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. 20, October 3

Adventists Press Issue of Women's Ordination
Two U.S. regional groups of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have women pastors and are moving faster than the worldwide church on the issue. The Pacific Union Conference, which includes California and four other western states, voted 79 percent...
Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves
Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves By Sheldon Garon Princeton University Press, 448 pp., S29.95 People in nations with substantial social welfare provisions save more than Americans, who lack some of those provisions...
Bishop: Church Credibility on Sexual Abuse 'Shredded'
The U.S. Catholic bishops' point man on sexual abuse has said that the hierarchy's credibility on fixing the problem has been "shredded" and that the situation is comparable to the Reformation, when "the episcopacy, the regular clergy, even the papacy...
Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad TV series created by Vince Gilligan Starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris and Betsy Brandt [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In the second episode of season five of AMC's hit television series Breaking Bad, Walter White,...
Church, State and Punk: The Pussy Riot Protest
DURING THE WEEK in which the Orthodox Church prepares for the Great Lenten Fast, a video appeared on the website of Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist group known for its public provocations. It showed four women wearing ski masks and brightly colored...
Deaths
* Walter Harrelson, an Old Testament scholar and translator who taught for 30 years at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and, during his retirement, laid the foundation for Wake Forest University School of Divinity in the mid-1990s, died September...
Democrats Add Support for Gay Marriage to Platform
ON THE NIGHT the Democrats became the first major U.S. political party to endorse gay marriage, some convention delegates remembered how it used to be--back in the days when, as one said, "you're scared because it's not OK to be who you are." Heather...
'God Talk' and the Democrats
God was out and now God is in. And Jerusalem wasn't the capital of Israel and now it is. The accusations that God had been "purged" from the Democrats' national platform seemed too much for the party to bear. On September 5, its national convention...
Health Care Up Close: What Else the Affordable Care Act Does
IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed only two and a half years ago. I've lived in Washington, D.C., and worked on federal policy for almost six years, and it strains my memory to recall a time when...
Leader of Nuns on the Bus Calls GOP Budget Immoral
Sister Simone Campbell, who led the summertime Nuns on the Bus tour for social justice, called the GOP budget plan "immoral" in a spirited speech at the Democratic National Convention. "Paul Ryan claims this budget reflects the principles of our...
Living by the Word
Sunday, October 7 Mark 10:2-16 ONE SUMMER when I was a children's camp counselor at a Presbyterian camp in northern Indiana, I spent long days listening to what we counselors affectionately referred to as nonstop "wubbins questions." "Wubbins...
Noise Level
The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book about Noise By Garret Keizer PublicAffairs, 400 pp., $16.99 paperback [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I am cranky about noise. TVs blaring in waiting rooms, background music that drowns out conversation,...
Now Official: Mormons May Drink Coke, Pepsi
Perhaps reporters, bloggers, outsiders and even many Mormons will now acknowledge that the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not forbid drinking cola. The LDS Church posted a statement August 29 on its website, saying that...
Patriarchs of Babylon
Over a thousand years separate the parallel lives of two men who were each, in very different ways, important Christian leaders of their time. The two held very similar offices but in circumstances that had radically, tragically altered through the...
Presidential Fixation
President Obama and Governor Romney are in a close race, and every hour of campaigning counts. Many of these hours they spend trying to make personal connections with voters--cracking jokes, kissing babies, sampling local delicacies. Voters often find...
Priest Quits TV Show after Comments on Sex Abuse
Benedict Groeschel, a well-known Catholic author and television personality, has given up his longtime spot on the conservative cable network EWTN following comments in which he appeared to defend clergy who abuse children and also to blame some of...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, October 14 Psalm 22:1-15 OUR CHURCH'S DEACON Care Manual includes a brief section titled "What Not to Say to Someone Who Is Grieving." It lists some grief responses that we've probably all used at some point: "It's all part of God's...
Serious Faith
TO MY MOTHER'S chagrin and in spite of her relentless efforts, I did not read books as a child. I read only baseball box scores. Then Edvart Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth captivated me in high school, and I've been reading books ever since. I loved...
Soup Night at the Bar: The Rules Are Simple
I'D BEEN hanging around the Hideout, a small bar in Chicago on an aging industrial strip, for more than a decade when I made the leap from patron to bartender in 2008. At that point, work in journalism had become hard to find. A book project I'd started...
Synthetic Immortality
LATELY THE NEWS has been full of dramatic new findings that, if valid, would overturn our understanding of life, mind and cosmos. We're on the threshold, it is claimed, of the great "singularity," in which superintelligent machines or human-machine...
Tender Ministry: Response to a Betrayal
I SAW HIM in the parking lot with her. I think he wanted to get caught." My mom's hushed voice bled with betrayal. Unlike most gossip, this phone conversation didn't have the quality of a listener hungry for salacious trivialities. It was more like...
That's Why God Hade the Radio
That's Why God Hade the Radio, by The Beach Boys [Brother/Capitol] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 1966, the Beach Boys made waves by using God in a song title. "God Only Knows" became one of popular music's most heralded singles, marking a huge...
The Good Grain: Restoring Wild Rice in the North
AHEAD OF ME, stumbling down an embankment, a 16-year-old boy drags a 50-pound bag of recently harvested rice seed toward the river bank. He's a volunteer and part of a wild rice restoration project organized by the local county juvenile court, the...
The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age
The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age By Martha C. Nussbaum Belknap Press, 304 pp., $26.95 Martha Nussbaum continues her critical reflection on the ways in which a democratic society can practice...
Worship without Walls: Taking Liturgy to the Streets
MANY OF US experience a special energy in worship when routine liturgical acts take place outside the church walls: processing around the block on Palm Sunday, offering ashes to strangers at a subway station on Ash Wednesday, attending a baptism at...