Review: Faith in Dark Places: New Edition

Faith in Dark Places: New EditionFaith in Dark Places: New Edition by David Rhodes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a provocative book, aimed squarely at the vast majority of Christians who tend towards complacency in their understanding of what is required by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some who read this might identify strains of liberation theology – largely used as a pejorative term – though it is most definitely identifiable with a ‘preferential option for the poor’.

The challenge placed before us by Rhodes is to get back to the very heart of the message of Jesus as one both for the poor and of the poor, a challenge to see the injustices and oppression that highlight society even to this day, and in response to focus very clearly on the nature of faith as relationship with God – and therefore with other human beings “including those we label as the poor”.

Through the skillful interplay of contemporary story and scriptural reflection, David Rhodes attempts to help us see that the poor are not there for us to assist in a misguided attitude of charity but are there to preach and teach us about the reality of life: that all too often the things we think are important in life – wealth, success, possessions, etc – actually impede our ability to be in a life-giving relationship with God made manifest in Jesus Christ.

For many Christians this may be a discomforting read. It is, however, a read that all Christians should embrace in the search for what gives them true life.

From the back cover:

As society becomes increasingly fragmented and poverty gap widens in a time of austerity, there is a growing feeling that a better world must be possible. But how can we discover a just and loving alternative that is true to God?

Combining moving stories from the inner city with a fresh approach to the gospel, Faith in Dark Places explores the revolutionary idea that the good news of God’s love is being spoken to a divided world by those rejected as worthless: the homeless and the poor.

This radically revised edition draws on recent theological research and the author’s knowledge of urban poverty to offer powerful new insights into key biblical texts, including the Lord’s Prayer, the parables of Jesus and the Magnificat.

Gripping, heart-wrenching and often surprisingly humourous, Faith in Dark Places presents us with a vital reminder of what the gospel is truly all about.

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