Strength to Love

Strength to Love

by Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King

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The classic collection of Dr. King’s sermons that fuse his Christian teachings with his radical ideas of love and nonviolence as a means to combat hate and oppression.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., prepared for the Birmingham campaign in early 1963, he drafted the final sermons for Strength to Love, a volume of his most well known homilies. King had begun working on the sermons during a fortnight in jail in July 1962. While behind bars, he spent uninterrupted time preparing the drafts for works such as “Loving Your Enemies” and “Shattered Dreams,” and he continued to edit the volume after his release. Strength to Love includes these classic sermons selected by Dr. King. Collectively they present King’s fusion of Christian teachings and social consciousness and promote his prescient vision of love as a social and political force for change.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807051979
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 464,120
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), architect of the nonviolent civil rights movement, was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and one of the greatest orators in US history. The author of several books, including Stride Toward Freedom, Where Do We Go from Here, The Trumpet of Conscience, and Why We Can’t Wait, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the 1981 Edition, Coretta Scott King


A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart

Transformed Nonconformist

On Being a Good Neighbor

Love in Action

Loving Your Enemies

A Knock at Midnight

The Man Who Was a Fool

The Death of Evil upon the Seashore

Shattered Dreams

How Should a Christian View Communism?

Our God Is Able

Antidotes for Fear

The Answer to a Perplexing Question

Paul’s Letter to American Christians

Pilgrimage to Nonviolence


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Strength to Love 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
tymfos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
wrmjr66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
mc76NYC More than 1 year ago
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.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.