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. 26, December 26

Altar Politics
I DON'T KNOW when it happened exactly, but at some point the most important event on my calendar for November 6, 2012, was not the presidential election. At some point, the unrelenting political advertisements, the carefully crafted robocalls and the...
A Surge in Secessionist Theology
Corruption has gone too far. The righteous must break away. Hope now rests with a holy remnant that honors foundational texts. The message sounds familiar. A church schism? No, mounting calls for secession from the United States. Since President...
Bishop Ting Dies at 97; Led Chinese Churches
Bishop K. H. Ting, the longtime leader of China's official Protestant Church, died in Nanjing on November 22 at age 97. Ting drew high praise from the World Council of Churches and the evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary, among others. Ting...
Chaos and Continuity
Sin: The Early History of an Idea By Paula Fredriksen Princeton University Press, 208 pp., $24.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I confess that I am disappointed in Paula Fredriksen's book on sin, though luminaries have praised it using words like...
Charitable Giving Rose in 2011, but Uncertain in 2012
THE RECESSION continued to affect how much Americans gave to charity in 2011, and the effects of Super-storm Sandy, a national election and the looming fiscal cliff may cut how much people donate in the crucial final days of 2012, experts say. Charitable...
Church Faces Backlash by Rejecting Women Bishops
The Church of England plans to rush through legislation to consecrate women bishops after the surprising defeat of that proposal in November at the church's General Synod in London. The church's Archbishops' Council, which ended two days of closed-door...
Cosmic Question
SCIENCE HAS FIGURED OUT many things that we once thought could be explained only by positing a supernatural intervention. We might still pray for rain, but we can trace the cause of thunder without invoking bowling gods. Sudden outbreaks of disease...
Dark Night of the Church
FREDERICK BUECHNER wrote that "dreams of fame and fortune die hard if they ever die at all." Sometimes it takes a long, dark night of the soul before those dreams die, before they are wrenched from imaginations that cling to them. And sometimes it's...
Faith in 2-D
In the most recent season of HBO's campy vampire drama True Blood, the writers and directors took on religion. They introduced a fundamentalist vampire sect that adheres to a scripture older than the Bible, believes that God is a vampire and that God's...
Falling into Prayer
I'D ONLY JUST TURNED 20 but thought of myself as much older than my peers, who unlike me had actually listened to the advice of their elders. This meant that while I'd been working full-time to get my husband through college, they'd been happily matriculating...
Gay Bishop 'Retiring' to Build Bridges in D.C
When V. Gene Robinson became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church in 2003, it triggered shock waves and fears of schism across the worldwide Anglican Communion. Hundreds of parishes left the Episcopal Church in protest. As this lightning-rod...
New Congress Religiously Diverse, Less Protestant
THREE BUDDHISTS, a Hindu and a "none" will walk into the 113th Congress, and it's no joke. Rather, it's a series of firsts that reflect the growing religious diversity of the country. When the new Congress is sworn in next month, Hawaii Democrat...
Outsiders Bearing Gifts
CHRISTMAS IN THE United States is such a mammoth economic phenomenon that when it comes to a crashing end on December 25 it feels like a total cultural collapse. Even though we should know better, churches too experience a post-Christmas letdown....
Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization
Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization By Charles C. Camosy Cambridge University Press, 286 pp., $29.99 paperback Stanley Hauerwas argues that the deepest enemy of Christianity in North America is not atheism, but an undemanding...
Poll Finds Cheating Wanes among High Schoolers
Are American students making the grade when it comes to ethics? A new survey from the Josephson Institute of Ethics finds that the proportion of high school students who admit to cheating, lying or stealing dropped in 2012 for the first time in...
Priest Ousted for Support of Women's Ordination
A long-running struggle between Catholic authorities and Roy Bourgeois over his support for ordaining women has ended with Bourgeois's dismissal from the priesthood and his religious order, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. A statement from Maryknoll...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, December 30 Luke 2:41-52 I LOVE THIS STORY about Jesus and his parents and am astonished by the author's deep understanding of the human condition. Mary and Joseph were facing the adolescent years with a most unusual child, and yet we...
Safe, Legal and Rare
Most Americans are morally uncertain about abortion. Absolutists exist--like the defeated U.S. Senate candidates in Indiana and Missouri who would have prohibited abortion even in cases of rape-but they represent a minority view. Forty years after...
Saving the Soviets
Whenever I speak on global Christianity, I n count on getting at least one question along the lines of "So do you think Africans might start sending missionaries to convert Europe or America someday?" My response usually begins with the story of Sunday...
Soul Experiments
A FEW WEEKS AGO Harvard University celebrated the installation of Jonathan Walton as the new Pusey Minister in its Memorial Church. University president Drew Gilpin Faust reminded the minister and the congregation of their sacred responsibilities,...
Voices of 2012
"I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." --President Obama in a May ABC-TV interview, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to endorse same-sex marriage "These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will...

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