The Bells bids editor Godspeed
Nov25

The Bells bids editor Godspeed

The written word isn’t dead.   If I’ve learned anything during my three and a half years at UMHB, it’s that. James warned people in the New Testament about the tongue being a weapon, possessing both the power to wound and an equal power to heal.   Though James probably didn’t know what a journalist was, he knew that communication is vital.   He didn’t know what Twitter would be or what Yik Yak would become, but he knew that people could hurt each other through the things they say. He also knew that certain words can bring salvation.   The written word isn’t dead because humanity — the passionate, opinionated, adventurous and life changing people that make up this world — those humans and their stories aren’t dead. There are so many tales to be told. Thank you, UMHB, for allowing me to tell mine, and those of the amazing other people I met during my time here.   Working as editor-in-chief of this newspaper hasn’t been easy and at times, it wasn’t fun. I’ve been encouraged by readers who affirmed my drive, my commitment and my love for the written word. But I’ve also encountered critics who thought I made some really big mistakes, who called me out on my errors and who told me that I could do better. You’re both right.   Thank you, administration, for allowing me my freedom of speech and creative control. I value your constant support and loyal readership. Dr. Mynatt, Dr. Tabartlet and Mrs. Green: your wisdom is valued and your patience appreciated. Mrs. Kendig, your words and friendship have encouraged me that journalism is bigger than a snarky political opinion, well-written lead or entertaining review. Journalism is about people. You taught me how to use words effectively but never take life too seriously.   And thank you to my staff. Each of you contributes something entirely different to this publication, and each of you has taught me something about myself — the things I’m bad at, the things I’m good at and most of all, that this job is about relationships. Thank you for respecting me, listening to me and laughing with me when you weren’t laughing at me.   Thank you, UMHB, for allowing me to find myself both as a writer and as a person.   Thank you for teaching me that what I do and write matters.   Whether it’s one upsetting text message, a rude Facebook comment or an entire opinion article, the things you say can determine the course of someone else’s day.   The things you say have an effect on people. The...

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Cru Culture
Nov25

Cru Culture

He’s coming toward you, smiling. As he begins to close the distance between the two of you, you have a decision to make. Handshake? Hug? Side-arm?   It’s the pivotal moment of your relationship — the first contact that will determine the course of your life with this other person.   You’ve probably been in more than one awkward handshake encounter, thanks to the fumbling or even sweating of a hand during that first introduction. It’s a predicament we’ve all been in, and one that can either make a friend for life or send the other person running for someone a little more normal.   Handshakes. They’re professional, friendly, sentimental or just plain awkward. Try to avoid the latter.   The Bro   First, there’s the uncertain bro shake. You go in for a simple handshake, thinking this relationship should start out professionally. You clasp hands with the other person, only to be thrown off when he releases his grip and adds a fist pump to your limp fingers. But wait, it’s not over. Now that his fist is smashed against your still outstretched hand, he goes in for the bro hug. Not the bro hug, anything but the bro hug. He then pulls you in, wraps an arm around your back and pats you like he’s burping a baby.   No. Just no.   The Clinger   Then, there’s the control freak. She comes in for the shake, grasping your hand firmly. And while you stare into each other’s eyes and force a smile, her grip hasn’t changed. She’s still shaking. So, you feel as though you need to start some conversation before slipping from her clutch.   “How are you?” Still shaking.   “Good.” Still no release.   Just keep smiling, it will be over, preferably sooner than later.   The Princess   There’s also the dainty shaker. As you approach, she seems pleasant enough. When you reach for her hand, she allows you to grasp it. But it goes completely lifeless like a noodle. You can’t shake hands with a noodle.   So as her grip remains limp, it looks as though you’ve taken her hand to plant a gentle kiss on it, like a princess. That might not be appropriate, depending on your social situation, so you’re forced to let go and allow her arm to fall back by her side.   To avoid an extremely awkward encounter, I would suggest going in for a hug. Then again, there’s a whole lot of mishaps in hugging as well, but we will save that for another day.   Shake it off,...

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When trafficking stats become human
Nov07

When trafficking stats become human

A young Cambodian girl sat slumped on the curb outside of a church, her body rocking with heaving sobs. After attending a Christian church service, the girl’s Buddhist family beat her for betraying their faith.   But it wasn’t their disapproval or her own physical pain for which she cried. She had lost her Bible.   In a display of their disapproval, her family had burned her Christian scripture, and she was brokenhearted about the loss of the book that meant so much to her. Senior nursing major Allison Toy remembers this moment vividly, recalling the passion with which the child mourned.   “She looked at them (the missionaries), and told them she wasn’t upset about being beaten. She hadn’t been able to read the word of God in three days,” Toy said. “So my team gave her a Bible, and she came to the community center every day just to escape and read it.”   Five years ago, Toy attended a conference where a man spoke about surviving the killing fields in his homeland, Cambodia. Even though his own people sought to kill him, he had nothing but love for them. “It broke my heart. I prayed about it a lot, and I really felt like God was calling me there,” she said.   Toy embarked for Cambodia first as a student, then transitioned into leading for two years before staying on her own this past summer. What made this summer different, though, was the combination of joy and unimaginable hardship.   Toy led a team of Americans for 10 days, serving through medical missions in clinics, working at the hospital, ministry in the church, teaching in the community and volunteer work. Toy’s parents joined the effort for the first time, too. Toy’s mother, Terri, knew Cambodia as a country ravaged by the regime of Pol Pot.She realized their need for love and was excited to experience the land that captured her daughter’s heart.   “While her dad and I have always had a great respect for Allison, it was an incredible opportunity to watch her live out her passions … her purpose, her respect for and understanding of the culture,” Terri said.   Dad Eugene made use of his skills as a doctor, teaching Cambodians about sanitation. He was amazed at the provision of God. When one supply would run out, patients required something different and needs could be met.   “For me, I learned so much from the people we met. The missionaries there have so few resources … yet zeal and desire to do more,” Terri said.   After 10 days, the other Americans left...

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Cru Culture: Swift brings buyers ‘Out of the Woods’
Nov07

Cru Culture: Swift brings buyers ‘Out of the Woods’

“Where were you when…?”   People ask that question after significant events in a state, nation or world’s timeline.   So where were you when 1989, Taylor Swift’s groundbreaking album was released last week?   The country music princess officially traded in her cowgirl boots for red lipstick and Keds. Love her or hate her, the much-awaited track list took over social media, covering every part of iTunes on T-Day.   Her fifth contribution is the first album outside of the country genre she honed as a teenager. In the words of Tay herself, “haters gonna hate,” but the music world should be praising the star for rejuvenating the face of the entire industry.   In case you’ve been wrapped up in studying and going to class, a really big thing happened this month in terms of music.   No artists went platinum in 2014. Let that sink in for a moment. One Direction didn’t sell a million copies of their CD, the qualification of a “platinum” title. Even Beyonce, Queen B, couldn’t rake in enough purchases to make the lofty cut. The only one to achieve the big million was Olaf and friends in Disney’s Frozen soundtrack. Apparently, people want to build snowmen and buy the CD to sing along while doing so.   The last artist to sell 1 million copies in a week was Taylor with her previous release, Red.   And now she did it again.   So, over the course of hundreds of days, no artist hit a million. But T.S. did — she literally outsold the entire industry in one week. That deserves a little bit of attention, or a lot, depending on how much you love the blonde bombshell.   Crusaders purchased their own copies of the polaroid-inspired collection, posting selfies via social media and tweeting lyrics to their favorite tracks. Even those who would rather listen to “Let it Go” than “Shake it Off” knew about the big day. When you know, you know.   The collection as a whole provides nostalgic hints of the 90s and early 2000s, which appeals to Taylor’s young adult audience, Crusaders included.   And though several tracks have traditional T-Swift lyrics with an entirely new sound, the work disappoints in terms of originality. Yes, it’s original for Taylor. But very few songs provide anything different to pop music.   Sticking to what she does best, Swift pens lyrics about ex, Harry Styles in “Style,” a witty stab at the boyband star. Though it may hurt Harry a bit, the track is one of the best and does present a new side of Taylor that the...

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‘Sader serves local ministry strokes of genius
Oct23

‘Sader serves local ministry strokes of genius

Stoke by stroke, the artist layers rich colors of paint on a massive wall. Alternating between sitting, standing and climbing a ladder, he works for hours at a time on a mural of Jesus flanked by his followers.   Sophomore graphic design major Edgar Ortiz embarked on a daunting creative mission after being chosen by Hershall Seals, chairperson of the art department at the university.   “Dr. Chuck Taylor … former UMHB faculty member and volunteer for Christians Touching Lives for Christ called me … to consider re-designing the old mural,” Seals said.   Taylor presented a challenge: Creating a life-like depiction of Christ on the wall of CTLFC, a local food and clothing bank located in Temple.   The organization wanted a visual representation of their group’s mission and decided to commission a talented, local artist. They then decided an image of Jesus helping others would effectively convey their own purpose, as well allude to the faith behind their cause.   Seals said, “Edgar Ortiz made his talents known his freshman year, so his talent and proven work ethic made him an ideal artist for the mural.”   After being selected by administration, Ortiz followed the requirements set before him, choosing an existing work to model his own after, and taking the wisdom of Seals to heart.   “We collaborated on a design … and worked together one evening to draw it on the wall, and Edgar took it from there,” Seals said.   By adding more dimensions, changing the background and elongating the piece to fit his work space, Ortiz made the painting his own. And though he didn’t choose the subject matter himself, he effectively expressed his own taste through the work.   “I did have freedom in what style I wanted to paint it. I’ve always liked to be as accurate and realistic as I can, but have also liked to use lots of color, with dark shades,” Ortiz said. “Although I painted another painting, I still had lots of fun in challenging myself to make my own version of an already-excellent painting. I learned a lot by looking at the colors in the original work and how they were used.”   Ortiz began the project this summer and continued to work throughout the semester when he wasn’t attending class or working.   After a total of 15 days consisting of three to eight hours each, the Bible story came to life.   The 80 hours of work paid off, and Ortiz expressed his happiness with the product.   “The most difficult part of the painting was getting the right colors for the faces and...

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