Stay-at-home Christian

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells Going to a Christian university can be hard when you’re not called to every single cause that is presented to you.It sometimes seems like every student spends their summer feeding orphans in Africa or building homes in the Ukraine. When a numerous amout of classmates discuss their plans to enter the mission field, it can be intimidating. I became familiar with the pressure to find “my cause” while attending a private Christian high school. Friends who were passionate about their cause would employ tactics that pulled at my heartstrings and stoked the fire in my soul so that I felt connected to a specific cause. While the intention behind the phenomenon is pure, it can sometimes give those not called to a particular cause anxiety about not feeling that call. I couldn’t be more excited for my friends jetting off to the far reaches of the world this upcoming summer. But I’m not called to international missions, and that’s okay. I’m allowed to empathize with a picture of an orphan without needing to catch the next flight overseas to care for them. I’m allowed to love on missionaries and support them and not desire to follow in their footsteps. I’m allowed to serve and do missions right where I am.This doesn’t mean that I don’t have the faith that missionaries do, or that I’m more materialistic, or that I’m far from God. Quite the contrary. It actually means that despite the pressures from within the community of Christians, I know God will use me. I can take comfort that He is going to use me just as missionaries overseas. So, if you’re not feeling the tug of international missions, it’s not because you’re weak. It’s not because God doesn’t want you or that you’re not listening hard enough. The world that God has created is a mission field, and every soul not bound to the Father is an orphan. Jesus made us to worship Him and to do the good works He has created for us. And that doesn’t just mean overseas. It means...

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SGA and Sodexo strive to reduce university’s carbon footprint

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells The university has recently begun taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. The Student Government Association (SGA) and Sodexo Dining Services are leading the way by taking precautions against unnecessary waste of food, fuel, and energy. The possibility of having to-go containers in the dining hall of Bawcom Student Union was initially raised in SGA’s annual Buddy Night in October, and the organization has since performed research and contacted Sodexo to make to-go containers a reality. However, doggie bags aren’t the only way to cut back on food waste in Bawcom. Alex Kown, student body vice president for the SGA, is looking into creating a compost out of the disposed food so it can be used as a fertilizer, which will reduce gardening costs. James Quinn, the general manager for dining facilities, shares the composting vision as well. “We plan on creating a food compost that would eventually contribute to us having our own herb garden,” he explains. “That way we’ll have our own rosemary, parsley, anything we need right on campus.” There will be quite a few new, exciting changes to Bawcom under Quinn’s leadership. For one, Quinn is replacing his senior staff with people who have more experience and education in culinary arts and dietary needs. This means that gluten-free and dairy-free options will be more abundant in the coming semester, and a larger variety of food will be offered. Kown plans on incentivizing the students to contribute to reducing the school’s carbon footprint. “Students can recycle, they can turn out their apartment lights more, and they can just walk or ride their bike to class instead of drive.” To encourage more energy efficiency, Kown intends to use a scraps program from another university. The scraps concept is that whatever money that is saved month to month on the energy bill is donated to a nonprofit environmental organization. “Since we go to a university where the students actually care about the world, it should be easy to get them on board.” Specialized lids and awareness of the strict rules that recycling demands will all aid the process of making the university more environmentally conscious, according to Kown. Student participation is an essential part of making UMHB more energy efficient. Although SGA is aware of the parking situation for students who live on campus, they would like to encourage students to walk or ride their bikes to class. Kown would like to see UMHB become a carbon neutral campus and to run on solely renewable sources. He also encourages students, if they have any other concerns or ideas,...

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Surviving the holidays with stressful family members

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells For many of us, Belton has become home. From Frosti Cones to Arusha’s to the creek that runs through campus, we can say we’ve built memories here that will last a lifetime. But despite making Belton home, many of us have aching hearts for those we left behind in our hometowns. As a San Antonio native, I miss good Mexican food and my church the most (along with my family). However, some of us at UMHB don’t have the privilege of a heart that beats for two places at once. For some, Belton is our one and only home. But what happens when winter break comes and we have to go home to people that don’t feel like family? There are a couple of options for those who are unwilling to go home, and the first of which is to stay in Belton. If you live off campus or in the apartments, this isn’t a problem. Apartments on campus stay open throughout all breaks and holidays, so no alternative housing is needed. If you live in the dorms, however, staying on campus is a little harder. The Residence Life office does have an option for those wanting to stay on campus, but the process is selective and requires a need. Those who want to apply can email residencelife@umhb.edu to receive the form that will allow requesting students the chance to choose specific dates to be on campus and why they’re requesting housing. If you must go home, there are some things to remember when your family gets you down over the holidays: your worth is not determined by what they think of you or your decisions. Your worth is given to you by the everlasting God, who sent His son to be tortured and killed so that you can sit at the right hand of God. If your earthly father isn’t ideal, you have a heavenly father that provides you with the desires of your heart. If your home is for some reason unsafe, please see if there are friends and family who will take you in for the holidays.  You don’t have to tell on your family to receive the help you need. In addition, free longterm counseling is offered by the university who can help prepare you for the long winter break. Appointments can be made in the counseling office (Mabee 3rd floor) or at (254) 295-4696. Often, others act out because they never resolved issues that haunt their past. This could be anything from school bullies to abusive parents. But whatever they have to say, it’s...

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Standing for Christ: New film depicts life of Columbine victim
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Standing for Christ: New film depicts life of Columbine victim

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells I’m Not Ashamed, a Christian movie based on the events of the Columbine shooting on April 20, 1999, came out in theaters this Friday, October 21. The movie is an uplifting flick that encourages teenagers in the struggles that many young Christians face, like loneliness, the desire to fit in, and resisting temptation from other students. Reviews however, have blasted Pure Flix, the producers of I’m Not Ashamed, for misrepresenting the actual historical account of the event portrayed in the movie. The reviews on this movie are mixed, so what’s important is to research and compare what happened in the movie to what happened in real life. The Columbine shooting is the name given to the mass murder at Columbine High school in Littleton, Colorado. The two perpetrators, 17-year-old Dylan Klebold and 18-year-old Eric Harris, opened fire on their classmates and teachers when their homemade bomb failed to detonate. The movie implies that the two students targeted Christians, such as protagonist Rachel Joy Scott, who was historically the first victim in the shooting. However, these accusations were proven false, and the murderers had no specific group of people in mind. Klebold and Harris ended up killing 12 students and one teacher, and injuring 20 more people. Although the movie was uplifting as well as tragic, it may have misrepresented the events of Columbine. Theguardian.com writes a scathing review on the Pure Flix film, who also created God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2. They call I’m Not Ashamed “a false narrative of Christian martyrdom.” Other reviewers, such as the Hollywood Reporter, criticize the movie for being poorly written and disrespectful to the victims of Columbine. The movie is touching and sweet, and Masey Mclaine’s performance as Rachel Joy Scott goes beyond the somewhat cheesy and predictable script. The upset that I’m Not Ashamed has caused is not only due to the historical discrepancies between the movie and the shooting, but also when it comes to the motive behind the entire shooting as something more “martyr-like” than it is. Additionally, the depictions of the shooters are shamelessly flat and give little to no consideration of their motives and lives outside of the crime. There are plenty of rioters that would rally to stamp out the humanization of criminals like these, but the movie medium has a bit more leniency and opportunity to portray all sides, which needless to say, I’m Not Ashamed did not take advantage of. The film is the epitome of a feel-good, Chrsitian motivational flick, with a dark overtone that led to more controversy and resistance...

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Servant Artist: Local photographer captures faith in photos, inspires students

Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells Nan Dickson is a photojournalist who volunteers her time instructing aspiring photographers and artists with the art department. Now she is hosting several exhibits of her work at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple and on campus. Despite her success outside of UMHB, Dickson would most succinctly describe her role as a servant of the art department. “To me, a servant is a person who sees what needs to be done before anyone tells them to do it and knows it needs to be done and just does it,” she said. “I’m there to serve the professors, students, and really whoever comes by. ” And when she’s not serving the university, Dickson is using her gifts to bring light and awareness to important issues. “Free Behind Fences” is a photo series Dickson completed that centers around a women’s prison ministry called Discipleship Unlimited. The ministry minsters to women behind bars by creating a Christ-centered atmosphere for them even when the women of the ministry cannot be there. The artist thought these women, who are trying to strengthen their relationships with God even in prison, would be a compelling series. Dickson said she was brought to this minstry by God. He gave her a specific vision for her series while she was praying. “He said, ‘he next exhibit you shoot, love will be shooting the pictures through you,’” Dickson said. Through a series of events, Dickson met Linda Strom, the president and one of the founders of Discipleship Unlimited, and was invited to photograph the women of their ministry. That opportunity morphed into an exhibit. The namesake of the exhibit is a reference to the large and imposing razor wire fences that surround these women. “The women in prison who come to Christ are free even though they’re behind those fences.” Dickson accredits her work solely to the Lord, but in part to an intercessor with whom she lived for 16 years, Lily O. Rogers. Rogers was a prayer minister and small group leader with Discipleship Unlimited, and prayed without ceasing for Dickson’s work. She developed alzheimer’s disease later in life, and Dickson cared for her along with Dickson’s mother, who also had Alzheimer’s at the time. Although she was more or less confined to the house due to her caretaking responsibilities, she found that she could take pictures in tune with her photographer’s spirit, and began to catalogue the disease. That body of work, called “Shadows Dancing at Twilight,” generated interest that eventually led to Dickson focusing on early-onset alzheimer’s for an exhibit. She believes most people do not...

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