Wise Voices: Are we ‘members of one another’?

https://readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-0126_Martin_Marty_theologian_and_historian.jpgMARTIN MARTY. (Click the photo and you can visit Marty’s faculty page.)This week on OurValues.org, we’re discussing wise voices—the people and institutions we trust in difficult times. The daily posts this week are coordinated with a weekly small-group dialog on Civil Discourse.
On Monday, I explained the idea. On Tuesday, we looked at news media. Yesterday, at the President.

Today, let’s consider the words of Martin Marty, a public theologian, religious historian, and author of more than 50 books. Marty is Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. In the small-group I’m leading for a few weeks, we listened to an excerpt of an interview Marty did with NPR’s Krista Tippett.

Marty’s position is that our free market ideology went too far, and in the end suppressed our concern for one another. He suggested that a certain line from Christian theology could be used as a secular analogy: “We are members one of another.”

Marty explains what he means: “This is written to people who have a religious commitment that makes them members one of another, but I think that you can, without limiting its appeal to agnostics and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and anybody else in America, you can carry it over and say in the political order: We are also ‘members one of another’ and we pretended we weren’t. And that’s where I think the great immorality lay—that we were on our own. All political groups, all economic groups were acting that way.

“When we carry this analogy over to the political order, it’s clear from the divisive and derisive political rhetoric of the moment that our politicians do not consider themselves ‘members one of another.’ It’s not clear that they consider themselves members one of another with us. Perhaps that’s one reason why so many Americans don’t trust the information they get from candidates for public office or from Congress.”

Care to read more from Martin Marty? A more complete text of his remarks on NPR appears in the middle of this Wise Voices transcript page.

Do you agree with Marty’s contention?

Have lost sight of being “members one of another”?

In your life, where do you see people being members one of another?

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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

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