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. 125, No. 20, October 7

Border Crossing
AMONG THE LEAST recognized yet most lasting legacies of the Bush administration's "war on terror" has been a dramatic transformation of the U.S.-Mexico border. This transformation is about to reach its symbolic and geographic culmination at Friendship...
Calculated Blessings
AS I PULLED into the parking lot of John Hagee's Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, I noticed that the person parking next to me was dressed in a purple African-print tunic. The crowd that streamed into the church seemed as racially and ethnically...
Close Quarters
WE HAD A NEW bunk bed delivered recently, and our sons spent a happy afternoon--albeit a dangerous one--wielding socket wrenches and screwdrivers as we put it together. Buying this bunk bed allowed us finally to move the youngest out of our bed, where...
Cluster Bombs
IN MAY, representatives of 109 countries met in a soccer stadium in Dublin, Ireland, and agreed to support a treaty to ban cluster munitions. I was present as a member of a delegation from the World Conference of Religions for Peace, and was one of...
Ex-Chief of Review Panel Blasts Cardinals for Handling of Abuse Cases
An Illinois Supreme Court justice who chaired a lay review board investigating the Catholic sex-abuse scandal is quoted blasting the church and prominent cardinals in a new book and accusing them of dishonesty. Justice Anne M. Burke, who headed...
Fantasy Land
Speakers at the Republican National Convention mentioned God 43 times; speakers at the Democratic Convention, 22 times. One thing was clear: American civil religion is alive and well. At both events God was regularly invoked as the guide and protector...
Flexible Megachurches Rival Denominations
Displaying swift adaptability in the early 2000s, America's largest congregations may be reshaping institutional church life, suggests a national megachurch survey, the third conducted in eight years. "In some sense megachurches can be seen as becoming...
Florida's Supreme Court Rejects Ballot Initiatives Seeking School Vouchers
Florida's Supreme Court has tossed out two statewide ballot initiatives aimed at ending a longstanding ban on public funding for religious institutions, drawing praise from church-state watchdogs. Civil liberties groups had filed suit to remove...
How to End Torture
IN MAY 2007 I was a speaker at a conference sponsored by the University of Santa Barbara where one of the other presenters was Darius Rejali, the distinguished torture researcher and analyst. During a break, he turned to me and said, in reference to...
Living by the Word: Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, October 12 Matthew 22:1-14 EVERYONE THINKS it's a good idea to make a difference. Making a difference is the stuff of commencement addresses, strategic plans, electoral manifestos, boardroom platitudes. But making a difference is,...
Man on Wire
Man on Wire. Directed by James Marsh. Featuring Philippe Petit. On August 7, 1974, around 7:15 A.M., just as New York City was waking up and trudging off to work, a 24-year-old Frenchman was taking a walk on a metal cable that was strung between...
Methodist Big-Church Pastors Organize to Help UMC
The United Methodist Church, like other mainline denominations, is steadily losing members. Yet it has some large, thriving congregations, and about 100 of its churches draw more than 1,200 people on a typical weekend. Sometimes, however, pastors...
Mislabeled
REFLECTING ON the "disestablishment" of the mainline Protestant churches, Walter Brueggemann once observed that those churches and their members are for the time being living in a kind of exile. He offered the further challenging and comforting observation...
Notes from the Global Church
Any account of the modern expansion of Christianity worldwide must pay respectful attention to Pentecostal and charismatic forms of worship. In Latin America, and most conspicuously in Brazil, this tradition accounts for virtually all of the vast growth...
On Music
The late Curtis Mayfield integrated music and message in a way that changed history. Four-plus decades after achieving renown, his talent shines in the film Movin' On Up: The Music and Message of Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions (Reelin' in the...
Palin Nomination Offers Peek at Pentecostals
The blogosphere was abuzz with sermon snippets from Pentecostal and charismatic churches once attended by GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. In them, pastors declare that people who die without Christ "have a horrible, horrible surprise" awaiting...
WCC Team Sees Vengeful Violence in Georgian Area
A World Council of Churches team that included two U.S. clergy returned to the WCC's Swiss headquarters from a visit to Georgia and Russia to describe a state of "lawlessness" in areas of South Ossetia and said humanitarian aid is not reaching people...
W. D. Mohammed, 74, Muslim Reformer
Muslim leaders and community members across the nation mourned the loss of Warith Deen Mohammed, a key African-American figure who worked to unite Muslims of different races to follow an orthodox form of Islam. Mohammed, 74, was the former leader...
Zoned Out
IN MID-AUGUST I attended the grand opening of the new Al-Farooq Masjid in midtown Atlanta, a complex that includes gardens, fountains, a school and a 46,000-square-foot prayer hall with room for 1,800 worshipers. Along with other guests, I admired...