Reinhold Niebuhr


 

Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) was author of The Serenity Prayer. Since its inception in 1943, this prayer has had an interesting history. It was hijacked in Germany, the country where Niebuhr's parents were born before settling in the United States.

God grant me Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

Niebuhr's life was as a preacher, writer, professor, ambassador to European countries - especially Germany, and England. He met with the World Council of Churches, and shared his views on ecumenical ventures to some denominations - Episcopalian, Methodist, Congregationalist, Reformed, and Evangelical Lutherans.

For 40 years Niebuhr has been a prolific advocate. At the Union Theological Seminary in New York, he ruffled feathers with his opposition to American neutrality during World War II, beliefs in racial equality, and outreach to the poor in the ghettos.

Niebuhr served as a guest on panels, and was welcomed internationally. On the lecture circuit he was known for his correspondence with Church leaders, and lived to see Europe liberated. The Serenity Prayer captured life's vicissitudes. As a priest he did an amazing job in responding to the challenges of his era.

Loving God, you have blessed humanity with the loving spirit of Reinhold Niebuhr. Grant that his legacy will live on as appreciators repeat The Serenity Prayer known worldwide at the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, and publish its renditions on postcards, placemats, and souvenirs.

Erwin K Thomas, Author


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