Opinion Writer

Hannah is an opinion writer for the Spring 2024 Sojourners Journalism Cohort. Learn more about the program.

Hannah Keziah Agustin is a writer from Manila, Philippines, based in Madison, Wisc. Her poems and essays can be found in Guernica, Electric Literature, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.

Posts By This Author

What Does It Mean To Follow God in Our Displacement?

by Hannah Keziah Agustin 05-09-2024

Flocks of Baikal teal ducks fly together, looking like a "bird wave" over a lake on April 8, 2024 in Kangping County, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province of China. Credit: Yan Dongliang/VCG via Reuters Connect.

“The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.”

Over the phone, Ran Limbu quotes the words of Psalm 23. He is the pastor of Christ Believer Nepali Church, a Bhutanese refugee church on the west side of Madison, Wis. This passage has come alive for him over the past decade while living in the United States of America. This verse has encouraged him to trust that God is his home even in his displacement.

Calling Our Representatives Is an Act of Faith

by Hannah Keziah Agustin 04-09-2024

Activists with the grassroots organization CODEPINK visit the office of Majority Leader of the United States Senate Charles Schumer (D-NY) in Washington, D.C. on February 5, 2024, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Credit: Bryan Olin Dozier via Reuters Connect.

Do you ever wonder if calling your representatives makes a difference? Do you ever wonder if prayer yields fruit? Considering all the injustice in the world, I think those are fair questions to ponder.

Since last October, I’ve spent many nights crouched over the bed with my phone on loudspeaker. I’ve been calling my representatives for the passing of H.R. 786, a congressional resolution that urges “an immediate deescalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine.” This has been my daily practice.

Boygenius’ Debut Album Is a Searing Ode to Friendship

by Hannah Keziah Agustin 07-10-2023
‘the record’ is a transgressive album reminding us to love our friends because they are our perennial home.
From left to right, musicians Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker are dressed in black and cast in the warm glow. They stand in a cascading line next to one another, staring off beyond the left side of the photo with waves in the background.

boygenius / Chuff Media

AT THE CLOSE of the music video for “$20,” all three bandmates of boygenius — the young indie band turned chart-topping supergroup —  cut their palms and swear a blood oath to each other. As I watched it for the first time, I couldn’t help but feel drawn toward prayer — is this what love looks like? It is subversive to hold on to the tenderness of friendships in a world rife with violence. But boygenius, consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, refuses to do anything less in their debut full-length album the record — a searing homage to their love for each other. It is nothing short of divine.

Ringing with angst and affection, these songs meld post-grunge guitar riffs with heartfelt existential threads. In “Satanist,” they respond to ruminations in Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Everything is meaningless,” by singing, “If nothing can be known, then stupidity is holy.” By embracing the finitude and vapor of our existence, they, like the Teacher in Ecclesiastes, “[make] peace with [their] inevitable death” (from the song “Anti-Curse”).

Yet, amid all the nihilism, there’s joy. Boygenius’ gushing piano ballad “Letter to an Old Poet” nods to Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, in which the Austrian writer and mystic offers this instruction: “Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance.” Boygenius finds this love in friendship.