The Christian Century

Founded on January 4, 1900, The Christian Century is a biweekly magazine published by The Christian Century. Its subject is religion. The Rev. John M. Buchanan is Editor and Publisher and David Heim is Executive Editor.

Articles from Vol. 122, No. 10, May 17

A Doubt and a Promise
Sunday, May 22 Matthew 28:16-20 "When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted." PASSAGES LIKE THIS assure me there's a place for me and the people I serve. Unlike John's story of Thomas, Matthew didn't single out one disciple as...
Alternative Universe: John Paul's Papacy Provided a Sense of the Church as a Total Culture, a Coherent Tradition
WHERE WERE YOU on the day John Paul II died? I won't soon forget, for I was caught in a looking-glass world of improbable encounters and reactions. A friendly neighbor dropped by to deliver his boy for a play date with our son Andy. "Did you hear the...
A New Powell Doctrine
IN THE FILM THE INTERPRETER, Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) tells Secret Service agent Tobin Keller (Sean Penn) that she works as an interpreter at the United Nations because she prefers words to guns, even though she knows that words are "slower."...
Benedict Signals That Non-Catholic Ties Are Important
At a meeting that underlined the high priority he may give to dialogue with non-Catholics--both Christians and the faithful of other religions--Pope Benedict XVI met with more than 30 non-Catholic representatives within a week of his election as Pope...
Best Sellers
Oxford 1. Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine by Bart D. Ehrman 2. Heirs of the Fisherman: Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession by John-Peter...
Changing and Changeless
THE THEOLOGY OF Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger played a major part in my book After Our Likeness (1998), which sought to develop a trinitarian, nonhierarchical understanding of the church. He thanked me politely for the copy I sent him and added, "You don't...
Full Court Press
AFTER LISTENING TO James Dobson and his evangelical Christian colleagues talk about controlling the federal judiciary through the Republican majority in Congress--to the extent of punishing judges and defunding courts--one can't help recalling events...
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Israel in Exile: The History and Literature of the Sixth Century B.C.E. By Rainer Albertz. Society of Biblical Literature, 461 pp., $49.95 paperback. The most important historian of Israelite religion probes the sources and issues of the 6th century...
In Need of a Pope?
DO PROTESTANTS need the papacy? Given the recent fascination with the pontificate of John Paul II and with the election of Benedict XVI, it would seem that the papacy is on the Protestant horizon in a way that would have been unthinkable even a generation...
Judicial Posts: For Justice or 'Just Us'?
WHEN SOME leading Christian conservatives threw their weight behind Republican efforts recently to speed Senate approval of judicial nominees of President Bush, they subtitled their widely viewed "Justice Sunday" rally at a Kentucky church "Stopping...
Knippers, Conservative Critic of Mainline, Dies
Diane Knippers, 53, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative center best known for decrying progressive stances and liberal leaders in mainline denominations, died April 18 in Arlington, Virginia, of complications from cancer....
Out of Eden
LOVE, LUST, forgiveness, remorse, tolerance, sin, violence and death--these are just some of the themes engaged in The Ballad of Jack and Rose. It's the third feature film by writer-director Rebecca Miller (Personal Velocity, Angela), a former painter...
Pomp and Circumstance
IT WAS A blustery day in late April when a colleague poked his head into my office and asked, "Have you heard the news? Nicholas Wolterstorff has been replaced as commencement speaker. George Bush is coming instead." It was an April day, but not...
Portrait of a Pastor
IT SEEMS as if all the pastors I know either have read Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead or claim that it is on the top of the pile of books they intend to read. Pastors--myself among them--love the book. Some of the reasons are obvious. The novel...
Reading Islam
PRIOR TO September 11, 2001, a substantial majority in the United States approached Islam with a strange kind of detailed ignorance. For many Americans the words Islam and Muslims evoked disjointed images of violence, religious fanaticism, rejection...
Reformed Museum for the 'Protestant Rome'
Geneva is known around the world as the birthplace of the Calvinist Reformation, and now the Swiss city that is sometimes called the Protestant Rome has the International Museum of the Reformation for pilgrims and tourists. The city on the banks...
Rule of Benedict
WHEN POPE Benedict XVI announced in his first sermon that he has a "primary" commitment to work without sparing energies for the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ," many expressed surprise. The leading newspaper...
Seeing with a Thousand Eyes
FOR SEVERAL WEEKS I've toted around Bruce Chatwin's book The Songlines, on the off chance of having more time for it. Before he died at 48, Chatwin wrote a handful of' brilliant travel books, this perhaps the most brilliant--a funny and fascinating...
Senators' Bill Would OK Stem Cell Studies
A group of U.S. senators has a proposal it says will alleviate fears of stem cell research. But critics say it would do just the opposite. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation April 21 banning "human reproductive cloning" while...
Strangely Familiar
AT A RECENT theology conference I made a beeline for the book table the instant a coffee break was called. But all the volumes seemed strangely familiar. Later that night, in that famed space between dreaming and waking, the trends in Christian publishing...
Theology
On Being Liked. By James Alison. Herder & Herder, 168 pp., $18.95 paperback. Picking up where he left off in Faith Beyond Resentment, Alison, a Catholic priest, continues to expose the subversive potential of the gospel message, especially regarding...
The Pope and Me
IT'S EASY TO FIND weird epitaphs in old graveyards, in books of quotations or via the Internet. Samples that come up on a quick Internet search--I don't claim they are actual epitaphs--include: "Here lies Johnny Yeast / Pardon me for not rising." And...
The Word Made Rock
Sunday, May 29 Matthew 7:21-29 "Be like the wise man who built his house on the rock." IN PAPAGO PARK, a preserve near the center of Phoenix, two small rock mountains rise up from the desert. One of them, Garden Butte, is 1.6 billion years...
When in Rome
IT WAS FASCINATING to be in Rome on the day Pope John Paul II died and to be in Italy as the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be the new head of the Roman Catholic Church. I used the occasion to meet with a good friend, Father...