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. 122, No. 20, October 4

A Disaster of 'Biblical' Proportions?
COMMENTATORS IN the media have often invoked the term biblical to describe the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, which has gone beyond our imagination and our explanatory categories. The term has not been used with any precision--it seems to...
After Israel Exits Gaza, Synagogues Destroyed
Israel ended its 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip following one last difficult decision. Israeli government officials decided at the last moment not to go ahead with the destruction of 19 synagogues in the coastal strip. Sensitivities rose to...
After Katrina, Pleas for a Focus on Poverty
After Hurricane Katrina produced vivid images of poverty in America, leaders of five mainline denominations renewed their call on Congress to oppose deep cuts to programs serving the working poor, children and seniors. On the day that New Orleans...
Birth Dearth: Demographics of Mainline Decline
SINCE THE PUBLICATION of Dean M. Kelley's classic study Why Conservative Churches Are Growing in 1972 it has become axiomatic for many people that the mainline denominations (Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian) are in decline while conservative...
Choice Words
AT FIRST Job's friends were in good form on their pastoral visit: sensing the great suffering of their friend, they sat in silence with him for seven days and seven nights. Their mistake was to open their mouths and offer advice. In the face of a great...
Churches in Southwest Will Leave the ABC
In what may be the beginnings of a national split over homosexuality, leaders in a regional group of the American Baptist Churches USA have voted to begin leaving the denomination by the end of this year. Directors of the American Baptist Churches...
Deaths
* Robert W. Funk, the New Testament scholar who founded the controversial Jesus Seminar, died September 3 at his home in Santa Rosa, California, of lung failure. He was 79. After academic stints that included the chairmanship of Vanderbilt University's...
Donors Favor Those 'Worthy' of Compassion
AS AMERICANS set new records for charitable giving in response to Hurricane Katrina, some fund-raisers are seeing a principle confirmed: when the sufferers are perceived as innocent victims, donors respond generously. But giving patterns suggest...
Federal Court Finds Pledge Illegal-Again
A federal judge in California has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, deciding a case that had been refiled by an atheist whose previous challenge to the phrase "under God" reached the Supreme Court. Judge Lawrence K. Karlton...
Foreign Features
MOVIES SHAPE perceptions. We can read about bombings in London, hostage taking in Amsterdam or moral crises facing a community, but the film artist can create a work that changes how we think about the events that the mass media have presented. ...
Give and Take: Leadership as a Spiritual Practice
IS LEADERSHIP, specifically pastoral leadership, a spiritual practice? Dorothy Bass has defined practices as "those shared activities that address fundamental human needs and that, woven together, form a way of life." Does leadership address a fundamental...
God in the Hurricane
THE WRITERS OF great hymns were deeply aware of the relationship between God and the forces of nature. "Time, like an ever rolling stream/Rolls all its sons away." The rolling stream has certainly rolled a few good sons away this week. "Our shelter...
Katrina
FOR THE SECOND time in ten months our attention has been commanded by a natural catastrophe-there was the tsunami this past December in Southeast Asia and now Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast. As I write, Hurricane Ophelia is bearing down on the...
Living by the Word: An Invitation
Sunday, October 9 Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14 "Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet." Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding...
Living by the Word: Balance Sheet
Sunday, October 16 Matthew 22:15-22 "Then he said to them, 'Whose head is this, and whose title?' They answered, 'The emperor's.' Then he said to them, 'Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that...
Love Affair
THIS PAST SUMMER at our family home in Croatia, I was immersed in George Weigel's long biography of the late John Paul II, Witness to Hope. As the intense focus of world attention on his funeral made clear, he was a great world leader and, in many...
Ministry through the Storm
In the face of Hurricane Katrina, pastors on the Gulf Coast were confronted with the challenge of protecting their families, serving their congregations, sheltering the displaced and finding some way to continue in ministry. Here are some voices from...
Proof of Love
GREAT PLAYS TEND to make mediocre movies. The elements that make a play successful don't always provide the plot and visuals that are the keys to memorable cinema. Complicating matters further is the fact that theater is, by design, dialogue-heavy....
Reasons for Joy
IF WE HAD BEEN living around the eastern Mediterranean in the early centuries of the Christian era, we might have noticed, scratched here and there on the sides of walls and houses or simply on the ground, the crude outline of a fish. We would probably...
Religion Majors on the Rise
As a teenager in a Catholic high school and church, Lauren McCormick of Toms River, New Jersey, was taught to look at the world in ways that revolved around Jesus. That was a dozen religion courses ago, including six in an esoteric field she now hopes...
Target Market
ON THE LECTURE circuit I once met a man who was one I of the hierarchs in the advertising division of the New Yorker. I was primed to learn more about the magazine's editors and writers, who are heroes and heroines to me, but he told me he did not...
Virgin Territory
WITH ALL OF its jokes about bestiality, sexual harassment and pimpin' for drunk ho's, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is not a film to show the youth group. The humor is vulgar enough to make the producers of South Park blush. But in its own way the movie makes...