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. 128, No. 3, February 8

Aiming to Counter Trend, UCC Seminary Will Train Military Chaplains
A military chaplain serves as both a religious leader and a listener--ideally one who can assist military personnel of all faiths. A frequent refrain among chaplains is that one is a "chaplain to all, pastor to some." But government statistics show...
Anchored in Christ: Beyond the Scripture-Tradition Divide
WITH THE INCREASINGLY warm relationship between Catholics and evangelicals, evangelicals inevitably face this question: Can we consider Catholics--at least some Catholics--to be evangelicals? In other words, is there a species called "the Catholic...
Army Faces Queries on 'Spiritual Fitness' Test
The army is facing questions over a "spiritual fitness" portion of a mandatory questionnaire, with some atheists calling it "invidious and not inclusive" of soldiers who are nonbelievers. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation learned...
Gun Fantasies
Jared Loughner, the young man charged in the shooting rampage that wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was considered so threatening and mentally unstable that his community college in Tucson banned him from campus. But this judgment did not...
Mysteries of February
IT'S FEBRUARY, and the lectionary takes us from the dwindling lights of Christmas and Epiphany to the drudgery of which Job complains: "Has not man a hard service upon earth, and are not his days like the days of a hireling? Like a slave who longs...
Naming the Shadows
I'VE SEEN it often: a beloved church member dies and at the funeral the eulogies go and on, with the bereaved ones helping to anoint the saint. But then the eulogizers go home, and the bereaved are left behind to find a foothold for grieving this acclaimed...
Obama Evokes Niebuhr, Black Church
Expecting a speech, Americans instead heard a sermon. Drawing on scripture, theology and the rising rhythms of black preaching, President Obama was more pastor than politician at a memorial service in Tucson for the victims of the January 8 shooting...
Palin Use of 'Blood Libel' Unsettling to Jews
Four days after an assassination attempt critically wounded a Jewish congresswoman and killed six others, Sarah Palin on January 12 accused "journalists and pundits" of manufacturing a "blood libel" that seeks to link her and other conservatives to...
Permission Not to Pray
We all have seasons when faith rings hollow and prayers seem tinny and meaningless. One such season for me came years ago as I was finishing seminary. At the time my seminary experience had become an almost exclusively intellectual affair. I learned...
Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole Directed by John Cameron Mitchell Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest Rabbit Hole, adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a couple struggling to cope with the death of their...
'Radicalization' Hearings Worry U.S. Muslims
Mass protests against planned mosques in New York City and Tennessee. An Oklahoma referendum to ban Islamic law. A media circus around a Florida pastor's threat to burn Qur'ans. An upsurge in homegrown Islamic terrorists. Two U.S.-led wars in predominantly...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, February 13 Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ALTHOUGH I WAS RAISED in a preacher's household and have been a preacher myself for three decades, my own conversion happened gradually. I didn't even realize what I was going through until one of my parishioners...
Senator Ends Probe of Ministries, Calls for 'Self-Reform'
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, having concluded a three-year probe into alleged lavish spending at six major broadcast ministries, has asked a prominent evangelical group to study ways to spur "self-reform" among religious groups. Since 2007, Grassley,...
Unplanned Ministry: Being Jackson's Pastor
THE TELEPHONE RANG. I picked it up. A woman's voice: "Pastor, I have a problem. Can I come and talk with you?" Variations on that introduction are numerous in a pastor's life. What would it be this time? She interrupted my hesitating silence: "Maybe...
Voice Lessons
IN MY second year teaching at a seminary I was assigned to teach preaching. In the third week, I was offering a less than enthusiastic response to a sermon when the student suddenly broke into tears and ran out. The class glared at me. That day...
Water in Worship: The Ecology of Baptism
FOR AS LONG as humans have prayed, they have probably prayed at water places. Water often moves us to wonder, joy, terror or peace, and many times, water--whether it's the awesome power of ocean waves, the cold upwelling waters of a spring, a small,...
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