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. 8, April 18

A Fair Tax
AMERICANS ARE, or at least claim to be, a Christian people. Almost 80 percent of us, including President Bush, practice Christianity in some form. Bush has openly stated that Jesus is his favorite philosopher and that "we ought to love our neighbor...
Afghan Christian Averts Death for Apostasy as Italy Grants Asylum
After a week of intense lobbying by Western governments for his release, Abdul Rahman, an Afghan who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity, arrived in Italy, where he received political asylum. Religious conservatives...
Being Benedict: The Pope's First Year
LATE IN HIS LIFE, Karl Barth invited a young Catholic theologian to join his theology seminar. Frederick Lawrence, one of the students in the seminar, remembers the visitor as a "handsome young priest with graying hair, of medium build and slender...
Biker Wedding
The early Christians were not people of standing, but they had a secret power among them, and the secret power resulted from the way in which they were members of one another. --Elton Trueblood I'VE PERFORMED more wedding ceremonies than I can...
Canadian Priests, Nuns Rap Vatican's Rigidity
Mincing few words, an umbrella group representing 22,000 Roman Catholic monks, nuns and priests in Canada's religious orders has challenged the "intransigent" stands of the Vatican on such issues as divorce, contraception and homosexuality. "We...
Death of a People: Caught in the Crossfire, the People of Northern Uganda Are Victimized by Both the Government and the Rebels
THE WORST PLACE on earth to be a child today is northern Uganda. The suffering is far worse than in Darfur in duration, magnitude and long-term consequences. Genocide is being carried out by the government against the Acholi people. The population...
Do They like Me?
ONE NIGHT over burgers and some libation, a seminary classmate declared, "Theology and exegesis won't matter once you're in the parish. All that will matter is whether you work hard, and whether they like you or not." The rest of us scoffed, but now...
Georgia May OK School Bible Classes
Georgia's legislature, with both major parties approving, has overwhelmingly passed a bill to fund elective Bible courses in public high schools. When Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill on Bible literacy this year to show that the issue is not...
Inhuman Behavior: A Chaplain's View of Torture
THE HISTORIAN Arnold Toynbee called war "an act of religious worship." Appropriately, when most people enter the cathedral of violence, their voices become hushed. This silence, this reluctance to speak, is based in part on not wishing to trivialize...
Living by the Word: Eating at Easter
Sunday, April 30 Luke 24:36b-48 THE RISEN CHRIST breaks bread in Emmaus and then eats fish in Jerusalem. Easter, or at least the first Easter as Luke describes it, is not as much about an empty tomb as about food. Jesus spends Easter Day eating....
Living by the Word: Groping in Darkness
Sunday, April 23 1 John 1:1-2:2 I SHUDDER WHEN I'm reminded that it is painful for someone with dark skin to hear that "God is light, and in God there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Being legally blind, I know firsthand that to walk in the...
Mainline Worries about Dearth of Young Pastors
At the end of April, a new TV ad financed by the Episcopal Church will show 30-something Paige Blair of Maine talking casually about how during tough times, church provides her "some solace and perspectives that help me understand, reconcile and forgive."...
Modern Martyrs
IF, AS TERTULLIAN TAUGHT, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, in a liberal society church growth has to find its inspiration elsewhere. Western society was built partly on the premise that people shouldn't have to suffer for their faith....
Passion Play
"The secret of life is that it is a passion play." --Holmes Rolston AT PRESTON, Minnesota, the South Branch of the Root River meets the highway. There I am greeted by the town's "Welcome to Preston" sign, which the Prestonians have affixed to...
Pop Trealise
Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. --Barry Goldwater (with thanks to Thomas Paine) Blowing up a building can change the world. --V THE NOTION that terrorist acts may be...
Road Rage
SIXTEEN TOY Model A Fords greet me each day in my study. In the 1927 model, modest headlights are connected by a straight bar. Its symbolic straight face is noncommittal. I carry no nightmare images from childhood confrontations with such autos. By...
Shame on Us
I AM UNAPOLOGETICALLY patriotic by temperament and upbringing. I sing the national anthem at Wrigley Field, get chills when the navy's Blue Angels roar overhead at the Chicago Air Show, and fly the flag on the Fourth of July. I spent some time in the...
Three Hostages Freed; Their Iraq Mission Praised, Criticized
Church leaders in many parts of the world, including General Secretary Samuel Kobia of the World Council of Churches, expressed relief and joy at the freeing of three members of Christian Peacemaker Teams held hostage in Iraq. In a daring morning...
Under the Influence
JOHN MEARSHEIMER, an expert in international relations at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, academic dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, have issued what United Press International calls "a seating attack on...
Unfinished Gospel? Mark's Enigmatic Ending
So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.--Mark 16:8 AT THE END of the Gospel of Mark, three women come to Jesus' grave, where they encounter a young...
Widest-Ever Ecumenical Forum
WITH TWO historically black churches now on board, the nation's largest ecumenical vehicle--Christian Churches Together U.S.A.--is ready to roll. After being stalled nearly a year ago, the steering committee pulled all the pieces together at a closed-door...