The following is an excerpt from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s foreword to Darkness Is My Only Companion by Kathryn Greene-McCreight.
I must begin with a confession. I only began to read Kathryn Greene-McCreight’s book because my friend and colleague N. T. (Tom) Wright asked me to do so.
Since one of my own children began to blog and tweet about her own experience of mental illness, the daily experience has been of strangers writing and suggesting that they have come up with the book, treatment, diet, or other solution that solves the problem right away. One begins to get a little cynical. And so when Tom wrote to me asking me to look at this book, I felt that he might have been succumbing to the same problem.
How wrong I was. Kathryn Greene-McCreight does not set out to provide solutions but writes one of the most profound and eye-opening reflections on the grace and love of God, and above all on the nature of human relationships, that I have had the pleasure of reading.
….For me, that has been the greatest blessing of this book, a new understanding of what it means to say that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It has also renewed in me hope in the reality of Christian healing. Kathryn discusses the nature of prayer for healing and recalls her own experience of a moment of being prayed for as—to some extent and without great drama—a turning point. I found my own faith renewed—deepened—and my own hopes expanded through the beauty of her writing.
So, this is in the end a book about relationship. Full relationships are those of love that does not change when the one loved is profoundly altered. In such relationships we see most deeply the nature of God. They draw us out of ourselves and perhaps begin in a strange way to give faint echoes of a response to the troubles and divisions of the church in a multicultural world.
What does God do when we fail? God goes on loving. What does God do when the church collectively appears to be ill? God goes on loving. The reconciliation of God, I have learned afresh from this book, is overwhelmingly more powerful than all the brokenness of my humanity.
And so I am grateful to Tom for suggesting the read, to Kathryn for her beautiful book and for inviting me to write its foreword, and above all to the God who unexpectedly has renewed in me his perfect love and grace.