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. 22, October 31

Adventists Require Top Faculty, Trustees to Be Church Members
In a move that internal critics say will hurt academic standing, leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have voted to require all tenured faculty and board members at its educational institutions to be members of the denomination. The decision...
American Idol: David Barton's Dream of a Christian Nation
ONE OF THE most startling developments in the culture war is the apparent takeover of the Republican Party by conservative evangelicals who claim that the U.S. is a Christian nation, uniquely called and blessed by God. Fearing that the nation has strayed...
A Third Way: Measures to Reduce to Likelihood of Abortion Would Be More Effective Than Tighter Restrictions on Abortion
THE ELUSIVE middle ground on abortion took concrete shape in September. Two bills were introduced in the House of Representatives that are designed to reduce the number of abortions not by tightening restrictions on abortion but by expanding the social...
Benedict's Blunder: Ground Rules for Muslim-Christian Conversation
HAVE BEEN involved for 25 years in fruitful conversation with Muslims, and I have read the Qur'an and a lot of literature about Islam. But I confess that Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (Paleologus meaning Old Word) was not on my mind before Pope Benedict...
Book Says Bush Aides Duped Religious Allies
A book by a former White House official is causing shock waves with its explosive allegations that President Bush's aides mocked religious conservatives and duped them for political gain in the early stages of the faith-based grant programs. The...
Bread Line
WHEN I VISITED the Cathedral of the Icon of Kazan in St. Petersburg, Russia, a crowd was lined up waiting for a closer look at the storied image of Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most revered icons in Russia. After watching the scene for a while, I...
Debunking Some Pentecostal Stereotypes
PENTECOSTALISM AND related "Spirit-filled movements" are rightly seen as a hard-driving engine fueling the global spread of Christianity, but their adherents are often wrongly seen as apolitical, otherworldly enthusiasts bent on "speaking in tongues,"...
Edgar to Leave NCC Post by End of 2007
Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, will not seek a third four-year term as the top administrator of the ecumenical organization. Edgar's current term ends December 31, 2007. A third term would have been unprecedented...
Exposing Zacchaeus
DIETRICH BONHOEFFER reminded us that grace is free but not cheap, gratis but not banal, gratuitous but not superfluous. The reformers of the 16th century defined the cost of grace by a single word: repentance. Repentance comes about when "terror strikes...
Forgiveness Clause
THE BLOOD WAS barely dry on the floor of the West Nickel Mines School when Amish parents sent words of forgiveness to the family of the one who had slain their children. Forgiveness? Forgiveness so quickly for the heinous crime of killing five Amish...
House-Passed Bill Would Discourage Church-State Suits
A bill passed by the House and a companion bill awaiting action in the Senate would remove money--at least the awarding of attorneys" fees to successful plaintiffs--from cases related to public displays of religion. The Public Expression of Religion...
Jesus Boot Camp
I MADE A weekend visit to an Amish community in northern Indiana just days after the funerals of the Amish schoolgirls shot in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse. I happened to pass a schoolyard outside a one-room schoolhouse where a dozen or so Amish children...
Living by the World: Another Commandment
Sunday, November 5 Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34 I READ THIS week's lectionary passages last summer in the Urubamba Valley in my native Peru, and in my native Spanish: "Pero Cristo ya vino, y ahora el es el Sumo sacerdote ..." At first I resisted...
Living by the World: Small Change
Sunday, November 12 Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44 THE STORY OF the widow's mite offers a profound contrast between two types of temple worshipers. But we often misinterpret the reason for Christ's comparison. He is not preaching a lesson in personal...
Ratings System: Are Film Ratings a Threat to Artistic Freedom? Yes, Claim the Makers of a Polemical Documentary
DINNER WOULD have to wait. Eddie Schmidt and Kirby Dick wanted to interview me in connection with a documentary they were making for the Independent Film Channel (IFC), and Schmidt wanted to discuss the church's relationship to the film industry. It...
Reasoning Together
NOW THAT THE dust has settled from l'affaire Regensburg, it's a good time to think about what makes for genuine interfaith dialogue. One thing is clear: the reactions to Pope Benedict XVI's address, as reported by the media, allowed little scope for...
Sanctuary
HISPANIC METHODISTS in northern Illinois do not often receive national press coverage. But since one of their number, Elvira Arellano, took refuge from U.S. immigration officials in her Methodist church on the West Side of Chicago, the media have sensed...
Sisters
READING THE obituaries of Sister Mary Luke Tobin, who recently died at 98, inspired reminiscences of her and other women religious. Their numbers are down from 180,000 forty years ago to 68,000 now. Soon few will remember the era of habit-garbed nuns....
Sound Alternatives
GRACING THE cover of Paul Simon's album Surprise (Warner Brothers) is an image of a wide-eyed infant. It's a fitting one, as this album represents a potent artistic rebirth. Rather than singing silly (if catchy) ditties about 50 ways to leave your...
Stuff
IT IS CONVENTIONAL wisdom that ministers hate stewardship season and dislike talking about money. A feature article in Time, "Does God Want You to Be Rich?" (September 18), observed that the "relative absence of sermons about money--which the Bible...
Tinseltown Expose
TELEVISION CEMENTED stardom in the 1950s for many celebrities of radio, vaudeville and motion pictures--Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, even Alfred Hitchcock. The first TV star created by the infant medium was George Reeves. A capable actor with a Roman...
Women Clergy: Steps Forward and Back
As women in mainline Protestant denominations rejoice over decades of ordination--United Methodists and Presbyterians this year celebrated 50 years of women ministers and Episcopalians the 30th anniversary of women priests--conservatives continue to...