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. 129, No. 13, June 27

A Foundation for Relationships
What is pastoral ministry like these days, and how is it being shaped in new ways? The CENTURY talked to pastors about the challenges and surprises of their early years in ministry: This interview is the seventh in a series. Joyce Shin Chicago,...
A Hopeful Universalism
Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up By Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle David C. Cook, 208 pp., $14.99 paperback [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the...
Animals in the Kingdom
Will there be pets in heaven? It's a not uncommon question among Americans, who love their pets and over a lifetime possess a succession of them. Will there be animals in heaven? More to the point, will my beloved Merle or Lucinda or Marley or Sassy...
Apocalyptic Visions
Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation By Elaine Pagels Penguin, 256 pp., $27.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Discussion of Gnosticism at a recent gathering of local clergy generated a comment from one pastor that...
Atheists, Believers Do Good for Different Reasons
Atheists and others who don't adhere to a religion often say they can be good without God. Now three new studies appear to back them up. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted three experiments showing that less-religious...
Bible Scholars Back More Critical Studies of Qur'an
The Society of Biblical Literature, the largest international body of scholars of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and related texts, hopes to assist experts on the Qur'an in creating an independent body for fostering research on Islam's holiest...
Churches More Wary of Partisan Politics
With the 2012 election less than six months away, congregations are getting the message that Americans want religion out of politics. But that doesn't mean they plan to keep mum in the public square. Instead, they're revamping ways for congregations...
Future Fatigue
ONCE UPON A TIME, ministry involved preaching, counseling, leading worship and guiding congregations in mission. All were demanding tasks, to be sure, but they were nothing compared to what is expected of pastors today--predicting the future. Clergy...
Grace before Anything
LEWIS SMEDES, who taught theology at Fuller Seminary, studied with Karl Barth and once asked the great theologian if he was a universalist. Barth put his face close to Smedes, poked a finger in his chest and said, "Ich bin kein universalist [I am not...
Hard Choices in Egypt: Will Christians Vote for the Old Regime?
COPTIC CHRISTIANS, who constitute about 10 percent of Egypt's population, were in a unique position to influence the first round of the presidential elections on May 23-24, the first election ever in Egypt without a predetermined outcome. It appears...
How 'Pro-Life' Is Dissident Chen Guangcheng?
WHEN BLIND Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng made a daring escape from house arrest this spring and found refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, he instantly became a popular hero in the West and a rallying point for human rights activists everywhere....
Lending with Grace: Breaking the Cycle of Payday Loans
OFTEN WHEN SOMETHING goes wrong--when a child gets sick or a car breaks down--people need extra money fast. As former Pittsburgh cop Tony Wiles knows, people who need money fast are vulnerable. "I grew up in the inner city, so I've seen it all,"...
Liberty Imperiled?
The U.S. Catholic bishops have designated the two weeks leading up to July 4 as a "fortnight of freedom" and urged Catholics to rally for religious liberty--a liberty that is, they say, now "under attack," especially from the Obama administration....
Marvel's the Avengers
Marvel's The Avengers Written and directed by Joss Whedon Starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Hark Ruffalo Writer-director Joss Whedon, the creator of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, saves the world from...
Nuns Rap Vatican for 'Unsubstantiated' Charges
Leaders representing most of the nation's 57,000 Catholic nuns answered a Vatican crackdown on their group by charging that Rome's criticisms of the sisters were "unsubstantiated," caused "scandal and pain" and "greater polarization" in the church....
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, July 1 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 IN THE LANGUID days of midsummer, when church financial income is at low ebb, it is a comfort to remember that Paul too had stewardship issues in his churches. It's not a new phenomenon. It turns out that every...
Richard Land Loses Show, Keeps His Leadership Job
A top Southern Baptist official who was accused of plagiarism in a radio segment claiming that civil rights leaders and President Obama used the Trayvon Martin case to stir racial tensions has lost his weekly call-in program but can keep his main job,...
Saint Sinatra and Other Poems
Saint Sinatra and Other Poems By Angela Alaimo O'Donnell WordTech, 100 pp., $19.00 paperback Angela O'Donnell's deliciously sassy poems are born of her deeply Catholic imagination. A professor of English and the associate director of the Curran...
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined By Steven Pinker Viking, 832 pp., $40.00 Taking a long look back through human history, Steven Pinker draws an overarching conclusion: human beings are becoming less violent. To make...
The End of Impunity? the International Criminal Court Issues a Verdict
TEN YEARS AFTER it was founded, the International Criminal Court has issued its first decision. On March 14, the ICC--the world's first permanent tribunal with jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide--found Congolese warlord...
The World's Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There
The World's Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There By Douglas Jacobsen Wiley-Blackwell, 416 pp., $39.95 paperback Shortly after the end of World War II, the Maryknoll order's John J. Considine, an ecumenically minded...
Vatican Censures Nun's Book on Sexual Ethics
A long-simmering conflict between the Vatican and American nuns has erupted again with the Vatican's doctrinal office issuing a scathing critique of a popular book on sexual ethics by Sister Margaret A. Farley, one of the first Catholics to teach at...