Sightings will be on hiatus during the month of August.
July 30, 2007
— Martin E. Marty
After fifty years of writing a Christian Century column, thirty-eight years of editing the fortnightly newsletter Context, and seven years of this electronic op-ed, Sightings, I finally missed a deadline last week. What was flattering to me was that readers noticed: I was out of town, in the company of readers, some of whom asked where their Monday morning missive was. I'll explain, and then use the moment to talk a bit about some transitions. Others in that vacationing company, especially new-comers to the subscription list—tell your friends to join!—showed curiosity about the column and its context. So I will use this week's issue to talk about Sightings instead of doing the usual job of framing issues and commenting on religion and public life. Here goes:
First, Jeremy Biles, who has served you (and me) so well as editor for several years is moving on from this "post-doc" post. Every Monday he's been readying my copy, administering the affairs, and publishing another columnist on Thursdays. I'll have him greet you in a p.s. on "page two."
Second, I received word from the Martin Marty Center that while staff was interviewing potentials for Jeremy's successor, it would be most efficient if we simply suspended operations through August—trimming back, as so many publications do in the season that we as kids called "Dog Days." (There are no Dog Days in my book—each day is so rich in promise!—but we'll let that be.) I read that note about suspended operations and, oblivious to the calendar, thought that it meant I should hold back now—forgetting that August was not yet here. That's why there was no issue last week, and why I missed a deadline. But we'll be back in September. My "stuff for Sightings" file is bulging, ready to be used.
Third, another transition: Dean Rosengarten of the University of Chicago Divinity School has announced, as we've mentioned, that Prof. Wendy Doniger, who has directed the Marty Center for several years, has completed her term, and we'll miss her very much. But we'll be consoled and the Center will be well served as Prof. William Schweiker takes over the directorship. He's a stellar professor of Theological Ethics in the Divinity School and the College, and has just been named the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor, a sign of academe's respect. He is outlining an ambitious program for the Center's next three years. Stay tuned.
Finally, some of those with whom I conversed last week were new to the concept of the Martin Marty Center, which publishes Sightings. The University named this Center upon my retirement, so it will celebrate its tenth birthday when I celebrate my 80th next winter. Please consult its website (http://marty-center.uchicago.edu/) to get some concept of the wonderful things that go on at the Center. To explain further: doing this e-mail is my only service for the Center. I chose not to have a study there, and only show up for some of its public programs. I am two hours by bus or fifty dollars by cab round trip from the campus, a factor that inhibits my tendency to want to hang around, eavesdrop, kibitz, or butt in.
So I hope as we bid goodbye to Wendy and Jeremy and hello to Bill and "Editor X" that you enjoy a month of Mondays, as will I. See you soon.
Martin E. Marty's biography, current projects, upcoming events, publications, and contact information can be found at www.illuminos.com.
Postscript: A Brief Note from the Outgoing Editor:
Publications are necessarily collaborations -- not only between writer and editor (when one or more is involved), but also between the publication and its readers. As for my part in the ongoing collaboration at Sightings, I've been very fortunate to work not only with our mainstay of religious history and wisdom, Martin E. Marty, but also with a varied host of other talented and gracious writers, whom I would like to thank here once again. But of course the readers are the reason for Sightings. The Sightings subscription list comprises an astute, engaged, and generous readership, and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to be part of the conversation for which this publication exists. Thank you for the chance to collaborate with you as editor of Sightings, and please keep the submissions coming; I'll be happy to pass them along to the next editor. I'm leaving this post to take a position with the Chicago Artists' Coalition, where I'll edit the monthly newspaper and oversee other publications. (I'll also keep teaching my philosophy class in downtown Chicago.) But I look forward to remaining part of the conversation here at Sightings, and am eager to see where the new editor will take us, the readers, in the months ahead.
Sightings comes from the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Sightings welcomes submissions of 500 to 750 words in length that seek to illuminate and interpret the forces of faith in a pluralist society. Previous columns give a good indication of the topical range and tone for acceptable essays. The editor also encourages new approaches to issues related to religion and public life.
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