Worship leader overcomes cultural boundaries
Jan24

Worship leader overcomes cultural boundaries

When most people think of Lebanon, blues music probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But while most of the country was listening to Arabic music, or even some American pop and rap, UMHB graduate student Michael Kattan was finding his musical influence from B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. “It goes to your soul,” he said. Kattan grew up in southern Lebanon, where he learned to play guitar in his early teenage years from his dad. “He taught me some of the first things he knew, and that’s where I started to love music,” he said. Since then, Kattan has built quite a resume when it comes to instruments, one that includes bass, drums, piano, harmonica and the accordion. “Music is my life,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I’ve had this interest for music since I was really young.” While he enjoys country, rock and the blues, there’s another genre that’s close to Kattan’s heart – worship. Lebanon is a predominantly Islamic nation; however, there is also a fairly large population of Christians, though many do not live out the faith. “There’s a big number of Christians, but they’re just Christians by ID, not believers,” Kattan said. He grew up leading worship services with his father and aunt at a Baptist church in the  small community where he is from, as well as during chapel at his college in Beirut, the country’s capital. Kattan said that most of the time the two religious groups live with one another peacefully, but at times it is hard for Christians there to express their beliefs openly, something he has come to appreciate about UMHB. “Seeing people all around from similar faith and being able to talk about faith and worship and play worship wherever I want, whenever I want, it’s different for me,” he said. “I feel more free in my faith.” Kattan came to the university last fall to get his master’s in business administration. Though it is his first time in the country, Kattan has had no trouble adjusting. “I had this love for the U.S. even before I came here,” he said. He was introduced to UMHB with help from Dr. Nabil Costa of the Lebanese Baptist Society and through Costa’s connections with the Consortium of Global Education. During Kattan’s application process, the CGE contacted Associate Professor and Director of the Master’s Program in Business Administration and Master’s Program in Information Systems Dr. Terry Fox, who thought Kattan would be a great fit for the M.B.A. program “He greatly impressed me and the other faculty members,” he said. Because Fox was also impressed with...

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All-American Muslim: Why the social uproar?

Over the years, TLC has developed a knack for highlighting groups in society that many viewers may not know  much about. From hoarders to pageant kids to little people to Gypsies, they focus on the abnormal, the unique, the rare, the quirky and often the most fascinating among us. While most of their programs are met with curiosity and intrigue, one of their most recent has been met only by controversy and closed-mindedness since it first aired in November. All-American Muslim documents five Muslim American families living in Dearborn, Mich., home to the largest mosque in the United States and one of the highest concentrations of Islamic followers. It shadows their everyday lives and some of the struggles they face as a religious minority. It is no secret that since 9/11, tensions have often run high in the United States concerning the Islamic faith, so when the show hit the television screen, it caused backlash not only among some of its viewers, but advertisers as well, including Lowe’s, which pulled its commercials from the program. While the company has every constitutional right not to support the show, and viewers have every right not to watch it, the measure of opposition is looking a lot less like First Amendment freedom and a lot more like religious hatred. Much of it comes from the Florida Family Association, a religious group that aims to “educate people on what they can do to defend, protect and promote traditional, biblical values.” But since when did bigotry become a “traditional biblical value”? The show is not promoting Islam. It is not trying to convert or preach or defend a religious set of beliefs. It is  merely doing the same thing all of the network’s programs do – document people’s everyday lives. In interviews, the founder of FFA David Caton claims that his problem with All-American Muslim is that it does not depict extremists of the faith. Basically, he’s mad because it’s not casting a negative image of a religion that so many Americans have come to fear. But perhaps if people took the time to understand it, they’d be less scared of it. And the fact is, all religions have extremists, but that does not make them the majority. Countless cult leaders and serial killers have used the Bible as a shield to hide their sadistic actions, but I’m sure Mr. Caton would not advocate programming that portrayed Christianity in the same light that he would like TLC to show Islam in. And what is even scarier than the minority of religious nut cases out there, is the fact that so many Americans are so...

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2011: A year in review

If you believe everything the Mayans said, then 2011 was the last full year in the history of the world, and a memorable one it was. Events like the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant, Cru Knights, Stunt Night and Homecoming carried on the school’s legacy of rich traditions. But it was also a year of firsts. In September, the first steps were taken in completing the campus master plan with the groundbreaking of the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts and construction on the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center starting the following month. In keeping with the progress on the master plan, a famed architecture firm, Populous, was selected for work on the future Crusader football stadium. The company has also designed for Yankee Stadium, Minute Maid Park and numerous other universities. Along with these developments came the closing of King Street and multiple parking lots in order to accommodate the new structures. The university also added a new residence facility to keep up with the continual growth of enrollment. Farris Hall became home to more than 160 students in the fall and was dedicated in October. In the same month, the Student Government Association passed a bill to extend the SUB hours around the clock. This gives students a place to go 24/7 when in need of reliable Wi-Fi access, a place to study, or somewhere just to hang out with friends. 2011 saw the addition of two new master’s programs to serve students who are looking to continue their education. The Master of Science, Family Nurse Practitioner became the third master’s program for the College of Nursing, and the Master of Education in Administration of Intervention Programs became the fifth for the College of Education. The university also carried on its tradition of excellence in athletics throughout the year. Cru football earned the title of conference champion for the eighth consecutive season. The volleyball team had its most successful season in the program’s history, and men’s basketball advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time. Though many positives marked the year, it was not without struggles as well. Severe weather and natural disasters brought chaos and loss to many. Early February came with freezing temperatures and precipitation that caused rolling blackouts across the state. Because of the wintry weather and confusion due to  the power loss, classes were cancelled or delayed for several days, giving students a chance to enjoy the snow — a scarce commodity in Texas. On May 22, Joplin, Mo, made headlines across the nation as a massive tornado ripped through the town, claiming lives and structures in its path. The event hit...

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Internationals plan for holidays away from home
Nov15

Internationals plan for holidays away from home

With the semester coming to a close and the holidays fast approaching, many students are preparing to pack up their cars to go spend time with family. Some, however, are a little farther away from the places they call home. Because international students aren’t always able to travel those distances frequently, they find other ways to spend their breaks. Though sophomore economics major Pablo Mena won’t be going the 4,000 miles to his home in Spain for Thanksgiving, he will have a piece of home here with him. His mother, father and younger sister are traveling to visit him for the holiday break. The trip will be the family’s first to Texas, and his dad and sister’s first visit to the United States. “They can’t wait,” Mena said. “My sister’s status on Skype is ‘Going to the U.S.’ with a little flag.” While they’re here, Mena plans to take his family to San Antonio, watch a Baylor football game at the Dallas Cowboys stadium and maybe do some shopping. But first he wants to show them around the campus so they can get a feel for his life in Belton. “I want them to meet the people I interact with here — my friends,” Mena said. They will celebrate Thanksgiving day together at the home of what Mena calls his “American family.” “It’s a friend’s family which has really become my family,” Mena said. “I started going on the weekends to their house, and eventually I started going a lot more.” Last year was Mena’s first time celebrating the American holiday, and he said it reminded him of being in Spain. “I loved the food, and I loved the family atmosphere because we do that a lot,” he said. “I live really close to my aunties and uncles in Spain, so we get together as a family, and I really love it.” Though there are many similarities between his home country and America, Mena has noticed some differences in the ways the two celebrate holiday seasons. “People here in the States, they’re all about themes in the holidays. They like to decorate a lot, and they take it very seriously,” he said. While he enjoys both, Mena is looking forward to being able to travel home for the Christmas break. “Spain and the U.S. are two very different countries,” he said. “I love the U.S., but it’s a different culture. I can’t wait to see my family and my friends and be back at home.” Unlike Mena, many of the Chinese students on campus will not be traveling overseas for the Christmas break. Sophomore computer science major Evan Guo...

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Farris Hall dedicated to long-time contributor
Nov01

Farris Hall dedicated to long-time contributor

The newest residence facility to be added to campus was dedicated on Oct. 20 in honor of 1942 alumna Martha White Farris. Over the years, Farris has been a supporter of the university, making charitable gifts for building projects as well as serving as honorary chair in the Challenge Beyond 2000 campaign. At the dedication, President Dr. Randy O’Rear spoke of Farris’ many contributions to the university and to her home community of Floydada, Texas, where she has been involved with the school board, the library, the Caprock Council of Girl Scouts and her church. He hopes that the building will be a reminder of her service. “When it came time to choose a name for this complex, it was not too difficult,” O’Rear said. “We knew that we wanted to name it in honor of someone who represented the best of UMHB, whose example would always remind students that a life lived in Christian service is a life well lived.” With a record 3,137 students, 1,541 of whom live on campus, O’Rear said that the apartment complex is part of the university’s vision for a growing residential campus. “The hallmark of a Mary Hardin-Baylor education has always been the personal attention we provide to our students, and as we grow, we believe it is important to provide our students with safe, affordable housing on campus so they can learn and live in a supportive, Christian setting,” he said. Student body President Kassidy Harris spoke at the ceremony, emphasizing the school’s dedication to its many students. He said, “The quality of work and detail of this building makes it clear that the university values the experience students have here and that the way we live is important to the faculty and staff.” Junior nursing major Ashleigh Holden took the podium to speak as a Farris Hall resident, citing the convenient location of the building, the scenic views from the windows and the up-to-date appliances that come in the apartments. “Having the opportunity to live in Farris Hall this fall has made it a very special one for me,” she said. In addition to the other benefits of the new building, Holden said her favorite part is the privacy that comes with having her own bedroom and bathroom. “I have learned that this amount of personal space allows for good relations among roommates,” she said. Holden said that when she is asked about living in the new residence hall, she tells others that they feel more like apartments for adults than typical student housing. She said, “They are luxurious, comfortable and charming, and I look more forward to coming home...

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