"You must lay your lives on the altar of social change so that wherever you are there the Kingdom of God is at hand!" wrote pastor, preacher, teacher, social activist, intellectual, and African-American spokesperson Howard Thurman (1899 - 1981). He not only proclaimed those words, he lived them, according to editors Walter Earl Fluker and Catherine Tumber. They characterize him as an American religious leader, a theoretician of nonviolent direct action, and a cultivator of spiritual insight into the ethical dimensions of community. A Strange Freedom draws together the best of Howard Thurman's public writings and recorded oral statements.
"As long as a man has a dream in his heart, he cannot lose the significance of living," the black preacher taught. In a fine piece on Negro spirituals, Thurman reveals their insights into life and death. He attacks segregation and provides an anatomy of the fear and hate that lie behind it. Thurman affirms the interplay between his Christian mysticism and social change. He explores the theological foundations of community and outlines the role religion can assume in public life as an advocate of reconciliation. And in a piece on a pilgrimage to India and a description of the interracial and intercultural program of Fellowship Church in San Francisco, Thurman's enthusiasm for spiritual adventure shines clearly.