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. 11, May 30

Are Americans in Rome Behind Crackdown on Nuns?
When the Vatican announced a doctrinal crackdown on the leadership organization representing most of the 57,000 nuns in the U.S., the sisters said they were "stunned" by the move. Many American Catholics, meanwhile, were angry at what they saw as Rome...
Controversial Dig: The Politics of Israeli Archaeology
IN ISRAEL, archaeology is followed with the same passion that soccer excites in other countries. That's because archaeological findings--especially ones that reveal Jews' ancient attachment to the land--have political meaning. As Israelis see it, such...
Eating in Ignorance: Do We Know Where Our Food Comes From?
IT HAD BEEN another tough day. When Matthew arrived at his office he opened an e-mall that turned his day upside down. Thinking he was going to put the finishing touches on an overdue report, he instead discovered that a branch office was in crisis...
Going Catholic? Evangelicals and Birth Control
AMID THE various responses to the White House mandate requiring insurance plans to cover birth control for employees--including those working at Catholic institutions--one statistic caught my eye. A Pew survey found that 56 percent of white evangelicals...
Holy Small Talk
I TARRIED AT the door of the sanctuary following worship as people said things like "Pastor, Bob is having surgery on Wednesday. Can you stop by the hospital?" But as soon as possible I ran to my office, took off my vestments and made my way to the...
Junk Food Epidemic
Michelle Obama wanted to expand access to fresh, healthful food; Walmart wanted to expand into urban markets. When the First Lady and the retail giant got together last year to try to eliminate food deserts--low-income areas where there's nowhere to...
Life after Life after Death
The standard view of life after death has long focused on a disembodied soul that, immediately pursuant to the expiration of the body, goes either to heaven or to hell. I remember the sermon preached at my father's funeral some years ago. It was classic...
Methodists Maintain Gay Policies
Despite emotional protests and fierce lobbying from gay rights groups, United Methodists voted to maintain their denomination's stance that homosexual acts are "incompatible with Christian teaching"--an expected outcome as the denomination becomes...
Monsieur Lazhar
Monsieur Lazhar Written and directed by Philippe Falardeau Starring Mohamed Fellag, Daniel|e Proulx, Emilien Neron and Sophie Nelisse Movies about education are seldom convincing; their depiction of what goes on in the classroom hardly ever...
Praying for God to Hurt Someone Is Not Illegal, Judge Rules
Is it OK to ask God to do harm to another person? The theology of such "imprecatory prayer" may be a matter of debate, but a Dallas judge has ruled that it is legal, at least as long as no one is actually threatened or harmed. District Court Judge...
Pull It Together
Pull It Together by Shannon Stephens [Asthmatic Kitty] On her third album, Shannon I Stephens reins in her chamber-folk experimentalism in favor of a bluesy little band that takes her songs to unexpected places. Her sound remains relatively...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, June 3 Isaiah 6:1-8; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17 SHORTLY AFFER my daughter was born last summer, a friend gave my wife and me a bit of unsolicited wisdom: "God gives us children to remind us that we are not in control." Sage advice, to...
Sent to Serve: William Willimon on Being Bishop
WIDELY PUBLISHED author and preacher--and CENTURY editor at large--William H. Willimon will step down this summer after eight years as bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. He will return to teaching at Duke Divinity...
The Baseball Life
I DISCOVERED the allure of baseball at the age of ten; when the sport became the organizing principle of my life. In the summer, I'd head to the ball field in the morning, wait until five or six other players showed up, then begin a game of first bounce...
The Buzz of Life: Notes from the Farm
YOUR BEES ARE in the mail," read the postcard on my sister's kitchen table. It was not an April Fool's prank but a simple statement of fact. In a day or two the local post office would call and ask, with a slight sense of urgency, for someone to...
The Great Exhale: C[O.Sub.2] and the Extinction of Species
ATMOSPHERIC carbon dioxide today registers 390 parts per million, and counting. Even in the most optimistic global scenarios, our fossil-fuel-burning ways will result within the next 100 years in a full doubling of the pre-industrial amount of atmospheric...
The Lure of Jonestown
A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown By Julia Scheeres Free Press, 320 pp., $26.00 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Working as a secretary in the late 1960s, Edith Roller watched as student sit-ins engulfed...
The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder
The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder By Richard Louv Algonquin, 320 pp., $24.95 When I was a kid, I spent my suburan summer days exploring the nooks and crannies of my backyard, roaming the woods with...
The Seeker Next Door: What Drives the 'Spiritual but Not Religious'?
IF YOU'RE ASKED to imagine a typical "spiritual but not religious" person (SBNR), you might envision a middleclass white woman with time on her hands, wearing a new yoga outfit, sitting in a lotus position and meditating. The television series Enlightened...
UMC Rejects Call to Divest from Firms Selling to Israel
At their General Conference, United Methodists twice rejected resolutions that called for the denomination to divest from companies accused of contributing to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. About two-thirds of the nearly 1,000 delegates...
Visions of a Better World: Howard Thurman's Pilgrimage to India and the Origins of African American Nonviolence
Visions of a Better World: Howard Thurman's Pilgrimage to India and the Origins of African American Nonviolence By Quinton Dixie and Peter Eisenstadt Beacon, 272 pp., $34.95 In 1942 a reporter from an "influential black newspaper" noted that...
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice By Terry Tempest Williams Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 224 pp., $23.00 Some things to know about the American writer Terry Tempest Williams: She wrote a masterpiece (Refuge, a brilliant...
White House Releases Faith-Based Guidelines
A new White House report that offers guidance on public-private partnerships between the government and faith-based groups leaves critical questions unanswered and does not resolve the issue of religious groups' ability to discriminate in hiring and...
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