Looking over these fine essays, I am immensely proud to know Lubomir Martin Ondrasek. While he has clearly been shaped by much of the best of the Slovak and American worlds, he is without doubt Slovakia’s son. His fidelity to his homeland is estimable. What you will find here is the work of a public intellectual. If that is too imprecise, let us say that “public intellectual” is the genus and that what you are holding in your hands is the work of that particular species known as the “public theologian.” Martin calls this book a miscellany. Perhaps so, yet patterns can be discerned. Each of this book’s sections include reflections on Slovak history and, particularly, of the history, character, mission, and career of the Christian church in Slovakia. Included as well are ruminations at the intersection of theology and public life. Political ethics is omnipresent too, as are warm engagements with several of Martin’s heroes.
MARC LIVECCHE is the executive editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy and Stockdale Research Fellow at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the United States Naval Academy
As a public theologian and ethicist Lubomir’s writings in this book seeks to provide moral, spiritual, and intellectual gravitas to the ever challenging task of nation building and transformation. Given the “realidad” and the many demanding issues facing Slovakia, Eastern Europe and beyond, this book is a significant addition towards the lingering transition (politically, economically, civically, etc.) from an authoritarian society to a free and open democratic society, which began with the Velvet Revolution. The chapters in this book reflect Lubomir’s developing ethic of responsibility, one enriched, above all, by the writings and insights of Reinhold Niebuhr, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Václav Havel. Lubomir’s ethics of responsibility particularly underscores the defense and usage of a “Realistic Idealism” approach.
ELDIN VILLAFAÑE is the Distinguished Senior Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Emeritus, and founding Director (1976) of the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary