A guide to uplift our spirits as we work for justice in these politically turbulent times—from Reverend Otis Moss, III, Senior Pastor at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ and one of the country’s most renowned and beloved spiritual and civil rights leaders.
Once again, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. first observed in the 1960s, it is midnight in America—a dark time of division and anxiety, with threats of violence looming in the shadows. In 2008, the Trinity United Church in Chicago received threats when one of its parishioners, Senator Barack Obama, ran for president. “We’re going to kill you” rang in Reverend Otis Moss’s ears when he suddenly heard a noise in the middle of the night. He grabbed a baseball bat to confront the intruder in his home. When he opened the door to his daughter’s room, he found that the source of the noise was his own little girl, dancing. She was simply practicing for her ballet recital.
In that moment, Pastor Moss saw that the real intruder was within him. Caught in a cycle of worry and anger, he had allowed the darkness inside. But seeing his daughter evoked Psalm 30: “You have turned my mourning into dancing.” He set out to write the sermon that became this inspiring and transformative book.
Dancing in the Darkness is a life-affirming guide to the practical, political, and spiritual challenges of our day. Drawing on the teachings of Dr. King, Howard Thurman, sacred scripture, southern wisdom, global spiritual traditions, Black culture, and his own personal experiences, Dr. Moss instructs you on how to practice spiritual resistance by combining justice and love. This collection helps us tap the spiritual reserves we all possess but too often overlook, so we can slay our personal demon, confront our civic challenges, and reach our highest goals.
About the Author
Otis Moss III built his ministry on community empowerment and social justice activism. As senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Moss spent the last two decades practicing and preaching a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problem of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic apartheid. Hailed as one of the “twelve most of effective preachers in the English-speaking world” by Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, he has been cited by Chicago Magazine as one of the city’s thirty most influential people. He is an NAACP Image Award recipient, award-winning filmmaker, poet, and professor of homiletics at Mercer University McAfee School of Theology. He is married to Monica Brown and they are the proud parents of two children.
"Otis Moss III shows us how we can attune ourselves to God’s spiritual direction. He delivers prophetic and life affirming experiences to help us achieve justice and salvation." – Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology at Emory University
"Moss takes the words from our ancient Scriptures and prophetically applies them to our most urgent moral battles and choices; in ways that makes the Bible come alive again." – Jim Wallis, Inaugural Chair and Director of The Georgetown Center on Faith and Justice
“Deeply spiritual and socially radical, Moss's sermons and writings speak to this nation like no one else. This book is a wonderful gift to us all.” – Dr. Obery Hendricks Ph. D, author of Christians Against Christianity: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying Our Nation and Our Faith
"Rev. Moss III draws from a deep prophetic well and delivers spiritual nourishment that we all desperately need. Moss shows us how to apply the aspirational ideals of the Gospels to address the raw structural oppression confronting our sisters and brothers." – Dr. Rami Nashashibi, MacArthur Fellow and Founding Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network
"By making the timeless plea to embrace joy in the face of danger, Moss situates Dancing in the Darkness in the enduring legacy of blue note sermons, Negro spirituals, and religious hymns that subvert oppression and transform struggle into spiritual resistance." — Sojourners Magazine
"His carefully developed messages build logically, and his words of inspiration seem fresh and attuned to present realities…Moss' advice to “dance in the dark” is timely and hints at a brighter tomorrow.”—Booklist
"Positive, hopeful, and affirming" – Kirkus Reviews