Mystery Of The Child

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"The Mystery of the Child" presented by Dr. Martin Marty
Monday, March 12, 2012 at 7:00pm
Presentation will be held in the Church [simulcast in the Great Hall]

Martin Marty, who is widely known as a prolific author in the areas of comparative religion, culture, history and theology, was for 35 years a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and retired as the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor. His dozens of published books include Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America, for which he won the National Book Award, the encyclopedic five-volume Fundamentalism Project, and a biography of Martin Luther. Dr. Marty has been a columnist and senior editor for The Christian Century magazine since 1956, edited the biweekly "Context" newsletter from 1969 until 2010, and writes a weekly column distributed electronically as "Sightings" by the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School. In addition, he has authored over 5,000 articles and many more incidental pieces, encyclopedia entries, forewords, and the like.

Dr. Marty served as president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the American Catholic Historical Association. He was the founding president of the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith, and Ethics. He has served on two U. S. Presidential Commissions and was director of both the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago. Dr. Marty has received, among other honors, the National Humanities Medal, the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Distinguished Service Medal of the Association of Theological Schools, the Order of Lincoln Medallion (Illinois' top honor), and 80 honorary doctorates. Well, the list of his credentials and honors goes on and on!

On March 12, Dr. Marty will be reflecting on the topic of his most recent book, also titled, The Mystery of the Child. This book covers topics such as the tension between nature and nurture in child development, but it is no ordinary child guidebook; for Dr. Marty urges his readers to abandon seeing a child as a problem to be controlled or childhood as a series of situations to be managed or fixed. Instead, he calls adults not only to nurture wonder in children, but to seek their own "childlikeness," or what, near the end of the book, he terms "childness." As the father of seven and grandfather of many more, Dr. Marty has both a deeply personal as well as academic and philosophical interest in what it means to be a child or in relationship with children.

Martin Marty is, to state it plainly, one of the most engaging, delightful, and appealing speakers I have ever encountered in any field. As I have said to several folks recently, he could, quite literally, read the phone book and people would leave illuminated and enlightened. Dr. Marty possesses a gentle and lovely wit to match his towering intellect, and is rather-dare I say it?-pixie-like and playful in appearance and presentation. I cannot stress what an honor it is to host him at Holy Comforter, and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with the marvelous Family Awareness Network to bring him to our church.