It's three in the morning. I have a nice glass of Tin Cup whiskey (Colorado doesn't just make incredible beer, we are also quite adept at making some delicious whiskey!) and have been mulling over some things the past few hours. It has been a very long time since I've picked up the pen, so to speak, and written anything on here. That is a problem that I hope to remedy this year. I need to write more.
Anyway, to the topic at hand. A friend posted an article on why Christians were attracted to the dark. I read it and it resonated with me quite a lot. The author brought up many experiences that I can relate to and I think, on the whole, she pointed out some good points. There are, however, other experiences which give me pause for concern.
While my affinity for the darker things in life is quite great, the darkness also poses some real concerns for the Christian. The author brings up the issue of the biblical metaphor of light and darkness, "...the Bible has a bunch of metaphors about the dark being connected to evil...but I think the Bible only uses it as a metaphor for evil, not that the dark itself is evil". I agree with that, to a point. There is nothing inherently evil about night, black, sorrow, pain, and many of the other themes that flourish in expressions of darkness. Many of these themes, however, are not a picture of our future hope; they are a picture of our sin and our separation from God. These are realities on this side of eternity. God's design was not a design of sorrow and pain. We are free to see our life as it is, and there is no sin in having a sober realization of our current condition, but we who are in Christ are new creations and we are being conformed and transformed into the likeness of Christ. We have been purchased with a price, and when Christ comes again to claim his bride, there will be no more pain or suffering for his bride. We will see God face to face and we will revel in the Light of the world. There will be no darkness in the marriage feast.
The Light of the world. Meditating on this brings me to another concern. The author also talks about prying into the "dark corners of [her] own mind". I'm all for self-awareness, but I have some real problems with this. As one who has spent hours and hours going deeper and deeper into himself, this is not a good habit for someone who is prone to depression and self-hatred, or any sinner who is even slightly self-aware. Left to my own devices, my own sinfulness and depravity will consume me and it will do anything but bring me closer to God. We become closer to God by fleeing from ourselves and running to Christ. We become closer to God by applying the means of grace in corporate and private worship. It is through the reading of the scriptures, prayer and the Lord's Supper that we are drawn closer to God. The common habit in all of those activities is that we are turning away from ourselves and turning toward our Heavenly Father. Sanctification is accomplished as we flee to Christ and deny ourselves, not by searching out the depths of our darkness. Quite frankly I am scared of my own dark mind. We're not talking about a metaphor at this point, we are talking about some of the most wicked thoughts I wish I never had. Sin flourishes in the hidden, dark corners of my mind. I am scared of the darkness in my own mind and I need the purifying light of God to purge the evil from my mind. Heaven forbid that I am ever left alone in my own mind without the Spirit...but this is thankfully an absurd impossibility for the believer.
I'm not opposed to the dark, in general. In many ways I love the dark, as the author does. The night is tranquil and relaxing. I would much rather stare into the vastness of the night sky than many other things. Here I am, sitting in a dimly lit room listening to Switchblade Symphony and thinking that I should read some Edgar Allan Poe before bed. I can appreciate the dark themes as much as the next "goth" (a label I've sympathized with but never applied to myself). I do find that there can be real beauty in darkness, and I relish in that beauty. But I am not naive. I know there are real dangers in the dark. I also know that my identity as a child of God is not an identity of darkness. The cross of Christ conquered evil. The Light of the world has cast out all darkness and has revealed all schemes and sins that bask in the concealment of darkness. The peace and joy and love of God has cast off all sorrow and the great Physician has healed all pain. This is my identity. This is the identity for all who would call upon the name of the Lord for salvation. This is why I can enjoy the darkness. I have a hope and a future that is outside of myself. Let those who find beauty and solace in darkness not forget the beauty and the warmth of the Light.