Quotes from
The Luminous Darkness

I know that a man must be at home somewhere before he can feel at home everywhere. (x)

A strange necessity has been laid upon me to devote my life to the central concern that transcends the walls that divide and would achieve in literal fact what is experienced as literal truth: human life is one and all men are members of one another.  And this insight is spiritual and it is the hard core of religious experience. (x)

Does a man tend to become immoral and irreligious as his security is threatened?  (1)

For a long time the Christian Church has profoundly compromised with the demands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially with respect to the meaning and practice of love.  (3)

In a free society no law can long endure unless it is accepted in the hearts of men.  But the hearts of men can be more receptive to laws about which they have doubts is those in positions of authority will exert the moral leadership which their office provides. (17)

The right to act as a result of religious conviction is a right that has been forfeited and has to be reclaimed.  (21)

The image of the church is so damaged that at the moment is does not provide an effective rallying point.  (21)

The real evil of segregation is the imposition of self-rejection!  It settles upon the individual a status which announces to all and sundry that he is of limited worth as a human being.  It rings him round with a circle of shame and humiliation.  It binds his children with a climate of no-accountness as a part of their earliest experience of the self.  Thus, it renders them cripples, often for the length and breadth of their days.  And for this there is no forgiveness, only atonement.  And only God can judge of that that atonement consists.  (24)

When the whole world in which one lives is stripped of respect for persons, the mind, the thoughts, and the spirit are poisoned.  (24)

May it be remembered that the cost to the perpetrator of segregation is a corrosion of the spirit and the slow deadly corruption of the soul.  It is to be overcome by evil.  (26)

In order to overcome the ravages of segregation, the overt sufferers must carry on an energy-consuming inner struggle which undermines their effectiveness in practically every aspect of their lives.  Such persons tend to be emotionally exhausted as a chronic state of being.  There is the barest margin for creativity and growth.  It is impossible to even hazard the loss to American life that has resulted from the waste in energy and creativity in the desperate necessity to find a way to survive against such overwhelming odds.  I speak here of primarily mental and emotional energy. (27)

Such grounding of personal dignity gives to individuals a sense of center which in turn serves as a foil for the threatening impact of the hostility and indifference of the larger community.  With this kind of inner reinforcement, it is possible for the ego structure to withstand the shattering impact of the wider rejection. (30)

There is real spiritual growth in admitting that one's life is not blameless even as one is dedicated effectively to working for the blameless life.  (52)

To whom much is given, much is required.  (53)

It may be that what all kinds of people are feeling is that each must be that conscience where he is living and functioning in his private world of being. (53)

It is important. . . that there be the kind of activity that will bring out into the open the hidden springs of prejudice that are obscured by accepted social norms and patterns of cultural behavior expressed in statutes and custom.  (53)

Any person who questions the grounds of the society, who raises a primary question of human values, is in truth a disturber of the peace and a troublemaker.  Such an accusation is entirely correct.  Most often men do not want to be seen as troublemakers.  Rauschenbusch used to tell his students that there are many good people in the world, but there are a very few who are good enough to disturb the devil. (55)

The waters must be troubled.  (55)

One may lose fear also by a sense of being a part of a company of people who share the same concerns and are conscious of participating in the same collective destiny.  (57)

A strange and wonderful courage often comes into a man's life when he shares a commitment to something that is more important than whether he himself lives or dies.  (57)

When a person is able to places at the disposal of a single end, goal or purpose the resources of his life, his strength is magnified a hundredfold or even a thousandfold.  He relaxes his hold upon his own physical existence because he is caught up in the kind of enlarged consciousness or expanded awareness that it triggered by the commitment that his life becomes important only in terms that fulfill the inscrutable demands of the commitment.  (58)

[W]hen the battles are over, Negroes and white people must live together in the Untied States.  To forget this is the great betrayal of the future.  (59)

Segregation is the status that keeps a group available for sacrifice.  (70)

[H]ate is a thick sludge of the heart.  (83)

At whatever the cost in dollars, facilities, and human creativity, the vast energies of hostilities and bitterness must be converted into hope, confidence, and hard rewarding effort which will destroy the nesting place of resentment and self-rejection.  (84)

Without civic responsibility, there can be no civic character.  (85)

It must be remembered that what is true in any religion is to be found in that religion because it is true, it is not true because it is found in that religion. The ethical insight which makes for the most healthy and creative human relations is not the unique possession of any religion, however inspired it may be.  (110)