Every other week, on Thursday afternoon, several editors at the Century gather around a cluster of filing cabinets. With the pages of the next issue spread in front of them, they work on coming up with titles for the articles. The editors do this job standing up. I notice that they laugh a lot during the process, which usually involves tossing out outrageous as well as serious possibilities.
When it comes to fierce theological debate—excommunicating,
eternity-in-the-balance doctrinal warfare—neither the ecumenical
councils nor those unpleasant doings in Geneva have anything on my local
A new administration in Washington brings the promise of new approaches to deadlocked and dangerous international conflicts. President-elect Obama has indicated his intent to rethink and recast our relationship with Cuba, for instance. Anyone who visits Cuba can see how the U.S.
The prevailing topic of conversation at my mother's retirement home is
the food: the menu, the cooks and—not least—the order in which people
are served. While I tire of of hearing about the daily drama, I know
that what is true at "the home" is true for many of the rest of us.
From Britain to Denmark, Europe has hundreds of empty churches. The closing of a church is painful—especially in villages where the church for centuries served as a community anchor, even for unbelievers. Efforts are often made to adapt the buildings for a community service, such as a library. Because they are very expensive to maintain, empty churches are more frequently turned into some kind of commercial endeavor. The Church of St. Joseph in Arnhem, Netherlands, still owned by the Catholic Church, has been turned into a skate park. The Netherlands has the largest number of idle church buildings. Roman Catholic leaders in Holland estimate that within a decade two-thirds of their 1,600 churches will be closed, and 700 of the country’s Protestant churches will likely close over the next four years (Wall Street Journal, January 2).