BY: WESLEIGH ANDERSON
We live in a world in which money is inescapable. From the macroscopic level of nations, whose power relative to one another is determined by their GDP, to the microscopic level of individuals, who work their entire lives to secure financial stability for themselves and for their children, people are continually driven by money, and their purpose, even if not the money itself, is continually determined by money. Even the purpose of the university, an institution of knowledge and scholarship, has been transformed at least in part, if not principally, into professional training for young adults seeking enriched job opportunities that are accompanied by, not entirely coincidentally, augmented salaries as well.
That money is inescapable is truer today than ever in the past, and no matter how much Christians might wish to avoid the fact by separating themselves from the world, they have no choice but to engage with it. We are children of God, but we still have material needs, and though he is able to send manna from heaven, he more often provides in a form that the world can understand: when Elisha visited the widow in debt (2 Ki 4:1-7), the miracle that the Lord performed was not to strike down her creditors or erase her debts, but rather to give to her oil to sell, to engage in an activity both worldly and economic in nature.
Continue reading “A Letter From the Editor”
BY: NATALIE CHA
To an Unknown God is UC Berkeley’s first student-run Christian journal. Our mission is to create a space where Christians can share their thoughts on a variety of issues with the Berkeley community. Whether academic, fictional, testimonial, controversial, or encouraging, TAUG provides a forum where social, economic, political, intellectual, and spiritual issues can be discussed. Every semester we publish writing and artwork produced by students and others, hoping to foster dialogue between both Christians and students of other faiths and philosophies. We are not affiliated with any church or other religious group, and opinions expressed in articles and posts do not necessarily represent those of the editors.
The name of the journal is derived from Acts 17, when Paul is in Athens and notices an altar with an inscription, “To the unknown god.” In this city full of idols, Paul boldly speaks, “Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, him I proclaim to you.”1 He goes on to speak of “the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth.”2
Continue reading “Our Mission”
BY: LAURA GREENWOOD
Digging. Always digging. She hadn’t realized that she had been doing this all her life. It was just what was done. The motion never ended, because it had never really begun; it just was. A heavy heave, and then a sudden resistance. The tension of her muscles as they push to their breaking point. The weak ground slowly breaking. The delicious upward pull of the soil from the floor. The delighted sigh of relief as she exults in her hard-won work. The soil sparkles darkly on the rusted blade of the shovel as she reviews her handiwork. A sigh escapes her lips as she acknowledges this valued victory. She heaves the dirt aside; she has many more shovelfuls to go before she reaches the gleaming prize. Time drags on: one day, two. Numbers ripple past. Her strength ebbs and her body heaves with exhaustion, but nonetheless she shovels on. Treasure, value, glory are to be found below the surface. “Just one more clump of dirt,” a constant chant, stands between her and her victory. She sinks, slowly but surely, down into the depths of the earth. Her shovel rises and falls with each new day. Thunk, heave, pull, examine, and toss. On and on.
Continue reading “Treasure of the Heart”
BY: ANDREW YIM
About a month ago, I was baptized at Alameda Beach and it was an extraordinary feeling knowing I was receiving Jesus’ love. I was nervous as I was sharing details of my life to other brothers and sisters in Christ. The water was freezing but I felt a sense of euphoria pass over me and felt like a completely new individual. The love and support I received from everyone really touched me. It was amazing to know that I was going to receive the greatest gift of all, the love of Jesus Christ. I knew that I would never be alone again because Jesus would always be there. Luke 3:21-22 (ESV) says, “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” God is actively searching for individuals who are lost, and He wants us to experience His love. This verse highlights that baptism is a commitment to pledge our lives to God and to His plan for us.
Continue reading “Overcoming Loneliness Through Baptism”
BY: CHLOE NG
As a freshman coming into Berkeley looking for a fellowship, I was amazed by the large amount of Christian fellowships here. On the first day, I had two fellowships on my list to check out; by the next day, I had five. At Jesus in Berkeley, an event where all the Christian organizations came together, I learned that altogether there were thirty fellowships in Berkeley. To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement.
During the first week, I eagerly went to event after event, searching for the ideal fellowship. I ended the week feeling exhausted. Rather than enjoying events for what they were, I spent my time constantly evaluating their pros and cons versus that of other events, nitpicking through every little detail. I felt like I needed to find the best fellowship, but at the same time settle soon so that I could get to know the people better. Despite all the events I went to, I wasn’t any closer to deciding. I would think that I liked one group, but then doubt whether it was the best. It seemed as if there was no perfect fellowship for me.
Continue reading “Finding a Fellowship”
BY: GRACE GAO
Two girls were walking down the same path. Two sets of footprints were on the beach. But one set of footprints was closer to the ocean waves. When the two of them returned to their starting point and looked back, only one track was visible. The other was faded, dimmed, and barely hanging on. If a person had walked by and looked around, they would have only noticed the first set of footprints.
All throughout my life, I’ve constantly stumbled and fallen. At times, I’ve even wanted to just give up because I couldn’t catch up. If footprints on the sand could represent our paths with Christ, mine would have many faded areas and washed out imprints. Some areas would be faint, while others would be firm, but mostly the footprints would show hesitance because I didn’t know where I was or where I would be going.
Continue reading “True Love”
BY: SARAH CHO
Did the resurrection happen? I don’t know. But if it did, how much should our understanding of the Old Testament affect that of the resurrection? I am currently questioning both the literal understanding of the Old Testament and the validity of the resurrection. My changing view of the Old Testament has served to expand my understanding of how the resurrection story has given significance to this text, and how this esteemed text has in turn been used to make sense of the resurrection, a counterintuitive story that has against all odds survived and shaped history. And as much as there is fear that the resurrection never happened, there continues in me a resilient hope that the resurrection is, against the dull draperies of human existence, a greater miracle and stimulus for shalom than I had previously imagined.
When I was taking Religious Studies courses as an undergraduate student at Berkeley, doubt seethed naturally, and I did my best to quell it by avoiding the most difficult questions and applying apologetics to my studies. But sometimes doubt boils and permanently changes everything, as is my case now. Granted I, a laywoman trying to identify “Truth” through a cytoplasm of cultural ideologies and religions, am as influenced by societal structures and assumptions as I am freed from them in my search for Truth, or perhaps merely for its existence. But I also know I am not the only one to embark on this journey, and the camaraderie of strays gives me hope that this journey of what seems to be comprised of mostly loss is actually worthwhile.
Continue reading “Jesus the Cornerstone”
BY: HAEBITCHAN JUNG
I have been avoiding God as much as possible, and until now, I have been doing a good job at it. I kept my mind distanced from him and covered my eyes and ears so that I would not perceive his existence. By inhibiting all presence of God, I felt undeniably alone and desolate inside the cocoon of solitude; but the decision was a conscious one, so I could not complain about it. Many readers will find problems with this decision I made years ago, but it was done at that time for my own good…
Because back then, I needed strength. It was my first year of college, and I realized that the only way I could “make it” in the world was by standing out from the rest of the crowd. I wanted to rise above the masses, and the first step was to distinguish myself in the academic setting. However, I was not prepared to find solid ground in the intellectual domain; I lacked study habits and recourse to knowledge for academic success. Thus I had to start my academic journey from scratch and build myself up through pain and industry. Along this treacherous path, I grew sharply disenchanted with my religious community that questioned and subtly trivialized my tireless effort for individuation.
Continue reading “To Rise Above the Masses”
BY: BON JIN KOO
Mr. Simmons, what is your view on money? Can an individual with much wealth further God’s kingdom?”
“Those are interesting questions, Professor Lee,” I said.
I stared at the hundreds of eyes staring right back at me in this stuffy college auditorium. I volunteered to be here last minute, but honestly, I did not want to be here. My initial discomfort in coming as a guest speaker had worsened when the professor had told me the air conditioning had not been working.
“Well, nearly anything can be used to glorify God’s kingdom, Professor,” I explained. “Money can be used correctly in the right hands. The local church can gain resources to reach out to others more effectively. Rehabilitation centers for human trafficking victims can be built. Missionaries can be provided with necessary provisions.”
The professor looked dissatisfied.
“I was looking for more of a personal answer, Mr. Simmons.”
Continue reading “With a Quarter to Spare”
BY: NATHAN HUYNH
There are a lot of misconceptions about money.
Money is not evil.
Money is not good.
Money is not the bane of human existence.
Money is not the purpose of it either.
Money is not the root of all problems.
Money is not the answer to all difficulties.
Money is not the cause of strife between governments and nations.
Money is not the savior of broken families and relationships.
Money is not happiness. Money is not sorrow.
Continue reading “Money: God’s Test of Character”