Suspect Tenderness opens with a narrative concerning the capture of Daniel Berrigan, related in his continuing friendship and pastoral relationship with Stringfellow and co-author Anthony Towne. It continues with an examination of the ethical and theological implications of the Berrigan witness, in which middle-class American piety is asked to face the fact that Jesus was a criminal. Stringfellow insists that every state feels threatened by Christ's claim to a moral authority over death, and sees the "community of resistance" as a community of resurrection.
Endorsements & Reviews-
Introducing the Dissent Trilogy by William Stringfellow Dissenter in a Great Society Suspect Tenderness The Politics of Spirituality
"Because Stringfellow's critique was radically biblical and biblically radical, he was no party-line dissenter. If one marks the current three volumes by their historical moments, they can be identified as responses to incumbent political administrations. Dissenter in a Great Society (1966) illuminates the Lyndon Johnson era. Suspect Tenderness (1971) critiques the Nixon regime. And Politics of Spirituality (1984), in many ways Stringfellow's culminating little opus, responds to the blasphemies of the Reagan administration."
Bill Wylie-Kellermann (from the series foreword)
"These books burn with a holy fervor. They are graced with costly hope; what is impossible in the public arena can be done up close, with a few by a few. There could exist communities of non-betrayal. Its members would gather, open the bible, then scatter to their work. Freed from lust after power or prestige, they would keep the Word of God in a time when few keep any word at all. Keeping the Word, that was the point. Do it then!"
Daniel Berrigan (from the series introduction)
William Stringfellow Anthony Towne
William Stringfellow was a practicing attorney and a prominent Episcopalian, who frequently contributed to legal and theological journals. After his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1956, he practiced some years in the East Harlem neighborhood in New York City, subsequently moving to Block Island, RI. When Daniel Berrigan was apprehended by the FBI at Stringfellow and Towne's home in 1969, the hosts were charged with "harboring a fugative."
Anthony Towne was a poet whose work appeared in such publications as The New Yorker. Best known for Excerpts from the Diaries of the Late God, he was a book review editor for Motive Magazine, founder of the Block Island Writers Guild, and collaborator with Stringfellow on a number of book projects.