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. 3, February 8

An Elephant in the Room? How Meeting Agendas Get Hijacked
WHEN ARE WE going to talk about the elephant in the room?" asked Susannah. Members of the church council looked at each other. "What elephant?" each person thought. Nobody wanted to seem dense and admit that he didn't see an elephant. "The pastor...
Attack of the Zombies
If you've been paying much attention to pop culture, you've sighted more than a few zombies. The living dead shamble ominously through comic books, books, movies, video games and television shows. Their movie appearances include dramas and even a few...
Battle Scars: Veterans Turn to Clergy for Counseling
WHEN MIKE WALKED into my office for an academic advising appointment, I knew something was wrong. His normally pale face was a deep lobster red. His hair was mussed, and he was carrying a large, empty cardboard box. Instead of discussing his courses...
Beginnings and Endings
AFTER 48 YEARS as a minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I will retire at the end of January. I have tried not to become caught in the "oh-my-gosh-it's-the-last-time-I-will-do-this" syndrome, and I succeeded until Epiphany...
Catholic Bishop Admits Fathering Teens, Resigns
A Catholic bishop in the Los Angeles archdiocese has resigned after admitting that he is the father of two children, both now teenagers. The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, 60,...
In Academia, Comments about Islam Remain Risky
A recent spate of campus controversies involving professors who made provocative statements about Muslims shows one of two things: a decreasing tolerance for inflammatory speech, or how easy it is for academics to get into trouble. Or perhaps a little...
It's 2012, Another Year for 'Doomsday' Chatter
On December 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar reaches the end of its 5,126-year epoch. That's a cause for consternation among some end-time adherents-and for amusement among some descendants of the Maya. Fresh from having survived one end-of-the-world...
Japanese Film Critical of Idolatry, Militarism
A new Japanese film highlights the struggles of a Christian music teacher and two former teachers to defend their beliefs, including their disagreement with the compulsory singing of the national anthem in schools. Scheduled to be shown in Tokyo...
Justices Uphold Church Hire-Fire Rights
The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously thrown its support behind a church school that fired a teacher, using a widely watched church-state case to bolster a legal doctrine that exempts religious institutions from some civil rights laws. Many religious...
My Lenten Fast: Giving Up Anxiety
I WORRY THAT avian flu is finally going to hit this year and I will get into my car and head west to my stepmother's remote farm, but I arrive too late for the quarantine, or my stepsister will pull up the same moment I do and there will be enough...
No Need for Church: Ministry with Young Adults in Flux
WITHIN THE METRO area of Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, are scores of vital mainline churches. So why are 45,000 young adults--close to a quarter of the entire population--not connected to any of them? In economic terms, it's not...
Pope's Newest Cardinals Mostly European, Insiders
For Americans who take note of the pomp and circumstance--and politics-at the Vatican, the big news in January was that Pope Benedict XVI had included New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and former Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien among the 22 churchmen...
Pro-Evolution Project Says Faith and Science Are Reconcilable
A BIOLOGIST with a scientific interest in evolution-creation debates attributed a poll saying that three-fourths of Protestant pastors reject evolution--and close to half believe the earth is about 6,000 years old--to a common but false idea that science...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, February 12 2 Kings 5:1-14; Mark 1:40-45 EVER SINCE I was a kid, I've been intrigued by gestalt pictures. These intriguing pictures contain two images, but the viewer can see only one of them at a time; as one comes to the foreground,...
Rome Opens U.S. Catholic Home for Ex-Episcopalians
American Episcopalians upset with their denomination's acceptance of gay and female clergy can now convert to the Roman Catholic Church while keeping many cherished traditions in a special new U.S. diocese that was established on New Year's Day by...
Romney's Evangelical Hurdle Starts with Core Theology
Good news for Mitt Romney: he won the New Hampshire GOP primary. Bad news for Romney: evangelicals remain reluctant to support him. Rick Santorum got 35 more votes than Romney in Iowa although no official winner was declared because of missing ballots...
The Diplomatic Option
The Republican candidates for the presidential nomination can't resist "taking on" Iran. "If we reelect Barack Obama," Mitt Romney says, "Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney... they will not have a nuclear weapon." Rick Santorum...
The Good Sheepdog
I'VE LEARNED A LOT about being a pastor from Esau, our family's hairy sheepdog. The American Kennel Club calls him a bearded collie, but that's misleading since he looks nothing like Lassie. He's actually a Scottish version of the Old English sheepdog,...
The New Black Theology: Retrieving Ancient Sources to Challenge Racism
A COUPLE YEARS AGO, when the CENTURY asked some leading theologians to name five "essential theology books of the past 25 years," J. Kameron Carter's Race: A Theological Account (Oxford University Press, 2008) was one of the few books mentioned more...