All posts by Dr. Martin E. Marty

Black man playing with a magnifying glass


Some of the oldest things in Western religion have recently been the subject of new concern and debate. One instance: a book of the Christian Bible, the Apocalypse or Revelation of St. John, which is the main review in The New Yorker and the main

Black man playing with a magnifying glass

Christianity Going South

Sightings authors often comment on religion in the United States rather than “the rest of the world,” but through the years have shown regularly how artificial or at least permeable such geographical distinctions are when it comes to religion. Philip Jenkins, Mark Noll, Lamin Sanneh,

Black man playing with a magnifying glass


Thirteen months ago Sightings commented on a report by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, and its unsurprising finding that most theological seminaries do nothing to prepare future ministers to deal with sexual issues. They do almost as little on economic issues.

Black man playing with a magnifying glass

Biblical Literalism

Lauren Ashley, self-proclaimed Miss Beverly Hills, now rejected by Hills officials, is drawing more media attention as an oracle than anyone else since another would-be Beauty Queen, Carrie Prejean, spoke. Both commented on homosexuality. We news-scanners find issues connected with it to be the most

Black man playing with a magnifying glass

Decline in Conservative Churches

Religion-in-public news recently featured a Pew poll that demonstrated how many Americans mix faiths. More on that in some other week. Recent news stories raise a screech question: Will there long be faiths to mix in America? “Faiths” here means bodies of believers, gathered in

St Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol, UK

Anglicans and Rome

The top ecumenical – some are saying un- or anti-ecumenical – news of the year occurred October 20th with a Vatican announcement. Bypassing forty years of Anglican-Roman Catholic conversations-cum-negotiations and blindsiding Archbishop Rowan Williams, the head of the seventy-million-member Anglican Communion, Vatican officials announced that

Black man playing with a magnifying glass

Homosexuality and Slavery in the Bible

Annually I write the report on “Protestantism” for World Book and other yearbooks. For a dozen or score of years now, the lead story always has to be about churches tearing themselves apart in lose-lose battles over the blessing of gay marriages and ordination of

Black man playing with a magnifying glass

The Decline of the Culture Wars

Columnist Frank Rich in the New York Times recently joined the company of those who note, as his headline says, that “The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off.” He wrote of the “upside to the economic meltdown,” one which allows citizens to get serious now about

Black man playing with a magnifying glass

Sex and Seminaries

Did you know that there is a Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing? On Thursday, January 8, the Institute, together with Union Theological Seminary in New York, issued a fifty-two page report, which is a call for North American Theological Seminaries to offer