Other authors have devoted thousands of pages to chronicling the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. Edward Gilbreath, an African-American journalist who serves as an editor-at-large for Christianity Today, wisely narrows his subject to one campaign in the civil rights movement and a singular document that emerged from it.
In Birmingham Revolution, subtitled “Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epic Challenge to the Church,” Gilbreath focuses on King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and the events surrounding it. He explores the joint statement by seven Christian ministers and a rabbi published in Birmingham’s two daily newspapers that prompted King’s renowned rebuttal.
Gilbreath avoids stereotyping the eight clergymen or viewing their plea for restraint and patience only as a counterpoint to King’s call for justice. And while he focuses primarily on King, Gilbreath gives due credit to the contributions of Fred Shuttlesworth, who lacked King’s eloquence but set a high standard for King to match in terms of courage and righteous indignation.
In looking at what he calls King’s “Jailhouse Manifesto,” Gilbreath explores it not only as a political and social document, but also as a theological treatise. Without benefit of reference books, King drew extensively on the Bible—as well as Thomas Aquinas, Martin Buber and other theologians—in constructing his arguments. King once wrote, “God had been my cellmate” in Birmingham. “This probably explains why ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ became such as powerful document,” Gilbreath observed. “King did not write it alone.”
Ken Camp, managing editor
Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives: Winning in the War Against Pornography by Jay Dennis and Cathy Dyer (New Hope)
With the anonymity of the Internet and the privacy of the personal computer, addiction to pornography has become epidemic. Christian men, including church leaders, are not immune. Jay Dennis and Cathy Dyer tackle the issue in Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives.
In Part 1, Dyer tells about her very intimate war. She explains how seven years after their wedding and three months after the birth of their daughter, her church-head-usher husband walks out. She learns he is addicted to porn. She shares entries from her journal as she walks through the decision to divorce, her husband’s plea for a second chance, counseling, reconciliation and—finally—12 years later, helping others.
In Part 2, Dennis discusses “Winning in the War.” He outlines 50 things a person should know about pornography. He discusses responses and how to talk to sons about the issue. He closes with a section on intercessory prayer and encourages wives to urge men to join 1 million men in the war against pornography.
Whether or not personally touched by the issue, Christian women should consider Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives for perspective and guidance on the pervasive problem.
Kathy Hillman, first vice president
Baptist General Convention of Texas