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. 12, June 13

A Passionate Theology
EVERYTHING THAT Jurgen Moltmann writes is worth reading and thinking about, beginning with his Theology of Hope (1964) and its compelling message that Christianity is deeply and essentially about hope--not optimism, but hope based on trust in God's...
Can 'Spiritual Progressives' Gain Momentum?
AFTER WANDERING in the political desert for years, the religious left is taking tentative steps toward the Promised Land, according to organizers of a recent "Spiritual Activism" conference in Washington. "We're talking about first, baby steps here,"...
Conservative College Faces Faculty Exodus
A small evangelical Christian college focused on shaping home-schooled students for careers in public service will lose about one-third of its faculty after several professors at the young school charged that their academic freedoms were violated....
Faithful and Effective
IT'S BEEN a good season for scandal. Bribery sent a California congressman to prison. Fraud charges provided courtroom drama in Houston. Everybody everywhere talked about baseball stars on steroids. Along the way, there was the usual quota of exploitation,...
Liturgical Evangelism
THE TROUBLE with the church in Finland," a Finnish Lutheran pastor told me, "is that everybody loves it and nobody goes there." Some 85 percent of the 5.2 million Finns are disengaged from the church except for brief pit stops for baptism, confirmation,...
Living by the Word: Arguing with Paul
Sunday, June 18 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17 WHEN I READ the lectionary texts for this week, I was disappointed. Give me texts of David sinning, Amos raging against the "cows" of Bashan or Jesus again in trouble for loving outcasts. These I can run...
Living by the Word: Storm System
Sunday, June 25 Mark 4:35-41; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 I STRUGGLE TO make peace with Jesus ordering the sea into peace. If we were to stumble across a time traveler's videotape and find that it all happened just as Mark reports, I'd still be troubled....
Mission in Missouri
IN 1994, things began to look up for Milan, Missouri, a remote, rural community of 2,000 that had been struggling for years with a declining farm economy and weak job market. Premium Standard Farms (PSF), the second-largest pork production company...
Ohio's Governor Race Spotlights Role of Arlington Group
In June 2003, a group of evangelical Christian leaders met in Arlington, Virginia, to map strategy for a clash they viewed as the political equivalent of Gettysburg, the most significant battle ever fought on American soil. The group members--veterans...
Paul and the Law: E. E Sander's Retrieval of Judaism
THE JEWS OF Jesus' time, the preacher intoned, were slavishly devoted to the practices of their ancestors. They studied scripture but did not apply it. Their temple was "rotten to the core." Ancient Judaism was a religion whose rituals were "impressive,...
Pious Pulp
THAT A MOSH PIT of reviewers would fall over each other to pan the The Da Vinci Code is puzzling. It's not a great film, but then it isn't a great book. If you want car chases, go see Mission: Impossible III. If you want a whodunit, don't turn to a...
Politics Seen in Bill to Ban Gay Nuptials
The U.S. Senate takes up this month a proposed federal ban on same-sex marriage that was moved forward after a heated debate last month by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But critics say the vote has more to do with partisan politics than legal reform....
Professor Pelikan
CHURCH HISTORIAN Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, who died May 13, felt like a relative, thanks to consanguinity among our Slovak friends. I could not have taught Christian history without using his books, though he could teach at least 39/40ths of what he taught...
Rome Restricts Founder of Priestly Order Who Was Accused of Abuses
The controversial founder of a powerful traditional Catholic order was a favorite of the late Pope John Paul II, but the Vatican under a new pope has disciplined Marcial Maciel Degollado, who faced multiple accusations of sexual abuse. Maciel, 86,...
Sound Alternatives
TO CALL Justin Roberts a creator of children's music is to deny his songs' adult appeal. It would be like restricting Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts cartoons to kids. Like Schulz, Roberts has a knack for creatively (and tastefully) folding scriptural...
Talking to Iran: Will Iran Pursue Nuclear Martyrdom? There Is Still Time to Use Quiet Diplomacy
MARTYRDOM WAS part of the founding of the Shi'ite branch of Islam, which presently dominates Iranian life. Following that tradition, children as young as 12 were sent to the front lines during the war with Iraq in the 1980s to clear minefields with...
The Da Vinci Code Opens Strongly
One didn't need a Harvard symbologist to decode this one. With its built-in advantage of a best-seller source novel--and the dependable Ron Howard directing fan favorite Tom Hanks--The Da Vinci Code translated fame into box-office success on its first...
Unilateral Proposal
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER Ehud Olmert traveled to Washington in late May to tell President Bush about his plans for Israel's future. There is no indication that those plans offer a viable solution to the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories...
Widowed in India
ACCORDING TO ancient Hindu texts, when a man dies, his wife has three choices. She can throw herself on his funeral pyre in the sacrificial act of suttee; she can marry her husband's younger brother (if his family is willing); or she can spend her...