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. 122, No. 3, February 8

A Great Leveler: Sri Lanka's Factions Deal with the Tsunami
WHEN NADARAJAH Arulnathan visits his church at Pasikudah, he puts on a surgical mask because along the way he must pass rotting bodies tangled in the underbrush. They can't be removed because of the landmines, washed loose from a nearby military base...
Cemetry Picnic
Sunday, February 13 Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 CHANG LEE survived two brutal wars in his mother country, Korea. He lived through the dangers posed by Japanese bombs, Chinese howitzers, North Korean minefields and American carbines. But he did not survive...
Christian Right Leader Says It's Payback Time
Tony Perkins sits in a state-of-the art studio at the Family Research Council's headquarters in Washington, firing questions at new Louisiana Senator David Vitter for a weekly radio show broadcast over 150 stations nationwide. Perkins praises Vitter...
Dark Secret
IN THE WOODSMAN, Kevin Bacon plays Walter Rossworth, a pedophile who, having served a 12-year prison sentence, tries to settle down to a normal life. His sister has disowned him, but his brother-in-law (Benjamin Bratt) remains friendly. He has a tough...
Demonizing Israel, Whitewashing Terrorism: A Response by Ira Youdovin
THE PCUSA General Assembly's declaration of economic warfare against the state of Israel asserts that "the Occupation [is] at the root of evil acts committed against innocent people." This is the religious premise on which PCUSA's divestment campaign...
Divestment Strategy Is Unwise, Ineffective: A Response by Barbara Wheeler
THE DECISION of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to take steps that could lead to divestment of the church's holdings in companies doing business in Israel caused consternation among Jewish organizations and their leaders, here...
ELCA Calls for Some Leeway on Gay Clergy
THEY UNLOCKED the closet door, but they haven't opened it," wryly commented a retired Lutheran bishop on his church's much-awaited report on homosexuality. A task force in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, noting file strongly held differences...
Episcopal Bishops Remain Defiant on Gay Bishop's Election
The bishops of the Episcopal Church have formally apologized for the "pain, hurt and damage" caused by the consecration of an openly gay bishop but stopped short of saying the action was wrong. The bishops' collective response was the first to a...
Home Security
SPEAK OF nightmares! I dreamed that on a below-zero day my garage-door opener failed. Bundling myself in down until I looked like a Green Bay Packer fan, I braved the wind and went in through a side door. I had to remember how to pull the rope for...
I Protest, Therefore I Believe
AT A DINNER in honor of a prominent guest, I was seated next to a woman who works for CBS. The tsunami had just struck off the coast of Sumatra with all its destructive force, and we were talking about the magnitude of desolation, the plight of the...
Judge Bans Stickers Questioning Evolution
Civil liberties groups are praising a federal judge's decision to ban textbook stickers that notify public school students that evolution is a "theory, not a fact." The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia sued the Cobb County School District...
Marias Full of Grace
Sunday, February 20 Genesis 12:1-4a; Matthew 17:1-9 NOW THE LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.... So Abram went ... [and] built there an altar [Schechem] to the Lord...
Money, Morals & Israel: An Exchange: The Presbyterian Case for Divesting from Israel
CHURCHES HAVE BEEN practicing corporate divestment for a long time--long before the recent decision by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to consider divestment from certain companies doing business in Israel. The practice began with churches" refusal...
Necessary Conversation
I LIKE TO THINK of the CHRISTIAN CENTURY as offering a lively conversation about faith and the issues of our time. This issue contains a three-part conversation, and each of the writers--Vernon Broyles, Barbara Wheeler and Ira Youdovin--is a respected...
Occupation Is the Issue: A Reply by Vernon Broyles
BARBARA WHEELER opens her critique by saying, "Divestment is a strategy that can be effective only if widely adopted." While there is some truth to that, it does not and should not, in and of itself, deter actions of conscience by either individuals...
Pastors Poll: Graham Is 'Most Influential'
Although illness and age have slowed him, evangelist Billy Graham is considered by Protestant senior pastors to be the most influential Christian figure and most trusted spokesperson for the faith, reports the Barna Group pollsters. Pastor-author...
Pastor Takes Bush's Attendance in Stride
Episcopal Rector Luis Leon, a priest who looks out at George and Laura Bush in the pews occasionally, says he treats President Bush just like any other parishioner at the historic St. John's Church, which is just a short walk from the White House....
Pine Seed Angel: Backyard Tidings
WHEN MY PARENTS bought their home in Marshall, Texas, in 1984, there were 96 mature trees on their one-acre lot, many of them towering pines that rise 75 feet or more from the ground, covering their house with a peaceful green canopy. These giant pines...
Stuck in Darfur: Refugees Are 'Like Hens in Cages'
ON MY LAST night in Nyala, in southern Darfur, convoys of combat-ready security forces circled the streets of the city, which has become part fortress, part camp for the displaced, and part home for dozens of international humanitarian groups. In the...
The Antimuseum: Indian History without a Guide
THE NEW National Museum of the American Indian has become one of Washington, D.C.'s major tourist attractions. According to its own statements, the museum is "breathtaking ... a truly Native place." Yet not all observers are impressed. In a devastating...
To Whom to Donate? Check Charitywatch
Churchgoers and other charitable givers eager to aid tsunami victims in South Asia have often sent money to well-known agencies or those linked to their religious affiliation. When charities seek follow-up gifts, and ask that donors not forget needy...
Up against Caesar: Jesus and Paul versus the Empire
THE "KINGDOM" OF God and "gospel" are usually thought of as terms unique to Christianity. And who else but Jesus was called not only "the son of God" but 'also "Lord" and "Savior"? In fact, say biblical experts, these terms and concepts were already...
What Crisis? Social Security Has Been a Means by Which a Mobile, Fragmented Modern Society Has Honored Its Elders
IF THE STAFF at the CHRISTIAN CENTURY is any indication, most younger Americans don't expect much from Social Security. When the subject came up at lunch, all of the 20- and 30-somethings said they assume that they will have to pay into the system,...