Summer Reading: Deep Is The Hunger

There is a universal urgency for both personal and social stability. … [There are] deep strains and stresses in the soul of a people, for which they had no preparation and from which there seems to be no sure basis for recovery. (4)

So observes Howard Thurman — pastor, author, and formative theological influence on the Civil Rights Movement — in his book Deep Is The Hunger: Meditations for Apostles of Sensitiveness (Harper & Brothers, 1951). Our hungry and restless spirits are easily overwhelmed by the world’s changes and chaos, of which we are both a cause and a product. Deep Is The Hunger offers Thurman’s response to our spirits’ dilemma, instructing that the grounding for our spirits can be found by cultivating a sense of history, a sense of oneself, and a sense of the holy — not merely for our individual peace of mind, but for the challenge & nurture of our communities in the work of reconciliation.

HThurmanDeep Is The Hunger is a collection of Thurman’s meditations, each drawn from the deep well of a man whose abiding faith, pastoral sensitivity and thoughtful study are deeply rooted in God. Depending on one’s season or context, any given meditation can be a cool sip or a refreshing douse.

As I read Deep Is The Hunger, I feel like I’m gleaning — to shift metaphors from the well to the harvest — from work that has already yielded a great harvest (the college students Thurman mentored, his influence on the Civil Rights Movement, his founding of a multiracial congregation, to name only a few highlights of his ministry). Even after all that his ministry has yielded, after all of the seeds Howard Thurman has planted, still the richness of Thurman’s wisdom remains for you and I over fifty years later. Read one meditation each day, or sit with one across the course of a week.

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