The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War
Publish Date: 2003-10-21
Author: Elisabeth Sifton
A landmark work on the liberal ideals of the progressive American tradition, reaffirming their relevance for today: A major contribution to the intellectual history of modernity. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
In 1943, the renowned theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a prayer for a church service in a New England village. Its appeal for grace, courage, and wisdom soon became famous the world over. Here, Elisabeth Sifton, Niebuhr's daughter, reclaims the true history of the Serenity Prayer and, in a poignant narrative, tells of efforts made by the brave men and women who, like Niebuhr, devoted their lives to the causes of social justice, racial equality, and religious freedom in a world spiraling into and out of economic depression and war. Recalling her father's efforts to warn the clergy of the dangers of fascism, and of America's own social and spiritual crises, Sifton reminds us of what is possible when liberal, open-minded leadersnot zealous fundamentalists or hawkish plutocratsshape the conscience of the nation. The Serenity Prayer is itself a meditation on the power of prayer in morally compromised, unstable times. A New York Times Notable Book. 12 illustrations