Sightings: Martin E. Marty

Luther goes global

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?

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.

… 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.”

The Pope, the Mafia, and the rest of us

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?

Is America losing its religion of football?

Critics and defenders of the sport and business of football, from the grade school level to the National Football League’s market-religious status, agreed that science and media interests have converged to appeal to the public conscience.

Revisiting Ayn Rand’s anti-religious philosophy

… many counsel that this would be a good moment to appraise why and how so many conservative (and other) Christians could buy into a philosophy which, on its face and all the way down, is opposed to religious faith and, in the Christian case, manifestly contradicts all the stories, counsels, commands, and promises of that faith.

The precarious vision of Peter Berger

I am choosing to remember the dominant and—to non-sociologists like me—most astonishing aspect of an inventive, creative truth-teller who taught and, through his many writings, will continue to teach us as we pursue cases, when we don’t “just make them up.”

Pastors and political choice

Readers who paint with broad brushes, skipping the subtleties, may come away from reading the survey tempted to paraphrase Emmett Grogan’s dictum that “anything anybody can say about America[n religion] is true.” But, if they look closer up, they will find what astute politicians and marketers know: one cannot treat religion as a whole, but only in parts, as the Supreme Court regularly does.

For Southern Baptists, a sudden awakening and turn on the ‘alt-right’

The Convention, however, had something else first on its mind, namely the issue of race, which it had to take up before its participants headed home. Its leadership had “declined to bring to a vote a Texas pastor’s proposed resolution condemning the ‘alt-right’ movement,” proponents of a white supremacist culture that is attractive to some Southern Baptists and their kin and kind. But—stop the presses!—there came a sudden awakening and turn, “[a]fter a fierce backlash on social media.”