Every year I wait for the January issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. I tear it open to see its center spread: the Annual Statistical Table on Global Mission, compiled by David B. Barrett, research professor of missiometrics at Regent University, and his team.
Four decades ago, when I began to write this column, my assignment was to “lighten up” the magazine by gently poking fun at the foibles and follies of the mainstream and all the other religious streams. But times have changed. Ecumenical manners no longer allow us to take potshots at one another.
When we Marty kids were in grade school, we entered any contest that pointed toward a prize. During those Great Depression years, we would have experienced great elation if we’d won even a bauble. But not then nor in any subsequent years of my life have I won a contest.
The only college paper I saved was written when I was a sophomore. Dated “Thanksgiving 1946,” it turned up a couple of years ago in my files. My assignment had been to “picture what you’ll be like and what you’ll be doing in January 2000.” My essay was, of course, jejune and is, of course, embarrassing, but since January 2000 has come, here goes:
In his influential Theory of Justice John Rawls speaks of a "difference principle," a way of legitimizing social differences. He imagines people in "an original position" in which they do not know their ultimate social positions.