"If there is one book Martin Luther King, Jr. has written that people consistently tell me has changed their lives, it is Strength to Love."So wrote Coretta Scott King. She continued: "I believe it is because this book best explains the central element of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence: His belief in a divine, loving presence that binds all life." That insight, luminously conveyed in this classic text, here presented in a new and attractive edition, hints at the personal transformation at the root of social justice: "By reaching into and beyond ourselves and tapping the transcendent moral ethic of love, we shall overcome these evils."In these short meditative and sermonic pieces, some of them composed in jails and all of them crafted during the tumultuous years of the civil rights struggle, Dr. King articulated and espoused in a deeply personal compelling way his commitment to justice and to the intellectual, moral, and spiritual conversion that makes his work as much a blueprint today for Christian discipleship as it was then.
Individual readers, as well as church groups and students will find in this work a challenging yet energizing vision of God and redemptive love.
|Publisher:||Augsburg Fortress, Publishers|
|Edition description:||Gift Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Foreword Coretta Scott King ix
1 A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart 1
2 Transformed Nonconformist 11
3 On Being a Good Neighbor 21
4 Love in Action 31
5 Loving Your Enemies 43
6 A Knock at Midnight 53
7 The Man Who Was a Fool 65
8 The Death of Evil upon the Seashore 75
9 Shattered Dreams 87
10 How Should a Christian View Communism? 99
11 Our God Is Able 109
12 Antidotes for Fear 119
13 The Answer to a Perplexing Question 133
14 Paul's Letters to American Christians 145
15 Pilgrimage to Nonviolence 155
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Many people think of Dr. King primarily as a civil rights leader; but first of all, he was a Baptist minister, thoroughly trained in systematic theology and philosophy. This collection of sermons (capped with an article about the development of his "pilgrimage to nonviolence") makes it abundantly clear that Dr. King's work for civil rights and his principles of nonviolent resistance were rooted in his deep Christian faith and careful theological reflection.While the book clearly reflects the circumstances of its time and place of origin -- the U.S. Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war, and nuclear proliferation -- the book transcends time and place, dealing with timeless and universal issues and principles.Chapters 1 through 13 are sermons, each based on a Bible text. Chapter 14 is a sermon in the form of an imaginary epistle, "Paul's letter to American Christians," in which Dr. King offered his take on what the apostle might write to American Christians at that time.In his preface, Dr. King noted that sermons are "oral" events which lose something when imparted on paper; he adapted the sermons to the written medium with some reluctance. But as I read, I could imagine his clear, resonant voice delivering each paragraph in my imagination.In Chapter 15, the closing article, Dr. King made explicit what I sensed throughout the book -- the influence of existentialism upon his beliefs and practices. This book tackles the most basic issues of human existance and shines the light of the Christian gospel upon them. This is Christianity at its best -- a faith of love and reconciliation, addressing the deepest conflicts and needs of humanity. But Dr. King did not hesitate to address the Church in its failures -- its divisions and biases, its acceptance (and, too often, even defense) of the "status quo" in an unjust society, and more.The sermons in this volume exhibit a great depth of faith and logic. Biblical and literary allusions are extensive. The rhetoric (and I use that word in its classical sense) was constructed with the skill of a master.Notes to younger readers: twenty-first century eyes, unfamiliar with the 1960's, may be startled by vocabulary rooted in the time of the volume's publication -- use of the term "negro" and male-dominated language. This was simply the way of speech in 1963, when the book was first published.Most highly recommended.
I'd heard this King guy was good, but I had no idea. Seriously, I had read "I have a Dream" and "Letter from Birmingham Jail," but I wasn't still blown away by this. It's a collection of 14 sermons (which he revised for a written format) and an essay. I'm not sure what surprised me most. The range of his allusions and quotations is larger than I would have guessed for sermons. He quotes poets from Shakespeare to Tennyson to Dunbar and philosophers from Plato to Schopenhauer(!). I probably shouldn't have been surprised by his anti-war and anti-nuclear stances, but I just don't think of him in terms of debates over disarmament, for example. I think that was my major blind spot: I thought of him only in terms of the Civil Rights Movement. Certainly these sermons often touch on civil rights, but only in the larger context that he is established in his reading of the biblical verse. I checked out another book of his writings, and I can hardly wait to start.
Strength to Love is a great book that shows Martin L. King, Jr.'s philosophy as a Christian believer. It is a challenge to all of us to live our faith on a deeper and more committed level.
There was one passage that, in particular, spoke to the depths of my heart. Dr. King urged his listeners (readers) who, at the time, were black Southern Americans who were victims of segregation and racism, to not hate those who had oppressed them. As a white, southern Christian pastor, this truly spoke to my heart. How much we still can learn from this great man, nearly 40 years after his death. I would commend this to anyone.
This book clearly delineates Dr. King's philosophy on nonviolent civil disobedience. It shows his incredible intelligence and commitment to his faith in God and service to humanity. It is a must read for Christian clergy of all races.