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. 5, March 6

Alternative Liturgy: Social Media as Ritual
LITURGIES ARE covert incubators of the imagination, because they play the strings of our aesthetic hearts. Liturgies traffic in the dynamics of metaphor and narrative and drama; they are performed pictures of the good life that capture our imagination...
American Baptists Applaud Moves toward Immigration Reform
Leaders of the American Baptist Churches USA who serve in ministry to immigrants and refugees welcomed a bipartisan framework unveiled by eight senators who are being called the "gang of eight" for their public effort to get the ball rolling on legislation...
Americans in Waiting
In his State of the Union address, President Obama claimed correctly that the economy will benefit when undocumented immigrants are enabled to participate in it fully. In 1995, President Clinton used the same occasion to bemoan "the large number of...
Anglicans, Protestant Hail Pope's 'Courage' in Deciding to Retire
ONE WEEK AFTER Justin Welby was confirmed as the next archbishop of Canterbury, a frail Pope Benedict XVI surprised the Christian world February 11 by announcing that he would step down by the end of the month. Welby praised Benedict, 85, as one...
A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master"
A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" By Rachel Held Evans Thomas Nelson, 352 pp., $15.99 paperback Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family's Experiment...
Bottled and Sold: A Church's Recycling Mission
WE LIVE IN the reddest part of Texas, a very red state. It's so conservative that recycling is viewed as a form of socialism or even a kind of anti-Christian humanism, because, as some see it, our Christian duty is to use up the earth's resources as...
Cardinal Harshly Rebuked but Minimally Restricted
The quake that hit Los Angeles recently was an ecclesiastical one, but still earthshaking for the Catholic Church: after the release of thousands of secret personnel files detailing decades of sexual abuse of children by clergy, Archbishop Jos6 Gomez...
Catholics, Reformed Agree on Approach to Baptism
Leaders of Catholic and Reformed churches have signed an agreement to recognize each other's sacraments of baptism--a public step toward unity among groups that are often divided by doctrine. "Baptism establishes the bond of unity existing among...
Christian Left Foresees a Bolder Obama
Heartened by his calls for gay marriage and for bold action on climate change, leaders of the Christian left are confident that President Obama will now claim the progressive legacy they believe he craves. While acknowledging disappointment over...
Facebook Tsunami
I THINK OF social media as a tsunami. And I'm a guy in a beach chair writing postcards. For many years I've used the web pages of the churches and seminaries I served to communicate our ministry. I text often and have three different integrated...
Flood Waters
Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by newcomer Benh Zeitlin, has drawn a lot of attention in this awards season, including an Oscar nomination for best actress for its young star, Quvenzhane Wallis, who is a gorgeous little light in this strange...
In Defense of Church
Harry Emerson Fosdick said the preacher should preach in such a way that the listener wishes to come over later and visit the preacher in his office. Lillian Daniel has written a book that makes you wish she were your preacher--and that you could be...
Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination
Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination By Brian J. Walsh Brazos, 224 pp., $19.00 paperback Some of us owe a large part of whatever prophetic imagination we have to the creative powers of Bruce Cockburn. For pop-music-loving...
Making Lent Difficult: The Case for Rigorous Disciplines
EVERY YEAR I FIND myself wondering what to do for Lent. What should I give up? Or should I take something on? These questions have been with me for a long time. When I was six or seven, I learned in Sunday school that I should give up sweets for Lent....
Marked
THE CHURCH OF my childhood paid no attention to either Advent or Lent. The words of those seasons sounded too mystical to us, too indicative of strange beliefs and the practices of Roman Catholic friends who didn't eat meat on Friday, crossed themselves...
Missouri Synod President Apologizes for 'Debacle'
The president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has apologized for his role in the "debacle" that led him to publicly reprimand a pastor in Newtown, Connecticut, for praying at an interfaith service following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary...
More Than Entertainment
The shootings in Newtown are old news, but their effects are still on my mind and heart. They've affected the way I see movies. Before Newtown, I probably would have gone to see Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher without hesitating. But now I cringe at the...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, March 10 Joshua 5:9-12 THE TELEVISION SHOW Parenthood begins each episode with a snippet of a Dylan melody and the lyrics, "May God bless and keep you .... May you always do for others, and let others do for you." Blessings are like blankets...
Religious Groups Shape Boy Scouts Debate
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to postpone any change in policy about gay membership was fueled by an "outpouring of feedback." Much of that reaction came from a sector with strength in numbers: the religious groups that compose the majority...
R-Rated: How to Read the Bible with Children
WHEN MY SON was very small, his favorite story in The Beginner's Bible was the one about Rahab from the book of Joshua. It must have been because of the pictures: Rahab shrugging her shoulders innocently at the city soldiers while the Israelites' bulbous...
Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision
Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision By Randy S. Woodley Eerdrnans, 197 pp., $25.00 paperback For close to 50 years, Americans committed to both economic growth and the daunting goal of "saving the planet" have placed their...
The Winter Life of Bees: Social Order in the Hive
ON OUR SMALL, diverse farms in central Illinois, walking aimlessly is a luxury reserved for the winter months, when the past season's roller coaster has slowed almost to a stop and the new season's marathon has yet to begin. At this quiet cusp of the...