Book review: Gifts of the Dark Wood

by Eric Elnes


The soul, says Pastor Eric Elnes, has a native buoyancy. Like a rubber ball under water, it yearns to rise. This book is about “finding your place in this world at the very point where you feel furthest from it” … in the Dark Wood.

No one enters the Dark Wood of their own volition. You awaken there, by the nudge of the Holy Spirit. This, by the way, is as close as Elnes will ever get to preaching Christianity in this book. In fact, you’ll find his concept of the Holy Spirit to be respectful of multiple spiritualities (look up Convergence Christianity). There is a realm of Spirit–what Jesus called the Kingdom of God–that intersects our world, or as some say, infuses it. Any religion with no contact with this Holy Spirit is a sham, insists Elnes.

In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, Jesus offers examples of people who find deep blessing in this world. The list is surprising: those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn the loss of a loved one, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who are persecuted and slandered and discredited.

The Spirit awakens us in our personal Dark Wood, where we may find unexpected gifts awaiting us. Elnes steers us toward seven gifts that are found only where we feel unsettled. These are the gifts of uncertainty, of emptiness, of being thunderstruck, of getting lost, of temptation, of disappearing, and of misfits.

Inspiring and encouraging, witty and intelligent, this is an easy book to recommend. You can also find Elnes online at Darkwood Brew.

Abingdon Press, © 2015, 189 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4267-9413-1

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