Stortz, Martha E. 1952- (Martha Ellen Stortz, Marti Stortz)

views updated

Stortz, Martha E. 1952- (Martha Ellen Stortz, Marti Stortz)

PERSONAL:

Born June 11, 1952. Education: Carleton College, B.A., 1974; University of Chicago, M.A., 1975, Ph.D., 1984.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Graduate Theological Union, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Department of Historical Theology and Ethics, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley, CA 94709. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, historian, theologian, scholar, lecturer, and educator. Graduate Theological Union, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA, professor of historical theology and ethics and core doctoral faculty member, 1981—. Member of board, Center for Women and Religion, Graduate Theological Union. Evangelical Lutheran Church, member of lay ministry.

WRITINGS:

Pastorpower, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 1993.

A World according to God: Practices for Putting Faith at the Center of Your Life, foreword by Ron Hansen, Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 2004.

Blessed to Follow: The Beatitudes as a Compass for Discipleship, Augsburg Fortress Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2008.

Contributor to books, including Religious and Social Ritual: Interdisciplinary Explorations, edited by Michael B. Aune and Valerie DeMarinis, SUNY Press (Albany, NY), 1998; The Promise of Lutheran Ethics, edited by Karen L. Bloomquist and John R. Stumme, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1998; and The Child in Christian Thought, edited by Marcia Bunge, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including the Journal of Ritual Studies.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer, educator, and theologian Martha E. Stortz is a professor of historical theology and ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. There, she also serves as a core doctoral faculty member. She holds both master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Stortz pursues a variety of areas as both scholar and educator, according to a biographer on the Graduate Theological Union Web site. These include the history of Western social thought; Christian practices; vision and the moral life; the theology and ethics of Protestant reformer Martin Luther; and spirituality and ethics.

In A World according to God: Practices for Putting Faith at the Center of Your Life, Stortz "offers faith-filled reflections on the practices that are essential to Christianity and the activities that make one a follower of Jesus," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. These include prayer, forgiveness, baptism, discipleship, remembering the dead, the Lord's supper, fidelity, and more. These activities help the faithful "to see the world from a God's-eye view, thereby reshaping our identity as disciples of Christ," remarked D. Brent Laytham in an Interpretation review. "As Stortz describes it, the journey of discipleship begins with baptism, is nourished by the Lord's Supper, and is sustained through the disciplines of prayer, forgiveness, remembering the dead, and fidelity," reported Kristin Kay Johnston, writing in Dialog: A Journal of Theology. They serve, in most instances, as metaphors and active reminders of Christian faith and the concepts behind it.

Johnston reacted quite favorably to the book. "Rarely do I read a book in which every chapter is interesting and engaging, and when I find one, I can hardly put it down, and I'm sorry when it is over. A World according to God is one such book," she stated at the beginning of her review. Laytham observed that "this book is exceedingly accessible, geared for intelligent laity and filled with illustrative stories. Stortz makes scholarly insight clear and practical." The Publishers Weekly critic called the book "fresh and profound." Johnston concluded that A World according to God is "the kind of book that, once read, you find yourself referring to again and again. It's a pleasure to read, and a pleasure to share."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Currents in Theology and Mission, October, 2005, Bruce P. Rittenhouse, review of A World according to God: Practices for Putting Faith at the Center of Your Life, p. 384.

Dialog: A Journal of Theology, summer, 2005, Kristin Kay Johnston, review of A World according to God, p. 194.

Interpretation, April, 2006, D. Brent Laytham, review of A World according to God, p. 236.

Publishers Weekly, March 29, 2004, review of A World according to God, p. 59.

ONLINE

Graduate Theological Union Web site,http://www.gtu.edu/ (May 28, 2008), author profile.

Jossey-Bass Web site,http://www.josseybass.com/ (May 28, 2008), author profile.