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Martin E. Marty

"Marty" is one of the most prominent interpreters of religion and culture today. Author of more than 50 books, he is also a speaker, columnist, pastor, and teacher, having been a professor of religious history for 35 years at the University of Chicago.

All Stories by Martin E. Marty

Could a revived ‘theology of hope’ restore faith in hopeless times?

By Martin E. Marty — November 1, 2019
(Sightings) — The theme of hope, found in the preaching of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as in feminist, Latin American and black theologies, urges fellow believers to be impatient with the world as it is.

Too many liberals in the liberal arts?

By Martin E. Marty — May 21, 2018
Sightings on Mondays is conceived of as being politically nonpartisan, so it is rare to feature the words “Republican” and “Democrat” as we do this week.

Jimmy Carter (and hope) in the news

By Martin E. Marty — May 15, 2018
A casual observer of the news scene in recent years may get the impression that Mr. Carter has been quietly receding from it. One scan of headlines on my computer, however, quickened counter-impressions.

Prayer rattles Speaker Ryan, but House chaplain gets to stay in politics

By Martin E. Marty — May 7, 2018
Yes, padre was in politics, embodied that day in the House and being exercised continually by conscientious legislators, those who voted for them, and those who are affected by their actions. In a republic, such as ours, being “in” politics is inescapable.

Apologies to Native people

By Martin E. Marty — April 30, 2018
...most of us here in the U.S. do not track many kinds of Canadian stories, though the plight of the Indigenous there or anywhere demands and deserves regular attention.

Our Latino neighbors

By Martin E. Marty — April 23, 2018
We seem to have settled for separate “churches” based on peoplehood, and take this for granted.

The pope, his critics and theirs

By Martin E. Marty — April 17, 2018
The Church has always included many kinds of interests and factions, and a prime task for historians and social chroniclers is to assess their power and intentions.

In moving to embrace change, Mormons remind others what true commitment looks like

By Martin E. Marty — April 9, 2018
In the pressroom we used to say: “Mormons are like everyone else—only different.” Now it might be more in place to observe: “Mormons are different than everyone else—only, more and more, similar.”

Parades, peeps and paradoxes

By Martin E. Marty — April 2, 2018
Easter parades survive in classic Hollywood films, on the avenues near cathedrals (which paraders pass but rarely frequent), in peeps, and in song. Seldom is there a trace of connection to the religious event which prompts Easter celebrations.

Networks and public religion

By Martin E. Marty — March 26, 2018
If and insofar as networks are a fad or “meme” to be promoted in awe, count me out as a peddler. But I could not get over how often historians of evangelical, Catholic, mainline, and “none” company referred creatively to what they observed about networks and what these conveyed to those of us who must be alert to what goes on in the world of public religion.

The power of children protesting, from the civil rights movement to the gun violence walkouts

By Martin E. Marty — March 19, 2018
When young people awaken to a cause, many ordinarily passive and apathetic people get roused.

Catholicism down in Ireland, but some see hope

By Martin E. Marty — March 12, 2018
Readers of Sightings may be aware that we don’t favor reporting only on “declinism,” as in “decline and fall” stories. But it would be no favor to readers, or to reality itself, were we to close our eyes to stories like Maynooth’s.

The three Hebrew words that describe our times

By Martin E. Marty — March 5, 2018
In the faint light that interrupts the darkness of our chaos we not only look to the young, but also daily read reports of the spreading of light among the caring and often cared-for aged among us.

How a theologian from the past can help us confront our ‘cultural disintegration’

By Martin E. Marty — February 26, 2018
“Cultural disintegration” is a useful description of what commentators and publics consistently witness these years. Left and right, liberal and conservative, male and female (etc.), old and young, all observe and chronicle the signs of it.

Why must ‘faith’ and ‘Enlightenment’ be seen as contradictions of each other?

By Martin E. Marty — February 12, 2018
Most sentient humans, as individuals and in groups, find sundry ways of being, thinking, and acting. In my faith tradition we speak of the human creature as being simul iustus et peccator, “at the same time righteous and a sinner.”
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