by Howard Thurman, Vincent Harding (Foreword by)
In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman (1900-1981) demonstrates how the Gospel may be read as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised.
"Richly endowed. . . . It is the centerpiece of the black prophet-mystic's lifelong [work]."
Published in 1949, Howard Thurman's Jesus and the Disinherited delivers a masterful interpretation of how God works in our lives. Thurman was one of the foremost preachers and theologians of the twentieth century, and much of his work centered on the relevance of the Christian message to the contemporary struggles of black people. In this, Thurman's masterwork, he argues that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just a map for getting to the next world, but a guidebook for the empowerment of the poor and disenfranchised in this world. Thurman was one of the leading preachers of this new Social Gospel that evenually flowered in the form of the church-centered civil rights movement.
Thurman identified the central spiritual problems faced by black folks as the overwhelming stresses of poverty, racism, and a sense of spiritual disconnectedness. He then turned to the life of Jesus as a primary example of the power of love to drive the spiritual regeneration required to sustain a vision of God and self in modern society. The life of Jesus serves as a guidepost to the kind of love that is a hallmark of human spirit, success, and personal salvation. But Thurman doesn't believe that the Gospel only applies to the individual search for salvation: He also challenges our unconscious submission to the philosophies of individualism and insists that the Gospel is a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised.
He interprets the life of Jesus within a context of the oppressed and offers incisive and liberating thoughts on man's most egregious of sins: fear, deception, and hate. Of fear, he says: "He who fears is literally delivered to destruction.... There are some things that are worse than death. To deny one's own integrity of personality in the presence of the human challenge is one of those things."
While Jesus and the Disinherited was influential in shaping the philosophies of the early civil rights movement, it remains topical and deeply relevant even today.
Howard Thurman (1900-1981) was the first black dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University and cofounder of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, California, the first inter-racially copastored church in America
EDITORS: Walter Earl Fluker is professor of philosophy and religion and executive director of the Leadership Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Catherine Tumber is a Du Bois fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Paperback: 112 pages