January 16, 2020
In 2020, the Black Caucus added to its programs and initiated a book club. The objective: to read and discuss 4 books a year. The first book is Strength to Love—a compilation of sermons by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—chosen because it was founded on Christian principles and written by one of the 20th century’s greatest social justice activists. The book reflects our faith and provides insight and a road map to bettering oneself and society.
One reviewer wrote, “Despite nearly 50 years since its publication, Strength to Love reads as pertinently to our situation as it did in the midst of the civil rights movement. Yet Strength to Love is more than a blueprint of a movement; it is a template for personal authenticity in an age when vast social and economic change demand and depend on personal integrity. As King averred, “Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.”
Strength to Love will be discussed Sat. Mar. 21, from 10am to noon in Bodwell Hall. All people of goodwill are welcome and encouraged to attend. Strength to Love is an excellent read. These few passages below demonstrate the continued relevance of Dr. King’s message.
From the book’s foreword: “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 be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be….one day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is totally wrong.”
From the sermon, On Being A Good Neighbor: “We so often ask, “What will happen to my job, my prestige, or my status if I take a stand on this issue?” …The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others.”
From the sermon, Love in Action: “Even philosophical logic was manipulated….according to the framework of an Aristotelian syllogism:
All men are made in the image of God;
God as everyone knows, is not a Negro;
Therefore, the Negro is not a man
“Men conveniently twisted the insights of religion, science and philosophy to give sanction to the doctrine of white supremacy. Soon this idea was imbedded in every text book and preached in practically every pulpit. It became a structured part of the culture . Men embraced this philosophy, not as the rationalization of a lie, but as the expression of a final truth. They sincerely came to believe that the Negro was inferior….”
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