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. 15, July 25

Across and Down
FOLLOWING in the tradition of Spellbound (about kids participating in a national spelling bee) and Word Wars (about Scrabble players), the charming small-scale documentary Wordplay captures the fervor with which many Americans approach the New York...
All Together Now
O SING TO the Lord a new song," the Psalmist urges. I've always imagined someone in the back pew saying, "There's nothing wrong with the old song." The conversation with songwriter John Bell in this issue takes us inevitably into the "worship wars,"...
Church of England Approves Process to Ordain Female Bishops
After deciding that ordaining women bishops is theologically justifiable, the Church of England on July 10 adopted a plan to explore the practical and legislative steps to make it happen. The Church of England July 8 affirmed at its General Synod...
Division Looms for Episcopal Church
SIGNS OF A full-blown split between the Episcopal Church and most of the worldwide Anglican Communion appeared only days after the U.S. church's General Convention refused to renounce the election of gay bishops. The 2.2-million-member Episcopal...
Double Take: Christian Artifacts in a Jewish Museum
IN THE FOURTH CENTURY, a Spanish monastic named Egeria made an arduous pilgrimage to the Holy Land and left behind a diary that is the chief source of what historians know about early Christianity in the Middle East. The monk Valerius praised Sister...
Living by the Word: More Than Enough
Sunday, July 30 John 6:1-21 THE CHURCH of my youth majored in a miserly view of God's grace. Its message was grim. Life had no edge, no elegance and no joy, but was only a bitter temporal existence largely limited to preparations for the sweet hereafter....
Living by the Word: Wonder Bread
Sunday, August 6 John 6:24-35 IT IS THE DAY after Jesus fed the 5,000. The picnic is over and Jesus has taken his disciples to the other side of the lake. But the crowds of people who shared the meal with him yesterday and who then tried to turn...
NCC Hails Court Rebuff of Bush's Detainee Policy
The National Council of Churches said the Supreme Court ruling last month barring the use of military commissions to try detainees held at Guantanamo Bay is "a reasoned affirmation of what people of faith have been trying to communicate to the White...
PowerPointless
Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely. --Edward Tufte IN RECENT YEARS PowerPoint has become a dominant force in worshiping communities across the theological and liturgical spectrum. In churches smitten with the Microsoft wonder, its...
Precious Memories
PRECIOUS MEMORIES: When Abbott (Texas) Methodist Church shut its doors in May and merged with a larger congregation in a neighboring town, one of Abbott's native sons came to the rescue: singer Willie Nelson bought the church. In a service to celebrate...
Sacred Real Estate: In the Bible Israel Is a Caretaker. "The Land Is Mine," Says God. "You Are but Strangers Resident with Me"
IN RECENT YEARS, certain religious Jewish and Christian communities have proclaimed that exclusive Jewish Sovereignty over the Holy Land is a theological right and necessity, a condition for the unfolding of the messianic era. This view has been exploited...
Sing a New Song
JOHN L. BELL can't keep from singing. When the CENTURY staff recently met with him, he even taught us a song. Bell is a member of the Wild Goose Resource Group, based in Scotland, which is devoted to helping congregations discover and create "new forms...
Study Says Backing for Shari'a Also Has Humanitarian Basis
A recent study by two Indiana academics suggests that Shari'a law, the Islamic legal code often associated with strict rules, oppression of women and harsh punishments, has a softer side when it comes to the poor. Analyzing data from national surveys...
The Last Radio Show
ROBERT ALTMAN'S A Prairie Home Companion is such a deconstructionist's dream that you almost expect the late Jacques Derrida to make a cameo appearance. Talk about reality's insubstantiality: here we have the cinematic version of a beloved radio program,...
Two Mommies and a Daddy
THIS SPRING HBO debuted a television series, Big Love, that features a likable polygamous family in Utah. An article in a March issue of Newsweek, headlined "Polygamists Unite!" quotes a polygamy activist saying, "Polygamy is the next civil rights...
WCC: World Must Stop Holy Land Cycle of Violence
The international community needs "to take bold and novel actions to uphold international law and break the vicious cycle of violence" in the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to World Council of Churches general secretary Samuel Kobia....
What's in a Name?
THE PRESBYTERIAN Church (U.S.A.) provided a pleasant respite from the normal summer news of denominational wrangling over homosexuality. The PCUSA General Assembly actually talked about God. Delegates last month voted to "receive" (rather than approve...
Wheels of Fortune
LUXURY, THE dictionary tells us, is "the use and enjoyment of the best and most costly things that offer the most physical comfort and satisfaction." In a special advertising section on luxury autos, the New York Times (June 21) updates us on the concept:...