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. 124, No. 5, March 6

Alien Witness: How God's People Challenge Empire
FOR COMPLEX historical and religious reasons, Americans have found it easy to view the U.S. as the "new Israel," the carrier of God's mandates in the world. This view has led to an expansive notion of the nation's "manifest destiny" and to all manner...
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Animal Friends
DEVOTEES OF children's literature have received an unexpected lift from the nearly simultaneous release of the new film of Charlotte's Web, based on the story by E. B. White, and Miss Potter, a biography of Peter Rabbit's creator, Beatrix Potter. Each...
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A Way of Seeing
A FEW WEEKS AGO, oppressed by some worrying news, I stopped into our college art museum. On the floor devoted to American and modern European paintings, I paused to admire Charles Sheeler's Rolling Power, a close-up of train wheels, pistons and steam...
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Episcopal Church Given Deadline to Bar Gay Bishops Definitively
Anglican leaders from around the world have told the Episcopal Church's bishops they must declare unequivocally that they will not authorize same-sex blessings and that no one living in a same-sex union will be made a bishop. Failure to give such...
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Family Reunion
THE multidenominational Christian Churches Together in the USA has just about got it together--enough at least for a small celebration. From Catholic and Orthodox bishops to Protestant and Pentecostal clergy, representatives of 36 church bodies meeting...
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Fleeing Iraq
ONE OF THE lesser-known calamities of the Iraq war is the flood of refugees it has produced. According to United Nations officials, about 2 million Iraqis have fled the country since the start of the war--mostly to Jordan and Syria--and almost as many...
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Graveside Hope: A Passion for Funeral Ministry
WHEN I TELL OTHER PASTORS that I hate weddings and love funerals, they smile knowingly. Of course, the dark humor rings true with them--every pastor I know can tell a "wedding from hell" story, and all pastors can think of a few funerals at which they'd...
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Haggard's Cure Claim Greeted by Skepticism
Claims by one of Ted Haggard's spiritual overseers that he is now "100 percent heterosexual" should be taken with a significant grain of salt, according to experts with differing opinions on the value of "ex-gay" or sexual-reorientation therapy. ...
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Jerusalem Mayor Halts Ramp Renovation, but Disputed Dig Goes On
The mayor of Jerusalem has suspended renovations near a compound housing the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, while the municipality works on submitting new plans for a walkway leading to the holy site. Mayor Uri Lupolianski announced the suspension...
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Living by the Word: Heaven Scent
Sunday, March 25 John 12:1-18 WHAT DOES GOD'S LOVE smell like? Like honeysuckle on a warm spring day? Like a salty ocean breeze? Can God's love also smell like a person who hasn't bathed for days? For the people in the story in John 12, God's love...
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Living by the Word: Winning Situation
Sunday, March 18 Joshua 5:9-12; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 AS WE MOVE deeper into Lent and its emphasis on repentance, spiritual introspection, self-examination and self-denial, many of us choose to practice Lenten disciplines. If we have become involved...
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Off-Road Ministry: What I Learned from Mountain Biking
FOR FIVE YEARS, from 1997 to 2002, I was pastor of a congregation of mostly 20- and 30-somethings, a group some would call postmodern or--though this term appeared later--"emergent." Spirit Garage, the "church with the really big door," was born in...
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Presbyterian Dissidents Find Church Refuge
DOZENS OF church representatives of a movement of people unhappy inside the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have voted unanimously to pursue possible refuge within the conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which proposes to establish a temporary,...
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Reshelving
THIS WINTER I had occasion to caress every one of my thousands of books, kiss thousands of them good-bye as I downsized my library, and decide which to save and which to give away. Reflection at such times can turn sentimental, as finding a long-buried...
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Rise and Fall?
GARY DORRIEN'S "Grand illusion" (Dec. 26) presents the costs, present and future, of U.S. military operations. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is just one example of the burden of empire and the cost of security, financial and human. I was...
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Ruling to Remove Gay Pastor May Rekindle Lutheran Debate
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America may be asked to change a ban on practicing gay and lesbian clergy after a disciplinary committee voted to remove an openly gay pastor but suggested that the church find a way to reinstate him. The ruling...
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Stage Fright
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, the youth leader of our church would occasionally ask for someone to give a testimony during the worship service. All the kids would get quiet, shuffle their feet and squirm. For some reason I would feel the responsibility of the...
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The 'I' in Sermons
I AM NEVER quite sure what postmodernity is, but I was struck by Pamela Fickenscher's delightful essay on postmodern ministry (p. 20) and especially by her observations about preaching: "While many traditions have taught preachers to leave the 'I'...
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Unsportsmanlike Conduct
CHAD MASON, Mennonite pastor and self-described "gun-loving pacifist," made a strong and--to some readers--persuasive argument for hunting in "Armed and defenseless" (June 27, 2006). But there is one kind of hunting that Mason would, I suspect, strongly...
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