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

The good, the bad and the Moody

January 15, 2018

Because of the way religious communities are fractured and often distant from, if not openly at war with, each other, the Martys are not expected to know much about or to be at home as we were at Moody Church.

Is higher education purely secular, or is there room for the religious?

January 8, 2018

(RNS) — While it would be weird to argue that twenty percent or two percent or 0.002% of writers proves that “religion” is winning a new place in the higher academy, the presence of such might occasion some quieting of complaints that the academy is 100% anti-religious on one hand, or, implausibly, cheering along the pious on the other.

Charities feel Christmas fear

December 18, 2017

It is easy to see why anything that Congress does to dull or dim the lustre of what goes into collection plates, envelopes, and credit card accountings jolts those who must collect and who get to put to work these donations.

What’s in the hearts of millennials? You may be surprised.

December 11, 2017

Who would look to under-attended, off-the-beaten-path small churches or other religious gathering places for signs and signals about the larger issues in our culture?

Why religious studies are needed

December 4, 2017

(RNS) — Most in the public simply scorned all ‘cultists,’ and life went on. But some experts came out of the shadows and showed that they had light to shine, light which sometimes might prevent alarming and disruptive incidents from taking place.

Did the Anabaptist reformers ‘win’?

November 27, 2017

If the book is now to be closed [on commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation], has anything truly significant been overlooked? The answer is yes.

Novelist-as-theologian Marilynne Robinson is changing the way we think about Calvinism

November 20, 2017

Here is an open-faced confession of interest in Robinson’s fiction, along with an overt plug that readers of “Sightings” pay attention—or more attention—to Robinson.

Let’s talk about … Calvin, for a change

November 13, 2017

Both wings of the Protestant Reformation produced heirs with complex histories, and mixed expressions, including participation in and execution of murderous conflicts such as the Thirty Years’ War.

Luther goes global

November 6, 2017

Some church figures—pastors, choir directors, tour leaders, etc.—confess that they are just about “all Luthered out” for a while. Yet, while it lasted, the Luther topic provided access to other subjects that are often overlooked in a secular-pluralist world wherein faith, and versions of faiths, have to compete for attention.

In his ‘Ninety-Five Theses’ Luther called upon believers to repent. What does that mean?

October 30, 2017

Reformation season is a time for much accusing of ancestors, from Columbus to Thomas Jefferson, now remembered as slavers, or, to be relevant, Luther, for his call for violence against rebelling peasants or his utterly, utterly repugnant anti-Judaic latter-day outlook and writings. We historians study such features of the lives of ancestors, to learn and gain the resolve to promote a “change of heart.”

Religion is alive and well in America. Don’t believe it? Ask a professor.

October 16, 2017

… how wide is the panorama of religious versus non-religious (or quasi-religious) options in America. Counsel: learn about some of these by checking in to the company of experts on religion, including those on college and university faculties. You may be bewildered, but you’ll never be bored. And you’ll find that not all of those professors are out to “kill religion.”

Souls and the guns of America

October 10, 2017

Let me be ecumenical, interracial, and multi-classy by noting that “everybody” who prosecutes the culture wars wields symbols of awareness of their losses.

Freud and other ‘god-killers’ are here to stay

October 4, 2017

Many people of faith, including theologians, pick and choose elements in some of these rivals, considering that they cannot be ignored, but can be argued with across the spectrum of alternatives.

Mormon whiteness, the alt-right and Charlottesville

September 26, 2017

(RNS) — There is no surprise that Mormon whiteness is newly discussed at a time when alt-right agitators and Charlottesville demonstrators have provoked discussion of the meaning of ‘white.’

The Pope, the Mafia, and the rest of us

September 19, 2017

So here we have the unquestioned leader of the largest religious organization/communion in the world, the Roman Catholic Church, taking on the presumably most powerful organizational embodiment of crime, at least in the Western world. Who noticed?

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