One of my tasks as the Century’s online-editorial intern is to archive past issues on the website. It can be tedious, but it’s also quite fascinating to see various subjects develop in the magazine’s pages over time. At this point I’ve worked back as far as Christmas 1998, meaning the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal is front and center. I was 11 when that happened; I know the present-day Clinton everyone loves much better than the 1998 Clinton no one knew what to do with.
But by far the highlight is reading Martin Marty’s old columns.
I don't know what I'm going to do without Context: Martin E. Marty on Religion and Culture. Earlier this year Marty and the Claretians, who have published Context 12 times a year, announced that it was closing down. I've been in a mild depression ever since.
In this era of intense scrutiny, the media pounce on every celebrity misstep. Up to this point in his long career, Christian scholar and author Martin Marty had beaten the odds. His run of good luck came to an end last week, however, when it was revealed that Marty had duped the public for years by publishing material he knew to be false.
Although illness and age have slowed him, evangelist Billy Graham is considered by Protestant senior pastors to be the most influential Christian figure and most trusted spokesperson for the faith, reports the Barna Group pollsters.
When you grow up on the prairie you learn to live with what you have. The Marty people—formerly the Martis, Swiss Lutherans who emigrated to America in 1869—had dirt. Nebraska dirt. They mixed it with water and made houses. They set their houses against caves and rock formations and brought organs, linens and teacups into them. In the mud houses, they sang songs to God.
The best part of my job is that Martin Marty occasionally sticks his head into my office, calls me “Boss” with a twinkle in his eye, and sits down to talk—as if he has nothing better to do. Along with Dean Peerman, Marty is a contributing editor and custodian of the magazine’s history and a steward of its favorite stories.
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