Courtship, Pornography, and True Worship


A friend of mine just sent me a link to a post from conservative theologian and pastor Douglas Wilson’s blog. In it, Mr. Wilson offers Christian fathers a list of twenty-one questions with which to interrogate their daughters’ prospective suitors. Questions of antiquation aside, I find Mr. Wilson’s suggestion irresponsible and the theology that underlies it troubling. Continue reading “Courtship, Pornography, and True Worship”


Social Justice in the Light of Heaven

BY DARREN HSIUNG It is a common perception, regardless of belief or background, that things are not the way they should be. A world filled with wars, economic meltdowns, poverty, and disease makes us yearn for something better. Perhaps this yearning, as we speak of justice, is an opportunity to consider heaven afresh. We may have heard of the one who is so heavenly-minded he … Continue reading Social Justice in the Light of Heaven

The Rich Young Ruler


We had gone to high school together. And it had been a while since I’d last seen my best high school buddy, Jae, from our home state of Alaska. Those were the good days before giants on Wall Street were collapsing under bad loans and bad faith in the gospel of greed – invisible fists punching at a corrupt system – before hockey moms from Alaska were becoming VP candidates like some horrible, “really bad Disney movie” gone wrong, as Matt Damon would say. Continue reading “The Rich Young Ruler”

Meeting God’s Justice in the Tenderloin


Have you ever been to the Westfield Mall in San Francisco? It’s beautiful, and many people shop there on weekends. Walk three blocks away, and instead of Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s you might see drug deals going down and people passed out on the streets. This is where I spent my summer – at Glide Memorial Church in the Tenderloin. Continue reading “Meeting God’s Justice in the Tenderloin”

My Heart Overflows with Matoke: A Mission Experience


When five other Americans and I arrived at the Entebbe airport in Uganda after more than a day of traveling, I was struck by a sudden anxiety. We would be traveling throughout Uganda for a little less than five weeks, and I was hopeful that God would use that time to communicate something profound through me, despite my imperfections and my unimportance. I knew that there was a natural reciprocity to expect on the mission and that I would get so much more out of the experience than I put in. Still, I hoped there would be something I could show for all the time and money to be spent on the recognition of God’s vast power, grace, and community. With apprehension and legs sore from sitting so long, I walked into the airport. I was met by twenty Ugandans eager for fellowship and an exponential number of mosquitoes equally eager for my peanut-M&M-sweetened blood. Continue reading “My Heart Overflows with Matoke: A Mission Experience”

Show Me Your Faith without Works

BY JOHN MONTAGUE I had walked past them on my way into the church, and, as I left, I heard them before I saw them: two homeless men were heckling churchgoers as they uncomfortably brushed past, averting their eyes as if hoping the men might believe that they hadn’t heard their taunts. “There you go again, you Christians. You say you follow Jesus, but you … Continue reading Show Me Your Faith without Works

Calculus, Empathy, and Single Mothers, or, Living between Heaven and Hell


I have a small confession to make. I sometimes wonder what good all my education is going to do humanity. What benefit will the people of the world gain from my learning about Kepler’s Laws of Planetary motion? How is l’Hôpital’s Rule going to feed starving children in inner city Oakland? I suppose that I could come up with very convoluted arguments about how my understanding of the inner workings of quantum mechanics helps children in Africa find a better life amidst the poverty and violence that surrounds them, but I really am in a sorry situation here. If I can’t help the world around me, am I just taking up space, living my selfish, consumerist life? Or worse? Continue reading “Calculus, Empathy, and Single Mothers, or, Living between Heaven and Hell”

On Poverty & Handouts


Panhandlers in South Africa make a fortune from young missionaries coming into their country, eager to love people and make a difference. As a missionary who has worked in local townships for the past six months, I have seen earnest young people readily empty out their pockets to anyone in need. But as you walk around the city, scattered posters remind foreigners: “HANDOUTS DON’T WORK.” From talking with many missionaries, as well as from my own experience, I have begun to see that handouts do tend to create a mindset of dependency, perpetuating a lifestyle on the streets. Begging becomes a career that actually pays. This is especially appealing within the city of Cape Town, where the unemployment rate is nearly 40%, but it is detrimental to any long-term mission in the area. People in the townships are no longer affected by the goodness of strangers, instead seeing foreigners as walking ATMs ready to meet a need. Relationships are no longer valued, and friendships are reduced to shallow conversations where people say “the right words” in order to get on the good side of Christian missionaries. Whole families decide working is unnecessary because their next meal will surely be funded by the waves of foreign wealth coming into the communities. Continue reading “On Poverty & Handouts”

Loving Our Neighbors Today

BY JOHN MONTAGUE The second-greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25–37), Jesus tells us two important things about this task. First, we need to redefine who our neighbors are. Our neighbors include those outside our ordinary social circles, people around whom we may even feel uncomfortable. Second, the time to love our neighbors is … Continue reading Loving Our Neighbors Today

Two Songs for Two Home-Less Souls


I. Hunger

I do not know much – about
The persistent lamentation of the home-bound stomach
Mine is not yours.
And I do not know
You – your nameless name –
A void in the ever widening
Perimeter gaze
Of your abandoned half-eaten –
Orange peel.
May I have more? No I tell you.
It is especially good today. the eggs. I am glad.
Why do you not tell me your name?
You say. a bird in your mind. a guinea.
I do not understand. Continue reading “Two Songs for Two Home-Less Souls”