SOLA Starter Kit for College Students
Hannah Chao | AUGUST 8, 2019 | 5 MIN READ
August means it’s almost time for school to start again. So here at SOLA, we will be featuring articles to help college students stay faithful to the Gospel as they transition back into the academic year.
To kick off our College Month, we’d like to recommend 5 articles to introduce (or reintroduce) our SOLA website and showcase its many offerings.
1. What’s Wrong with Having Sex Before Marriage?
This article continues to be one of the most-read on our website, and it’s pretty clear why. College is when many people start to consider getting into a serious relationship that leads to marriage. SOLA Editorial Board Thomas Hwang shares candidly about his thoughts on premarital sex.
In 2011, a survey came out that showed how over 80% of self-professing Christians are as sexually active as their non-Christian peers. But even though Christians today are having sex more than ever, I don't think they're sleeping around from partner to partner. Rather they're sleeping with their boyfriend/girlfriend whom they're in a committed relationship with.
And is that so bad? After all, most Christians have every intention of getting married to the person they're dating. So while having sex with multiple partners may be wrong, what's the harm in sleeping with someone whom you're planning to share life with? I mean there seem to be plenty of other Christian couples who slept together before marriage, and they seem fine.
In fact, where does the Bible even prohibit premarital sex? Aren't there benefits to sleeping with someone before marrying them? Wouldn't it strengthen the bond you have with each other and help you know if this person is actually "the one" for you? Is there really any harm in this?
For other articles on relationships, check out:
2. How Asian Americans Misunderstand Shame
The children of immigrants have a unique experience, having grown up in two cultures. Here at SOLA, we explore this tension, helping one another understand our parents as well as our own generation, all through the light of the Gospel. SOLA Contributor Fred Mok showcases this as he explores the Western versus Eastern thoughts on shame.
Mom: Why aren’t you married yet?
You: Don’t worry about it. It’s not your problem.
I often hear second-generation Asian Americans complain about interactions like the above. They are examples of how Asian immigrant parents shame young adults, from their childhood to beyond. The way forward often appears to resent one’s parents and avoid these shaming conversations in the future.
I believe there’s a better way.
For more articles on the second-generation Asian experience, check out:
3. Two Conversations on Ethnicity in the Local Church
We know that our churches aren’t perfect. And yet the church is a place where sinners who are saved by grace can strive to become more holy because we know that God has and will continue to sanctify us. And so SOLA exists to encourage the local church and exhort us to follow the example of Christ. SOLA Contributor Tony Thomas does this for us in his essay, in which he imagines two nuanced conversations about ethnicity in the local church.
1. Conversation #1 - A minority person explaining the difficulties often faced in a majority culture, “multi-ethnic” church
White-Guy: Indian-Guy, you know I love you, right? But I just have to ask, why do you continue to stay with your own Indian people at your church?
I really wish you would come to see the Gospel implication that Ephesians 3 talks about: The dividing wall of hostility has come down, and we are all now supposed to be reconciled together into one church. Why don’t all you guys at the Indian Church start coming to Multi-Ethnic Church?
For more articles on the local church, check out:
4. Four Reasons for Christians to Dance
When people look forward (or look back) to their college years, they often think of the word “freedom.” The truth is, the Christian life is one of freedom, but oftentimes we swing either into legalism or “it’s not a big deal.” So here at SOLA, we help navigate these issues, reminding readers the good things God has given us while also cautioning them to look into their hearts to break any idols lurking there. Irene Paek, a SOLA contributor, shows us this freedom in her article about why Christians can dance.
“Why do you dance?”
I get this question a lot.
Dancing is one of those “grey areas” for Christians. Is it okay to do “that move”? Is clubbing okay? What if the music has curse words in it? What if people get too close?
I’m not here to make blanket statements. There is freedom in Christ that is balanced by our obligation to prevent others from stumbling. For example, as Christians, we should be dancing while also being concerned about what we wear, the lyrics, and the moves so we can best honor God and encourage the audience. We are called to study the motives of our hearts and to also channel the passions and gifts God has given us.
So I believe dancing can and should be used to glorify God. I believe that God sees dancing as a beautiful thing. Here are the reasons 4 ways in which Christians can dance for the glory of God.
For more articles on Christian living, check out:
5. Don’t Look Away From Our Hurting World
We read the news, watch movies, listen to podcasts, and talk to our co-workers. That’s the reality of Christians living in the world. But oftentimes we need help digesting what we’ve seen or heard, especially from a Gospel perspective. Check out SOLA Contributor Steve Lee’s reflection following the horrific attack at Las Vegas in October 2017, which is still relevant following the shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton earlier this month.
58 dead and counting. Over 500 wounded. Worst mass shooting in U.S history. And this happened during an outdoor country music event.
I sat in the quiet morning of my house in stunned silence trying to grasp how this could happen. I looked through various news publications and scrolled through my Facebook feed to see what was out there.
I watched one video that contained actual footage of the unfolding shooting. You could hear booming gunfire as screaming people ran, ducking for cover. It’s a horrifying scene.
I tried processing the scenes, while incoherently asking God how this could happen.
A flood of thoughts began entering my mind: Didn’t Charlottesville happen just a little over a month ago? Wasn’t the U.S. just hit with back-to-back Hurricanes? Now this?
At that moment, I felt a familiar inclination come over me: I wanted to shut it all off.
I wanted to turn off my phone and my laptop. I wanted to shut out the entire world, and just enjoy my day.
I felt tired. Tired of tragedy. Tragedy after tragedy. What’s next? When’s the next shooting? Where’s the next natural disaster or hate crime?
For other current event and pop culture analysis, check out:
There’s more to SOLA than these five categories. We also talk about missions, share resource son how to help our children & youth ministries, and provide leadership material!
We hope SOLA will be be a tool for collegians as they navigate this formative period in lives. And we hope that SOLA will continue to help you grow once you graduate, get married, have children, and serve the church! May God be glorified as we strive to love him and know him more.
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Hannah Chao is a writer and the editor for SOLA. She is also on staff as the administrator at All Nations Community Church. Hannah is a wife and a mom of two beautiful little girls. You can follow her on Twitter.