We're pleased to
announce a new regular blogger: Martin E. Marty, emeritus professor at the
University of Chicago. Marty's name has been on the
Century masthead since 1956, currently as a
contributing editor. --Ed.

I am moved again by something dredged up from an old sermon:
the tomb-marker of Sir Robert Shirley, a baronet "whose singular praise it is
to have done the best things in the worst times, and to have hoped them in the
most calamitous."

Are these the worst and most calamitous times? My generation
survived the Depression, World War II and other wars, the Cold War, McCarthyism
and Watergate, earlier stages of the Culture Wars, 9/11 and non-found weapons
of mass destruction. Each seemed worst and most calamitous. What is different
this time is the breakdown of civility and discourse in civil society, drastic
polarization in politics and numberless events and phenomena which do not need
describing or enlarging upon here.

Agree with me or not that these are the worst times, I hope
bloggees will indulge me in my impulse to look for some people, ideas and
events which do or should elicit "singular praise." They will show up now and
then in successor posts.

Martin E. Marty

The Century contributing editor's name has been on the masthead since 1956. He is an emeritus professor at the University of Chicago.

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