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. 128, No. 7, April 5

A Historic Ban
AFTER WEEKS OF deliberation, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Ash Wednesday signed a bill abolishing the death penalty in Illinois. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, author Scott Turow, Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking) and many others urged Quinn...
Anglican Bishop Fights Israel's Denial of Visa
Suheil Dawani, the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, has gone to court to seek a renewal of the Israeli residency permit that allows him to live and work in the ancient city. The Israeli government recently declined to renew the permit and ordered Dawani...
Another Year
Another Year Written and directed by Mike Leigh Starring Ruth Sheen, Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville Mike Leigh's affecting Another Year takes the form of a series of encounters between a contented middle-aged couple and the friends and...
A Win for Death Penalty Opponents
ON ASH WEDNESDAY, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law abolishing the death penalty in his state, making the Land of Lincoln the 16th state where capital punishment is no longer an option. "It is impossible to create a perfect system, free of...
Catholic Bishops Remove 'Booty' from the Bible
Catholic bishops have kicked the "booty" out of the Bible. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has brought about a new translation of the Bible, one it says is more accurate, more accessible and more poetic. Booty, a word that sets off snickers...
Christians in Pakistan Chilled by Assassination
Christian schools and colleges across Pakistan shut down for three days to protest the March 2 assassination in Islamabad of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Roman Catholic who was minister for religious minorities. Christians and secular groups marched in the cities...
Clashes and Coalitions
ON MARCH 11, the one-month anniversary of Hosni Mubarak's resignation, thousands of Egyptians took to the streets to celebrate national unity and condemn sectarianism. The marchers held banners reading "Muslims and Christians are one." Hundreds of...
Climate Report
It's been a tough winter in North America. Many regions in the Northeast experienced record amounts of snow. Some southern states endured some of their harshest winter storms. On January 11, every state in the union except Florida had snow on the ground....
Dislocated Exegesis: Reading the Bible in Unexpected Places
IT IS A BRIGHT, cold Holy Thursday morning, and I am standing outside an immigration detention center that is creepily located in a suburban office park in Cary, North Carolina. Unmarked white vans pull up to unload people who have been newly detained...
Failing as Pastor Hurts, Talking about It Is Hard
Sometimes being a pastor is a real pain. But few pastors want to admit it. J. R. Briggs is trying to change that. That's why Briggs, a blogger and pastor of the Renew Community in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, is organizing the Epic Fail Pastors Conference,...
Harvard's Preacher: Peter J. Gomes, 1942-2011
THE GUEST PREACHER opened his sermon with a rather long explication of Augustine's contrast between blessings and consolations. It was probably the first time most of the listeners at Duke Chapel had heard of The City of God. The preacher then reflected...
Here I Walk
MARTIN LUTHER was not a fan of pilgrimages. I mean really not a fan. Peruse the references in the index to Luther's Works in English and you will find, one after another, the reformer's tirades against pilgrimages and a whole host of other evils attributed...
Is Phelps a Role Model on Free Speech Issues?
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-to-1 that the "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas have First Amendment rights to protest military funerals, the question being asked is: What's ahead? More protests...
Missing the Signs
WE'VE ALL SEEN classic signs outside eateries. One might have a giant arrow, outlined by lightbulbs, pointing at the restaurant (sometimes some of the bulbs are missing or burned out). Plastic letters form words like "Eat at Joe's" or "Good Eats" or...
Muslims Watch Warily as House Holds Hearing
THEY WERE MOVED when the first Muslim elected to Congress shed tears discussing a Muslim who died trying to save others on 9/11. They were irked by accusations from House members and annoyed when fellow Muslims maligned their faith. At times they...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, April 10 John 11:1-45 AS A JOHN SCHOLAR, I have always been fascinated with the scribal confusion about Jesus' "I AM" statement: "I am the resurrection and the life." Some of the ancient manuscripts for the Gospel of John omit "and the...
Relief Groups Mobilize to Aid Japan
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AS THE EXTENT of the death and destruction from the massive disaster in Japan came into focus, religious relief organizations were sending and supporting teams to assess the damage. Groups such as World Vision and Baptist...
SBC Stores Pull Warning Labels from Certain Books
Southern Baptist bookstores have quietly suspended a four-year-old program that warned customers to read with "discernment" works by several up-and-coming authors whose books "could be considered inconsistent with historical evangelical theology."...
Scholars and Believers
A FEW YEARS AGO, the world's largest body of biblical scholars adopted these words as a motto: "Foster biblical scholarship." Scholarship might seem an obvious focus for the Society of Biblical Literature, but as the SBL has grown in membership--it...
Staying with Jesus: Companions on His Journey
AS A DIVINITY school student I knew that Jesus needed me to love my enemies and serve the "least of these." I even discerned that perhaps Jesus needed me to pastor people in a church context. Likewise, there was no question of my need for Jesus. My...
The Great EB
THIS SPRING MARKS the 100th anniversary of the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, generally considered the greatest manifestation of the "Great EB." In March 1911, a full-page ad in the New York Times heralded the 11th edition as "the sum...
The Train I Ride
The train I ride," Elvis sang, "is 16 coaches long." The train I ride, at least a dozen times a year, stretches four or five coaches long. It is Amtrak's Pere Marquette line between Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Travelers on the line are businesspeople,...