Constant Courage: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus Christ
by Tracy Emerick, Ph.D.
BookSide Press

"Success, triumph, even power, is sweet when it is inspired and motivated through the Cape of Love."

Through Emerick’s work, audiences get a chance to internalize the true meaning of courage and experience their own abundance and growth. In a capitalistic society that revolves around wants and indulgences, the social narrative almost exclusively revolves around the self, often at the expense of others in one’s orbit. Attempting to change this mindset, Emerick uses the lives of Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King, Jr. to demonstrate what it means to lead an exemplary life that goes beyond one’s own wants and needs and focuses on a common, greater good.

From the opening, the author shuns the idea of fearing death, instead encouraging audiences to live a life that is worth dying for. This notion speaks to the values of self-love that have inundated our society and created a “look-out-for-yourself” and “dog-eat-dog” world. However, as the author cogently observes, in most cases the only thing that comes out of such self-encompassing thoughts is this disease of more and a consistent feeling of discontent. No matter how much one has, it is never enough, never fulfilling. Further, Emerick suggests that now, perhaps more than ever before in history, uncertainty and the feeling of being lost are at such tremendous levels that loving others and seeing hope and peace through service is the pathway out of this quagmire.

From the prism of the lives of Christ and King, Emerick breaks down the various types of courage one can exhibit and touches on a number of fundamental traps that society falls into. First and foremost is the concept of fitting in, where from a young age, children are ingrained into a world of commonalities and parallels—even in the educational system with the Common Core curriculum—that often they forget their own uniqueness and purpose. As Emerick suggests, that systemic hierarchy doesn’t change once an individual reaches adulthood. On the contrary, it intensifies with the pressures of the material world, from cars and houses to marriage and kids. There is essentially no place to speak up or speak out, and for those that wish to have their voices heard in a crowd of silence, the results are generally dire, with one being miscast as a troublemaker. In a similar vein, the idea of instant gratification that the world is currently enamored with clashes directly with that of struggling and experiencing failure before being showered with success.

At the core of Emerick’s thought-provoking work is a desire to trump this fearful mindset that plagues the world and to present a fresh perspective to help readers navigate through their own life journeys. The author deftly draws from other sources to support his thesis. For example, as the work progresses, audiences get to learn from Carl Jung and glean advice from Sun Tzu’s sayings before ultimately getting an in-depth dive into the lives of Dr. King and Jesus. Emerick expertly shows how both individuals went against the grain, risked, and ultimately sacrificed their lives to shed light on what they perceived as unjust. The tenacity of both brought the respective systems they were speaking out against to their knees, whether it was the dominance of white supremacy at the time or the stringent system of religious beliefs that tended to adhere to the pulse of its political leaders. Courage, Emerick wisely points out, is infused with morality and mental strength and is not always as simple as a grand, sweeping statement or sacrifice. Instead, it could be something as simple as making a career change despite not knowing what may come next. Above all else, there is one theme that resonates with unyielding energy throughout the author’s book: donning the cape of love as a response to any and all opposition is a display of pure courage.

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