First Words

We want Century articles to be conversation starters

We’re not asking readers to subscribe to a given writer’s views.

When people unfamiliar with the Christian Century ask me what I enjoy most about the magazine, I speak about what I hope they might also come to enjoy: its intellectual depth, spiritual breadth, and unwillingness to align completely with a particular tribe, identity group, or political party. We seek to publish reflective writing that’s not the product of mental laziness or poorly reasoned thought. As our tagline suggests, critical thinking is dear to our self-understanding and editorial perspective. We prize disciplined writing that displays humility, civility, and integrity. Surely we don’t get all things right all of the time.

We think of articles as conversation starters. If they prompt readers to explore topics they may not have contemplated in depth before, we view that as a success. Of course, we like fan mail. But we also appreciate fair critique.

When our editorial staff gathers around a table to discuss topics for upcoming articles and editorials, different perspectives percolate. We evaluate alternative viewpoints and push and pull at each other’s assumptions. The end product, after multiple stages of editing, is a magazine that cannot easily be pigeonholed. Those who perceive the Century as holding a predictable editorial slant are probably less familiar with the magazine than are regular readers.