Every now and then here on the blog or in columns I write for The Presbyterian Outlook and The National Catholic Reporter, you may see the name Martin E. Marty show up. (He's pictured here in a photo I took a few years ago when I was part of a group he spoke to at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland.)
For decades, this Lutheran clergyman and scholar (University of Chicago Divinity School) has been one of the most astute observers of religion in America and one of the most prolific. It's been said of Marty (nearly always as a compliment) that he's never had a thought he hasn't published.
Well, today I'd like to propose a toast to him because today he turns 85 -- and is still going.
I've met Marty a few times, have heard him speak in large and small groups and now and then exchange e-mails with him, mostly when I need his help with something. And he's always been gracious with his time and his insights, which are many.
From his base at the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago he still regularly writes his "Sightings" columns or oversees their production by other scholars. In those columns, as the "Sightings" website describes, "We seek out and comment on the events, agents, and trends in public life where issues of religion are writ large, in plain view—or are simmering under the surface."
It's hard to think of anyone who has focused more attention or offered more helpful thinking about religion in America in our era than Martin Marty. So birthday huzzahs. May his 10-minute power naps and crowdy collection of bow ties keep him going.
(By the way, Marty's son, the Rev. Peter Martin, used to be pastor of Immanual Lutheran Church in Kansas City.)
* * *
COMMERCIAL BREAK FOR GOD
Did you notice that even some of the Super Bowl commercials couldn't get along without God? Sometimes God is like the Unknown Soldier, drafted into service for this or that purpose. Well, I suppose it's all part of the job of the Original Entrepreneur.
* * *
P.S.: My latest Presbyterian Outlook column now is online. To read it, click here.