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. 131, No. 10, May 14

Astonishing Assemblies
The United States has spawned many Christian denominations, some of which have gone on to thrive internationally. This year marks the centennial of one of the great success stories, the Assemblies of God. Not only have the Assemblies become a truly...
Built on Failure: The Value of What We Can't Comprehend
RETRACTIONS OF scientific papers have soared in the past decade--up tenfold, according to a 2011 report in the journal Nature. At first glance, that fact might be taken as a sign of an increase in conscience among scientists who have discovered errors...
Central African Republic Clergy Urge Faster UN Deployment of Peace Force
Religious leaders, playing an ever expanding role in the troubled Central African Republic, are urging reinforcements for an existing peace mission, even as the United Nations prepares to roll out a bigger one in September. On April 10, the UN voted...
Chick-Fil-A Offers a New Public Face
CHICK-FIL-A IS crossing the road. The iconic chicken chain, known for its conservative heritage as well as its savory eats, is recalibrating its moral and culinary compass. It wants to go from old school to almost cool. It wants to evolve from a...
Debates Linger after Tests on 'Jesus' Wife' Papyrus
A year and a half after unveiling a slip of papyrus that she dubbed "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife," Harvard biblical scholar Karen King has released the results of long-delayed testing on the controversial fragment which appear to show that it is not...
Disoriented by God
God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay "On the Trinity" By Sarah Coakley Cambridge University Press, 384 pp., $29.99 paperback [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] This book is very, very good. That is one of the easiest things to say about it, and one...
Evangelical Support for Israel Slipping?
American evangelicals have played a significant role in U.S. support for Israel; by some measures they are even more supportive than American Jews. But in the spring issue of Middle East Quarterly, David Brog, executive director of Christians United...
Faith of the Senses: Christianity in Five Objects
DEVOUT PEOPLE in many religious traditions often denigrate material goods, suggesting that the object of devotion is beyond what can be seen, felt, and heard. Yet a look at religious history, including Christian history, reveals a deep-seated, perennial...
False Witness: A Misguided 'Study Guide'
IN RESPONSE TO the injustices faced by Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, many Christians in the United States--including many within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)--have become proponents of what is known as BDS: boycott/divest/sanctions....
Is the Church Helping? Christians and the Conflict in South Sudan
ONLY TWO YEARS ago South Sudan was celebrating its independence from the repressive Sudan regime. After 20 years of civil war, a beleaguered yet hopeful people had overcome internal tensions to establish a new state. Churches helped usher in a new...
Lobbying for Bible Classes
The Mustang, Oklahoma, school board has voted to adopt a Bible course developed by Steve Green, clearing the way for the Hobby Lobby president--whose suit against the Affordable Care Act is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court--to enter a contested...
More Say Good Book Is Not a God Book
Bible films may be raking it in at the box office, but fewer people are reading the original and taking it seriously. The American Bible Society's latest State of the Bible survey documents steep skepticism that the Good Book is a God book. "We...
Most Favor Generic Prayer for Public Meetings
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT will soon rule on the constitutionality of prayer at governmental meetings. A new survey finds that U.S. voters clearly favor such prayer--as long as the prayer is generic and not specifically Christian. Fairleigh Dickinson...
Muslims Cheer Shutdown of NYPD Spying Unit
Muslim and civil rights groups welcomed the news that the New York City Police Department's Demographics Unit will disband but said they still fear they may be targets of warrantless surveillance. Muslim Advocates filed a lawsuit in 2012 to stop...
Obama Mourns Kansas Gun Violence, Anti-Semitism: 'We're All Children of God'
President Obama called for people of all faiths to deter gun violence and anti-Semitism one day after a gunman killed three people at Jewish centers in suburban Kansas City. "That this occurred now--as Jews were preparing to celebrate Passover,...
Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine
Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine By Wendy Cadge University of Chicago Press, 328 pp., $25.00 paperback In today's politicized climate, the mention of religion and medicine in the same title might suggest a focus on insurance requirements...
Pope Asks Forgiveness for Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal
IN HIS STRONGEST personal remarks yet on the clergy sexual abuse scandal, Pope Francis asked forgiveness "for the damage" that abusive priests have inflicted on children and pledged that the Catholic Church "will not take one step backward" in efforts...
Praying Jane Eyre
A STUDENT approached me with an irresistible request. "I'm looking for someone to supervise an independent study for me," she said. "I want to read Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre as a sacred text. Would you be interested?" Vanessa's ministry...
Reflections on the Lectionary
Sunday, May 18 1 Peter 2:2-10 A YOUNG GIRL stands before her classmates and teacher. Her teacher has chosen to be cruel. "Is it true," asks the teacher with a sneer, "that your father is a drunkard?" The girl is well aware that her father comes...
Resurrection by Inches
ITS BEEN seven years since the washcloth incident, but my regret is still fresh. My mother moved in with us--my husband, son, and me--when her Parkinson's disease had made it impossible for her to live alone. We wanted her to stay with us as long as...
Rwanda and After
Last month marked the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. By many measures, Rwanda has rebounded remarkably in the years since mass killings left 800,000 dead. Its economy is strong and its poverty rate has declined. The government has brought...
Salinger
Salinger By David Shields and Shane Salerno Simon & Schuster, 720 pp., $19.99 paperback There is no denying the staying power of J. D. Salinger. All you have to do is teach Catcher in the Rye to a group of high schoolers--or better yet,...
Undaunted
Divergent is every adolescent's dilemma magnified. Will Beatrice "Tris" Prior (Shailene Woodley) model her life on that of her parents or risk everything and strike out on her own? The core questions in this film are conventional: Who am I and where...
Weep Together
THE MIDDLE EAST peace talks appear to be at a dead end. At the last minute Israel reneged on a promise to release Palestinian prisoners and announced the construction of yet more housing in territory claimed by the Palestinians for a future state....
What Happens When People Pray? Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann
TANYA LUHRMANN is best known for her 2012 book When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, which examines how evangelicals and charismatic Christians experience and communicate with God. A cultural anthropologist,...
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