Commentary

‘Nuff said

Martin Marty to Keynote Metro Lutheran Annual Dinner

You really don’t want to miss the Metro Lutheran Annual Dinner on October 14 this year. Seriously.

Dr. Martin Marty will be the keynote speaker, and will also receive the Gold Pen Award, given annually to a person who contributes to religion writing in North America.

Giving Marty the award seems like a good idea since he is the pre-eminent thinker and author in the sphere of religion writing. Oh, yes, and he is a Lutheran.

Reporting religion in a secular world

On the vocation of a religion journalist, Marty says, “The generic religion reporter aiming at the general public is to provide accurate and fair accounts of events and ideas in the religious world. One hopes that his or her stories and interpretations will broaden and deepen societal interests in, and knowledge of, the religious world.

“Professional reporters are trained to provide perspective based on their knowledge and experience. They will not run out of topics!”

“The role of the specifically Christian reporter dealing with specifically Christian readerships or audiences (but hoping to reach others as well) is to provide the same, but is allowed to say ‘we’ Christians give a specifically Christian interpretation.”

Marty follows closely changes in the environment of the field of journalism. As Mary Brown evaluates changes in media see “OMG,” October 2012, Metro Lutheran, page 4), so does Marty. He says, “The Internet changes so much. If Christianity was ‘privileged’ back then, professional reporters are not privileged as they were. They [now] have to contend with the sensational, usually uninformed, often crowd reporting in the world of tweets and twitters.

“Professional reporters are trained to provide perspective based on their knowledge and experience. They will not run out of topics!”

And, on a topic close to this editor’s heart: “I think ‘independent Lutheran reporting’ serves the church better than ‘independent Lutherans,’ if the latter means ‘pick and choose’ church life, whose advocates turn exclusivistic and chauvinistic.”

The Metro Lutheran Annual Dinner begins with a reception at 4:30 pm., at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, 50th and Knox Streets, Minneapolis. Serving of the meal begins at 5:30 p.m.; the program at 6:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling Jean Johansson at 612/230-3281 before October 5.

If you have heard Martin Marty before, you already know you should be there. If you haven’t, believe me, you want to hear him. Of course, you will be supporting Metro Lutheran by attending. That’s also good, right?

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