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. 20, October 3

All Saints Church Locks Horns with IRS
A large, liberal Episcopal church in southern California is close to deciding that it will resist an inquiry by the Internal Revenue Service regarding political activity, possibly forcing a court test on First Amendment rights. The IRS has asked All...
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Blessings: What Does One Say to Bless a Baby from an Interfaith Marriage?
ONE OF THE messages my church sent me when I was an adolescent was: Don't date Catholic girls; you never know where it might lead. When a cousin of mine not only dated but married a Roman Catholic, the aunts had apoplexy. Church practice in those days...
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Crocodile Lover
THOUGH FANS and nonfans of internationally known wildlife enthusiast Steve Irwin had been predicting his demise for quite some time (how long can one tempt the leviathan without a bit of bad luck?), his death on September 4 came as a shock. Especially...
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Democrats Seen as Failing in Outreach
AFTER VARIED EFFORTS by Democratic leaders to convince mainstream churchgoers that they share common moral values, a Baptist ethicist has suggested that the Democrats focus instead on core biblical issues of compassion and begin long-term contacts...
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Episcopal Summit Finds No Solution
A three-day summit of Episcopal bishops was not able to resolve their church's intense disputes over its new top prelate and the role of gays and lesbians in the church. "We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come...
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Film Feast
DURING THIS YEAR'S Montreal World Film Festival, I spoke with Suayip Adlig, a producer of the Iraqi Kurdish film Narcissus Blossom. I liked the picture; it's one of those little gems that turn up at Montreal in small, out-of-the-way screening rooms...
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Going to Jail
you ENTER THROUGH a door in the back where a big sign says All Prisoners Must Be Shackled. New prisoners are admitted at seven in the evening. There are seven men waiting by the door tonight. Five are white and two are brown. The youngest might be...
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In His Steps
I'M TEACHING "The Bible and Ethics" this semester with my New Testament colleague Mark Chancey. It should be a pretty straightforward project, since most moral advice in the church begins and ends in scripture. But connecting text and practice in a...
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I Was in Prison ... the Church Behind Bars
IN ONE OF those neglected corners of scripture that must scare those brave enough to think about it, Jesus promises an unpleasant future for those who would not visit him in prison: "Just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not...
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Living by the Word: Couples
Sunday, October 8 Mark 10:2-16 IN A FEW WEEKS voters in six states will decide on state constitutional amendments that will bar same-sex marriage and any other legal recognition of same-sex couples. Most mainline denominations have come out against...
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Living by the Word: Material Things
Sunday, October 15 Mark 10:17-31 ON THE WAY OUT of my city I often pass a large self-storage center. Rows and rows of nondescript units are lined up like barracks at an army base. I often wonder what is inside those storage units: treasured heirlooms,...
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Magic
IT WAS THE AGE of levitations and decapitations, of ghostly apparitions and sudden vanishings, as if the tottering Hapsburg Empire were revealing through the medium of its magicians its secret desire for annihilation." So writes Pulitzer Prize-winning...
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On 9/11 Anniversary, Calls for Education, Interfaith Efforts
The United States commemorated the fifth anniversary of the September 2001 terrorist attacks with vigils, worship services and commemorations, as some religious and political leaders said the country must take stock of its place in the world. Thousands...
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Partners in the Gospel
FOR 16 YEARS I have lived under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Corrections. I know firsthand what behaviors are being bred within prisons. I entered the system when I was 18 years old. I spent five years learning from seasoned veterans...
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Pope Apologizes for Offending Muslims
Under pressure for days to apologize for his remarks about Islam, Pope Benedict XVI said in a public appearance September 17 that he was "deeply sorry" that his use of a 14th-century quotation critical of the prophet Muhammad had provoked outrage in...
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Swing State
A RECENT ARTICLE in the New Yorker about the race for governor in Ohio declared that the November election would "test the power of the Christian right." It was not the first article to examine the Republican candidate, Ken Blackwell, and his ties...
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Taize Disputes Claim Founder 'Converted' to Catholicism
The Taize community in eastern France has denied claims reported in the French newspaper Le Monde that its Swiss-born Protestant founder, Brother Roger Schutz, who died last year, had made a secret conversion to Roman Catholicism. "This article...
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Them and Us
WHILE DOING research for a talk on religion and violence, I kept running into accounts of people who selectively quote the Qur'an to show how it commits Muslims to killing "us" infidels. That research inspired dour thoughts of the sort that I do not...
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The Prison Business
THE FIRST MAJOR public building to reopen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina wasn't a public school, hospital or courthouse. It was Orleans Parish Prison. And you can hardly blame Sheriff Marlin Gusman for being anxious to reopen it. David Morton...
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Unexpected Results in Survey on Religious Beliefs and Identity
An ambitious Baylor University survey on religious identity and beliefs has found, contrary to some expectations, a smaller percentage of people with "no religion" and fewer people who prefer to be called "evangelicals." It also punctured stereotypes...
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Vatican Astronomer's Backing of Evolution No Factor in His Exit
The former director of the Vatican Observatory has rejected speculation that he was replaced because of his vocal opposition to "intelligent design," adding that Pope Benedict XVI "enthusiastically supported" his work. Breaking a three-week silence,...
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Word on the Tehran Street
THE TAXI DROVE past a mural of the American flag. There were skulls where the stars should have been and the words Death to America! scrawled across the stripes. It was the only such sign I'd seen in Iran, but at ten stories tall, it made a strong...
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... You Visited Me: The Call to Prison Ministry
WHEN I WAS a newly ordained pastor in 1966, I heard a speech by a federal judge that significantly shaped my life and ministry. The judge said that he kept in contact with every person he sentenced to prison. His rationale for writing or visiting inmates...
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