Twisting Rhymes, Telling the Truth
Oct22

Twisting Rhymes, Telling the Truth

He was only 11 when he first freestyled. It came with the territory. Rhythm filled his lungs, and beats buzzed in his head. Junior exercise sport science major Neal Ewing calls Corsicana home, but he also spent a lot of time in Dallas growing up. It was a rap-fueled culture, he said, and something that he and his friends picked up at a young age. “We did a lot of freestyle battling,” Ewing said. Freestyling, in its purest form, is all about improvising. Rappers can sing to an instrumental beat, have someone create a beat through vocal percussion (beat boxing), but lyrics are not premeditated. In a freestyle battle, two rappers compete, spitting beats to outshine their opponent. Ewing said their battles were all about joking around —“just having a good time.” He said most of the freestyling he did growing up was unwholesome. “Most people wouldn’t condone what we were rapping about,” he said. Regardless, the battles propelled him to desire more. “It definitely gave me an advantage as far as … experience,” he said. At 17, Ewing took his rap a step further; he began to write down his lyrics and form songs. He also discovered a different way of life and of rap. Originally, Ewing’s rapping was mainstream. He said, “God wasn’t in the picture.” But it was Christ who brought him salvation and artists like Christian rapper Lecrae who got him hooked on a new way to use his abilities. “I got saved … and then I began to do Christian music,” Ewing said. Now, he focuses on using rap to tell people about Christ. Ewing has performed at an I Am Second camp, at different churches and around his home community. “Not all the places have been Christian places,” he said. “I have heard skeptic people who (say) ‘Why would you want to bring Christian music to a mainstream world like that?’” To that he replies: “Why would you bring light to light? You want to bring light to darkness. They don’t have that. That’s why I like to work with the mainstream world.” It’s that attitude that inspires Ewing to create music that has a mainstream feel. “I want you to be able to tell through the lyrics I’m a Christian artist,” he said. “But through my delivery and ability as an artist, I want my music to be just as good as someone like Kendrick Lamar.” His album, Zero Gravity, which came out July 7, was considered by some to be a step in that direction. “I have the (album) in my car, and I jam out to it,” junior Christian ministry...

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Prayer Wall Spiritually Revives Campus
Oct22

Prayer Wall Spiritually Revives Campus

At this point in the semester, it’s easy to hit a wall.  To-do lists grow larger, and classes get tougher. So, what can you do? One option is to go to another wall—the Prayer Wall. The  Wall can be found on the Student Life and Spiritual Life pages on the university website, but for students, chances are it’s most easily accessed on the MyCampus homepage. Web Services manager Matt Irvine said that the Prayer Wall was up once before in 2011 but that it “wasn’t very well used.” He and Baptist Student Ministry Assistant Jena Coulson decided to get the wall back up and running at the start of the semester. “I don’t think there are problems with it at all,” Irvine said. It’s also user-friendly. He said, “You just click the form and submit it.” Simple, yet effective. Every request that is submitted is prayed for. “I pray daily as I see the requests in my inbox,” Coulson said. “The Spiritual Life staff does weekly. Monthly, we ask two other departments on campus to share in the prayer support.” Submissions are moderated, Irvine said. “We want to make sure that we are looking out for privacy.” Instead of becoming a place for gossip or pranks, the Wall is meant, as Irvine said, to do two things: “To submit prayer requests … and to pray for other people.” One of the  features of the Wall is that “if you want to get an update when someone prays for you, it’ll email you that someone has prayed for your request,” Irvine said. “It gives this real connection spiritually.” Sophomore Christian ministry major Mike Perry thinks  the Prayer Wall will build community on campus. “It gives us an ability to see each others’ prayers. It’s raising awareness that there are broken people on campus that need prayer, that need love.” Perry sent his own request asking for prayer that God would be glorified through Missions Emphasis Week, which begins this week. “I am on the prayer committee for MEW, and I just really wanted to get our needs out there … as a steering committee, as a whole.” Coulson said that’s the goal, for “students … to tap into the resource of prayer.” She hopes  the board will “be a place for faculty and staff to engage with students in a different way.” It’s a place for UMHB to access the power of...

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May We Never Forget Print

The world we live in is primed and ready for a digital takeover. There’s talk of annihilating the print medium—not necessarily a Farenheit 451 scenario—but a swing in favor of acquiring information from the swipe of a finger rather than the turning of a page. Surprisingly, print is still surviving. Central Texas has recently seen several new print magazines come to call our piece of the Hill Country home. Colleges and universities, including ours, can see evidence in that with the sales of the popular Norton Anthology of English Literature. According to publishers, more than 8 million students read anthology in its print form. Not quite a takeover. Print still pulls in readers. Students should work to keep it that way. With the death of print comes the death of something greater: one’s ability to better connect with the world around them. Last year, my grandmother had a conversation with one of her lifelong friends. They talked of their struggles with technology. Mostly, they could not figure out how to operate their Kindles. They both loved to read, but somehow those darned “whosits,” my grandmother’s friend’s definition for the different buttons and keys, kept them from enjoying their books. It’s not the technology that is the problem. Younger generations know how to operate them. Ebooks are a popular, cheap alternative to textbooks. Downloading books through iTunes is more convenient than driving to the college library. In all of the surfing and Internet browsing that is used in modern day studying, a lot is lost. My grandmother and her friend also talked of their time as adolescents. Their generation did things like passing notes to each other, writing in the margins of their textbooks, and creating girls’ nights out to discuss the latest romance novel—and probably a little of their own romantic interests, too. Study groups allowed them to create their own ideas. They connected. Digital is faster. It is also more encompassing, allowing students to browse through multiple pages of several books all on one device. On Sept. 14, Bexar County opened its BiblioTech library. Furnished with 48 computer stations and 600 e-readers, there will be a lot of “whosits,” but very little print. In 2002, Arizona’s Santa Rosa Branch Library decided to take the digital-only route. Eventually, residents requested that the library buy print books. They received the books but kept the computers. For our times, perhaps that is the best option. Utilize the technology, but don’t eradicate the enduring qualities of the print...

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Video Gaming Becomes More Than Just Pastime
Oct09

Video Gaming Becomes More Than Just Pastime

Left click! Quinn’s crossbow depletes a nearby enemy minion. D! A shield guards Quinn from the devastating blast of a turret. Q! Valor, Quinn’s eagle, attacks a nearby opposing Champion. The lane fills, but Quinn, Valor, and several other Champions, along with a plethora of helpful minions continue forward. Moments later, the enemy Nexus is destroyed. Victory. In the popular online game, League of Legends, it takes a team to emerge as successful Summoners (the game name for players). “This game is the ultimate teamwork game,” Junior accounting major Seth Michaelson said. He has been playing the game for two years now with his friend and current roommate Nathan Forester. “I started playing League of Legends Christmas of freshman year,” Forester said. “It definitely created some opportunities to build community … (to) have some good bro time.” For freshman John Henry Johnson, League of Legends has helped him meet new people. “It’s always something I’ve liked doing with my friends, and it’s kind of how I make friends a lot of the times,” he said. At the beginning of the year, Johnson posted on a group page for some of the freshmen to see if anyone played League of Legends. Johnson found several people who were interested in the game. At first, the group decided to make a team, which is compromised of five people. “After a while, we found more and more people (who) played,” Johnson said. They decided to organize a club. On Oct. 15, there will be an interest meeting for the new club at 8 p.m. in the McLane Hall conference room. Johnson said the club would meet to compete and enjoy playing both League of Legends and StarCraft. Johnson hopes to build camaraderie through gaming. Even in a digital world, friendships can flourish. Johnson has around 600 monthly active members who play on his Minecraft server. “A lot of our players are Canadian and British. We have a decent amount (of players) from Belgium, too,” Johnson said. “I talk to them all the time.” It’s a business for Johnson.  He started the server with his money, “but now it’s totally run on donations,” he said. Players contribute money so that Johnson can keep up with the expenses of running such a large server. “I have to pay for the website and all the domains, and I have to pay for one plug-in that manages the donations.” Altogether, Johnson said, “It costs about $160 a month.” Managing the server has paid off for Johnson. Literally. He keeps enough money to secure the server for six months, but coming into college, Johnson was able to use...

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Crusader Stadium
Sep24

Crusader Stadium

The end zone emerged as sophomore quarterback Zach Anderson raced down the right sideline. The turf propelled him; nearly 150 fi eld lights lit his way. More than 9,000 fans rose to witness the first touchdown at Crusader Stadium — football’s new home. Junior history major Matt Boden said that from his seat in the student section, he could see only purple and gold as he scanned the stadium. “All these people are here reppin’ the Cru .… I couldn’t even recognize any Wesley people,” he said. Attendance was 9,384, nearly all of them Crusaders. That’s what a home is filled with: family. On the field, the Cru handled business by marching on to a 35-7 victory over the Wolverines. It was what happened off the field that gave the team even more momentum. On Wednesday, Sept. 18, the game ball was run from Old Baylor in Independence, Texas. In 1845, the school was chartered in Independence. That started the run toward the opening of a new era. The historic run allowed students, staff and alumni the opportunity to honor the school’s heritage and carry the ball into the future. Senior pre-physical therapy major Stephanie Harris and her roommate ran four miles of the 150-mile trip around 6 a.m. “It was really exciting being a part of history at UMHB,” she said, “especially since it was my senior year.” The ball arrived in time for the rally Thursday night. Harris said she was honored when she saw the ball being run into the stadium—“knowing I had been a part of getting it there.” The rally itself gave students a chance to get ready for the game. Despite the rain, many students attended. “It was a really cool experience,” junior Christian ministries major Rusty Pregeant said. Students got to run out onto the field before filing into the student section. At the rally, the students learned what is being called the “Cru Dance” which “gets you pumped up,” Pregeant said. In the moments before the game, Crusaders gathered to eat and fellowship. “The tailgating was better than in the past,” junior marketing major T.J. Kittrell said. “It was a good environment…. It brought together the UMHB students.” There was a crulectric buzz at the start of the game. The time had come. For the national anthem, students stretched an American flag that covered well over half of the field. Senior social work major Allison Kelley was one of more than 100 students who held the flag. “Being on the brand new field and holding the American flag was emotional,” she said. Vintage warplanes performed a fly-by. “It had a cool...

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