Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sermons on Sunday

Strength to Love
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
New York, Harper & Row [1963]

This collection of Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermons, published in 1963, contains sixteen messages on various topics and an essay entitled "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence," in which Dr. King describes the study and philosophy that informs his convictions. Dr. King preached these sermons "during or after the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama" (ix), and does indeed often refer to the struggle against segregation going on in that time. Instead of dating the collection, this fact puts them firmly in a specific historic moment while strikingly illustrating many universal, still-relevant truths he espouses.

That this took me a month to read should not be taken as a negative. From the first sermon, I realized that to be fully engaged with Dr. King's wisdom, intellect, and passion, I wanted to take it slowly. Even so, I rather with it were a book I owned, because I rushed at the end when the library due date sneaked up on me. I didn't always agree with Dr. King's theology, but my admiration and respect for him have only grown as a result of reading some of his sermons. I was often challenged personally and a few times the sermon I was reading was directly applicable to something else I was mulling or struggling with at the time. I would recommend those unfamiliar with Dr. King's theology and philosophy read the final essay first, as it clarified some points that I had been wondering about while reading.

And now I'm off to find more books about and by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. This book, the graphic novel I See the Promised Land, and One Crazy Summer have really worked together to pique my interest, though looking at my book stack it may be awhile before I get to it...

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