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Strength to Love Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 1977

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About the Author

Martin Luther King Jr. was President of the southern Christian Leadership conference and co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church, Atlanta, George. He led the dramatic "walk for freedom" in Montgomery, which resulted in bus desegregation, and for a decade he led the African American struggle for civil rights. He was Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1963 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Among his works are The Measure of a Man, Why We Can t Wait, and Stride toward Freedom. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins/STL (August 29, 1977)
  • ISBN-10: 0006250025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006250029
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), Nobel Peace Prize laureate and architect of the nonviolent civil rights movement, was among the twentieth century's most influential figures. One of the greatest orators in U.S. history, King also authored several books, including Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, and Why We Can't Wait. His speeches, sermons, and writings are inspirational and timeless. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on January 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Because of his inspiring leadership during the United States civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and because he was assassinated while serving in that capacity, Martin Luther King, Jr., has become an iconic figure in popular culture. And I fear that King the "legend" has become so big that people may be paying insufficient attention to King the writer. If you want to experience King's insight and power as a writer, read "Strength to Love." This collection of sermons is an excellent summation of the philosophy he developed as a Christian clergyman, social critic, and advocate for the African-American community.
Most of the sermons in the book begin with a Bible verse which ties in to the theme of each sermon. One of the main themes of the collection as a whole is King's passionate denunciation of racial prejudice and of the tangible injustice that springs from that phenomenon.
King is also very critical of those sectors of the Christian world that have historically used the Bible and Christian theology as tools for promoting slavery, American racial segregation, and South African apartheid. Indeed, in the sermon entitled "A knock at midnight" he refers to the Christian churches' historic support of racism as one of "the shameful tragedies of history." And he is also critical of those Black churches that have reduced Christianity to either a frenzied form of "entertainment" or a snobbish social club. These are hard words that contemporary Christians need to hear and heed.
King's own vision of Christianity is bold and revolutionary. And this vision is firmly grounded in the person of Jesus, whom he describes as "the world's most dedicated nonconformist.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kilgore Trout on December 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful collection of Dr. King's sermons. The sermons function well independently; however, together they present a comprehensive view of Dr. King's nonviolent philosophy and his understanding of the Gospel's imperative for peaceful resistance. This book is a must read for anyone trying to understand Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement, nonviolent philosophy, or true love!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
In the popular eye, Martin Luther King, Jr. is best known for his work in the Civil Rights struggle during the 1950s and 1960s; his public speeches and public acts are part of the general pattern of American history. However, his ability at public speaking came largely from his experience as a preacher in Black church - the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. had a 'day job' as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and as part of this task, he regularly delivered sermons to his congregation. This is a collection of 15 sermons, illustrating major points of King's theology and sense of social justice.

This book has a foreword by King's daughter, Coretta Scott King, who speaks of this book as one that is most influential to others - the primary feature of King's theology and practice, nonviolence, is contained here. King's sense of justice, the love of the divine, the interconnectedness of all peoples in the human community, and King's ultimate sense of optimism come through the powerful words of these sermons.

King's words often take conventional phrases and ideas and bring out new meanings. King's ideas of the practical meaning of being a nonconformist, or of loving one's enemies, put new interpretations on these ideas. King talks of the difficulty of being a nonconformist, and the echoes of the Transcendentalists such as Emerson and Thoreau are present, as are theologians such as Niebuhr. King does not speak of the kind of simple nonconformity that typifies teen-age rebellion and angst (which is, in itself a very conformist kind of nonconformity), but rather a working against the prevailing norms of society toward a transformation in love and furtherance of the gospel message.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
Until you read this book you will not understand the spitirual dynamics of the civil rights movement. I guarantee that the chapter on tough minds/tender hearts will change anyone who reads it. This text MUST become required reading for everyone. Dr. King teaches that it truly takes strength to love. He also explains that God does not leave it all up to us to do but he will give us the strength to love if we submit to his will. He explains as it does in the Holy Bible that anyone can love and do good to those who do good to them but it truly takes strength to love your enemy. In the non-violent revolution Dr. King demonstrates how love(Truth) will always defeat hate(UnTruth). Truth crushed to the earth will always RISE.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Greg Moses on October 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book of sermons reveals how King used the pulpit as a podium of moral philosophy, reconstructing the traditional commitments of faith by means of patient reasoning. Thus, the first passage of this book pleads for a "tough mind." Although we are prepared to appreciate King's faith, this book is also a lasting testament to his intellect.--Greg Moses
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By H. K. Quirn on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i first picked this up in college, and got it again this year because it couldn't possibly have been as great as i remembered it to be, but lo! it actually is.

i'm a committed secular humanist who has done a great deal of bible study, and who likes narrative jesus 'the guy who turned over tables and said what he meant', without buying into the 'resurrected son of man' part. king in these speeches talks more clearly, honestly, truthfully, and eloquently about the jesus I like than anyone i have ever read or heard. it's about jesus the temperate, jesus the considerate, jesus the revolutionary, jesus the useful and applicable to all people, not just christians. it's an amazing thing, what king does here.

this is not to say that he's not talking about the other jesus, too -- he is. but in most of these sermons, the qualities that king highlights are the ones that are pragmatic and applicable to his particular struggles, things like pacifism, steadfastness, and courage to speak truth to power. these are all christian values, too, i suppose, but they're really just human values, i think.

so, no offense jesus people, but i think that this is a book of sermons from a guy who knew that jesus was bigger than just being the annointed. as he exists in the gospel narratives, king draws jesus as a model *human*, independent of his messianic qualities. this is an *amazing* book.
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