This is a fascinating account of an integrated Fundamentalist southern church and its courageous struggles with race. Through his focus on two church couples, one white and one black, Sack deciphers the congregation’s complex mix of attitudes and history, their progress and obstacles toward equality. Every word counts in this piece, and its structure is lovely: With his opening paragraphs, Sack raises a rich group of issues just by telling a good story. Further on, he explores these issues through scenes and asides, ending with one congregant’s telling and provocative quote.

Read “Shared Prayers, Mixed Blessings,” by Kevin Sack

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