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. 126, No. 22, November 3

As Envoy to Vatican, Hispanic Theologian Will Stress Collaboration
The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, who was nominated to the post in late May and was easily approved by the Senate, met the press recently in Rome for the first time--and showed some diplomatic skill. Miguel H. Diaz received a group of ten...
Biblically Challenged
COMEDIAN JAY LENO has gotten lots of mileage out of exposing general ignorance, including biblical ignorance. He'll ask passersby a question such as "On the first day of creation, God said, 'Let there be--'" and people will respond: "Urn, peace!" Or...
Black Pentecostal Church Backs Health-Care Reform, Including Public Option
The presiding bishop of the historically black Church of God in Christ, one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the U.S., has announced that its leadership supports the White House healthcare reform proposals, including an optional government-run...
Bright Star
Written and directed by Jane Campion. Starring Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw. Bright Star is a die-hard romantic's romance, eschewing tawdriness in favor of shy smiles, stolen glances and soft kisses. It helps, of course, that half of its pas...
Care at the End
After rumors circulated that President Obama's health-care reform would institute "death panels" for the elderly, Congress quickly abandoned any effort to address end-of-life issues in health-care legislation. It didn't matter that the rumor-mongering...
Churches: Human Failures Caused Manila Floods
PHILIPPINE CHURCH leaders have blamed "man's sins" of neglect as the cause of massive floods in September following a tropical storm that claimed more than 240 lives and adversely affected almost 2 million people. The floods submerged most of metropolitan...
Deaths
Forrest Church, one of the nation's best-known Unitarian Universalist pastors, died September 24 after a three-year battle with cancer that shaped his final years of ministry into an extended reflection on death and dying. Church, 61, had been pastor...
Final Verses
JOHN UPDIKE'S DEATH in January left a giant hole in my reading life. He chronicled American culture during my lifetime in a way that I always found lucid and smart. He seemed to know about everything, from Scren Kierkegaard to Ted Williams. And I simply...
High Court Declines to Hear Two Church Cases
On the opening day of the U.S. Supreme Court's fall term, the high court announced that it will not intervene in two prominent church-state cases, one involving a Catholic diocese in Connecticut and the other a former Episcopal parish in southern California....
'Justification' Pact Marked with Eye on New Divisions
With embraces, hymns and common prayer, Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist leaders recalled joyfully the pact made a decade ago that ended a centuries-old division over a key church doctrine. Vows were made at a Chicago service to seek greater unity--even...
Magdalene, Inc
GWEN OPENS the circle session at nine a.m. on a Monday morning with a reading from Alcoholics Anonymous' Blue Book. The theme is powerlessness, and Gwen reads in a halting voice. Her audience is a group of women who've come to work here in an old parsonage...
Mass Appeal in Brazil
At first glimpse, Marcelo Rossi is a textbook example of the pastor as showman. A handsome, stylish man in his early forties, he leads a flourishing Sao Paulo congregation legendary for its music. He dances during worship, performing "the Lord's aerobics."...
Reflections on the on the Lectionary
Sunday, November 8 Mark 12:38-40 HAVE YOU GOT good religion? Enslaved Africans in the antebellum South asked this question when they created a spiritual that offers a poignant and penetrating perspective on the state of Western Christianity. The...
Reluctant Pilgrim
SINCE ANCIENT times, travelers have journeyed to sites of religious significance in order to deepen their faith. But I've never been much of a pilgrim. I was raised a Pentecostal, and in one regard our brand of faith was very modern: unlike most premodern...
Sermon in Stone
I WENT TO LUBECK, Germany, this summer to explore my recently discovered Jewish roots. My grandfather built a successful ironworks plant in Lubeck and lived there until he and my grandmother were sent to the concentration camp where he died. I wanted...
Some Lutherans Consider Cutting ELCA Ties
A group of Lutherans upset over the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's recent decision to allow qualified noncelibate gays to serve as clergy voted to create a freestanding synod and to study for a year whether to leave the denomination. "Basically,...
Teaching the Stories
FRESH OUT OF graduate school, in my first faculty appointment as a professor of English, I was invited to teach an undergraduate course on "The Bible as Literature." I've never stopped teaching it. For over three decades I have had the privilege of...
The Other Jewish Lobby
JUST OVER A YEAR OLD, J Street is a lobbying organization in Washington that describes itself as "pro-Israel, pro-peace." It aims to offer an alternative perspective to that of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which for decades has been...
Turning Points
It is by living and dying that one becomes a theologian, Martin Luther said. With that comment in mind, we have resumed a CENTURY series published at intervals since 1939 and asked theologians to reflect on their own struggles, disappointments, questions...