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. 123, No. 4, February 21

Alito Confirmation Reflects National Divisions
A NEW ERA began this month at the Supreme Court as Samuel Alito took a crucial seat on the bench. The close Senate confirmation vote--58 to 42--reflected the nation's division over the Court's future. Of those who voted January 31 against Alito,...
Border Crossings: It's Not Realistic to Think about Deporting 11 Million Illegal Immigrants
February 21, 2006 WHAT SHOULD U.S. immigration policy be, given that half a million immigrants enter the U.S. illegally each year and the total number of undocumented residents in the country is about 11 million (most of them Mexicans)? For the...
Called and Sent Out
ONE DAY we woke up and saw that they were everywhere. Looking back, we realized that they had been there all along, growing in the soil under our feet, watered by the same water we drank, preparing to pop up their heads and bask in the sun. Who...
Centurymarks
VOCATION, TAKE ONE: When Anthony Robinson asked a young seminarian how he was called to ministry, he confessed that he had been a teenager from hell. He started drinking in ninth grade, moving on to drugs a year or two later. He barely made it through...
Communities of Learning
FROM THE ACADEMY of ancient Greece to the medieval schools, education was understood to be centered upon conversation (conversor, literally meaning "being together"). Plato's dialogues and Aquinas's Summa Theologiae are written in the form of a conversation....
Connected to God, Connecting Others to God
WHAT WE WANT theological education to look like depends on what sort of church we want, and on hat we think ministers are for. Do we want highly trained leaders who know how to lead, recruit and motivate? Or do we want pastors and priests who know...
Coretta Scott King, Bearer of a Legacy
Coretta Scott King, who died January 31, lived faithfully through marriage to one of the nation's most famous, danger-risking pastors and became an admired civil rights leader in her own right over the past 38 years. Leaders with connections to...
Flashbacks
THE FRENCH FILM Cache ("Hidden") is a stylish thriller tiptoeing around a psychological drama that lurks inside a political allegory. This is typical of the challenging work turned out by Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke (Code Unknown, The Piano...
Formation in a Common Life
WAY TOO MUCH emphasis is placed on making theological education accessible and convenient. With the rise of Internet courses and distance learning, seminaries have accommodated to the spirit of individualism rather then drawing on the biblical mandate...
Global Pressures, Latino Realities
BY 2050 LATINOS and Latinas will constitute at least one fourth of the U.S. population. They are increasingly part of Protestant as well as Roman Catholic churches, though they often live in this country without legal status. Protestant Latino/Latina...
Hamas to Use Shari'a as Governing Basis; Churches Urge Peace
Hamas intends to apply Islamic law, or shari'a, as the basis for running the Palestinian Authority after its landslide win in the late January elections for the legislature, officials from the group said. But they added that people would not be forced...
Knowledge and Piety
UNITE THE PAIR so long disjoined, knowledge and vital piety," wrote Charles Wesley in the 1763. Theological education in the middle of the 21st century will still be wrestling with that basic pairing. The highest levels of theological education...
Living by the Word: Chariot of Fire
ELIJAH, THE GREAT prophet who has traveled the length of Israel and spoken the word of the Lord directly to Israel's king, is now about to take the longest journey of all. Somehow he knows that his time has come. His disciple Elisha knows too, but...
Living by the Word: Starting Over
SOMETIMES I'M watching TV news and reach the point where I cannot take in all the violence and destruction. So I turn off the television and try to get involved in something that will take my mind off the news. God, however, does not have that option....
Melancholy Leaders
WHAT PROMPTS our fascination with Lincoln? Perhaps it is our frustration with the quality of current politicians. Our political climate seems to favor self-absorbed spin doctors rather than people whose judgments are marked by reasoned reflection and...
Muhammad Cartoons Stir Debate on Faith and Free Expression
Muslim anger over Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad is expected to rise after French and German newspapers reprinted the caricatures February 1, saying they did so in support of free expression. France-Soir, a French daily, splashed...
NBC Axes Provocative Book of Daniel
Conservative critics have claimed victory over the pulling of a fledgling prime-time TV program depicting an Episcopal priest with a host of family problems who held long conversations with a seemingly hip Jesus. NBC officials said that they aired...
Noah Who?
A GENERATION or two ago, American novelists could assume that people would understand biblical allusions, hence titles like East of Eden, Absalom, Absalom! and Song of Solomon. That assumption is no longer valid. The Chicago Tribune reported last summer...
Papal Encyclical Expounds on Love
Pope Benedict XVI has issued the first encyclical of his papacy, dedicating Roman Catholicism's highest form of writing to a reflection on love and charity that calls for a "purification" of erotic love between men and women. The encyclical, titled...
Part Monastery, Part Seminar, Part Mission Agency
SEMINARY PROGRAMS should be one part monastery, one part seminar and one part mission agency. As monastery, such a program would require emerging leaders to spend extended periods living in community and devoted to spiritual practices like contemplative...
Race Still Matters: Moral Amnesia in America
IN 1970, when Timothy Tyson was ten years old, a black man named Henry "Dickie" Marrow was murdered in Oxford, North Carolina, allegedly for making a sexual comment to a white woman. Despite the testimony of eyewitnesses, the killers, Robert and Larry...
Seminaries in Pain
I RECENTLY BEGAN consulting with three seminary faculties that have gone through significant changes and crises in the past three years. These crises involved retirements, staff sexual misconduct, building programs, faculty-administration conflicts,...
Textbook Case: A Bible Curriculum for Public Schools
PUBLIC SCHOOLS have been a primary battleground between the despisers and defenders of religion. The forces of secularity have pounded steadily forward on the prayer front, pushing into a tiny meditative corner those who want schools to reflect and...
Time Capsule
THE THEOLOGICAL education issue of this magazine in 1958 featured a ruckus-raising editorial, "Domesticity in Our Seminaries" (April 23). The author was Ted Gill, my office mate and mentor in religious journalism. The editorial was unsigned, but no...
Videos for Pilgrim Leaders
BY 2050 the training of ministers will have shifted to where the students are located. Teachers will travel a third of their time. This will be cheaper and more effective than transplanting students. Cheap travel will allow courses to be set in a relevant...
Woman among Four Nominees as Next Episcopal Top Bishop
One woman from Nevada and three southern men have been nominated to lead the Episcopal Church for a nine-year term as the badly divided denomination faces an uncertain future and threats of schism after decades of fighting. The four bishops--J....

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