Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review: Strength to Love

Strength to Love
Author: Martin Luther King Jr.

The Overview:

Oh, Reverend rocked my socks! I should get paid by the publisher or something because I have been telling everyone and their brother how good this book is. I'm not a sermon reading enthusiast, but this collection of sermons penned by the man who had a dream, but first had a church and a whole ton of conviction kept me turning the pages.  His 1950s wisdom for a segregated America is still incredibly applicable to our "social injustices are not my problem" America. Preach that social gospel Brother King!

The Good:

Each Sermon/Chapter talks about something a little different: Nonconformity, Communism, Weakness v. Strength, Liberalism, Nonviolence, etc. But a couple of the chapters were instant winners for me.

Chapter 8, the sermon entitled, "The Death of Evil upon the Seashore," asks the question, "Why does God allow evil to exist?" King's answer is neither arrogant nor passive and gives an interesting perspective on God's power v. God's purpose. Look up the chapter online and read it for yourself!

I just finished the last chapter, Chapter 15, "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence" and I almost wish that had been the first chapter because it gave a lot of context about the time period and King's personal life at the time of these sermons as well. It talked about his personal philosophies, how he came to the conclusions he did and how diving into various theological theories rounded out his view of man. Super interesting. I would definitely suggest reading this particular sermon online if nothing else.

The Memorable:

"God has two outstretched arms. One is strong enough enough to surround us with justice, and one is gentle enough to embrace us with grace."

"The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but also his body, not only his spiritual well-being but also his material well-being. A religion that professes a concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion.

"Most people, and Christians in particular, are thermometers that record or register the temperature of majority opinion, not thermostats that transform and regulate the temperature of society."

"We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition."

The Recommendation:

Enlightening, historical, heart-changing.

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