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. 21, October 16

Best Sellers
Abingdon The CEB Study Bible Why? Making Sense of God's Will by Adam Hamilton love to Stay: Sex, Grace, and Commitment by Adam Hamilton Namesake: When God Rewrites Your Story by Jessica LaGrone Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants...
Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country
Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country By Andrew 3. Bacevich Metropolitan Books, 256 pp., $26.00 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Every year, hundreds of thousands of freshly minted high school graduates enter college...
Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East
Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East By Rashid Khalidi Beacon, 208 pp., $25.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Language matters greatly." Palestinian-American historian Rashid Khalidi opens his most recent book...
Christian College Parts Ways with Transgender Professor
A California Christian college has asked a professor who was once its chair of theology and philosophy to leave after he came out as transgender. Heather Clements taught theology at Azusa Pacific University for 15 years. This past year, he has begun...
Churches Turn to Part-Time Clergy
The 50 members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Hitchcock, Texas, are looking forward to December, when Mark Marmon will be ordained their priest. One reason for the excitement? They won't have to pay him. A 57-year-old fly fishing guide, Marmon,...
Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible
Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible By Debbie Blue Abingdon, 240 pp., $16.99 paperback [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Like Lauren Winner, who admits in the foreword to Consider the Birds that she is "not really interested...
Deciding on Pastor's Pay Still Tough, Experts Say
IT MAY BE one of the most uncomfortable--and sometimes contentious--questions in congregational life: How much should we pay our senior pastor? Ministers struggle between commitments to a self-sacrificial calling on the one hand and providing for...
Essential Books on Evangelism
The Logic of Evangelism, by William J. Abraham (Eerdmans). Abraham sees evangelism in a series of movements that concern initiation into the kingdom of God. He brings the incisive analytic skills of a philosopher and practicing Christian to this book,...
Essential Books on God & Suffering [Theodicy]
Encountering Evil, a New Edition: Live Options in Theodicy, by Stephen T. Davis (Westminster John Knox). A stellar ensemble of thinkers, including John Hick, David Ray Griffin and John Cobb Jr., address the problem of how good and evil can coexist....
Essential Books on Revelation
Can I Get a Witness? Reading Revelation through African American Culture, by Brian K. Blount (Westminster John Knox). Would John of Patmos use rap music if he were to give a spiritual critique of empire today? Blount, a preacher and social prophet...
Flawed and Fallen Folk: Willimon's Novel about the Church
AFTER PUBLISHING 64 books on theology, worship and church leadership, William H. Willimon wrote a novel, Incorporation (Wipf and Stock), about a large suburban congregation, its dysfunctional staff and its narcissistic senior pastor. We wanted to know...
Global Christianity & American Religious History
To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity, by Allan Heaton Anderson (Oxford University Press, 336 pp., $24.95 paperback). Given the importance of Pentecostal and charismatic forms of faith in Christian expansion...
Interest in Remarriage Is on the Wane
The invitations are in the mail. Jennifer Beltz and T. J. Gurski of Commerce Township, Michigan, are defying the odds--they're taking the plunge a second time. "When I got divorced, I said, 'I'm never getting married again,'" says Beltz, 41, who...
Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam
Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam By Nick Turse Metropolitan, 384 pp., $30.00 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The My Lai massacre of March 1968--the murder of 500 South Vietnamese men, women and children by U.S. Army soldiers...
Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family
Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family By Najla Said Riverhead Books, 272 pp., $27.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Najla Said has had every reason to be confused. She explains in the opening lines of her memoir:...
Methodists' Top Court to Consider Defiant Same-Sex Marriages
FACING A WAVE of open defiance to church law, the top court of the United Methodist Church is set to consider rulings challenging church teaching on homosexuality. The United Methodist Judicial Council will decide whether church ministries can advocate...
Moody Drops Alcohol, Tobacco Ban for Employees
The evangelical Moody Bible Institute has dropped its ban on alcohol and tobacco consumption by its 600-member faculty and staff, including for those who work in its radio and publishing arms. The change in August reflected a desire to create a...
Muslims Decry Killings in Pakistan, Kenya and Iraq
The Muslim Public Affairs Council condemned the actions of extremists who have killed hundreds during the weekend of September 20-22 in Pakistan, Kenya and Iraq. The violence took the lives of innocent women, men and children as they were engaged...
New Testament
Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition, by Gary A. Anderson (Yale University Press, 232 pp., $30.00). Have modern economic assumptions and the theological underpinnings of Protestantism left us with distorted perspectives on almsgiving...
Obamacare for Real
In late September the right wing of the House of Representatives was attempting to force a government shutdown. Whether or not it succeeds, more brinksmanship looms: a vote on raising the debt ceiling is just weeks away, and Republican hard-liners...
PCUSA Continues to See Exodus of Churches
The exodus from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues as congregations seeking a more conservative home leave for other denominations. Some are small congregations--20 or 30 members--and some are among the largest and wealthiest churches in the...
Pope Stuns Church with Pastoral Approach to Sexual, Moral Issues
Pope Francis rocked the Catholic Church and surprised the wider world with a free-ranging interview in which he envisioned a church that is not "obsessed" with a few sexual and moral issues and is more pastoral, less clerical and less doctrinaire....
Practical Theology
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War, by Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini (Beacon, 176 pp., $24.95). After more than a decade of war in the Middle East, veterans are returning to civilian life with...
Praying for Syria
IN THE LATE 1930s Germany's Nazi government defied the terms of the World War I treaty and built the largest military machine in the world. Hitler invaded and occupied Poland and was beginning to persecute Jewish citizens. On the other side of the...
Reflection on the Lectionary
Sunday, October 20 Genesis 32:22-31; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 I HAVE BEEN thinking about Jacob a lot recently. I was commissioned to write a short story about genetic modification and chose to write about Jacob's spotted-sheep breeding program (Gen....
Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution
Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution By James P. Byrd Oxford University Press, 256 pp., $27.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] When a hurricane ravaged the waters off of eastern Newfoundland on September 9, 1775, churning...
Say a Few Words
WE WERE ABOUT to have another church banquet. The chair of the committee that was organizing the event stopped by my office to review the program. Seated across from me with her iPad in hand, she checked off one item after another as I kept smiling...
Silence: A Christian History
Silence: A Christian History By Diarmaid MacCulloch Viking, 272 pp., $27.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Many years ago, the great historians of the French Annales school complained that scholars spend far too much time dealing with the elites...
Stories from Inside
This is not Oz," the prison counselor tells Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) during her intake interview, referring to the hyperviolent HBO drama on prison life titled Oz. Piper has just entered a low-security women's prison to serve a 15-month sentence...
The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On
The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On By John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis Oxford University Press, 392 pp., $29.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] How did Julia Ward Howe's pro-federal Union and abolitionist-inspired...
The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero
The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero By Joel Baden HarperOne, 320 pp., $26.99 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The public has a taste for biographies of great people who on closer inspection turn out to be not so great after all....
Walter White's Many Sins
In the nearly six-year run of AMC's Breaking Bad, Walter White (portrayed by Bryan Cranston) has amassed a long catalog of sins. Where to start? Walt is a high school chemistry teacher who has lured and cajoled a former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron...
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth By Reza Aslan Random House, 336 pp., $27.00 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Reza Aslan's Zealot arrived with an enormous splash. An engaging and personal interview on NPR's Fresh Air attracted widespread...