Wednesday night worship decides on theme of biblical basics
Feb08

Wednesday night worship decides on theme of biblical basics

The Ten Commandments are iconic in Western culture. They have been the subject of countless paintings, and the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments has been made into many films. However, most Christians actually know very little about them, and cannot name all ten. The campus Wednesday night worship, Focus, does not usually put an emphasis on doctrinal issues, but for the next five weeks, two different speakers will talk about the Ten Commandments and why they are still relevant to Christians. Freshman biblical studies major and worship leader of Focus, Jack O’ Briant, said, “I think that one of the main reasons we decided on this is because it is something  that does not get taught a ton. We especially want to focus on commandments that are neglected, like the Sabbath, but are foundational Christian truths.” The idea originally came during a Focus planning meeting from Baptist Student Ministry Director Shawn Shannon. Last February, Focus did a three-week special on the Trinity. After that, Shannon thought they should do something more doctrinally based. “Worship that takes place in an academic environment as it nurtures the heart does not have to leave the head behind,” Shannon said. While having discussion with one of her co-workers on the importance of having a good relationship with parents, Shannon realized that the Ten Commandments dealt with this issue. She began to realize the importance of the Ten Commandments in her life and decided that it would be good to take a special look at them during Focus. She also found that there were many misconceptions among Christians about the Ten Commandments, and she wanted to help clear up some of them for students. Shannon thinks that one of the biggest misconceptions  about the commandments is that they are only negative. She said, “Each one could be turned into a positive. Like honor your father and mother and observe the Sabbath, those are two positives. But even ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ becomes ‘thou shalt be faithful.’” UMHB has many Christian studies professors who are proficient in the Old Testament. The next two weeks of Focus will give Dr. Stephen  Von Wyrick, professor of Hebrew and the Old Testament, a chance to share his experitise. “I have some background that I might be able to bring to the discussion on the Ten Commandments. I always enjoy being with the students. That is what it is all about. If I can help them understand something in my field, then that is great,” he said. Wyrick plans on giving background on the Ten Commandments, such as why they were given, their purpose and how...

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Pilot climbs to new heights after life in war
Jan25

Pilot climbs to new heights after life in war

Former Capt. Johnathan Heller attends UMHB as a pre-med student. As a 28-year-old who already has a Bachelor of Science in history and is married, he is far from the average college student. Before coming to the university he spent nine and one-half years in the Army and did a tour in Iraq as an Apache helicopter pilot. Also, he substitute teaches and volunteers at an emergency room in his spare time. He is a man driven to excellence. His age and maturity set him apart from his peers. In class, he is considered the classroom genius. He read the textbook three times over for his zoology class. Classmate Sarah Davidson, a sophomore Cell Biology major said, “I wish I had his brain power.” Heller has an inspiring childhood story. He was born in 1982 in Dallas. When he was just 5 years old his parents divorced. He and his mother moved to Indianapolis, where they lived in a trailer. Growing up in that atmosphere was not easy. Even as a child, he was driven to academic excellence. He wrote a 32-page paper for a fifth grade assignment on the nervous system. While growing up in Indianapolis, Heller became close to his grandfather. They spent summers together fishing, going on drives and hiking. His grandfather, a World War II veteran, was an influential figure in his life. “The one thing I take to heart from him is this: he said the entire purpose of his life was me, his children and grandchildren. He did everything for his family.” Heller said. As a child, Heller had three goals: to be a doctor, a pilot and an officer in the military. His life seemed to be heading in that direction but, at the age of 16, something happened that changed the course of his future. He came home one day from school and found his home empty. His mother had abandoned him. It was one of the toughest moments in his life. He had to drop out of school in order to survive; consequently, he never finished high school. He got a job as a night stocker at a grocery store, working 80 hours a week just to survive. “You stop caring about AP classes and start caring about the rent,” Heller said. The only escape he saw to his borderline homelessness was joining the military. At the age of 18, he applied to the Naval Academy. After receiving his congressional appointment, he was turned down during his medical screening process because of an incorrectly perceived bee allergy. Heller described the experience as “crushing.” He did not let rejection deter him...

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Mathematician, former joke writer for Jay Leno speaks
Nov16

Mathematician, former joke writer for Jay Leno speaks

Mathematical geniuses and comedic geniuses are quite rare. Even more rare are mathematical comedians. Thursday evening the university was fortunate enough to have Edward B. Burger lecture, sponsored by the Honors Program and the College of Sciences. He is a self proclaimed semi-expert of humor as well as a professor of mathematics. An esteemed teacher, Burger, who once wrote jokes for Jay Leno, has been in the classroom for more than 20 years. Some of his posts have been at the University of Texas at Austin, Waterloo University and Williams College. Currently he is teaching two courses at Baylor University. Along with his busy schedule of teaching, Burger has produced teaching videos with Thinkwell. They were part of one of the first interactive virtual textbooks. The videos  are online and have been used as textbooks and supplementary material for students. Freshman honors student and psychology major Brooke Cox watched the videos in her junior year of high school to help in an algebra class she was having difficulties with. “The Thinkwell videos were really interesting just because he is making direct eye contact through the camera. It is really personal, kind of like you are with a tutor, and they are helping you through the math problems you have,” she said. Throughout his teaching career, Burger has received numerous awards. Reader’s Digest in 2006 named him America’s best math teacher in the annual “100 Bests of America.”  His most recent award was Baylor’s Robert Foster Cherry award which he received in 2010. Burger had this to say about the award: “The Robert Foster Cherry award for great teaching, (is) probably the biggest award I’ve received because it is a big international prize that is amongst all the English speaking faculty in the world in all subjects, and they only give it once every two years.” While he certainly appreciates receiving awards like the Cherry award, he finds it more rewarding when a middle school student sends him an e-mail thanking him for helping through one of his video lectures about math. Burger’s UMHB lecture was titled “Monkeys, Mathematics, and Mischief.” In spite of the title, the lecture was not strictly mathematical. It was really about the lifelong lessons of learning. At the end of the talk, Burger challenged the students to make the invisible visible. “By doing so, you will not only see the richness of the individual things that you are thinking about, but you’ll begin to see a new way of looking at everything. It is a habit of living, and it is the greatest habit we can embrace because that’s the habit of living that will...

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New voters hit the polls
Nov02

New voters hit the polls

July 1, 1971, is an important date for college age voters. On that day the 26th Amendment was passed and expanded the right to vote to include 18-year-old citizens. The election today will be the first in which many UMHB students can vote. First-time voters have been traditionally a small percentage of voters. In 1992, according to The New York Times they accounted for only 6 percent of all votes. However, in the most recent presidential election, first-time voters made up 11 percent of the electorate. Those voters gave Barack Obama a huge leg up in the elections since 66 percent of them voted for him. Midterm elections are generally considered by veteran voters not to be as important as presidential elections. Voter turnout is expected to be lower than it was during the 2008 election. First-time voters see today’s elections differently. No longer will they have to sit on the sidelines. It is their chance finally to be involved in the political process. Freshman business management major Mitch Goodman will not only cast a vote in the congressional and gubernatorial elections but also in the local elections in his hometown, Tomball. Goodman is particularly concerned about the town’s school district. “As a former alum of Tomball school district, I want it to remain the good school district that got me to where I am now. I want to be involved with the process of choosing its leaders.” Some UMHB first-time voters have a sense of obligation to vote and say voting is part of being a responsible citizen. Freshman math major Kelsey Janis thinks she has a duty to vote and believes that every vote counts. To vote is to be heard. “It grinds my gears whenever I hear people giving their concerns and talking about their problems with the government but not putting their vote to the ballot,” she said. Freshman political science major Brandon Montgomery is voting for similar reasons. He wants to be heard and to  express himself politically. Voting is important to him, but he does not believe people should vote unless they are educated about the each candidate. “I think everyone has the right to vote and they should vote, but in a perfect society they would be educated or at least informed about who they are voting for,” he said. In some ways voting is a rite of passage. Once people turn 18 they are entrusted with determining the future of the nation. Sophomore political science major DJ “Taz” Dominguez views the responsibility as a double-edged sword because voting for the wrong candidate can cause as much havoc as not voting for...

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