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. 124, No. 24, November 27

Abortion Prevention
PEOPLE WHO HAVE knowledge of and access to contraceptives tend to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer abortions. It's no accident that the world's lowest abortion rates are found in Belgium and the Netherlands, where contraception is...
Agony in Advent
THOSE WHO watched the The War, a documentary about World War II by Ken Burns which aired on PBS this fall, could feel the horror of battle with a foot soldier from Mobile, Alabama; understand the pressure on a newspaper editor in Luverne, Minnesota,...
Altar Plans
ON THE DAY I read through Valerie Weaver-Zercher's review of books about the wedding industry (p. 30), I encountered a young woman at the church reception desk who was breathlessly explaining that she had just secured the Cigar Bar at Ditka's Restaurant,...
Anglicans, Catholics Still Differ on Mary
Two years after Anglican and Roman Catholic priests and theologians said they had reached a common understanding on the Virgin Mary, there's still something about the Catholic doctrine of Mary that doesn't sit right with some Anglicans. Specifically,...
Big-Dollar Verdict Won't Stop Phelps's Antigay Crusade
It's going to take more than a $10.9 million jury award to stop pastor Fred Phelps and his Kansas church from picketing military funerals with antigay signs. In fact, his daughter said November 1 that the verdict will only push them forward. "We...
Blood Sport
MY ALLEGIANCE is to 'Jesus Christ, who stood up and died for our sins.'" That was the keynote comment of a victorious Randy Couture, third-time winner of last spring's heavyweight belt in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In the politically and theologically...
Bold Initiative
THE DAYLONG SYMPOSIUM was about "social entrepreneurship," a relatively new idea in business education but a well-established phenomenon. The concept focuses on people who undertake innovations in the social sector--addressing problems in society and...
Bootleg Preacher
A SELF-DESCRIBED "bootleg preacher," Will Campbell got into lots of trouble as a minister and advocate for economic justice and racial equality in the South. The iconoclastic Baptist minister was director of religious life at the University of Mississippi...
Calvin Tells Black Professor to Find a Reformed Church
Professor Denise Isom loves her work at Michigan's Calvin College and her Grand Rapids church, Messiah Missionary Baptist. The problem: Isom must choose one or the other. The Calvin board refused in October to exempt Isom from a rule that requires...
Court Says Transgender UMC Pastor May Stay
A transgender man can remain pastor of his Baltimore church, the United Methodist Church's high court has determined. But the court sidestepped larger questions about whether gender change is acceptable for clergy in the denomination. No law in...
Death Leaves Void on Religious Freedom Panel
The director of a unique federal panel charged with promoting religious freedom worldwide has died after a struggle with cancer. Joseph Crapa, 63, executive director of the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, died October 25. A...
Desperado
THOUGH atmosphere-heavy and plot-light, and obviously pushing Brad Pitt for a "he's doing serious art here" Academy Award, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford turns out to be a mesmerizing look at the final months of a gun-toting...
Film Argues That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality
For the Bible Tells Me So, a documentary that seeks to make the case that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality, is making the rounds at film festivals and screenings in select cities. The 97-minute film weaves biblical analysis with the stories...
Kingdom Coming: Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis
IN THE 1880S Walter Rauschenbusch was a Baptist pastor in the Hell's Kitchen district of New York City, where he served a poor, hurting, immigrant congregation and where he converted to the social gospel. His searing encounter with urban poverty, especially...
Kinnamon Installed as NCC Executive
Church-unity advocate Michael Kinnamon, affirmed unanimously this month as the National Council of Churches' next general secretary, does not expect that being the chief ecumenical voice for 35 communions will be a placid job over the next four years....
Living by the Word: Prodded to Life
Sunday, December 9 Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12 HOW IS THE Presence working on us? Once again the liturgy gives us three different prods into life. As the sound of portentous thunder begins to diminish,...
Living by the Word: Stretched Hearts
Sunday, December 16 Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10; Luke 1:47-55; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11 WITH EACH Sunday of Advent, it is as though the Spirit brings us deeper into the Presence by bringing us closer to having our feet on the ground,...
Politics of Fear
AT A DARK MOMENT in American history, Franklin Roosevelt said to the American people: "Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to .convert...
Senator Probes Finances of Televangelists
A PROMINENT U.S. senator is seeking financial information from some of the biggest names among Pentecostal and charismatic TV ministries following "complaints from the public" and news reports of possible money mismanagement. Senator Chuck Grassley...
Sold into Slavery: The Scourge of Human Trafficking
THOSE WHO WANT to make lots of money and don't care about breaking the law to do it have three main options: they can deal in drugs, deal in guns or deal in humans beings. Of these dubious but lucrative businesses, trafficking in humans is the fastest...
Vatican Leader, Others Call Global Christian Forum Vital Innovation
A senior Vatican official says the Roman Catholic Church welcomes the start of the Global Christian Forum--a new body intended to bring together the diverse strands of Christianity as never before. "When Christians are divided, the preaching of...
What You're Looking For
A CHURCH SERVICE called the U2charist would seem like liberal Protestantism at its worst: take music from a band that was cutting-edge over two decades ago, sprinkle some religiosity on top and try to reach hip younger people. I went expecting the...