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. 127, No. 4, February 23

Bible Citations Will Be Taken off Weapons
After a firestorm of complaints arose from both believers and atheists, a Michigan military contractor said it will remove encoded scripture references on the gun sights it builds for the U.S. military. "Trijicon has proudly served the U.S. military...
Bridge Work: Eboo Patel, Interfaith Activist
IN 1998, when he was 22, Eboo Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core (spelled "core" because it seeks to be the heart of a larger movement), which now has a presence on 140 college campuses. When the IFYC held its first national conference, 60 people...
Christian Claims: How My Mind Has Changed
WHEN I WAS in the doctoral program of Yale's Religious Studies Department in the early 1980s (working primarily with Hans Frei, George Lindbeck and Louis Dupre), the main worries of theologians and philosophers of religion were methodological in nature:...
Church-State Disconnect
Even after a century of Christian expansion worldwide, Europe still matters immensely in the map of the faith. According to the World Christian Database, Europe--including Russia-has 580 million Christian believers, which is more than a quarter of...
Cities, Churches Tussle over Landmark Status
When a church is deemed no longer viable and is ordered to be closed, who gets to decide what happens to the building? Catholic dioceses in Ohio and Massachusetts are resisting moves by local officials to apply landmark designations to shuttered...
Enough about Me: There Is No 'I' in Preach
THE COMBINATION IS TOXIC, a perfect homiletical storm. A recent seminary graduate comes to her first parish, moving halfway across the country with her fiance soon to follow. Sermon after sermon includes a story about a seminary classmate, about how...
Eric Rohmer, 1920-2010
To those who frequented small, dingy art houses in the 1970s and 1980s, the death of Eric Rohmer in January meant that a film artist of the first rank has faded to black. Rohmer was a member of the celebrated French New Wave in cinema that included...
Fear of Flying
TWO DAYS AFTER a young man tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit, I flew with my family from Tel Aviv to Boston via Rome. The day was full of long lines, bomb-sniffing dogs, the opening and searching of overfull suitcases and the struggles to close...
Forgive Haitian Debt, Religious Leaders Urge
APPEALS FOR the world's banking leaders to cancel the remaining foreign debt owed by earthquake-devastated Haiti were made in late January by the leader of the World Council of Churches and by a newly founded alliance of U.S. Christian leaders. ...
German Protestant Leader Opposes Afghanistan War
Germany's senior Protestant bishop, Margot Kassmann, who has criticized her nation's military strategy in Afghanistan since giving a New Year sermon in which she said that weapons were "clearly not creating peace" there, has recently drawn support...
John, 'The Jews' and Us
A RECURRING CHALLENGE for preachers, teachers and readers of the Gospel of John is making sense of its references to "the Jews." At Jesus' sentencing Pilate goes "out to the Jews" to tell them that he finds no reason to crucify Jesus (18:38). After...
Living by the Word
Sunday, February 28 Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Luke 13:31-35 IT TURNS OUT that the center of the Milky Way may smell like rum and taste a bit like raspberries. Ethyl formate, one of the molecules that gives raspberries their flavor and rum its smell,...
Love That Changes Minds
THE DAY AFTER Christmas holds many possibilities for pastors, most of them involving the word rest. I do not typically book office hours on this day. Four years ago proved to be an exception. Bob and Linda called on Christmas Day, requesting an appointment....
Middle East Church Group Backs Women's Ordination
Representatives of Middle Eastern Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed churches have voted unanimously in favor of the ordination of women as pastors. "This is historic," said Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan after the January 12 decision of the Fellowship...
Movie Exptores Discords within Darwin's Family
Heated debate. Loss of faith. Religious discord. Questions about death, the universe and our place in it. According to a new film, Charles Darwin wrestled with those issues as the implications of his theory of evolution became clear for society...
On a Mission with the Last Copy of KJV Bible
The Bible plays a starring role in The Book of Eli, a postapocalyptic action film starring Denzel Washington that opened in mid-January. A two-time Academy Award winner known in Hollywood for his Christian beliefs, Washington portrays a lone warrior...
On Music
Thousand Foot Krutch shows admirable ambition on Welcome to the Masquerade, deftly juggling metal, pop, rap and post-grunge. The trio mostly succeeds in making it all appealing, and the album's sound is ultimately more inventive than derivative--this...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, March 7 Isaiah 55:19; Luke 13:1-9 REPENT OR PERISH. I've worked my entire career to avoid using this phrase from Luke 13:5. I've been afraid that if the Christian message is reduced to these three words, people will hear in them only an...
Seminaries under Pressure
If church leaders had the chance to fashion a seminary from scratch, what would it look like? Would it have its own campus? Would it be tied to a denomination or be fully ecumenical? Would the classical academic subjects be taught and, if so, how would...
Shepherds in Training
SEMINARIES GENERALLY do a fine job of educating the minds of people who are called into ministry. But how well do they form the hearts and spirits of those people? Do seminaries build leaders who are servants of Christ? Gordon Cosby, longtime pastor...
The Descending Ladder: An Interview with Gordon Cosby
AFTER SERVING as a chaplain in World War II, Gordon Cosby wanted to create a church that helped people truly become disciples of Christ. Since the 1940s, the Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C., has called people to spiritual discipline and to...
The Listening Place
AN 18TH-CENTURY painting of a Quaker meeting hangs in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It shows a figure, perhaps George Fox himself, standing and speaking with such passion that his hand is clutching his breast. Around him are gathered the Society...
The White Ribbon
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The White Ribbon Written and directed by Michael Haneke Starring Burghart Kaubner, Ulrich Tukur and Susanne Lothar The films of Austrian director Michael Haneke offer no easy answers. Haneke presents the time, place,...
Tiller's Murderer Faces Life in Jail
A man who by his own testimony sought chances to kill Dr. George Tiller, one of the few U.S. physicians who perform late-term abortions, was quickly convicted of murder in a Kansas trial. The outcome was welcomed by prochoice groups and by most established...
Urgency and Caution in Adopting Haitian Orphans
Alicia Swaringen of Eugene, Oregon, received heart-swelling news the morning after the deadly January 12 earthquake in Haiti: Sthainder, the four-year-old boy she planned to adopt, was safe. And then it hit her. The adoption paperwork, amassed over...