Monday, December 22, 2014

Listen to "Love Your Enemies"

My column today, about Martin Luther King's urging us to love our enemies, was inspired by the brilliant sermon the slain minister delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. I first read the text of "Love Your Enemies" in Strength to Love, a collection of King's sermons that his wife, Coretta Scott King, said best explained her husband's philosophy of nonviolence: His belief in a blind, loving presence that binds all of life.

Listen to "Love Your Enemies"

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where King delivered his "Love Your Enemies" sermon.
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where King delivered his "Love Your Enemies" sermon.

My column today, about Martin Luther King's urging us to love our enemies, was inspired by the brilliant sermon the slain minister delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. I first read the text of "Love Your Enemies" in Strength to Love, a collection of King's sermons that his wife, Coretta Scott King, said best explained her husband's philosophy of nonviolence: His belief in a blind, loving presence that binds all of life.

In "Love Your Enemies," King says, "All [people] are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be."

"Love Your Enemies" is far too long to excerpt here, but it's so worth a read when you have the time. Or, to hear an audio of the sermon, delivered on Nov. 17, 1957, click here.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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