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. 25, December 12

A Little Hope
WHY IS THE cheerfulness gone from your columns? some readers have asked. They think I've been sounding "edgy" or "down" lately. It is clear that optimism is no instrument for responding to the world these days. The alternative--hope--is harder to seize...
Catholic Bishops Issue Guidelines on Gays
The U.S. Catholic bishops have approved new statements on controversial sexual subjects amid a culture that several bishops noted is not always receptive to traditional church teachings. In taking up homosexuality, contraception and natural family...
Faithful Voters
AS THE DEMOCRATS wrested control of Congress from the Republicans for the first time since 1994, exit polls revealed some changes in the pattern of faith-based polities, but also much continuity. Democrats won 53 percent of the two-party vote for the...
Gift Wrapped
MY NEIGHBORHOOD offers Christmas shoppers lots of help: the counters are full, and the windows have been elegantly displaying gift suggestions since mid-October. I am led to ponder the original gift that generated this phenomenon of Christmas--a small,...
Hours of Babel
THE ACCLAIMED Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu strings together four stories from around the globe in Babel. It's an effort to show an interconnected world marked by divisions, alienation and suspicion--the curse of Babel. In the Moroccan...
Just War: Second Thoughts on Iraq
LIKE MANY AMERICANS, I decided in early 2003 that a war with Iraq was increasingly necessary. War seemed justifiable because of the intelligence reports concerning Iraq's weapons programs and because Saddam Hussein, who had committed atrocities in...
Letting Go: The Final Miracle of Forgiveness
IT IS EASY to see why people who believe that the human story ends with death would want memory to last forever--or at least as long as humanity lasts. Memory is a way of keeping the dead alive. Elie Wiesel expressed this view of memory in his testimony...
Living by the Word: Double Vision
Sunday, December 24 Luke 1:39-55 OF ALL THE PEOPLE I worry about this time of year, from harried sales clerks to ho-ho-ho weary Santa Clauses, none have my sympathy more than the people who deliver the Christmas catalogues. How their backs must...
Living by the Word: Toward Home
Sunday, December 17 Zephaniah 3:14-20 IT IS OUT OF character for Zephaniah, one of the gloomiest of the Old Testament prophets, to offer this joyful song of promise: "I will remove disaster from you.... I will gather the outcast.... I will bring...
Muslim Neighbors
A FEW DAYS after Christian de Cherge's death on May 21 1996, his mother opened a sealed letter and read what he had written three years earlier. Islamic terrorist groups had begun killing foreigners in Algeria, where De Cherge, a Frenchman, was prior...
NBC Said to Ease Up on Veggie Tales Edits
Fans of" Veggie Tales and its animated singing and talking vegetables may notice a change in the episodes aired in NBC's Saturday morning cartoon lineup: they are not so heavily edited. "The last batch of episodes are airing with very little editing,"...
North Carolina Baptists Adopt Strictest Ban on Gay-Friendly Churches
Baptist churches in North Carolina will have to deny membership to gays or face expulsion from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Messengers to the convention's annual meeting voted November 14 to add language to its governing documents...
One More Candle
THE LEBANESE Presbyterian community is faithfully lighting candles on an Advent wreath this Sunday--and waiting. Disillusionment and desperation are growing all around them in Beirut, but, as Pastor Joseph Kassab says, "We have no choice here but to...
Progressive Groups Say War, Poverty Topped Voter Concerns
Moral concerns about poverty and the war in Iraq drove the religious vote more than abortion and same-sex marriage in the midterm elections, according to an exit poll released November 15 by two progressive faith-based groups. Faith in Public Life...
Reality Check
THE NOMINATION of Robert M. Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense may be as close as George Bush will come to acknowledging that the Iraq incursion has been misguided. Gates, who served in the administration of the first President...
Religious Leaders in Arab Nations Launch AIDS Response Group
More than 300 religious leaders have signed up to form a new network of Muslim and Christian groups from 20 Arab countries, responding as a "united force" to the mounting prevalence of HIV/AIDS in their region. The First Network of Arab Religious...
Slow-Motion Grace
TOWARD THE END of Wendell Berry's novel Jayber Crow, the title character reflects on his life as a barber in a small Kentucky town: "I am a man who has hoped, in time, that his life, when poured out at the end, would say, 'Good-good-good-good-good!'...
Texas Baptists Hit by Financial Scandal
RANK-AND-FILE Texas Baptists are angry about a huge financial scandal in the Rio Grande Valley that has marred their reputation. But most say they still trust their leaders--including executive director Charles Wade--to correct abuses and restore confidence...