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Good news! The This Is Our City project is extending a second essay competition, wherein 10 winners will receive $1,000 each and the top winner will have his or her essay featured in a future print issue of Christianity Today magazine.


Beginning in 2011, our project has documented the "common-good decisions" of Christians who aspire to make a difference in their cities and the lives of their citizens. Our aim is to inspire others to look at the actions of these individuals as models for common-good decisions in their own communities. In conjunction with the series, CT is conducting an essay competition for the most compelling stories of ways in which our readers, or Christians they know, are making a similar difference in their communities. We are especially looking for stories about Christian involvement in institutions—business, government, education, media—where Christians combine clear faith-based commitment with partnership with others in a diverse and pluralistic public environment. We are also keenly interested in the virtues—the habits of heart and character (e.g., diligence, gratitude, chastity)—that animate lasting commitments to the common good.


The ideal length for essays is 1,000 words, with a maximum length of 2,500 words. The essays must describe specific choices you or those whom you know have made and actions and consequences that followed from those choices. In addition, essays must describe at least one virtue that either (a) motivates the actions you or another are taking, or (b) has been strengthened in those affected by your or another's involvement in public life. If the common-good decisions were directly inspired by our series, tell us how in your essay. Ten essays will be awarded prizes of $1,000. All winning essays will be featured in future issues of CT or online at ChristianityToday.com. The deadline is Friday, June 15. Please send essays as Word attachments to connect@thisisourcity.org.

And don't miss the winning essays of the first competition!

"Why I Left World Vision for Finance," Mark Sheerin, Atlanta, Georgia

" 'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?' " Peter Chin, Washington, D.C.

"Meeting Refugees on the Roofs of Richmond," by Fritz Kling, Richmond, Virginia

"Jesus Is Coming, So Save a Wave," Adam Feichtmann, Gold Coast, Australia

"Why I Offer Clean Needles in Jesus' Name," Ruth Bell Olsson, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Pay-What-You-Can Restaurants Dish Up Dignity in Denver," Jeff Haanen, Denver, Colorado

"Sibling Filmmakers Set Out to Free Austin's Sex Slaves," by Andrea Palpant Dilley, Austin, Texas

"My Love Affair with Small-Town America," by Tricia Elisara, Julian, California

"A Sliver of Shalom in the Suburbs," by Drew Ward, Corona, California

"A Place for Creatives to Come and Perch," Chris Breslin, Durham, North Carolina

We Want Your Common-Good Stories: Introducing Our Second Essay Contest

And you want our common-good cash, right?
Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

For Harrison Higgins, building beautiful furniture is not simply a steady job but a sacrament unto God.
Faith in a Fallen Empire

Faith in a Fallen Empire

Detroit's list of maladies is long. But some Christians' commitment to its renewal is longer.
'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.

Comments Are Closed

Displaying 1–5 of 5 comments

Rick Dalbey

April 29, 2013  1:19am

Give me a verse for our duty to build the Kingdom? Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done”. He told Peter, “My Kingdom is not of this world”. The thief prayed, “remember me when you come into your Kingdom” Jesus answered, “this day will you be with me in paradise”. The author of Hebrews taught, “These people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” If you’re planning on building God’s Kingdom on earth, the Holy Roman Empire beat you to it. The worst kind of tyranny is created by Utopians.

Anamaria Scaperlanda Biddick

April 28, 2013  3:13pm

Rick, Think beyond socialism to other ways that the common good is served, for it is our duty to build the Kingdom of God on earth.

Vic Christian

April 26, 2013  7:14pm

Christianity Today - shame on you! This is no more "Christ" or Biblically sound then much of the other "man" centered ideas in today's world.

Rick Dalbey

April 26, 2013  6:23pm

I find it curious that the Jim Wallis's magazine Sojourners, funded by atheist billionaire George Soros (as reported in CT), is sponsoring the same kind of contest. They say: "Rather than just offer you more “ideas” about “the common good, we are going to offer you some stories about how ordinary people are creating it. This story is about community and serving our neighbors. It is a real inspiration for working within our own spheres of influence for the good of all. Watch. Listen. And then create your own story for the common good." Of course Wallis just came out last week in favor of Gay marriage. It must be in the common good. OH! and now I see the title of Wallis’s new book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good. Wow! what a propaganda campaign and what a little PR promotion money will buy!

Rick Dalbey

April 26, 2013  5:50pm

Why should I participate in leftist propaganda? This is the new liberal Democrat catch phrase. James Toranto reported in 2006 the popularity of a “new” Democrat slogan: “common good” “It’s a core value that we think organizes the entire political agenda for progressives…With the rise of materialism, greed and corruption in American society, people want a return to a better sense of community–sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty.” John Halpin, fellow at Center for American Progress. The book, A Brief Introduction To Socialism states “Socialism elevates the common good to the number one priority in all spheres of decision-making.” British socialist Betrand Russell said “Basic economic decisions, as well as political decisions, must reflect the common good. The entire economy should operate for the good of the entire society, with no one left behind...Socialism will complete what democracy began, the transfer of sovereignty in all spheres to.. the people."


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