The Inner Life and Social Responsibility (Walking with God: The Sermon Series of Howard Thurman, Volume 4)
“If it be true that God is the source of life, then it follows that each individual is grounded in God in a direct and primary manner. There can be no valid distinction between the God of religion on the one hand and the God of life on the other.”—Howard Thurman
“Finding [these volumes] of Howard Thurman’s sermons is like finding the first layer of a life-changing archeological discovery—one that shifts your view of your place in the world, along with your understanding of why you are here. Read this book for its historical value or for your own soul’s health. Either way, you will not be disappointed.”—Barbara Brown Taylor, author, Holy Envy and Learning to Walk in the Dark
This final volume of his collected “sermon series,” concerns what is likely the most cherished aspect of Thurman’s thought, his emphasis on meditation, introspection, and self-discovery as the key to the religious life. He often spoke and wrote of his belief in a pervading sense of a divine presence, a presence that existed both within and outside of organized religions and religious institutions and could be found everywhere. But its most important location was within each of us.
Howard Thurman (1899-1981) was one of the leading religious thinkers of 20th century America, a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders of the civil rights movement, and a mystic who pioneered influential innovations in liturgy, worship, and spirituality. Thurman’s interest in politics was always, in the words of Vincent Harding, a quest for “a liberating spirituality, a way of exploring and experiencing those crucial life points where personal and societal transformation are creatively joined.” Here, for the first time in print, are Thurman’s sermon series on the nature of democracy, and American democracy in particular, in which he explores such topics as the meaning of human property in the Declaration of Independence, loyalty oaths and the execution of the Rosenbergs for treason during the Cold War, and the Black Power movement. Throughout these reflections Thurman explores the strivings of the disinherited, how democratic ideals can enhance individual personhood, and how, as individuals and as citizens, we can deal with the conflicts and inherent contradictions of the democratic common ground.
Walter Earl Fluker, senior editor of The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman and director of the Howard Thurman Papers Project, is Professor Emeritus of Ethical Leadership at Boston University and Dean’s Professor of Spirituality, Ethics, and Leadership at Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA.
Cover design by Michael Calvente
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