Christian fiction needs new creative storylines
Feb08

Christian fiction needs new creative storylines

Published in the February 8, 2017 issue of The Bells I am getting tired of reading Christian fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Christians are able to find books that don’t have expletives, bedroom scenes, drinking and vampires, but Christian fiction lacks variety compared to secular novels. A quick search on www.familychristian.com shows that in the top 20 best-selling Christian fiction books, only five of them were not historical or Amish romances. Being an avid reader, I’ve read many books. And the Christian fiction industry has become predictable. Every time I pick up a book of fiction, I know that it’s going to have a girl (usually Amish) who is looking for the perfect husband or just happens to meet the perfect husband. Either the female or the male is not saved, which causes problems for the couple. Despite these obstacles, the couple continues to fall in love. Along the way, the unsaved one finds God and they live happily ever after. This is the Christian fiction plot in a nutshell. I love a good romance, but when 80 percent of the Christian fiction industry has this same non-realistic plot, it gets redundant. To be perfectly honest, only a handful of Christian writers are able to pull this plot off. The rest of them come off sounding forced and cheesy with little literary merit. I’m not expecting a Pulitzer prize-winning novel each time, but it would be nice to read a Christian fiction novel that has a little more depth than they do now. I want books that don’t stop at the wedding. As Christians, we struggle, and getting married isn’t going to stop the struggling. I think these books set up high expectations for future husbands that they may never be able to fulfill. I am thankful for writers such as Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, and Dee Henderson who haven’t succumbed to writing “bonnet fiction”- a term equated with the highly popular Amish books taking the Christian fiction genre by storm. Why don’t we have more writers like Blackstock who explore the dangers of social media in books like Predator? Or writers who write about the spiritual warfare that happens every single day like in Peretti’s This Present Darkness? Or writers who write about the backlash a rape victim receives when deciding to follow through with a related pregnancy like in Rivers’ The Atonement Child? I own a shelf full of Christian romances at home, so I am in no way saying that I want them gone. I just want Christian writers to target real issues occasionally instead of always going back...

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Cru wins National Championship! – The Band, Cheerleaders,  and the Saderbelles
Jan25

Cru wins National Championship! – The Band, Cheerleaders, and the Saderbelles

Published in the January 25, 2017 issue of The Bells Despite long hours on a cramped bus, frigid Salem temperatures, and even a bus breaking down, the Black Shirt Cru Spirit Band, the Sader Belles, and the cheerleaders took the 20-hour bus ride to Salem, Virginia to help cheer Cru Football to the National Championship. The group left Bawcom Student Union for Salem, Virginia at 5:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15. They were given the opportunity to spend Thursday night at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel before driving the rest of the way to Salem the next morning. The group even ran into some bus trouble as one of the buses carrying the Sader Belles, cheerleaders, and half the band had to pull over on the side of the road due to engine trouble. The students transferred to the fan buses for the remaining hour drive. Upon arriving at Salem Stadium, the band, cheerleaders, and Sader Belles put on a mini CRUise for ESPN, the football players, and the adoring fans. The band and Sader Belles performed a pre-game show on the field in lieu of a halftime performance. Sader Belle sophomore nursing major Amelia Enokian believes dancing at the Stagg Bowl is a memory she will treasure forever. “We were definitely honored that we were able to dance before the game since most schools don’t really take their dance teams,” she said. “I remember exiting the field, and I had smiled so much that my teeth were so dry that I couldn’t stop.” During the game, the group cheered, played stand tunes and kept the enthusiasm alive as the temperatures steadily dropped. “I was glad that we could support our team and provide the spirit necessary to lead them to victory,” senior bass drummer Music Education major Ashley Wallace said. “I had a blast getting to hang out with my friends at the Gaylord Hotel, as well as enduring the cold...

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Black History Month-themed writing contest first for UMHB
Jan25

Black History Month-themed writing contest first for UMHB

Published in the January 25, 2017 issue of The Bells Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Oprah Winfrey, Langston Hughes, Barack Obama, and many others. Every individual has a unique story that is woven into the dynamic history of hardships and triumphs of the black community. Each year, the United States honors the black community and their achievements during the month of February. According to history.com, every U.S. president has set aside February as Black History Month since President Ford in 1976. This year, Humanities professors Dr. Janene Lewis and Dr. Nathaniel Hansen hosted the First Annual Black History Month Writing Contest for UMHB students. Because this was the first year, the only requirements for the contest were that the entries had to be unpublished and able to be read aloud in under 15 minutes. Students could turn in entries to Dr. Hansen until Tues. Jan. 17. The winners of this contest will have the opportunity to present their work at the Windhover Writer’s Festival on Feb. 15-17. “One of the cool things about this contest is that the top three or four entries will have a spot on a panel at the Windhover Writer’s Festival,” Lewis said. “We have people come from across the country to the writer’s festival, so it’s a good time for student writers to get their voice out there.” Although there was not a specific writing topic for the contest, Dr. Lewis suggested that entrants write about faith and its role in African-American culture since this is a predominate theme at the festival. Lewis and Dr. Hansen created this contest to spark conversations about a month that can sometimes be overlooked. “We don’t do much with Black History month,” Lewis said. “This is a small way to start that conversation.”. Junior english major Guillermo Lopez chose to submit two pieces of poetry to express his views on racial equality not only for African-Americans but all races. “I entered this contest because I wanted to express my understanding of what I believe Black History Month signifies: equality despite racial status.” Lewis believes that honoring Black History Month is important because it is important to not let a topic such as race divide a country. “Black History Month commemorates numerous leaders who clarified the position African-American citizens had in the States. These leaders stood and fought for beliefs that gave African-American citizens a chance to be equal through all aspects of life,” he said. “Though the focus was on the integration of African-Americans, other minorities could also learn from this. I think the importance in writing about Black History Month focuses on reminding...

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Central Texas Christmas Activities
Dec07

Central Texas Christmas Activities

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells “It’s considered the most wonderful time of the year” and there’s lots to do and seein the Central Texas area to celebrate the season. Here are a few you might want to check out. Salado Christmas Stroll/ A Christmas Carol/ A Tuna Christmas Just 15 minutes down the road, Salado, TX offers an annual Christmas stroll. Patrons are able to walk the historic town’s main street and enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. The stroll is Dec. 9-10. According to the Village of Salado’s website, stores will open around 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday and close around 9 p.m. During this time, street vendors offer Christmas goodies and free food samples, while live music plays in the background, and kids visit Santa. First Baptist Church of Salado also performs a live Nativity scene, where patrons can see the Christmas story come to life. While in Salado, check out the 24th annual production of Charles Dickens’ classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his four Christmas Eve visitors in A Christmas Carol at the Tablerock Amphitheatre. The play will begin 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $3 for children. In the mood for a Christmas comedy? Look no further than the Georgetown Palace Theater, and their performance of A Tuna Christmas. The show began Dec. 2 and will run nightly until December 30. Tickets are $30. The show is about the “hilarious inhabitants of Tuna, Texas as they try to win the annual Yard Decorating contest, save their Christmas play and their sanity.” As you can see, there are many events to choose from. So, grab a coat, and find your holiday spirit in Central Texas. BLORA Nature in Lights If you’re in the mood to see Christmas lights, check out the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area “Nature in Lights” display. You will see over 130 light displays on this five-and-a-half mile drive-through experience. BLORA will be open every night from 5:30 to 11 p.m. from now until Jan. 8. There is a $15 entrance fee per car. Trail of Lights Can’t get enough Christmas lights? The Trail of Lights in Austin offers over 40 displays of Christmas lights. While there, children can also enjoy a carousal or ferris wheel ride.The Trail of Lights open Dec. 10 and will close Dec. 23. Tickets are free until the Dec. 17th, when they will be $3. The event is open from 7pm to 10 pm nightly....

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Weathersbee departs from UMHB: Director of Student Life makes difference during time at university

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells Earlier this fall, Dr. Byron Weathersbee, Vice President of Student Life, announced his departure from the university following the end of the semester. Weathersbee and his wife, Carla, have accepted positions at Summer’s Mill Retreat Conference Center in Belton. “This place has been incredible,” Weathersbee said. “We have mixed emotions. We’re excited about what we’re going to do, but yet…we will greatly miss the students and the student interaction; no question.” Weathersbee, affectionally referred to as Dr. B, has served at the university since the fall of 2009. During his tenure at the university, he has seen and helped implement many changes on campus. “It’s been a phenomenal time to be a part of UMHB’s history,” he said. “When we came here in 2009, it was before we built these $100 million worth of facilities, so we’ve gotten to see those facilities being built. I’ve really been riding on the coattails on some phenomenal leaders.” Weathersbee spends his time working with the deans and directors of campus recreation, spiritual life, student organizations, campus activities, intramurals, career services, the health center, and judicial affairs to make sure that students are receiving everything they need during their college experience. “One of the things that UMHB does so well, and what drew me to this place, is that we’re very student friendly,” he said. “Students are the very centerpiece of what we do… I hope that we’ve been able to have an impact on seeing that happen.” The Student Life division has had several notable accomplishments under the leadership of Weathersbee. In the past 7 plus years, Student Life has established new Game Day traditions/events such as the CRUise, the Cru Spirit Dance, Welcome Weeks’s Spirit and Traditions rally. They also created a Network of Christian Minsters, which evolved into “ONE.” The divison also helped usher in Sodexo’s transition to Bawcom Student Union, as well as, helped oversee changes in various programs such as Stunt Night, Family Weekend, Miss MHB Pageant, and others. Junior history major Danny Kown works closely with Dr. Weathersbee due to his involvement with Student Government Association. Weathersbee works diligently with the SGA to decide on important issues that will affect the student body. “Dr. B has really helped me grow as a leader,” Kown said. “Being in Student Government for the past two years and really getting to help serve alongside Dr. B has been nothing short of a blessing. I hope that wherever he goes in life it will serve him well.” Kown fondly remembers the time Dr. Weathersbee helped him film a parody video of...

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