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Strength to Love Paperback – January 10, 2010
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From the Publisher
Strength to Love includes the following sermons:
- "A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart"
- "On Being a Good Neighbor"
- "Loving Your Enemies"
- "Antidotes for Fear"
- "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence"
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Strength to Love
An excerpt from "The Man Who Was a Fool"
"We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women. We do not finish breakfast without being dependent on more than half of the world.
All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."
An Inside Look at Strength to Love
About the Author
- Publisher : Fortress Press; Gift edition (January 10, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 168 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0800697405
- ISBN-13 : 978-0800697402
- Item Weight : 7.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.51 x 0.39 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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The other thing this book taught me is that it is impossible to separate King's religious views from his views on societal reformation. King's religious views motivated and propelled his desire for social change. So those who talk and write about King should not diminish this aspect of his life. King's life work is explicitly Christian. In a world where religion is routinely abused, rejected, shunned and sequestered, King stands as a ray of hope for all who would want to live out their faith in the public square.
However, what really stand out to me are Dr. King’s strong admonitions to the Christian church regarding its failure to stand up for the marginalized and oppressed. “Nowhere is the tragic tendency to conform more evident that in the church,” he declares, “an institution that has often served to crystallize, conserve, and even bless the patterns of majority opinion. The erstwhile sanction by the church of slavery, racial segregation, war, and economic exploitation is testimony to the fact that the church has hearkened more to the authority of the world than to the authority of God. Called to be the moral guardian of the community, the church at times has preserved that which is immoral and unethical. Called to combat social evils, it has remained silent behind stained-glass windows. Called to lead men on the highway of brotherhood and to summon them to rise above the narrow confines of race and class, it has enunciated and practiced racial exclusiveness.” Sadly, this admonition—as well as his numerous other criticisms of the Christian church—still rings very true today. As a human institution striving to represent the love of Jesus Christ, the Christian church will never be perfect, but that is no excuse for turning a blind eye to—much less sanctioning—injustices done to groups marginalized by race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, immigration status, or faith. And yet the church has done so again and again. In these admonitions, I also recognize and confess my own failure as a Christian to advocate for the marginalized. I need to do better. The Christian church needs to do better.
Despite all the shortcomings of the Christian church and of humanity, however, Dr. King still had optimism for the future, because he believed in a God who “is able to conquer the evils of history. His control is never usurped. If at times we despair because of the relatively slow progress being made in ending racial discrimination and if we become disappointed because of the undue cautiousness of the federal government, let us gain new heart in the fact that God is able. In our sometimes difficult and often lonesome walk up freedom’s road, we do not walk alone. God walks with us.” As a black man who received daily death threats because of his determination to continue the work he started for the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, whose daughter asked, “Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?” and who often felt tempted to give up in the face of so much opposition, Dr. King most certainly did not write these words without cost or care. It both pains and comforts me that his words of advice, encouragement, and admonition speak so clearly to the divisive political and social climate we’re facing today.
Americans, regardless of color or country of origin or of religious belief, would benefit from reading this book because most of us agree that love is a binding thread in humanity. This book expounds upon love in real, embodied, gritty ways and does so with breathtaking grace. When I consider the era in which he preached these sermons, I am amazed at the loftiness of his love. Thank God that these sermons are preserved for us so that we can meditate upon them and then rise to more action--in love. This is not a puffy, sappy, soft love, but one that truly requires strength. And amen.