A Shelter in the Shadows: Journaling through Fear, Pain, Hope, and Joy in Advent’s Holy Darkness with Debie Thomas

A Virtual Program on Saturday, December 18, 2021, 10 a.m. to Noon EST
9 a.m. Central; 8 a.m. Mountain, 7 a.m. Pacific
$55 (inquire about scholarships)

Registration to close on Friday, December 17th at noon EST

“Those of us who wish to draw near to God should not be surprised when our vision goes cloudy, for this is a sign that we are approaching the opaque splendor of God. If we decide to keep going beyond the point where our eyes or minds are any help to us, we may finally arrive at the pinnacle of the spiritual journey toward God, which exists in complete and dazzling darkness.”
--Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

Art by Jan Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook 

Advent is a season of filtered light and deep shadow. It is a season of waiting, hoping, resting, and yearning. In many of the world’s spiritual traditions, the long nights of winter are a richly resonant time. A time of painful not-yets. A time of tearful letting go. A time of dying in order to live. In the fertile darkness of hardened soil, a seed prepares to burst into colorful life. In the soft, nurturing shadows of a woman’s womb, a baby forms and grows.

And in our own lives? What does it mean to find shelter when the lights go dim and our vision becomes cloudy? How might our experiences of suffering, waiting, doubting, and hungering become sacred “compost” for a fuller, more vibrant, and more deeply examined life? How might we illuminate the holy darkness?

In this two-hour journaling retreat by Zoom, we will find creative and healing ways to write from the shadows of human experience. Using a variety of writing prompts and techniques, we will wrap language around the numinous, seeking -- not to eliminate the painful places in our lives -- but to explore the wisdom, beauty, and hope that shadow offers. This retreat is open to anyone who journals (or aspires to journal!) as a spiritual practice. All you need is your favorite pen and notebook, a quiet place to work, and the courage to join a community of companion writers as we dwell together in shadow, and seek the light. The virtual program is for participants of all faith backgrounds or “nones.”

Debie Thomas is a columnist and contributing editor for The Christian Century, and a staff writer for Journey with Jesus: A Weekly Webzine for the Global Church. Her published work includes spiritual memoir, book reviews, and reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary. She also serves as the Minister of Lifelong Formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, California, where she lives with her husband and two children. Debie holds a Masters in English Literature from Brown University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University.

Sessions:  1
Date:  12/18/2021
Meeting Time:  Saturday 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Instructor:  Debie Thomas
$55.00   (Class Fee)