The Beloved Community
How Faith Shapes Social Justice from the Civil Rights Movement to Today
A noted theologian explains how the radical idea of Christian love animated the African American civil rights movement and how it can power today’s social justice struggles
Speaking to his supporters at the end of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956, Martin Luther King, Jr., declared that their common goal was not simply the end of segregation as an institution. Rather, “the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of the beloved community.” King’s words reflect the strong religious convictions that motivated the African American civil rights movement. As King and his allies saw it, “Jesus had founded the most revolutionary movement in human history: a movement built on the unconditional love of God for the world and the mandate to live in that love.” Through a commitment to this idea of love and to the practice of nonviolence, civil rights leaders sought to transform the social and political realities of twentieth-century America.
In The Beloved Community, theologian and award-winning author Charles Marsh traces the history of the spiritual vision that animated the civil rights movement and shows how it remains a vital source of moral energy today. The Beloved Community lays out an exuberant new vision for progressive Christianity and reclaims the centrality of faith in the quest for social justice and authentic community.