces the tension between what we believe and what we experience, showing that the very tension we seek to eliminate is where God meets us.


"Too often Western Christian churches focus only on the sunny side of life. Why? Because it takes far more courage to walk into the darkness. Lucky for us, A. J. Swoboda has the guts to pierce the darkness and search for God there."

Jonathan Merritt, author of Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined; senior columnist for Religion News Service

"Once upon a time, there was a man who saw the the breadth of God's strange redemption in just three days of Holy Week. That man is A.J. Swoboda and this is his book. It is funny, honesty, literary, outward looking, inward looking, and upward looking. 'Stars are only seen when its dark,' Swoboda writes. Indeed, and it is rare to find both stars and their darkness so beautifully charted in ink. A glorious read."

Paul Pastor, associate editor for Christianity Today's Leadership Journal and PARSE

"A.J. writes with the passion of a genuine seeker and with the reflective insight of a true mystic. Here he turns his attention to the meaning of Jesus's death and resurrection. We find ourselves drawn into the momentous events of the cross and resurrection yet again."

Alan Hirsch, author, activist, dreamer

"Just as the real story of Golgotha is of three crosses, not one, so theologian A.J. Swoboda shows in fiery wisdom and icy wit how the real story of Holy Week is of three days, not one. This is a book I will get out and reread every Holy Week for the rest of my life-to keep the gospel 'good news' that stays good and stays news."

Leonard Sweet, bestselling author; professor at Drew University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary; chief contributor to Sermons.com

"A Glorious Dark is a brilliant display of the cross of Christ. My heart and mind were awakened by A.J. Swoboda creatively redeeming everything from personal experience to insightful apologetics, from Star Wars to Jean-Paul Sartre. He challenged me to confront long-held myths that dead-ended my faith. For any serious student of life, A Glorious Dark is a must read!"

Wayne Cordeiro, author and pastor at New Hope Christian Fellowship, Honolulu, Hawaii

"Attention is owed to any writer who can excavate the deep theological meaning of Scooby-Doo and apply it articulately to Christian faith-and that writer is A.J. Swoboda! With spark, passion, and an engaging accessibility, Swoboda successfully makes the case for a holistic Christian life that holds in tension the poles of light and dark, triumph and loss. Highly recommended!"

Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today contributing columnist; author of The Evangelicals You Don't Know

"Is our Christian faith painful, awkward, or hopeful? That's like asking if water is a solid, liquid, or gas. The answer is emphatically Yes! Swoboda reminds us that although we want to pick and choose, God knows we need the full spectrum of death, descent, and resurrection to abide in Christ. Gloriously enlightening!"

Nancy Sleeth, author of Almost Amish; cofounder of Blessed Earth

"Swoboda has written a beautiful book. It felt like reading the Psalms. He touches on the full bandwidth of the human experience with compassion, honesty, insight, and humor. And this book ruminates with love for God. Not a sentimental love of evangelical culture, but a deep clinging to Jesus through all the complexities of faith and discipleship. This book will resonate deeply and inspire faith to walk boldly into the glorious dark."

Jon Tyson, pastor at Trinity Grace Church, New York; author of Sacred Roots: Why the Church Still Matters

"A.J. is like Seinfeld and Kierkegaard rolled into one. If you want dry diatribes of funny fluff, look elsewhere...This book is hilarious and holy in all the right ways!"

Joshua Ryan Butler, author of The Skeleton's in God's Closet; pastor at Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon

"Among this next generation of faith-leaders, A.J. Swoboda stands apart, bringing in equal measure the mind of the scholar, the heart of the shepherd, and the honesty of the bard. No one else could have written A Glorious Dark."

Tony Kriz, author of Aloof; neighborhood pastor in Portland, Oregon

"In A Glorious Dark, AJ Swoboda paints a full-color portrait of the love of God that is both exquisitely simple and profoundly complex. His words dive deep into the beauty of Holy Week while never attempting to explain away the mystery. I found myself more intrigued, more captivated and more in love with the One whose story stretches out over the wide expanse of human history and welcomes us all in."

Bo Stern, speaker and author of Beautiful Battlefields

"This good book on the pattern of death and resurrection in the Christian life, A Glorious Dark, offers a fresh accounting of faith in the contemporary world. In this book, author, pastor, theologian, Swoboda guides us through the story of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. Throughout Swoboda teaches us to embrace the Christian life with all of its mysterious discomforts."

Keith Jagger, spiritual director with Equipping Lydia


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