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. 129, No. 10, May 16

Aussie Christians
For three centuries, the British Empire took the lead in the global expansion of Christianity. It seems startling, then, that in the modem world a British background appears to be closely correlated to extreme secularism. Britain itself is one of...
Criminal Injustice: Michelle Alexander on Racism and Incarceration
IN HER 2010 BOOK The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander examines the practices and policies that have quintupled the US. prison population over the past 40 years. She argues that these...
Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey Created by Julian Fellowes Starring Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith and 3im Carter I've been telling everyone who'll listen how great Downton Abbey is," I said in a sermon that was technically about evangelism....
In and of the World: Why There Is No Christian 'Community'
CONGREGATIONAL STUDIES show that congregations differ, often quite intensely and extensively, in their life and language and in what they do and thus in their understanding of, say, the meanings of the word God. To say this is not merely to make the...
Investing in Palestinians
HOW CAN THE CHURCHES acknowledge the complexity of the political challenges in the Middle East? How can Christians support Palestinian brothers and sisters in faith who are caught in that complexity and have endured four decades of Israeli occupation...
Investment, Not Divestment
MANY U.S. denominations have partner churches in the Holy Land. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, for example, has a strong commitment to "accompany" the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Given the relationship that...
In Woolf's Footsteps
IN THE SPRING, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer famously wrote, humans long to travel. Once the flowers bloom and the birds take up their song again--and, we might add, once we have shucked off our heavy coats and put away the snow shovel--"than longen folk...
Is Benedict Returning to Rote as Enforcer?
As Pope Benedict XVI marked his seventh anniversary as pope last month, many Catholics were wondering if the pontiff is finally becoming the doctrinal enforcer that some feared--and others hoped--he would be when he was elected in 2005. The questions...
Jeremiah: Pain and Promise
Jeremiah: Pain and Promise By Kathleen M. O'Connor Fortress, 192 pp., $49.00 It is a truism that the questions we ask of the biblical text determine in some great measure what the text will yield. Or in more critical terms, it matters decisively...
Les Enfants Magnifiques
Bringing Up Bebe One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting By Pamela Druckerman Penguin, 304 pp., $25.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I confessed my anxiety about the blessed...
Money Movers
REDISTRIBUTE My Work Ethic," a bumper sticker recently exhorted those of us driving north on Chicago's Tri-State Tollway. The slogan probably owes its existence to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign run-in with "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher (now Joe the...
One Psalm, Two Causes and Two Meanings
Saralee Howard remembers the woman who walked into the Shared Pregnancy Women's Center in Lansing, Michigan, last year and asked for an ultrasound even though she was leaning toward an abortion. Howard sat with her during the ultrasound, and together...
Opening Up about Sex
The statistics, some evangelicals say, can no longer be ignored. Eighty percent of young evangelicals have engaged in premarital sex, according to a new video from the National Association of Evangelicals, and almost a third of evangelicals' unplanned...
Reflections on the Lectionary:
Sunday, May 20 Acts 1:1, 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19 THE TEXTS FOR this week are challenging. The Gospel reading, an excerpt from Jesus' high priestly prayer, is difficult to read aloud. It feels awkward to eavesdrop on Jesus' intimate moments...
Repentant 'Hatchet Man,' Colson Was Evangelical Icon
Charles W. Colson, the Watergate felon who became an evangelical icon and born-again advocate for prisoners, died April 21 after a brief illness. He was 80. Despite an early reputation as a cutthroat "hatchet man" for President Richard M. Nixon,...
SBC to Probe Land's Remarks on Trayvon Martin
Southern Baptist leaders will investigate whether their top ethicist and public policy director plagiarized racially charged remarks about the Trayvon Martin case that many say set back the denomination's efforts on racial reconciliation. Richard...
Study Finds No Evidence Death Penalty Deters Crime
IN THE MORE than three decades since the national moratorium on the death penalty was lifted, no reliable research has emerged on whether capital punishment has served as a deterrent, according to a review by the National Research Council. The review,...
The Deep Blue Sea
The Deep Blue Sea Directed by Terence Davies Starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale Readers of a certain age may remember "women's pictures," those four-hankie weepies from the 1940s and '50s that starred such luminaries...
The Future of Christianity: Reflections on Violence and Democracy, Religion and Secularization
The Future of Christianity: Reflections on Violence and Democracy, Religion and Secularization By David Martin Ashgate, 240 pp., $29.95 paperback David Martin concludes his introduction to this book--perhaps the best introductory mapping I...
The Price of Prisons
Americans seem to relish putting their fellow citizens behind bars. The numbers are staggering: though the U.S. has only 6 percent of the world's population, it has 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Whereas the median incarceration rate among all...
Unsettled Issues: The Protestant-Catholic Impasse
PROTESTANT AND Roman Catholic Christians recently celebrated Easter, the most important festival of the Christian year. But they did not celebrate it together--at least not at the level of shared communion. Protestant Christians who show up at a...
Young Adults Turn Away from Religious Adherence
A growing tide of young Americans is drifting away from the religions of their childhood--and many are ending up in no religion at all. One in four young adults choose "unaffiliated" when asked about their religion, according to a report from the...