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. 130, No. 2, January 23

Blame It on Luther
The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society By Brad S. Gregory Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 592 pp., $39.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] HOW HAS WESTERN society come to be "hyperpluralized"--that is,...
Brush with Evil: The Work of a Public Defender
HOW CAN YOU defend those people?" That's a question public defenders hear a lot. It was one I have pondered during my hardest assignment as a lawyer in the abuse and neglect division of juvenile court in Cook County, Illinois, one of the biggest and...
Contraception Opponents Hail D.C. Court Ruling
Foes of the federal contraception mandate are cheering an appeals court decision requiring the Obama administration to devise exemptions to the new rule for two Christian colleges. They were also buoyed the same day, December 18, by the District...
Flea Market Capitalists: Disaffected and Disenchanted
YOU PROBABLY SPENT time in the past year talking about large national, even global, issues. Though you know that millions of people vote in elections, you still assume that your voice and your vote matter. You are probably a member or a leader of several...
From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart: Rekindling My Love for Catholicism
From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart: Rekindling My Love for Catholicism By Chris Haw Ave Maria Press, 256 pp., $15.95 paperback My first thought upon learning that Chris Haw had written a memoir about his journey to Catholicism was, Oh no--not...
In Age of Oprah, Belief in Miracles Rises
These days, it may seem like a miracle that people still believe in miracles. But even as more people appear to be turning away from organized religion, a new study finds that the number of Americans who believe in religious miracles increased 22...
Lone Rangers
The classic American "don't tread on me" attitude is exemplified by the flea market vendors studied by Arthur Farnsley II (see "Flea market capitalists," p. 22). They live off the economic grid and they like it that way. Like the dropouts of the 1960s,...
Longing for Home
In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit." With that sentence, J. R. R. Tolkien drew us straight into Bilbo Baggins's home and into a Middle-earth in which home and the loved ones in it matter. The film The Hobbit, produced and directed by Peter...
Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism
Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism By David R. Swartz University of Pennsylvania Press, 384 pp., $47.50 America had lost its way. So believed 50 evangelical Christians who convened in downtown Chicago in late November...
Motion to Repeal: Against the Death Penalty
LAST APRIL, the Connecticut state legislature repealed the death penalty, making it the fifth state in the past five years to take that step (New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois are the others). Yet in November, voters in California rejected...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, January 27 Luke 4:14-21 BREAST-FEEDING IS quiet and holy work--rocking, comforting, studying each other's face and skin-to-skin bonding. When it goes well (and God knows, it doesn't always go well!) nursing is a sweet and beautiful thing....
Remembering Brubeck
WHEN JAZZ LEGEND Dave Brubeck died on December 5, his profound impact on the world of jazz was noted by front-page announcements of his death in newspapers all over the world. Along with millions of others, I was a devoted Dave Brubeck fan--ever since...
That Shape Am I
SOME PEOPLE START life, William James tells us, "with a bottle or two of champagne inscribed to their credit; whilst others seem to have been born close to the pain-threshold, which the slightest irritants fatally send them over." James himself was...
The Vietnamese Diaspora
Historians argue at length about when the Vietnam War began--or the U.S. role in it--but an excellent claim can be made for 1963. In that year, global media were transfixed by the horrible image of a Buddhist monk burning himself alive in protest against...
Unbelief Is World's Third-Largest 'Religion'
A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation--including atheists and agnostics--are now the third-largest "religious" group in the world. The...
Urban Experiments
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 tenth in a series. Nanette Sawyer Chicago,...
Use of Death Penalty Grows Rarer in U.S
Though the number of death row inmates executed in 2012 remained unchanged from 2011 at 43, death penalty opponents say that capital punishment is on the wane. Last year Connecticut upped to 17 the number of states to repeal the death penalty. And...
What Jesus Knew
Jesus of Nazareth: What He Wanted, Who He Was By Gerhard Lohfink Liturgical Press, 408 pp., $39.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Gerhard Lohfink clearly loves Jesus, and his book demands readers who share that love. Because the readers love Jesus,...
With New Technologies, 'Parent' Is Hard to Define
In a classic 1960 children's book, a baby bird toddles up to one critter after another asking, "Are you my mother?" For some babies today, there's no simple answer--biologically or legally. Advances in artificial reproductive technologies mean a...