Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious
By David Dark
About the Book
For many of us, the word "religious" immediately evokes thoughts of brainwashing, violence and eye-rubbingly tiresome conversations. Why not be done with it? David Dark argues that it's not that simple.
The ease with which we put the label on others without applying it to ourselves is an evasion, a way of avoiding awareness of our own messy allegiances. Dark writes: "If what we believe is what we see is what we do is who we are, there's no getting away from religion."
Both incisive and entertaining, Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious combines Dark's keen powers of cultural observation with candor and wit. With equal parts memoir and analysis, Dark persuasively argues that the fact of religion is the fact of relationship. It's the shape our love takes, the lived witness of everything we're up to for better or worse, because witness knows no division.
Looking hard at our weird religious background (Dark maintains we all have one) can bring the actual content of our everyday existence—the good, the bad and the glaringly inconsistent—to fuller consciousness. By doing so, we can more practically envision an undivided life and reclaim the idea of being "religious."
About the Author
David Dark (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is a critically acclaimed author and teacher at the College of Theology at Belmont University and among the incarcerated communities of Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, Everyday Apocalypse and The Gospel According to America. He also contributed to the book Radiohead and Philosophy and has published articles in Pitchfork, Paste, Oxford American, Books and Culture and Christian Century.
His latest book, Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious, releases in February 2016 and is already garnering praise characteristic of Dark's insight and critique. Throughout this new volume, Dark combines wit and candor with sharp cultural observations, flipping the script on religiosity, arguing that "if what we believe is what we see is what we do is who we are, there's no getting away from religion."
"David Dark is one of our most astute and necessary cultural critics," says Jessica Hopper, senior editor at Pitchfork, editor-in-chief of The Pitchfork Review and author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. "His work gracefully opens new doors of understanding and breaks down barriers between secular and non-, and it puts a lot of old mythology out to pasture with a daring affirmation at the heart of his radical critique. Life's Too Short refreshingly ropes everyone in, insisting that we're all in it together.We forget that."
A frequent speaker, David has appeared on C-SPAN's Book-TV and in the award-winning documentary Marketing the Message, as well as being featured at such conferences as the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing, Image Journal's Glen Workshop, the Greenbelt Festival in England and the Reel Spirituality conference at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles.
He lives with his singer-songwriter wife, Sarah Masen, and their three children in Nashville.