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. 126, No. 17, August 25

Affinity Fraud: Fleecing the Faithful
PHIL HARMON WAS a successful business executive with deep roots in the Quaker community of the Northwest. By the 1990s the Oregon man had several homes in Oregon and Washington State. In his early career, he sold insurance. He gained widespread trust...
American Baptists Take Delight in Diversity
The American Baptist Churches USA convention this summer was typical of many church gatherings in displaying ethnic and racial diversity. But many ABC leaders think that their denomination may be the most diverse among mainline Protestant churches....
Everyday Essays
A FEW YEARS AGO I was given a book of Anne Fadiman's essays, Ex Libris, and was smitten. Last year, while I was recuperating from hip surgery, a friend gave me another of her collections, At Large and At Small. Her essays are so interesting, amusing...
For Shame
REMEMBER GOMER PYLE, the hapless and saintly TV marine? His philosophical lexicon was limited, but it included two all-purpose expressions: Surprise, surprise, surprise! and Shame, shame, shame! The first of these expressions, along with Golly! and...
In Denial
The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps is a charitable organization that brings free health care to regions of the globe where medical care is scarce or unaffordable--such as parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and Utah. When RAM volunteers open...
Library without Books
WHEN I TOLD a friend I was planning on visiting the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, he offered a warning. "There are no books. They really should call it the 'Billy Graham Experience.'" [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The library is an experience indeed--both...
Many Clergy Vulnerable to Health Insurance Loss
While a sour economy and rising costs make it harder for small businesses to afford health coverage, one group of employees is especially vulnerable: clergy. Many denominations provide health care for clergy, but pastors of small and independent...
NIH and Surgeon General Nominees Combine Faith, Biomedical Achievement
When President Obama named his choices for his administration's two top medical posts, he chose people of public acclaim whose faith positions may put them out of step with conservative believers--but in tune with White House pragmatism. Dr. Francis...
On Music
One of the high-water marks of popular music, certainly of jazz music, is Miles Davis's Kind of Blue (1959), which almost by itself jolted jazz out of the bebop era. A Davis biographer said that with Kind of Blue he was "trying to evoke the sound of...
Papal Disconnect: Benedict's Social Encyclical
I'VE STUDIED papal encyclicals for over 30 years, and Caritas in veritate ("Charity in Truth") is the first one I was eager to be finished with. Clearly Pope Benedict XVI wants his message about "integral human development" in the context of global...
Reduced Status Suggested for Episcopal Church
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested that the Episcopal Church may have to accept a secondary role in the Anglican Communion after voting to allow the ordination of gay bishops and blessings for same-sex unions. Williams, the spiritual...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, August 30 Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 FOR SOME REASON, Mark, who managed to produce only 16 short chapters to tell the whole story of Jesus, decided to devote more than half of one of those chapters to an account of a food fight. It gets...
Role Reversal: Pastor as Patient
WHEN I BEGAN in ministry, I would enter a hospital room with a bit of trepidation, as if entering a strange and alien land, because I was not sure what I would encounter there and how I might respond. I wasn't yet used to the sights and sounds and...
Spooked by Gadgets
Recently a friend forwarded me a cautionary e-mail. It reported that a couple in Canada had parked for an errand, and as they walked away from their car, the driver used the remote on his key fob to lock the doors. When the Canadians returned to their...
Swedish Lutherans Warned by Anglicans on Gay Issue
Leaders of the (Anglican) Church of England have warned the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden that if it agrees to expand the concept of marriage to include same-sex couples, it risks creating "immediate and negative" consequences for ecumenical relations....
The Divine Script: The Art of Islamic Calligraphy
FOR MUSLIMS, the Qur'an is revered as God's own art. Islam is essentially an aural religion; God's word came to the Prophet Muhammad as a voice, instructing him to iqra', "Recite!" In fact, iqra' is the word from which we get qur'an, the "reciting."...
The Graham Succession: After Billy
THE QUESTIONS STARTED coming as soon as Billy Graham left the spotlight following his last crusade in 2005 in New York. Can anyone take his place as a galvanizing figure in American Christianity? What is the future of his style of evangelism--and,...
The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty. Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is the best movie to come out of the war in Iraq so far. In fact, it's the finest American war film...
U.S. Methodists Reject 'Open Door' Membership
United Methodists in the U.S. have defeated amendments that would have made church membership open to all Christians regardless of sexual orientation and that would have moved toward allowing the U.S. church to address issues independent of the global...

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