What Is a Statement of Doctrine?


I wrote an article for the Spring 2010 print issue explaining why To An Unknown God does not have a statement of doctrine. Darren Hsiung has challenged some of the arguments I made in that article, helping me clarify a few thoughts. The exchange also makes me believe it would be worthwhile to publish a post explaining my understanding of what a statement of doctrine is and what its proponents hope it will accomplish. (Again, within the context of explaining why To An Unknown God does not have a statement of doctrine.) Continue reading “What Is a Statement of Doctrine?”

Guidance on Stewardship of Donations


Over the past year, I have written several articles and blog posts encouraging Christians to think more carefully about stewardship when they make donations. (See here and here.) Unfortunately, my writing on this subject has occasionally been misunderstood. A few readers have also confessed to me that they do not understand the urgency of stewardship, that they do not see why it is so important.

For these reasons, I am going to make yet another attempt to explain why I think stewarding our donations carefully is important and why I think it is imperative that all Christians, even those who are only able to give a little, make an effort to investigate whether the organizations to which they give actually use their donations wisely. Continue reading “Guidance on Stewardship of Donations”

An Example to Explain How Keeping Organizations Accountable for Donations Works


What follows is a simple example that I hope will illustrate the good that can come from applying basic principles of stewardship to our decisions about what Christian organizations to support. I explain those basic principles of stewardship here. Although the example seems very simplified, the real world works in much the same way, albeit in a slower and more complicated manner. Continue reading “An Example to Explain How Keeping Organizations Accountable for Donations Works”

On Giving to Bob Weiner and Weiner Ministries


Last week, two friends from To An Unknown God asked me if I knew anything about Bob Weiner or his organization Weiner Ministries. Mr. Weiner has recently been in Berkeley and spoke at several local churches, where his charismatic and energetic presentation was followed by a request for donations to Weiner Ministries. He told his audience that $50 would pay to educate one individual in a foreign country to enter full-time ministry. My friends wanted to know: Should students donate to Weiner Ministries? Continue reading “On Giving to Bob Weiner and Weiner Ministries”

Sex and the Crisis of the Human Soul


At a reflective moment in the middle of the 1998 war film The Thin Red Line, Private Witt asks Sergeant Welsh, “Do you ever feel lonely?” Welsh answers, “Only around people.” Witt appears to ponder this for a moment and then repeats softly, as if in benediction, “Only around people.” The sentiment that Welsh expresses is the crisis of the human soul: alienation. Continue reading “Sex and the Crisis of the Human Soul”

What is Our Statement of Doctrine?


Frequently, when I tell people about To An Unknown God or ask them to support the journal, or even to read a copy of our latest issue, I get the same question: “Do you have a statement of doctrine?” When I first encountered this query, I was puzzled because its underlying assumption – namely, that there is a comprehensive statement of belief to which everyone must subscribe – conflicts with the very mission of the magazine. Worse, the question reveals an undue emphasis on possessing correct knowledge, suggesting a grave misunderstanding of the essence of Christianity. Continue reading “What is Our Statement of Doctrine?”

Exposing Corruption: Good for the Church?


Writing in the New York Times earlier this week, columnist Nicholas Kristof noted:

The Vatican believes that this newspaper and other news organizations have been unfair and overzealous in excavating the church’s cover-ups of child rape. I see the opposite. No organization has done more to elevate the moral stature of the Catholic Church in the United States than The Boston Globe. Its groundbreaking 2002 coverage of abuse by priests led to reforms and by most accounts a significant reduction in abuse. Catholic kids are safer today not because of the cardinals’ leadership, but because of The Boston Globe’s.

Continue reading “Exposing Corruption: Good for the Church?”

Bears Breaking Bread: A Step Forward in Unity?


On Sunday, as part of Interfaith Week, about 60 Protestant and Catholic students from many different fellowship groups gathered together to share a meal and conversation. The brainchild of ASUC Senator Noah Stern, the Bears Breaking Bread program was designed to create a forum for conversation between groups that have historically misunderstood each other. A worthy goal, to be sure, but will it actually bring real unity to Christians and other groups at Cal? Continue reading “Bears Breaking Bread: A Step Forward in Unity?”

Automakers Must Not Build Cars with Driver Internet Access


Last week, the New York Times reported that several automakers are beginning to equip cars with access to the Internet. It seems beyond question that, despite the warnings on the products themselves, these features will be used by drivers while they are driving and will inevitably lead to serious injuries and deaths. Car manufacturers installing these features deserve censure for choosing sales over lives. Continue reading “Automakers Must Not Build Cars with Driver Internet Access”

Women and Dating


I have a question for my female readers: Women, are you romantically interested in a male friend whom you do not think is ever going to ask you out? If the answer to this question is yes, I want you to tell him or ask him on a date. Yes, I hear you protesting: “But that’s not my job; he’s supposed to—” Wait. Why is he supposed to be the one to initiate a relationship?

On two separate occasions, male friends recently complained to me that their college pastors have been haranguing them to ask women out on dates. Their stories remind me of my own undergraduate days, during which not only the leader of my college fellowship but also the pastor at my church lectured us men to date more. These exhortations were not directed at the women in our church; no, it was the men who were to be asking the women. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the women were the impetus for these sermons; it was the women who wanted to date more than the men. Why, then, did the college pastors lean on the men to initiate the dating? Continue reading “Women and Dating”