Here's what may seem an unusual choice of reading matter for I turned my back on conventional Christianity in my twenties. It was a faith that proposed forgiveness but which seemed so relentlessly judgemental. Memories of a shouty man who lambasted girls for wearing trousers remain. Perhaps he eventually got his own way. I don't own a pair of jeans and dresses and skirts, albeit shorter ones than I think Rev. Angry would have liked, are my clothing of choice today.
In recent years my quest to carve out a spiritual path that's a good individual fit has lead me back to the Bible and other Christian writing.. For even though I don't view that bloke in the white dress as my personal saviour anymore I still hold him in high regard. There is much that he and his followers have proposed that can be popped nicely into the Lovelygrey hotchpotch of multi-faith ideas. It's a mix that induces concern for my soul where some of my born again mates are concerned. But I remain steadfast when they protest. It works for me.
Strength to Love, a collection of sermons preached by Martin Luther King, was on my holiday reading list this year. I'd read just it before about a month previously and was completed bowled over. You'd think that a book of sermons might be dull stuff wouldn't you? Far from it. I can't recommend them highly enough. These are beautifully written, meticulously considered pieces of writing yet so easy to read. I'd thought I'd pick out an inspirational quote or two but there are so many that give food for thought that I can't choose. Every time I've picked up the book there's something new to ponder, blueprints for acting in a way that combines compassion with resolve and intellectual rigour. It also gives a fascinating insight into the mind of a great man and tells of the horrific struggles that he endured. Of course the views expressed have to be considered in the context of the times in which they were written. In one of the sermons King proposes that communism is the greatest rival to Christianity. I wonder if he were around today he might view the greed associated with unfettered capitalism as a much greater threat.