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. 123, No. 5, March 7

Air Force Revises Religion Guidelines
The U.S. Air Force has issued revised guidelines on religious expression, reiterating its official neutrality on matters of belief but making subtle changes in language that have drawn both criticism and praise from disparate groups. Religious activists...
Azusa Street Revival
ON APRIL 9, 1906, at a prayer meeting in a modest home on Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angeles, a few men and women spoke in tongues. They had been meeting to pray for "an outpouring" of the Holy Spirit. The tongues speech convinced them that they had...
Cartoon Calculus: The Provocative Danish Cartoons Depicting Muhammad Can't Be Blamed for the Violence
CARTOONS ARE, by their nature, caricatures--oversimplifications designed to make a forceful point and provoke debate. Editors know that one powerful cartoon can generate more furor than dozens of provocative articles. Therefore editors usually make...
Charismatic and Mainline
ON PASSION SUNDAY in 1960, the Episcopal pastor of a growing parish in suburban Los Angeles revealed his covert spiritual experiences of recent months. Unknown to most parishioners, he and 70 other members had been "speaking in tongues"--making utterances...
Christians, Muslims Must 'Put out Fire'
Interfaith relations--and tensions--quickly took center stage at the opening of the World Council of Churches' ninth assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil, as Christian leaders grappled with Muslim rage over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Methodist...
Da Vinci Film Gets Attention from Christian Critics
The best-selling novel by Dan Brown upset an international and predominantly lay Catholic organization as well as conservative Protestants, but with the movie version of The Da Vinci Code slated for mid-May, both offended groups are exhibiting mixed...
Dealing with Hamas: Palestinians Make Their Choice
HAMAS WAS FORMED in 1987 as an Islamist movement in opposition to Israel. It was linked to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. In spite of its resistance rhetoric, the organization received early covert backing and financial support from Israel. In promoting...
Discerning the Spirit
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8, NRSV). PENTECOSTALS' SPIRITUALITY and practice revolve around their understanding...
Divestment Advice Not Ready for Presbyterians
A church investments panel said it needs more time before it can recommend whether the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should pull assets from five companies operating in the Middle East. The church's General Assembly voted in 2004 to pursue "phased,...
Evangelicals Split on Global Warming
WARNING OF millions of potential deaths worldwide from climate change, a new network of evangelical leaders has launched a campaign for government and grassroots action to reduce global warming. The network's formation symbolizes a growing divide among...
Gay Episcopal Bishop Treated for Alcoholism
New Hampshire bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, is undergoing treatment for his "increasing dependence on alcohol," he wrote in a letter to the 49 churches in his diocese. Robinson, 58, voluntarily checked...
Global and Local
AS THE MESSAGE of Pentecost spread, it adapted to fit existing cultures. Korean Pentecostals, for instance, frequently climb "prayer mountains" for pre-sunrise prayer services, a reflection of a pre-Christian past. At Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul,...
Hearts on Fire
PENTECOSTAL STYLES of worship and spirituality have come to pervade mainstream Christianity, as Larry Eskfidge points out (p. 18). And as Edith Blumhofer reminds us (p. 20), Pentecostals are the second-largest Christian group in the word, trailing...
Living by the Word: Dancing the Decalogue
Sunday, March 19 Exodus 20:1-17 SOMETHING'S MISSING in the current culture war over the Ten Commandments. I knew about Judge Roy Moore, the now-removed chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who waged and lost a stubborn fight to keep a Ten...
Living by the Word: Reality Show
Sunday, March 12 Mark 9:2-9 (alternate reading) NOT FAR FROM where I live is a geological oddity. Stone Mountain is a bald and rounded mass of granite a mile and a half long and nearly a thousand feet high. Eons ago, molten rock pushed up from the...
New-Car Smell
WHEN YOU GET to the car lot, you have a decision to make--which way should you go? If you turn fight, you enter beautiful show rooms with sparkling new cars that deserve their luxurious placement on plush carpets and under glass roofs. It seems a shame...
Pentecostalism's Dark Side
I WAS RAISED in a tiny Pentecostal denomination, the Open Bible Standard Churches, founded in part by disillusioned followers of 1930s revivalist Aimee Semple McPherson. My parents were Open Bible pastors, many of my uncles and aunts were missionaries,...
Pray without Yawning
SOME QUESTIONS just will not die. "Why is there something instead of nothing?" is a perennial. Perhaps the second-most persistent question is this: "Is yawning contagious?" or "Why is yawning contagious?" The empiricists ask the first of these, the...
Racial Divide
CLASSIC ROMANTIC comedies follow this scenario: the hero and heroine begin as adversaries but are irresistibly drawn to each other; they overcome a series of obstacles and recognize that they belong together; their willingness to change--to discard...
Slain by the Music
THE IMAGES ABOUND in stock video footage accompanying stories on evangelicals, the religious right, megachurches and the culture wars--the obligatory shots of middle-class worshipers, usually white, in corporate-looking auditoriums or sanctuaries,...
Some 'Spirit-Filled' Baptists Feel Targeted in SBC
When Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson launched a revolution within the Southern Baptist Convention, they found an eager soldier in Ron Phillips. Phillips, 58, has been pastor of Central Baptist Church of Hixson, Tennessee, near Chattanooga, since...