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. 132, No. 17, August 19

Action Plan
As recently as 2013, most whites told pollsters they thought race relations in America were good. Now, according to a New York Times survey, nearly two-thirds of whites say race relations are bad and getting worse. Black people overwhelmingly agree....
Activist Who Took Down Confederate Flag from Statehouse Drew on Faith, Civil Rights Awakening
As she prepared for her mission-scaling the 30-foot flagpole outside the South Carolina statehouse to bring down the Confederate flag--Bree Newsome reread the biblical story of David and Goliath. Newsome, 30, a youth organizer with Ignite NC, a...
Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry
Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry By Ellen F. Davis Westminster John Knox, 304 pp., $40.00 Ellen Davis is full of surprises. Some are delightful, and others raise questions for further thought...
Born Again and Again
WHEN IT WAS TIME to be installed as pastor in my first congregation, I was interviewed by members of a presbytery committee responsible for admitting new ministers. I was startled when one man asked me bluntly if I "preached for a decision." I'm not...
Death without Killing: The Inhumanity of Life without Parole
IN MAY, a federal jury sentenced the surviving Boston Marathon bomber to death. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers had acknowledged his guilt and focused on humanizing him in hopes of avoiding a death sentence and getting instead a life sentence without the...
From a Zero-Waste Synagogue to Global Development Work after Natural Disasters, Environmental Projects by Faith Leaders Are Being Hailed by the Obama Administration as Examples of Exemplary Leadership on Climate Change
From a zero-waste synagogue to global development work after natural disasters, environmental projects by faith leaders are being hailed by the Obama administration as examples of exemplary leadership on climate change. Environmental Protection...
'Hands off My Church' Petition Plays on Fears French Have of Islam
More than 40,000 French signed a petition denouncing a Muslim leader's remark that some of France's many empty or underused churches could be turned into mosques. The petition, "Hands off my church," initially signed by 25 conservative politicians...
Heirloom Apple Trees
THE APPLE TREES were delivered just after I'd left for the weekend. From afar, I fretted over them like a mother hen. Would they get too hot? Would their roots dry out? Would the promise of heavy branches bending earthward be fulfilled in three, five,...
Limits of Welcome
ON PENTECOST morning I told a visitor to leave the church. I'd never done this before. I'd never even been tempted. But I did it that morning. The visitor arrived early for the service, her Bible in hand and a small jeweled cross on her neck, and...
Mass Grave Monuments in Ukraine Honor Holocaust Dead, Reopen Chapter of Local History
Ludvika Sarah Leah Schein, who survived the Holocaust, hadn't been to her hometown in 70 years. But she still vividly remembers the day Germans came to Rava-Ruska. "We ran immediately into the forest," Schein said, explaining how she and her two...
Matthew Becker
Matthew Becker, 52, an outspoken pastor and professor of theology, has been ousted from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He remains on the faculty at Valparaiso University, an independent Lutheran school in Indiana. Becker had raised questions...
Misfits in the Suburbs
When Bee Cranford-Smith graduated from seminary, she figured she would go to Atlanta and start a congregation in the urban center. But Margaret Aymer at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary challenged her: "Why go to the city?" Aymer asked. "There...
One Story, Three Ways
Shared Stories, Rival Tellings: Early Encounters of Jews, Christians, and Muslims By Robert C. Gregg Oxford University Press, 752 pp., $39.95 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 2014 the Islamic State destroyed the Mosul mosque in Iraq reputed to...
Pulp Inequality: How Popular Culture Exhibits the Class Divide
THE BREATHLESS, prurient flutter that accompanied the release of Fifty Shades of Grey scarcely suggested the dark truth: this is one of the most brazen depictions of glassware in the history of cinema. Anastasia Steele's unlikely journey takes her...
Qur'an Fragments May Be World's Oldest
What could turn out to be the world's oldest fragments of the Qur'an have been found at the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom's second-largest city, which has a 28 percent Muslim population. The manuscripts were brought to England...
Ready for Communion
IT TAKES LONGER to set up for worship with the "help" of two-year-old Claire, so Pastor Johnson arrives early on this Sunday when her husband is on call. After a quick game of hide-and-seek, Claire discovers the not-so-secret hiding place for the hex...
Reflections on the Lectionar
August 23, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time John 6:56-69 EACH SUMMER, ESPN magazine puts out its annual body issue. While the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue aims to titillate, the ESPN body issue is far more interested in the human form for its own...
Return of Han
In a trailer for the new Star Wars movie, a Harrison Ford who is 30 years older than the Han Solo of my childhood emerges from his ship, the Millennium Falcon, alongside his sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). With gun drawn but a cocky smile on his...
Revival without Tents
I CAN STILL SMELL the wet canvas and sawdust of my father's revivals. Like many old-school country preachers, he believed that any self-respecting revival was held in a tent. The fact that he'd been sent by his denomination from Texas to serve as a...
Saving the Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible's First Man to Oppress, Inspire, and Make Sense of the World
Saving the Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible's First Man to Oppress, Inspire, and Make Sense of the World By Karl W. Giberson Beacon, 240 pp., $27.95 The other day I overheard two theologians arguing a little playfully over whether,...
Some Sort of a Prayer
I gave a rambling talk recently and a long line of teenagers came Up to speak to me afterward and it was instantly clear that every Single one of them wanted to ask me something while ostensibly Asking me something else, or say one thing while seeming...
U.S. Jewish Groups Donate to Help Church in Israel Recover after Arson
Two American Jewish organizations are among those helping an Israeli church recover from an arson attack. The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee have each donated funds to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and...
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