Gender, sexuality, illness and God
by Rachel Mann
Dazzling Darkness is a true story about searching for one’s authentic self in the company of the Living God. Rachel Mann has died many ‘deaths’ in the process, not the least of which was a change of sex, as well as coming to terms with chronic illness and disability.
Through these experiences she has discovered that darkness is as much a positive place as a negative one, inhabited by the Living God – the Dark God, the Hidden God. This is the God that many of us, because we try to make our lives safe and comfortable, are too afraid to meet. This is the God who is most alive in those things we commonly associate with the Dark – failure, loss and brokenness.
The Christian church has legitimated certain ways of talking about God – male, fatherly, monarchical and so on. Many believe these descriptors tell the exhaustive truth about God. In accepting the complexity of her sexuality and identity, Rachel Mann has been able to explore with a greater freedom what God might look like to an ‘unconventional creature’ like her.
This passionate and nuanced book brings together poetry, feminist theology, and philosophy, and explores them through one person’s hunger for wholeness, self-knowledge and God.
Rachel Mann is an Anglican parish priest and writer. She is Resident Poet at Manchester Cathedral and her work has been widely published in magazines, anthologies and newsprint.