Here are my Five Lessons & Takeaways from Civic Sermons by Gerald Britt

Civic SermonsI’ve now finished my reading of, and my handout for my synopsis for, Gerald Britt’s book Civic Sermons: Ideas for a Different Civic Culture. (Read my first blog post about this book here).

How do I feel about it? Like everyone should read it. Did I enjoy it? No; but I appreciated it. And the reason I did not “enjoy” it is simple – the social justice challenges are so overwhelming, and the progress is so slow.

There are times when one wants to just…quit.

But, that is not a very good option – quitting. There are people to help, and there are systems to tackle.

He has four major sections in the book:

Race and Poverty
Economic/Neighborhood Redevelopment

Not a one of these have we “mastered.” There is so much work to be done in each.

Of all the thoughts that came, this one may be as big as any. In his famous I Have a Dream speech, Dr. King spoke this line:

One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

That’s the description! There are vast oceans of opportunity and prosperity, and pretty hefty islands of poverty, in city after city. It is such an apt description. In one sense, in this book Rev. Britt is simply describing that lonely island of poverty in our area.

Look, we are all busy. I get that. But order this book from Amazon, and read it slowly. The chapters are short – read a chapter every couple of days. And think about our area – and our responsibilities to the people of our area. It will do your heart good. And, it might help you be an even more active problem solver…

Here are my Lessons and Takeaways from Civic Sermons by Gerald Britt:

#1 – The “lonely islands of poverty surrounded by a vast ocean of material prosperity” (Dr. King) is still, sadly, a very apt description.
#2 – Everything matters – health care; and ending discrimination; and education; and jobs; and housing; and effective representation; and…
#3 – The balance between outrage and humble keep-at-it work is delicate indeed.
#4 – The right leader, at the right time, matters. (A thought about Martin Luther King, Jr.).
$5 – We’ve got to provide better starting places; and better environments for growth, development, and progress…


The Wealth of the PoorGerald Britt works with Larry James at CitySquare.  I have earlier presented a synopsis of The Wealth of the Poor by Larry James.  Larry is the CEO of CitySquare.  You can read my review of and takeaways from my blog post for Larry’s excellent book here).  Read these two books one after the other; a great one-two tutorial on social justice.



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