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From time to time prophetic Christian voices rise to challenge our nation's "original sin." In the twentieth century, compelled by the Spirit of God and a yearning for freedom, the African American church took the lead in heralding the effort. Like almost no other movement before or since, Christian people gave force to a social mission. And, remarkably, they did it largely through nonviolent actions.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and historic efforts as the Moses of this civil rights movement stand out as perhaps the most significant instance of a modern Christian leader acting in a prophetic role to instigate political change. In many ways "The Letter from Birmingham Jail" stands at the center of that movement. In this book African American journalist Edward Gilbreath explores the place of that letter in the life and work of Dr. King.
Birmingham Revolution is not simply a work of historical reflection. Gilbreath encourages us to reflect on the relevance of King's work for the church and culture of our day. Whether it's in debates about immigration, economic redistribution or presidential birth certificates, race continues to play a role in shaping society. What part will the church play in the ongoing struggle?
|Title: Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Epic Challenge to the Church|
By: Edward Gilbreath
Number of Pages: 220
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2013
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
Weight: 10 ounces
Stock No: WW837694
Edward Gilbreath is the author of Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical's Inside View of White Christianity. An award-winning journalist, he serves as an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and as the executive director of communications for the Evangelical Covenant Church. Since the release of Reconciliation Blues, he has spoken to thousands of people across the nation at churches, conferences, and university campuses on issues of race, faith and culture.
"Read the headlines these days, and it can seem like the country is splitting at the seams. The vitriol of our political and cultural debates is enough to make anyone wonder whether the 'better angels of our nature' have gone into permanent hibernation. . . . Reading Edward Gilbreath's Birmingham Revolution has given me a fresh perspective and renewed hope."-- Michael O. Emerson, Christianity Today, December 2013
"Edward Gilbreath is one of the few writers who manages to capture the intense drama of King's call to ministry, his (at times, controversial) ascension to leadership, and the burden and blessing of trying to realize the beloved community."-- Marcus Simmons, The Covenant Companion, June / July 2014
"Gilbreath introduces readers to King's more radical and less popular writings and contextualizes the Letter from Birmingham Jail and its influence. . . . worth a read."-- Publishers Weekly, November 11, 2013
"Of the many who have written on Martin Luther King Jr., few have chosen the focus that Gilbreath has taken. He looks at King's legacy from the perspective of an African American evangelical. . . . Gilbreath documents the changing nature of race relations, and reminds us that the civil rights movement as an entity grew out of a regulated structure of injustice. . . . A great book for all interest in King's life, the history of civil rights, or the church's involvement in matters of equality."-- Cicely Douglas, Library Journal, December 2013
"As an evangelical pastor of a multi-ethnic church in New York City, I often find myself at the intersection of lively discussions about race. These conversations almost inevitably lead to a familiar question: What does the church do now? Maybe stated another way, 'How do we work toward the dream of the beloved community?' This is why I find Edward Gilbreath's Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Epic Challenge to the Church to be a timely and necessary read. . . . I recommend reading Birmingham Revolution before engaging the familiar 'I have a dream' each January. Adding dimension to the historic civil rights movement helps us take seriously the pitfalls and promise of the hard work of racial reconciliation today."-- José Humphreys, Sojourners, March 2014
"Gilbreath's Birmingham Revolution is both a personal reflection and revelation as well as historical examination. And is right on time in a country where many think we've moved past racism, simply because we have a black president. Gilbreath's gently confrontational book paints a picture of the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. . . . As believers it is important to come down, not just on the right side of history, but of the gospel and God's imperative for justice. . . . As Gilbreath chides some for not having grace for King's personal shortcomings or due appreciation of his role both as prophet and cultural and legal change agent, he also, like King himself, calls us to self-examination, courage, and prayerful action."-- Andrea Hunter, Worship Leader Magazine, May/June 2014
"Not only will readers come away with an understanding of King and his work, they also will see ongoing cultural debates with new eyes. Highly recommend this well-written, thoroughly researched book."-- John Bernstein, CBA Retailers + Resources, December 2013
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