By: Luther E. Smith, Jr.
"In those long midnight hours when morning seemed weeks, if not years, away, the words of Howard Thurman have kept watch with me." -- Alice Walker, The Color Purple
"Thurman's best contribution was his ability, before many other people were doing it in our culture, to bring together the inner life, the life of passion, the life of fire, with the external life, the life of politics." -- Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago
Howard Thurman was a preacher, educator, poet, theologian and civil rights leader best known for his ethical and cultural criticism. His writing influenced a wide audience, from Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi to young students exploring faith and social responsibility.
Thurman was among the first preachers to conduct Christian services in a nontraditional way, drawing from such eastern religious faiths as Buddhism and Hinduism. His philosophy of interfaith worship and dialogue is reflected in this collection of his essential writings. It reminds us all that out of religious faith emerges social responsibility and the power to transform lives.
Howard Thurman (1900-1981), has been called ""one of the greatest spiritual resources of this nation."" His encounters with Gandhi in India helped instill his commitment to nonviolence. His identification of Jesus as one of the disinherited helped shape the thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. His embrace of wisdom from other religious traditions emboldened interfaith cooperation and understanding.
Luther E. Smith, Jr., teaches at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta. He is senior consulting editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project and the author or several books, including Howard Thurman: The Mystic as Prophet.