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. 8, April 18

Anxious in Palestine
OUR BUS STOPPED at a checkpoint, and Israeli soldiers boarded with M-16s slung over their shoulders. The soldiers couldn't have been older than 20. I sat quietly in my seat, held up my passport and wondered what it does to a young soul to be so familiar...
A Separation
A Separation Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi Starring Leila Hatarni, Peyrnan Moadi, Sareh Bayat and Shahab Hosseini While A Separation is the first Iranian movie ever to win the Oscar for best foreign-language film, Iran has been a...
As Rowan Williams Retires, Guesses on Successor Rise
When Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced suddenly in mid-March that he will step down at the end of 2012, a short list of prospective successors swiftly began to circulate. Williams, 61, has led the Church of England and the world's...
Behold the Hippo: A Zoologist Sings the Doxology
I AM A BOY SCIENTIST (even though my boyhood began seven decades ago) whose love for creatures was stirred in church, especially in song. There my parents, friends and I sang, "Let every creature rise and bring peculiar honors to their King." Each...
Betrayal of the Faithful
Lest there be any confusion, I am no relation to Jerry Jenkins, who, with Tim LaHaye, published the staggeringly successful series of Left Behind novels some years ago. These books are set in a post-Rapture world in which a heroic band of Tribulation...
Blacks Say Atheists Were Unseen Civil Rights Heroes
Think of the civil rights movement and chances are the image that comes to mind is of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the 1963 March on Washington. But few people think of A. Philip Randolph, a labor organizer who originated the idea of...
Crunching the Numbers
THOUGH GIVING to religion in the U.S. topped $100 billion in 2010--putting it at nearly I percent of GDP--no monthly index charts the nation's leading religious indicators. Even the Census Bureau, the nation's most comprehensive data-gathering enterprise,...
Devil's Ink: Blog from the Basement Office
Devil's Ink: Blog from the Basement Office By Jeffrey C. Pugh Fortress, 192 pp., $11.95 paperback The Devil Wears Nada: Satan Exposed! By Tripp York Cascade, 164 pp., $19.00 paperback Jeffrey C. Pugh and Tripp York are Facebook friends....
Forced Exits Erode Clergy Morale
They are called "clergy killers"-congregations in which a small group of members are so disruptive that no pastor is able to maintain spiritual leadership for long. Ministers often endure the stresses of these dysfunctional relationships for months,...
Gathering Those Driven Away: A Theology of Incarnation
Gathering Those Driven Away: A Theology of Incarnation By Wendy Farley Westminster John Knox, 256 pp., $30.00 paperback A few friends gather on Christmas Eve, sharing the joy of the season. Women tell stories that reveal the depths of pain...
God of Wholeness
Healing in the Bible: Theological Insight for Christian Ministry By Frederick J. Gaiser Baker Academic, 288 pp., $27.00 paperback [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Healing has almost dropped out of the so-called health-care debate, drowned out by...
In Pursuit of Silence: My Annual Sojourn into the Sinai Desert
EVERY FALL I go to the Sinai Desert--that small triangle of rock and sand that pushes down between Africa and Saudi Arabia. Once upon a geological time it lay under a warm shallow sea, and the water carved the sandstone into extraordinary dreamlike...
Life after Resurrection
FOR THE FIRST TIME in decades I did not preach on Easter Sunday, so I didn't have the homiletical challenge of telling a familiar story in a way that conveys its startling power. Instead I'm thinking more about what it means to live in a world where...
Missing Winter: Notes from the Farm
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AS I WAS DRIVING the few miles to our neighbor's farm to buy some of their organic pork and eggs, I passed through a mini-snowstorm. The whole sky was heavy and gray, except for one patch of blue in the north. And it was there,...
New Obama Proposal Gives Religious Groups More Say in Birth Control Mandate
The Obama administration is offering to expand the number of faith-based groups that can be exempt from the controversial contraception mandate and is proposing that third-party companies administer coverage for self-insured faith-based groups at no...
Preemptive Self-Defense
On March 25, many Christians wore hooded sweatshirts to church in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot dead on February 26 in Sanford, Florida. The shooter, George Zimmerman, found Martin's hoodie and black skin suspicious....
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, April 22 Luke 24:36b-48 IT WAS THE SPRING of 1988. We had rounded the corner of the liturgical year again, and although I'd preached Easter sermons many times, I was feeling relieved that I was not preaching the Easter service that year....
Son Says Sibling Rivalry Fueled Cathedral Troubles
As the Crystal Cathedral tries to find its footing without any members of founder Robert H. Schuller's family at the helm, the only son and onetime successor says "sibling rivalry" played a key role in the California megachurch's decline. "They...
Talking Less, Seeing More
SARA MAITLAND is a novelist and short story writer whose books include On Becoming a Fairy Godmother and Far North & Other Dark Tales. In 2008 she published A Book of Silence, about her exploration of a solitary, prayerful life. She lives in an...
Truth Is Proportional: The Limits of What We Can Know
THE LATE Johan Christian Becker, for many years professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, was a riveting classroom lecturer, especially when the subject was the apostle Paul. Paul was his specialty, and Becker had famously passionate...
Turkey Put on 'Worst' List for Religious Freedom
Turkey, a key U.S. and NATO ally, stands as a new and controversial addition to an annual list of the worst offenders of religious freedom by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Four of nine commissioners objected to putting...
Why Is It So Hard to Do Religion in Prime Time?
Many TV network executives, advertisers and producers would sell their souls to get the kind of audience that God has. But giving religion a starring role in prime time? Not so much. Religion, God and spirituality have made cameos across the dial...
Wisdom and Light: John's Prologue as Midrash
I HAVE BEEN reading through the Jewish Annotated New Testament, published by Oxford in 2011. An NRSV with notes and commentary by Jewish scholars, it sets the New Testament in a context that is unquestionably appropriate to it, but which has been too...