Punching Holes in the Dark: Living in the Light of the World, Robert Benson, Abingdon Press, 2016.

I have made it a spiritual practice to carry a journal with me, and use it to write down prayers and reflections. At times it is just a few random scribblings, at other times it is pages of recounting and reflecting on a slice of life. These journals are Moleskins, hardback, and leather bound. Some are plain, and others are adorned with superhero or cartoon characters.

No matter the kind of journal, it holds various scribblings that reveal my heart.

When I read Robert Benson’s Punching Holes in the Dark, it felt a little intrusive. It was like I was holding one of his journals and reading through his scribblings. And with each turn of the page, I began to see what was in his heart.

Benson is a poet by nature, which gives his writing a lyrical flow. He is a graduate and adjunct faculty member of the Academy for Spiritual Formation. He is a poetic spiritual leader.

“And that light is the Light of the world, and the darkness will never overcome it.” (John 1:5)

A letter Benson found from a close, seminary friend of his father’s was the inspiration for the title. This friend always signed his letters, “Keep punching holes in the dark, my friend.” Throughout his writing, Benson reflects on the diverse ways there is darkness in the world. Both in his personal life and within the larger world.

There are holes that need to be punched.

And Benson does not shy from pointing out where those holes need to be. He is honest about his own journey and struggles with faith, modeling for the reader what it would look like for us to punch holes in  the darkness that surrounds us. But he also points out the need for holes in our political system as well as in practices in our larger culture. The Light of the World is needed in all areas of life, both public and private.

Benson’s deep spirituality shines through these pages. This book could be read in one sitting. But I urge the reader to read it slowly and reflectively. Allow these words to penetrate your soul as you consider how you will punch holes in the dark.

You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the image below:

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.