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. 1, January 11

Against Religion: The Case for Faith
ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2001, the following paragraph appeared in the British newspaper the Guardian: [Heretofore] many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for...
As Polls Show Doubt, Obama Underscores Christian Identity
When President Obama lit the National Christmas Tree behind the White House in the 2009 ceremony, he spoke of a "child born far from home" and said "while this story may be a Christian one, its lesson is universal." This last December, Obama referred...
A Stinging Critique
IN THE LATE 1970s a colleague handed me a copy of Douglas John Hall's Lighten Our Darkness: Towards an Indigenous Theology of the Cross. "I think you'll like this," she said. I didn't so much like it as find myself challenged and stretched by it--as...
Catholic School Enrollment Moves Steadily Downward
Not much keeps New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond up at night. But one thing does make him toss and turn. In the past four years, especially after Hurricane Katrina, Catholic school enrollment has been steadily falling. Finding ways to reverse...
Disobedience: Direct Action on Global Warming
IF THERE WAS EVER an issue about which civil disobedience should not be required, global warming is it. It's not like the civil rights movement, in which protesters had to break through encrusted millennia of ugly habit, making the kind of dramatic...
Germany Experiments with Training, Certifying Imams
As Islamic life and society claims an ever-larger place across Western Europe, imams increasingly are being asked to provide guidance to their immigrant and native-born Muslim congregations. But that leads to the question: Who provides guidance...
Mary Appeared Thrice in Wisconsin, Bishop Says
In 1859, a Wisconsin farm woman recounted three mystical meetings with the Virgin Mary, who told her to pray for the conversion of sinners and teach children the Catholic faith. More than 150 years later--December 8, to be exact--the Catholic bishop...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, January 16 John 1:29-42, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, Isaiah 49:1-7 He saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) THE EVENT CITED in the Gospel lesson has often been...
Religion Book Beat
In my capacity as an editor for Baker Academic and Brazos Press, I annually attend the meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. These conferences always provide occasion for reflection on current trends in...
Shaky Economy Imperils Church Pensions
Religious denominations have long provided retired clergy and staff with secure pension payments--more secure, in some cases, than corporate retirement plans. But some recent developments have drawn attention to the vulnerabilities of so-called church...
Spreading Lies
At first glance, it seems hyperbolic for the Southern Poverty Law Center to add the Family Research Council and other anti-gay-rights organizations to the list of hate groups it monitors. The label "hate group" evokes the disquieting fringe of virulent...
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Directed by Michael Apted Starring Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Ben Barnes and Liam Neeson The third installment in the film adaptation of C. S. Lewis's beloved series...
The KJV Endureth: The 400th Anniversary
THE KING JAMES Version--which marks its 400th birthday in 2011--was the Bible of my childhood. It was well past the halfway mark of its fourth century by that time. In other words, it has had quite an extraordinary run. For many people it is still...
The Muslim Jesus
EVERY COUPLE OF YEARS I have the opportunity to teach a "special topics" course at Piedmont College--a onetime offering that may appeal to a broader audience than the regular religion courses listed in the catalog. Sometimes I choose a subject I know...
United We Sing: Music and Community
IN A COURSE ON theology and beauty, I ask my students why music has been such a persistent feature of Christian worship across history and cultures. In essay after essay, they tell me that this is because music moves us emotionally. Of course this...