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. 128, No. 20, October 4

A 'Model Minority' Blends in Normal Mormons
THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently noted an uptick in the media's use of the word cult to describe Mormonism, even in august publications such as the New York Times and the Economist. It is probably...
Another Earth
Another Earth Directed and co-written by Mike Cahill Starring and co-written by Brit Marling Screenwriters love genre pieces because they provide definition and structure. When all else fails, scribes can always fall back on their audience's...
At Church of Beethoven, Music Is the Message
"Music," Ludwig van Beethoven said, "is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life." Transcending dogma, creed, culture and even language, music has the power to elevate the soul as well as the mind. It's the source of a type of faith...
Caregivers' Calling
MY FATHER WAS diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the age of 80. Shortly after he received the diagnosis, I sat with him at the kitchen table. With a look of despair on his face, he said, "I don't know how I've let this happen to me." I tried to...
Catholics Tune out Bishops' Voting Guides
Every four years, the U.S. Catholic bishops publish a detailed statement about how Catholics should think about key political issues in light of church teachings. And every election cycle, activists on both sides of the Catholic political spectrum...
Do You Love People? A Question for Pastors
THE LAST question the pastor asked was "Peter, do you love people?" He was interviewing me for my first parish assignment and was about 30 years older than I was. The question unsettled me. It seemed disingenuous. It felt like a patronizing trap. I...
Hurricane Effect: Worshiping through the Storm
MOST CHURCHES in the New York area closed down as Hurricane Irene approached. This made sense. We were in what the news reports called the "cone of uncertainty," so there was no way to know what the hurricane might bring on Sunday morning. The mayor...
Interfaith Worship Doubles in Decade, but Remains Low
Interfaith worship services have doubled in the decade since the 9/11 attacks, according to a new study, even though more than seven in ten U.S. congregations do not associate with other faiths. The survey released September 7 by an interfaith group...
Mouw Hopes for Compromise, Connections in PCUSA Future
Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary and current president of the Association of Theological Schools, has written about the importance of public civility as well as dialogue between Christians of differing views. In August he spoke...
Ordination Season
SUMMERTIME IS a season of blessing, not least because so many ordinations happen then. Strung like jewels through the Sundays of June, July and August, ordinations shine out of the summer calendar like appointments highlighted by hope. This summer...
Pastor as Witness
Kevin J. Long is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He serves as associate pastor at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church in suburban Indianapolis, where his responsibilities include preaching, adult discipleship and pastoral care. What...
Poll: Muslim Americans Lean to Moderate Views
Almost half the nation's estimated 2.8 million Muslims fault their leaders for not speaking out against Islamic extremists, but a vast majority are far more satisfied than Americans overall with the way things are going in this country, according to...
Preaching for a Decision
IN HIS ESSAY in this issue (p. 10), Lutheran pastor Peter Marty recalls a question he was asked during an interview for his first parish assignment. The question bothered him at the time, but it's one he kept pondering. His recollection reminded me...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, October 9 Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14 IF YOU WRESTLE with this Matthean parable through the night, it'll leave you limping by morning. Martin Luther didn't like preaching on it, and worshipers in early October won't be in the mood...
Student of Leadership Tapped to Take Reins at Gordon College
For the past decade, sociologist D. Michael Lindsay has been living the very phenomenon he's studied: evangelicals climbing the ranks of secular institutions and becoming American elites. Yet in a surprise move, the 39-year-old has traded a tenure-track...
The Belgian Girl Adele Brisse Sees the Madonna in the Woods, 1858
Between a maple and a hemlock, she told people, the sort of detail That makes you believe she saw what she said she saw. There was A blinding light that slowly assumed form, she said. The Lady had Auburn hair, another one of those details that gives...
The Dutch Bible Belt
I am writing these words in the heart of the Bible Belt. I'm in a small town that is traditionally pious but has swelled in recent years with the infusion of well-educated commuters who have left the nearby big city to escape crime and immorality....
Ways of Remembering
It's been said there are two kinds of suffering: one kind leads to more suffering, the other kind puts an end to it. The attacks of 9/11 were an instance of the first kind of suffering, for they quickly led to more suffering. They led, specifically,...