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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victory in respecting personality
I tracked down Jesus and the Disinherited after reading Richard Lischer's fine study of Martin Luther King Jr, Preacher King. Howard Thurman, I had learned, was an influence on Martin Luther King Jr. A scholarly Christian reflecting on the African-American experience, he preached non-violence long before it was fashionable. As the back cover states, this is "an...
Published on July 25, 2007 by E. Witham

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1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so much...
I'm not a biblical scholar, so this was a bit tough to get through. Our small group was reading it, we really couldn't get past the first few chapters. It's very deep and very wordy. Probably a good idea to keep looking.
Published 19 months ago by Eric


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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victory in respecting personality, July 25, 2007
By 
E. Witham (Busselton, Western Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
I tracked down Jesus and the Disinherited after reading Richard Lischer's fine study of Martin Luther King Jr, Preacher King. Howard Thurman, I had learned, was an influence on Martin Luther King Jr. A scholarly Christian reflecting on the African-American experience, he preached non-violence long before it was fashionable. As the back cover states, this is "an influential book whose message helped shape the civil rights movement and changed our nation's history for ever."
Thurman compares the situation of African-Americans to that of the Jews in the time of Jesus. He analyzes the psychological effects of oppression on individuals. He describes the strategies oppressed people adopt for survival based on fear, deception and hate. Fear teaches our body to avoid confrontation with a member of the dominant community, we use double talk so as not to attract negative attention, and our only possible response becomes hatred which keeps us from moral disintegration.
Jesus' call to love enemies was revolutionary. Genuine love must be a mutual recognition of the dominant and oppressed communities as human beings. Genuine love at an individual level (I hate all Asians, but this person I know to be a human being) may lead to an exceptionalism which does not remove the deep hatred of the others collectively.
Thurman concludes, "What, then, is the word of the religion of Jesus to those who stand with their backs against the wall? ... They must recognize fear, deception, hatred, each for what it is. Once having done this, they must learn how to destroy these or to render themselves immune to their domination." (p. 108)
The power of this book derives from Thurman's own experience of oppression and his analysis of Jesus' own experience of minority. It is not betrayal to love our enemies; it is a victory when the dominant and oppressed communities respect each other as equals.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a compassionate look at God's work in our lives, January 10, 1998
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This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
This book was my first introduction to Howard Thurman but it won't be my last. This gentle yet passionate look at Jesus offers insight into God's and our own relationship with the poor as well as some profound pathways to understanding racism. The cover note on the back reads..."an important and influential book whose message helped shape the civil rights movement and changed our nation's history forever." All I know is that this book has changed my own personal history and I will read it again and again.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom for the non-believer, April 6, 2000
This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
Its is purported that Martin Luther King carried this book with him at all times, and upon reading these pages one can see immdiately that this book isn't just a tome of Christianity, but rather a blueprint for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. But in a larger sense this book is a guide for transcending the heartache and humiliation of modern life and renewing one's vision of a spirited public and personal life.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great look at a follower of Christ, August 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
This book is a classic which deserves to be named that. It is one great look at the heart of a decent and kind man, who personally, I believe, saw the heart and mind of God, and wrote accordingly. In this book, we will not find the harsh and intolerant God of the conservative establishment, but the real and kind God of the New Testament. Here we find a Jesus who wants to talk to us, hug us and be our best friend. Yet, this Jesus also wants to defend the poor and at-risk. This is a radical look at a radical man and, to me, savior, Jesus Christ.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!, January 9, 2007
By 
Walter Jonas (milton, ma United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
Want to know the experience of an African American in America in the thirties and forties, the man who "discovered" Ghandi, went to India, and brought back his message, the man who then taught his students at Boston University School of Theology this message.

One of his students was Martin Luther King.

This short book should be bought, read, and shared.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Powerful Masterpiece, March 20, 2012
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This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
Howard Thurman is well known as one of the 20th century's great mystics, thinkers, and spiritual leaders. "Jesus and the Disinherited" may be his best known book, and it's certainly his most influential. Martin Luther King, Jr. carried a copy with him in his travels and it grounded him as much as any book. It's certainly worth the accolades.

It's a small book, and its organization is basic. Thurman begins by describing people under oppression as the people "With their backs to the wall." Most of what Christians have written about the role of the teachings of Christ in conversations about oppressed people comes from the perspective of those with power who have an obligation to help those who do not have power. Thurman affirms this approach, and compares it to the perspective of Paul, who, though a Jew and regularly persecuted for the Gospel, always had the power to assert his Roman citizenship. His was a chosen powerlessness, and he occasionally chose to use his societal power.

Jesus, God Incarnate, chose to take his place among those "with their backs to the wall." Thurman believes that Jesus' life and teachings can only be understood from this vantage point. He argues that those who have never been powerless cannot fully understand what it means to have society's structures and systems turned not to their benefit and protection but to their subjugation and humiliation.

Thurman describes how the life and teachings of Jesus relate to the great enemies of the soul--fear, deception, and hate. He is a master not only of the faith but also of psychology and society. The final chapter is about love, and how love between those in power and those with their backs against the wall can only be the result of relationships built on mutuality. He thinks the church is the best place for such relationships to form, and laments that congregations are so segregated and do not allow such relationships to form.

Love is a miracle, and all of society makes the enemies of the soul and the possibility of the love Jesus describes incredibly difficult. One of the great wonders of the Jesus story is that he is a person with his back against the wall who was able to demonstrate the possibility of living in an oppressive situation without giving in to fear, deception, or hate. Jesus was able to love, even his enemies. This fact alone gives tremendous hope that those with their backs against the wall may actually live in such a way. Thurman certainly did.

Howard Thurman wrote in the midst of the Civil Rights struggle, and he talks about his conversations with a grandmother who had spent her childhood in slavery. People like me, who take our freedom and privilege for granted, should read the book, if for no other reason, to get a sense of the interior struggles others face.

Our world is full of fear, deception, and hate. The kind of love Jesus demonstrates and Thurman describes is rare, indeed. This book is a training manual for those who would live in this world with souls untouched by its cruelty.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant after all these years., June 15, 2009
By 
Steve Lee, Sr. "Home" (CALUMET CITY, IL, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
There are certain sections of this book which inform the reader that it was written during an earlier era. However, it would be a mistake to conclude that Dr. Thurman's message is outdated. The reminder that hate sometimes masquerades as "patriotism" is just as necessary today as it ever was. And the fact that Christianity is one of the most segregated institutions on earth is almost as true today as it was sixty years ago when this book was first published.

The challenges for the followers of Christ remain; and the teachings of Jesus, synthesized herein by Dr. Thurman, still offer the best solutions for overcoming the sins that still infect our lives.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was an inspiring book., June 16, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
This book has helped me to better understand the life and ministry of Jesus Christ!!! I would recommend this book to any one that is serious about their relationship with Jesus.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First resisted then embarked on a new way of thinking, February 9, 2013
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My initial response to reading this book was to resist. Upon reflection, the only reason I could find to resist was the possibility that I would have to change my thinking. Once I was ready for change, I embarked upon reading Mr. Thurman's work with an open mind. This is a honest perspective of what power and dominion can destroy the morals of the privileged and break the spirit of the disinherited. It is also a testimony of what the teachings of Jesus can do to restore dignity and hope of those disinherited. I highly recommend it to the privileged to help us recognize and change the faulty and inhumane concepts that have embedded themselves in our minds, hearts, religions, and cultures.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Discourse on Race, January 28, 2008
By 
J. A. Vincent (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jesus and the Disinherited (Paperback)
Howard Thurman's commentary on race and religion stands the test of time and addresses the major difference between modern society and true Christianity. It helps many of us who have lived through racism, desegregation and the new racism to obtain 'the same mind that was also in Christ Jesus'.
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Jesus and the Disinherited
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman (Paperback - November 30, 1996)
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