Revival encourages community
Apr24

Revival encourages community

Beneath a white tent in the heart of campus, students, faculty and others from the Belton/ Temple area, gathered last month for a time of prayer, worship and reading from the Word and sharing testimonies — a time of revival. Co-Director Christian studies major Sarah Stadler said that this uniting of both the community and university is what makes the annual spring Revival such an important time. “It’s a good representation of the body of Christ coming together for this event to worship and to learn as a community,” she said. While the format of the event was much the same as years past, members of the steering committee, who planned Revival, wanted to place an emphasis on the idea of community. They decided to add a new element to help encourage attendees not just to focus on what they were experiencing, but to share it with others. Each night after speaker John Durham gave a message, small groups spread out across the quad to answer questions about what they had heard and discuss the material together in more depth. “Our heart behind that was that people would meet new people, interact and kind of be vulnerable with one another, and our main goal was that community would be formed on campus,” Stadler said. Junior social work major Kristen Kimmell was on the discipleship steering committee and said that the idea of true biblical community is especially important for college students. “We get so caught up in organizations and busy life with school and work, so we need to be able to have that core group that we can come and reflect with and kind of rejuvenate for the rest of the week, and just be able to hold each other accountable,” she said. Though much prayer went into implementing the idea of community groups, there was still some fear that people would not be receptive to the change. Kimmell said she was not sure before Revival how the new aspect of the event would be received. “Being on the committee, I was nervous about it, thinking people wouldn’t like it, or it wouldn’t have a good turnout,” she said. “That was me doubting and not putting enough faith in God.” Kimmell said that following the event, everything she heard about the community groups was positive. “I never heard a negative thing about the groups, but I heard that they were great and that there were groups that met that week and continue to meet,” she said. Stadler said that a big part of the success of the community groups was due to the support of the idea from...

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Burning for freedom

For months, millions have idolized The Hunger Games lead character Katniss Everdeen for her heroism as “the girl on fire,” leading a revolt against a tyrannical government. But across the globe, the scenario is more real than any fictional work could portray. At a demonstration in India last month, a 27-year-old activist became a literal man on fire after setting himself ablaze in protest against Chinese rule over the Tibetan   region. Sadly, Jamphel Yeshi, who died after sustaining burns to more than 90 percent of his body, is not the first to express his frustrations in such a display. He is just one of almost 30 Tibetans to light themselves on fire in the past year alone. In fact, self-immolation is a common form of expression against oppression among Tibetan monks. However, it is beginning to cross the borders of position and social class, becoming  prevalent among those who believe that China’s rule is taking away their   freedoms. If more and more Tibetans are turning to martyrdom to make a statement, why is nobody listening? When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, it not only resulted in a Tunisian uprising, but became a catalyst for the Arab Spring, which led to governments changing and politics shifting all over parts of the Middle East. It only took one martyr, and the world took notice. The oppression in Tibet has been ongoing for decades since China invaded the region in 1949. According to freetibet.org, which aims at releasing the area from Chinese control, Chinese occupation has resulted in more than one million deaths of Tibetans, including the destruction of monasteries, nunneries and temples. Imprisonment and torture is rampant as well. The Chinese government restricts access to informations as well as monitors private interaction among many Tibetans with the outside world. It also places limitations on religious practice as an attempt to force Tibetans into assimilating with the Chinese culture and even tortures them when they don’t comply. Already in 2012, numerous deaths have resulted from self-immolation because of such strict government control, continuing the increase over the past year, and leading many to ask if this is the beginning of the Tibet Spring. While things in the Middle East are still far from perfect, the revolutions have given hope that change is possible — hope that is desperately   needed in Tibet. Though many have called for freedom for the region for years, obviously, there is still a long way to go. It seems as though many more may have to die a martyr’s death before Tibetans gain the freedom they so desperately are trying to get  from the Chinese....

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University implements parking changes

Residential students are now getting a little extra exercise in their daily routines, as changes in parking put many on foot. Beginning March 1, five lots located in the front of campus, between Parker Academic Center and the Meyer Christian Studies Building, have been designated for use only by students, faculty and staff  who commute to the school each day. Student vehicles are now identified by gold decals which are distributed at the police station. Chief of Police Gary Sargent said a recent survey showed that in one hour’s time, a third of students parked in the academic lots lived on campus, making open spaces a rare commodity. “We had a lot of students living on campus driving to class. We had that mentality and it really made it difficult for our commuter students who were coming on campus and couldn’t find any place to park,” he said. “That really led to this transition to commuter parking.” The new lots have opened up about 300 to 400 spots for the 1,500 commuters who attend the university, and Sargent said the result has been an alleviation in the crowds that previously congested parking areas. “Until we made this change to commuter parking, these lots were at capacity most of the day, and now they’re not,” he said. More changes in parking have come as a result of lot closures in preparation for construction. King Street and the lot behind Presser Hall are now fenced off so work can begin on the new student union building and stadium, which are set to open in the fall of 2013. Sargent said this is all part of the transition that comes with the projects taking place at the university. “As we continue to develop and implement the master plan, all parking on the interior campus will eventually go away, so everyone will be walking from point A to point B to get to their classes. Recognize that our environment is changing.” Senior Vice President for Campus Planning and Support Services Edd Martin urges students to be patient, as some inconveniences now will be beneficial in the future once all of the new buildings are completed. “I think that they will be very pleased with the outcome once we get there,” he said. “We’re going to transform this campus in a relatively short amount of time. Patience is the best thing.” All of the changes are moving the university toward the ultimate goal of becoming a pedestrian campus. Martin said the transition is a result of safety concerns as the campus continues to grow and become more crowded. “The overall game plan is to...

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Behind KONY 2012
Mar27

Behind KONY 2012

If you’ve seen “KONY 2012” plastered on T-shirts, signs and countless social media sites recently and thought that another candidate was about to give Republican hopefuls a run for their money, I hate to disappoint you. It’s actually a campaign of a different sort. Thanks to the non-profit organization Invisible Children, Joseph Kony has become the most recent name added to the not-elite-enough list of those who found fame through the phenomenon that is the viral video, joining the ranks of those like the oh-so-poetic Rebecca Black. Over the past several weeks, the KONY 2012 fad has taken over the media universe with a 30-minute video documenting the atrocities committed in Uganda by the leader of the terrorist group the Lord’s Resistance Army, which began abducting child soldiers in the 1980s. And while being educated about social justice issues is an arguably better use of time than watching a 13-year-old girl sing about the days of the week, the KONY 2012 campaign may have more holes in it than most theories about global warming. Invisible Children’s roots go back to 2003 when three young filmmakers traveled to Africa looking for a story to tell. What they documented was Uganda’s children seeking refuge from the LRA. The organization officially began its aid work in the African country in 2005, and has since been using social networking sites to garner support and awareness for its cause. So, what’s the point of their latest media craze? The non-profit claims that it “aims to make Joseph Kony famous” through the film. Unfortunately, a little research into the campaign uncovers some problems. For starters, most of the footage shown in the video is what was originally shot back in 2003. Now, this may not seem like that big of a deal, except that a lot has happened since then, and the outdated material is misleading to viewers who don’t have any knowledge about the situation. In 2006, Kony and his rebel militia were pushed out of Uganda and are now operating mostly in the Congo, which in turn has drastically decreased its numbers to a few hundred, all of which the documentary fails to mention. This would be the equivalent of posting a video about the Holocaust under the pretense that Nazis were still actively running concentration and extermination camps in Europe. It’s just not the case. In light of this information, questions arise about what can actually be accomplished with KONY 2012. The U.S. has already sent 100 military advisers to the area to assist in tracking down Kony. Though they have not had success yet, what exactly will making Kony famous accomplish?...

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U.S. takes the role as arbiter

Amid the protesting that has ensued in Afghanistan since the burning of Korans by U.S. forces, it seems that the reasons behind the chaos have been masked by the deaths of both Americans and Afghans. And while the tragedies should not be overlooked, neither should what is at the heart of the matter. The issue is not just about the destruction of Muslim holy books. It’s about the lack of respect for another culture. Though some may argue that there have been Bible-burning campaigns in the Middle East, it does not justify the burning of Muslim sacred texts. It’s probably safe to say that if someone from another country came into a predominately Christian or Jewish community in the U.S. and set fire to Bibles or Torahs, it would be a big deal. It would be viewed as an attack on the precious ideals that many of our citizens hold. While Americans are overseas fighting for just causes, what needs to be remembered is that they are in someone else’s home, and whether they agree with Afghan beliefs or not, it is not our job as a nation to impose American culture or religion upon them or to disrespect their own religion and culture. As a country founded on principles that protect against religious persecution,  and as a melting pot for people of all cultures, I think most Americans would consider themselves tolerant of other beliefs. This tolerance is more important now than ever. With so many American troops in foreign countries, the world is not only watching us but living among us. Whether we like it or not, what the rest of the world thinks about the United States matters. The countries that we are so intricately entwined with these days have a lot of power over decisions that the American government makes. Those relationships are vital, especially with U.S. soldiers in those very places. Wars have been fought over religious differences for years, and now is not the time to stir up more controversy. Now is not the time for this country to be seen as a bully. If for no other reason than the safety of those troops, the world needs to know that even if we disagree with its beliefs, we still respect them. If American forces are overseas fighting for peace on a large scale, then they need to implement it on a small scale. Really, it all comes down to respect, and as a global presence, the U.S. should set an example....

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