This collection of inspiring credos by William Sloane Coffin melds Christian spirit with social justice. Coffin's credentials are impressive--he served as chaplain of Yale University and Williams College, and he is the inspiration for the character Rev. Sloan in the Doonesbury
comic strip. He is also a lifelong social crusader and peace activist. In James Carroll's exquisite introduction he recalls a night in 1972 when he and Coffin and numerous other ministers were thrown in jail for trespassing at the U.S. Capitol (while protesting the war in Vietnam). It was Coffin's baritone voice that broke the jailhouse silence, singing out Handel's "Messiah" and comforting the frightened men of the cloth. In fact, Coffin, author of The Heart is a Little to the Left
has never been afraid to speak or sing out his beliefs. "I like to believe that I am an American patriot who loves his country enough to address her flaws," he states in the preface. "Today these are many, and all preachers worth their salt need fearlessly to insist that 'God 'n' Country' is not one word."
Editor Stephanie Egnotovich reviewed a lifetime of Coffin's sermons and unpublished speeches and then excerpted and organized them into categories. His words and her editing created a book that is full of quotables. For example:
On Social Justice and Economic Rights: "In the United States grim poverty is a tragedy that great wealth makes a sin."
On Social Justice and Civil Liberties: "Prejudice disfigures the observer, not the person observed. If only the latter could remember it."
On Patriotism: "All nations make decisions based on self-interest and then defend them in the name of morality."
On War and Peace: "We are beginning to resemble extinct dinosaurs who suffered from too much armor and too little brain."
For the leftist leaning Christian, this is the book you'll want to take on your next spiritual retreat, political protest, or any situation where left-leaning Christians gather to create social change. And when it's not being carted around in a satchel, it deserves a permanent residence on your lifelong spiritual contemplations bookshelf. --Gail Hudson
"....Coffin's voice roars like a whirlwind, calling us to face our God and our human brothers and sisters." -- The Bloomsbury Review, March/April 2004
"Coffin has both enraptured and challenged the nation.The passionate music of his ministry soars from these pages." -- Garry Trudeau, internationally syndicated cartoonist, creator of Doonesbury
"The voice of a prophet and wisdom for the ages." -- Bill Moyers
"Those who encounter this magnificent Credo will quickly realize it is a work of love of the highest order." --Circuit Rider, July/August 2004