Christmas missionaries bring gifts of gospel, love
Jan29

Christmas missionaries bring gifts of gospel, love

THE BELLS — Isolated from the world they know, surrounded by God. That’s a Christmas mission. Deep inside the Dominican Republic, senior Christian ministries major Jesse Malina said that he was definitely far from home. But this was the place where he and 14 others would proclaim ¡Te Doy la Gloria! – “I give the glory!” It was his second time in the Dominican Republic, serving with Pine Cove as part of commission camping. It’s a program that allows Pine Cove to partner with churches and existing camps for three years with the intention of helping these camps to become self-sufficient. “It’s to show them summer camping,” Malina said. It’s all so that more children can hear the good news of Jesus Christ – those like Miguel and Oscar. Their faces beamed as they saw Malina again; they had been at the camp the previous year, and remembered the tall, long-haired, TOMS-wearing man, and the boys yelled, “Jesse!” as they ran to meet him. Language was a barrier the first time he met them, Malina said, but God, and hugs, defy barriers. “They came up to me and hugged me,” he said. “It’s weird going to another country and seeing the same person again.” Multimedia and information technology sophomore Justin Minchew had never been to Gonaïves, Haiti. He spent seven days there serving an orphanage with Coreluv International.  It was a child who brought Minchew his favorite memory. “There was a special needs kid there who loved to dance,” he said. Everyone would crowd around the young man to cheer him on and dance with him, Minchew explained. “He loved it, and it was inspiring to see everyone showing this kid, who can barely defend himself, love and that he is worth something.” Baptist Student Ministries Director Shawn Shannon said that student missionaries who serve over the Christmas break are an illustration of God.” “In a special way, they illustrate that God was and is God-with-us, God-who-comes and God-who-sends,” she said. “By what they do with the gift of their break, they show that they get the gift of God.” Christmas missions aren’t without sacrifice, though. Shannon said that she is appreciative of the student missionaries and their families for giving of their time as well. “It is generous of them to share their students at this family-oriented time of year.” Senior psychology major Katie Sparks said, “We are called to go and spread the good news.” So for her, sacrificing her Christmas break for the second time to serve in Harmons, Jamaica, with Go Now Missions was a no-brainer. And there were students all over making the sacrifices...

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DJ Skidrow mixes school, music
Nov20

DJ Skidrow mixes school, music

Like everyone else, he went to see the post-hardcore band Chiodos, but it was Sunny Moore’s music that inspired sophomore communication major Daniel Robles to pursue a career as a producer and disc jockey. Robles said of Moore, “He showed up with a table and a laptop, and he was just jammin’ out.” Moore had been showcasing his music underground in Los Angeles; he eventually became known as Skrillex, popularizing dubstep, a genre of electronic dance music, or EDM. A year later, Robles saw Moore again, this time as Skrillex, at the Never Say Never Music and Arts Festival in Mission, Texas. It affirmed to a middle school aged Robles EDM would be his future. He grew up in San Benito, Texas, located off I-69 in the Rio Grande Valley. He said, “Where I’m from, it’s all Tejano music.” But that wasn’t the music making up the majority of his playlists. He listened to groups like Daft Punk and The Crystal Method — “the old school guys,” as he refers to them. Robles does more than listen now. Predominately, the music he makes is classified as Glitch Hop. It’s a variant of the larger EDM scene. “The real focus behind Glitch Hop is that you make electronic glitch music, which is the little beeps, and twerks, and all that kind of stuff, but you have to have it at a tempo from 104 to like 114 … to keep a steady beat.” A lot of EDM is done live by DJs at clubs and festivals. Whereas DJ’s “scratching” a vinyl record in the 1970s and ’80s rocked the nation, EDM is now pushing to the forefront. Junior Christian ministries major Jesse Malina said, “It’s the new movement of music.” He went to a festival last year with Robles and won’t soon forget the experience. “Electronic music really creates a lot of energy,” Malina said. “Everybody’s just feeling that same energy.” And Robles, e-e-ex-xxxx-cu-cu-u-uu-uuu-se me, Skidrow, Robles’ DJ/producer name, creates g-g-litch beats that have some sending praise his way. The introduction song to his upcoming EP Kiss Kiss … Bang Bang, which is set to drop in January, has been well received. His fiancee, Bonnibel Rodriguez, came up with the name for the EP. She told Robles that it starts out like kisses—soft and smooth, and after a heavy drop explodes — “Bang! Bang!” People are talking about his music, but they might also be asking “What’s up with the name Skidrow?” First off, the name should not be confused with “the old school band Skid Row,” Robles said.  The name was given to him as the result of his...

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High and dry
Nov20

High and dry

We Texans play in it, pray in it and bathe in it. But we’ve got to start looking ahead to preserve our most precious resource–water. If we don’t, we leave future Texans high and dry. Texas is home to 14 major rivers and more than 100 lakes. Below our feet are 23 aquifers, underlying nearly three-fourths of the state. We have plenty of water to sustain our state for now. The Trinity Aquifer stretches into parts of western Bell County and is doing well. A representative of The Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District, which is responsible for the management of groundwater in Bell County, told the Associated Press that the Trinity and Edwards aquifers have already received 80 percent of their average rainfall of 33 inches. The Edwards is the source of drinking water for more than two million Central Texans, and that’s good news, but it’s not the whole story. Austin, the nation’s fastest growing city, saw its water use triple from 1970 to 2010. That usage is expected to continue to rise in Austin and several other large cities. Experts predict that in the years between 2050 and 2060, the state’s population will double. Clearwater employee Todd Strait told the Temple Daily Telegram that “aquifer levels are being depleted by 30-plus feet per year,” and that will cost Texans–literally and figuratively.  As water is for a waterwheel, so it is for our economy. No water, no energy. No energy, no production. Plainview is no stranger to this. One of the city’s biggest economic movers, the Cargill plant, was crippled by the drought that’s been sucking more than 90 percent of the Texas landscape dry since 2010.  The beef processing plant left the city, taking with it 2,300 jobs and an annual payroll of $55.5 million. It’s had a trickle-down effect on the town of 22,343; add to it the fact that the drought has caused the prices of hay and feed to rise, and you’ve got a bad situation. Dried-up pastures and high prices to maintain their operations have forced ranchers to sell their herds. Many people are leaving town. Plainview is a depiction of what can happen to the rest of the state if water conservation isn’t taken seriously. This month, more than 73 percent of Texans voted to approve the constitutional amendment Proposition 6. The amendment will transfer $2 billion dollar from the states’ Rainy Day Fund to create a low–interest loan program for water projects. It will help in the long term, but there’s one immediate solution that all Texans should take part in: use water wisely. For homeowners, that’s moving your lawn mower...

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Hobby Lobby v. Obamacare: No ‘plan B’ for Christian store
Nov06

Hobby Lobby v. Obamacare: No ‘plan B’ for Christian store

Freedom is now an abstract in America. Once, the word was clearly defined, solid ground for “We the people,” to stand on. It’s now a slippery slope to tread. Hobby Lobby, one of the nation’s leading crafting and home decor product stores, has been fighting the government over health care mandates that violate its religious founding. CEO and founder David Green has articulated that his Christian beliefs keep him from funding or supplying employees with morning after pills, week after pills, and any emergency contraceptive that interferes with implantation of a baby in the womb. It’s a legitimate belief, but not to Obamacare. According to the Health and Human Services mandate, the word free isn’t all encompassing, and Hobby Lobby fails to meet the mandate’ requirements. The Obama administration couldn’t care less that the company tries to work at, as described by the company’s website, “honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.” All that matters is that Hobby Lobby’s freedoms are clashing with the “freedoms” of its employees. The HHS mandate states that a company must primarily employ persons of the same religion for it to be exempt. Hobby Lobby is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate through the hiring process based on a person’s religion. Therefore, many of its employees don’t follow the same religious practices of the Green family. The company fails on nearly all provisions of the mandate. It’s an unconstitutional mandate, though. The Green family has taken their case to the Supreme Court; the case is known as Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius (In reference to Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the HHS). Maybe they will win on the premise of religious freedom, hopefully; or perhaps the company can win off of the premise that they are a private company, run from within and not from without.  That’s a far cry. Whatever the battle cry, Hobby Lobby should fight. In the Introduction to his book The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America, 
Frank Lambert wrote that James Madison’s own interpretation of freedom of religion in the Constitution led him to regard “religion as a ‘natural right’ that the governed never surrender to their governors.” Hobby Lobby has no plan B, but it’s a potentially costly fight for the Greens. Each day they do not comply with the mandate, they are fined $1.3 million by the federal government. It’s not a “do it yourself,” project. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, urged the Supreme Court on Oct. 29 to review certain rulings of...

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Raven comes to life through rendition at Sigma celebration
Nov06

Raven comes to life through rendition at Sigma celebration

Once upon a stormy night, while I listened, bemused and busy, Over many an informal and familiar volume of rhythmic lore— … suddenly there came a happening, as of someone loudly squawking … Ah, distinctly I remember it was the ancient raven’s “Nevermore!”  Parody of “The Raven.” On Jan. 29, 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” was published in the New York Evening Mirror. Most are familiar with the poem, and it’s hard to forget, especially for those who heard senior English major Marnie Cannon’s rendition of the raven’s voice at Sigma Tau Delta’s Edgar Allan Poe party Oct. 30. Cannon is the president of Sigma, and she put a voice to the squawking raven that caused attendees to see Poe’s bird in a new light. “I love doing silly little things like that,” she said. The party began at 8 p.m., giving the sun a chance to slip into bed. A dark, stormy night accentuated the creepy aspects of the party as students, faculty, and one dog, known as Edgar Allan Pup, arrived. Things kicked off with snacks and refreshments. There seemed to be a little bit of everything—from five layered dip to Cannon’s “pumpkin pizza,” she said, “which were just cheese pizzas that had two cheeses to make it look slightly like a pumpkin, without the stem.” Cannon said that in the past there were too many sweets at the event, but this year’s food “set up was a really nice balance.” Senior graphic design major Diana Fadal agrees. She was one of several non-English majors in attendance; she said that the party “was really fun” and she would attend future Sigma events. And that’s the type of environment the organization hopes to create. “If you enjoy anything to do with literature and writing and like being around people, then we are happy to have you,” Cannon said. “Many of our events, like the Poe Party, are open to the entire campus.” Shortly after everyone had time to get snacks and refreshments, the traditional reading of “The Raven” began. “How can you have a Poe party and not read ‘The Raven,’” said senior English major Rachel Almeida, who was dressed as Ursula from The Little Mermaid. A costume contest was also on the agenda. “There was Medusa and Midas. There was a frog … there were some Harry Potter characters,” Fadal said. But her favorite was “the guy who came as Wolverine.” A trivia contest tasked attendees to solve riddles regarding different school buildings and locations. Then the group gathered to tell of their encounters with apparitions and ghosts. Fadal said that of all the stories,...

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