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. 12, June 13

A New Playing Field
Forty years ago this month President Nixon signed into law legislation that prohibits educational institutions that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of gender. The legislation, which came to be known as Title IX, was intended...
Applying the Golden Rule to Gay Marriage
As pundits and politicians struggle to divine the political fallout from President Obama's sudden endorsement of same-sex marriage, one thing has become clear: the Golden Rule invoked by Obama to explain his change of heart is the closest thing Americans...
A Simple Life
A Simple Life Directed by Ann Hui Starrin9 Deanie Ip and Andy Lau Whenever people complain to me about the lack of "realistic" movies out there, I point them to tiny gems such as Ann Hui's A Simple Life, Hong Kong's entry for last year's Oscar...
Black Churches Conflicted about Obama's Stance on Gays
WHEN THE PULPITS of the nation's black churches took measure of President Obama's decision to support gay marriage, the resulting comments were often conflicted. Some churches were silent on the issue. At others, pastors spoke against the president's...
Devout Atheist
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion By Alain de Botton Pantheon, 320 pp., $26.95 Modernity can be defined as the effort to retain the benefits of religion--moral purpose, social cohesion...
Facts of Life: The Case for Sexuality Education
WHEN CHICKA MERINO, a sex education teacher in Minneapolis, gave me the chance to meet with one of her classes, I couldn't resist asking the teenagers a question: What has been the most memorable part of sex ed for you? The first hand to go up belonged...
Interfaith Repertoire: A Bosnian Choir Sings Reconciliation
IT'S A SUMMER EVENING in Sarajevo, and I'm at choir rehearsal. The director is working with the first and second tenors on a sensitive contrapuntal exchange in Antonio Lotti's Crucifixus. They focus intently, trying to keep the tight dissonances intact....
Lessons for 'Our Whole Lives'
WHEN NICOLE Chaisson teaches fifth- and sixth-graders about sexuality at Macalester Plymouth United Church in St. Paul, she doesn't have to worry about what the state legislature might say. She is not relying on federal funding, and no organization...
Lifeline to Kids: A Shift to Group Mentoring
IT WAS AFTER DARK one evening last November when 40-year-old Lewis Haley arrived at a city park in New Orleans to mentor some teenage boys, each of whom has a parent in prison. A temperamental streetlamp flickering in a corner of the outfield revealed...
Living by the Word
Sunday, June 17 Ezekiel 17:22-24; Mark 4:26-34 RECENTLY I WAS telling a pastoral colleague that I have no idea how people become preachers without having first been stand-up comics. In the early 1990s when I was getting clean and sober, I worked...
Meeting Adam
IT MUST BE BECAUSE it's the last thing I see every night before I go to sleep--a photograph by the Very Rev. Andrew Tregubov of the Anastasis (or "Descent into Hades") icon fresco by 20th-century Russian iconographer Gregory Kroug. It must be the sight...
Mi-5
MI-5 Starring Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Peter Firth, Nicola Walker and Esther Hall I just finished watching the 87th and final episode of the British spy series MI-5 (all ten seasons are available for instant viewing on Netflix). Why did...
Muckraking Pilgrim
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life By Michael Moore Grand Central Publishing, 427 pp., $26.99 IT IS LATE 2009 and Sean Hannity of Fox News is interviewing Michael Moore about his film Capitalism--A Love Story,...
Obama Campaign Taps Wear, 24, to Lead Religious Outreach
President Obama's reelection campaign has tapped a 24-year-old executive assistant in the White House faith-based office to head up its outreach to religious communities. Michael R. Wear, who has worked in the White House for the past three and...
Obama's Views on Gays OK with Most Voters
President Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage opened a torrent of speculation on what his newly enunciated position will mean politically, but the latest polls indicate that the public largely backs his views and that his stance may not...
Our Idea of Heaven Wrong, Says N. T. Wright
An oft-cliched notion of heaven--a blissful realm of harp-strumming angels--has remained a fixture of the faith for centuries. Even as arguments go on as to who will or won't be "saved," surveys show that a vast majority of Americans befieve that after...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, June 24 Mark 4:35-41 RECENTLY I WAS talking with a colleague about the nature of God and how sometimes we lean too exclusively toward the transcendence of God--God is mighty and distant and all powerful, concerned only with judging us....
Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age
Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age By Robert N. Bellah Belknap, 784 pp., $39.95 Some two decades before Robert Bellah and his colleagues wrote the seminal 1985 book Habits of the Heart, which improved the public...
Springtime Hopes
THE CUBS LAST WON the National League pennant in 1945 and a World Series championship 104 seasons ago in 1908. I have learned to put it all in a theological context and comfort myself with Christian verities such as steadfastness, suffering that builds...
Syrian Christians Keep Uneasy Affiance with Assad
Hani Sarhan is a Christian who says none of his relatives works for Bashar Assad's regime or has anything to do with it. "But what we heard from [the protesters] at the beginning of this revolution--'Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin'--started...
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Directed by John Madden Starrinh Dev Patel, Judi Dench, Haggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, by British director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), is a "hands across the...
The Orthodox in Africa
The worldwide expansion of Christianity over the past century is a tide that has lifted virtually all denominations--with one apparent exception. A hundred years ago, any account of the Christian world would have recognized three great streams: the...
This Just Isn't Working: When People Don't Show Up
RECENTLY our church did something I never thought we would do. We canceled all of our adult education opportunities and midweek services. They just weren't working. We've tried Bible studies, Gospel Based Discipleship and Education for Ministry....
When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays
When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays By Marilynne Robinson Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 224 pp., $24.00 T o those who fear that Christian cultural engagement is in a state of intellectual poverty, I suggest looking to the work of Marilynne...
Why Read Moby-Dick?
Why Read Moby-Dick? By Nathaniel Philbrick Viking, 144 pp., $25.00 Among all the books written by Americans past and present, one is particularly special to me. I rarely teach it--and when I do, I offer it only to graduate students, and I...
Wink Challenged 'Powers' and Taught Nonviolence
New Testament theologian Walter Wink, noted for relating the biblical phrase "principalities and powers" to the dominating sociopolitical structures of the modern era, died May 10, leaving a legacy of books, teachings and nonviolent resistance to apartheid...

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