Meaning transcends tradition
Nov20

Meaning transcends tradition

The approaching holiday season provokes thoughts on how and why people celebrate Tradition. It’s a word commonly associated with the holidays. With Thanksgiving and the Christmas season upon us, families will be going through the motions of rituals they perform every year, sometimes not giving much thought to why they do them. Sophomore education major Savannah Davis said the holidays are a time of reconnecting. “When I think of tradition,” she said, “I think of family and friends. Safe. Comfortable. Fun to do every year.”   Sometimes the motivation of a custom can change with time. Davis gave an example of when this is true. “At Christmas when we were younger, we would always put out cookies for Santa. But now we still put out cookies for him even though we no longer believe Santa’s real. The meaning is different for us now, but we still do it because it’s tradition.” There is one particular custom that Davis enjoys. “The day after Thanksgiving, we set up our Christmas tree. We’ve had the same one since I was 4. We have decorations we’ve collected over the years. I want to keep some of them and hope to do the same thing with my kids.” Passing customs down through the family is something that sophomore art education major Alana Filban connects very closely with the definition of tradition. She said, “I see it as something that happens every year with family and is carried on through the generations– something that’s comfortable and planned.” Like Davis, she, too, has a favorite holiday ritual. “Christmas Eve, we open one gift. Christmas morningwhen we get up, I love looking at the Christmas tree and drinking hot chocolate. I like it because I don’t get to see my family that often,” she said. Filban places an emphasis on reconnecting with relatives. She’s been making plans for how she will draw the ones she loves nearer during future holiday seasons. “I want to bring my family closer together. I would make every child in my family feel loved and special,” she said. Filban makes an effort not to forget why she celebrates certain holidays. “I remind myself that Thanksgiving is a day to think about how thankful you are. Christmas, for me, is about connecting with family. Every year, I’m reminded of Jesus. It’s a big celebration time to remember him and what he’s done for me. It’s a reminder that he’s alive.” Junior graphic design major Brittany Davis, Savannah’s older sister, is concerned about a societal holiday tradition she sees as harmful to the true meaning of what this time of year is supposed to symbolize....

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Deck the halls with boughs of duck calls
Nov20

Deck the halls with boughs of duck calls

The Robertson family from the hit show Duck Dynasty is at it again. They showed the world that their talents don’t end with making duck calls and hilarious television. On Oct. 29 they released their first Christmas album, Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas. Listen to one song, and you will quickly see that the humor in the show has transitioned into fun Christmas carols. The album has 14 songs, with some of the more popular  being “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas,” “Hairy Christmas” and “Duck the Halls.” Every song on the track has its own personality. For instance, in the song “Christmas Cookies,” Phil Robertson talks about Miss Kay’s Christmas cookies, which will surely bring some laughter. You might think that the songs would be poorly done, but in reality the Robertson family can sing. Not only do they do a fantastic job themselves, but they brought in some of the most notable and sought-after voices in the country music industry to accompany them in this album. Luke Bryan, Josh Turner, Alison Krauss and last, but not least, the king of country music himself, George Strait, make an appearance. The songs are a mixture of traditional Christmas hymns with a southern twist, to the Robertsons’ very own construction of Christmas carols.  As many know, they are a religious family and not afraid to confess their love for Christ. This is evident throughout the album. It is currently #1 on the Top Country Albums chart. This should be encouraging—that people who may never listen to Christmas music are getting a true feel of the season The album ends with Phil Robertson saying a prayer that  emphasizes what  Christmas  is all about. Yes, some of the songs are a bit goofy, but a number of songs on the track clearly point out the reason for the season. There is a song for everyone on this album. It mixes country music and Christmas carols perfectly with relevant and meaningful lyrics. I am usually not a fan of Christmas music, but this album is different. “Camouflage and Christmas Lights” stood out to me because it paints a picture of the Christmas season that only people from a small, southern town can appreciate. As well done as these songs are, they could stick around for some time and maybe even become Christmas carols your kids will be listening to. Really, how do you make a better Christmas album than one that has Si Robertson and George Strait in the same song? If you don’t want to buy the whole album, which I strongly encourage, make sure you at least check out some of their...

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A dark day for Texas, a tragedy for America
Nov06

A dark day for Texas, a tragedy for America

Nearly 50 years ago, Dallas, Texas, was the epicenter for a tragedy of historic proportion. Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed one of America’s most well known and beloved presidents — John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963. In the convertible with the president was Texas Gov. John Connally, who was shot, but lived. The two unscathed first ladies, Jackie and Nellie, watched in horror as the murder unfolded. Immediately after the bullets hit their target, the limousine began racing toward Parkland Hospital, just on the outskirts of downtown. Today in the U.S., a lot of confusion and mystery still surround the events that led to the assassination. Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, has devoted the majority of his professional life to studying Kennedy, his death and the atmosphere of the city during that politically tumultuous era. The museum specializes in the films and photographs taken the day of the killing. Hundreds of hours of video and a treasure trove of pictures are open to the public. Mack said. “Some Kennedy family members have visited the Sixth Floor Museum. We don’t identify them by name. When they get inquiries about the assassination, they say, ‘call the folks in Dallas. They know that stuff.’” Although the Kennedys may outwardly claim not to have much interest in the assassination, one has to wonder if they’re at least curious. “It’s been interesting to me to observe the public statements the family has made. They’ve always said they’re really not interested in learning this part of the story over and over and over again. They’ve discouraged questions about re-opening the assassination investigations, but it turns out they’re just as curious as everyone else…. Some parts of the story just don’t have a satisfactory answer,” Mack said. One of those parts, the shooter, Oswald, was a shady character who defected to the Soviet Union and came back the U.S. full of bitterness. To help shed light on the events surrounding the murder, a former employee of the Texas School Book Depository spoke as part of the Sixth Floor Museum’s Living History series. Because of a car pooling arrangement, he drove the assassin to work that terrible day. Due to a deteriorating domestic life, Oswald stayed in a Dallas rental house during the week, but went to live with his Russian wife, Marina, in Irving during the weekends. Buell Wesley Frazier, who lived near Irving took pity on Oswald and volunteered to drive him out of the city on Friday afternoons and bring him back to work on Monday mornings. He told him, “Lee, anytime you want to go out and...

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Missions Emphasis Week
Nov06

Missions Emphasis Week

At this point in the semester, students hit a wall as advising, housing and midterms flood the minds of the young scholars, while others work diligently behind the scenes to prepare for them a small breather —Missions Emphasis Week. While planning this annual event, which took place Oct. 21-25, the directors and committee continually strive to stir the hearts of students in more than one way: share Christianity with students and ignite a call to action in believers. “Everyone is called to live like a missionary, even if it’s not overseas,” junior English major and steering committee member Bethany Pittman said. “We wanted to get people involved, (especially) those who did not have a mindset of missions.” The committee’s goal was to expose students on both ends of the spectrum. They did this by urging professors to give missionaries their class period.  As a result, mission workers were scheduled for more than 110 classes before the week began, breaking the campus record, while more were scheduled throughout the week. “We want (students) to connect with missionaries, so this year we really wanted to see the campus get more involved,” junior nursing major and Missions Emphasis Week codirector Joseph Salley said. In addition to in-class discussion, the 40 plus missionaries who strolled the campus last week made their way into several university-wide seminars and various meet-and-greet events. Couples and individuals from every facet of nonprofit mission-based organizations came to tell their story and encourage students to discover their calling. “We share things, but we don’t know what people are going to do,” missionary and co-founder of Volunteer for China, David Wilson, said. “It would be a mistake for me to talk you into going anywhere. You’re just as much a missionary as I am.” Wilson discussed his call for missions with listeners. Both he and his wife, Ann Wilson, worked in professional math and science fields for more than 30 years. Upon retirement, the couple volunteered with various organizations until they founded one of their own. Given their educational background and their retired life status, Wilson described their situation as “ironic.” “I never thought I’d be doing this. I never dreamed that I would be visiting another country or teaching English in China,” he said. Others like Butch and Nell Green, who serve with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as strategic catalyst for Muslim Internationals, found their calling at their university during their college days. Nell praises the work of the Baptist Student Ministry on her campus and understands the importance of it in the lives of UMHB students. “We were grown, nurtured and called through the BSM,” Nell said. “We just...

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Student answers the call
Nov06

Student answers the call

Students take their own unique paths to get to campus. However, it would be hard to find a path with more twists and turns than the one of sophomore elementary education major Falyn Fletcher. Fletcher was born in Houston and homeschooled by her parents. After returning from a mission trip to Scotland, her father, Doyle Fletcher, felt moved to uproot his family to serve God. “Whenever I was 11, my parents sat me and my brothers down, and they simply told us that God was calling them to the mission field,” Fletcher said.  “They just told us that they didn’t know where we were going, but that’s what they felt God was calling them to do.” Fletcher’s mother, Karen Fletcher, admitted that she wasn’t on board at first, but her husband’s enthusiasm allowed her to consider the idea of leaving everything behind. “I completely disregarded the idea and moved on, but over time, I realized that Doyle was passionate about this, so I began to pray about it, and God did confirm that he was calling us to go,” she said. The family took a leap of faith, joined the Southern Baptist International Mission Board and prepared to go wherever God sent them. “Within a year, my family sold our house and our cars and gave away all our pets, and my parents were appointed missionaries to Moscow, Russia,” Fletcher said.  “We served there for two years. I went to a private school there and made a lot of friends, and I really loved living there.” Just when the family seemed to have settled in, their lives hit a snag. After they had been in the country for two years, the Russian government passed a new visa law which prevented foreigners from staying in the country for more than 90 days. This forced them to find a new place to serve and gave them little time to do so. “My parents just prayed about it and a position opened up in Poland. We had some missionary friends who were living in the same city and so my parents took that as a sign from God that that’s where he wanted them to be,” Fletcher said. “My family picked up and moved our 12 footlocker boxes and that’s where they’re still serving right now.” Fletcher’s parents spend their time growing churches and spreading awareness of the gospel. “They’re job is to be church planters. Their goal is to make relationships with people and then start home bible studies,” she said. Fletcher said that it was by faith and through the grace of God that she ended up on campus. “Whenever...

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Stadium brings energy to flag football
Nov06

Stadium brings energy to flag football

Crusader Stadium has already proved itself to be a great venue to watch football, but many students didn’t ever think they would have the opportunity to play under the lights at the new facility. However, the intramural flag football championship games were moved from their normal location at the recreational fields to the stadium. “Playing intramurals in the new stadium was awesome. It’s great that they’re finding ways for the whole university to enjoy it. The campus rec staff went all out by introducing the team members, having the national anthem, giving stuff away for free and using the scoreboard during our games,” senior business major Adam Rea said. The idea for moving the championship games to a bigger field where more people could enjoy the games has been on the Student Government Association’s agenda for a number of years. “I think Jonathan Kendall with SGA and Campus Rec tried this in years past with intramural basketball championships being held in the arena. It was never an option for flag football before now,” Director of Campus Recreation Sue Weaver said. The overall atmosphere of the championship games was  one that is usually not felt with intramural games. Playing on such a  stage gave the players a feel of what it would be like to compete in a big game at Crusader Stadium. “The event was absolutely a success. It was a great opportunity for those participating in the games to be recognized and to play in such a great facility. Fans and parents came to watch, and our Campus Rec staff, SGA, and other organizations were recognized,” Weaver said. The hype that was brought to the night gave the team competing and the fans that were there a lot to look forward to. “It was very cool to get to play in Crusader Stadium,” senior business major Tyson Brower said. “We have been playing together all year as a team … and we all really enjoyed the championship games. It gave a different feel to intramurals.” The games were  full of   both big plays and excitement, but the coed championship had the teams and fans biting their fingernails till the last second ran off the jumbotron. “Unfortunately, our coed team came up short, but we had a great time playing together all season, and I made a lot of new friends through intramurals,” Brower said. That One Team was the squad that secured the victory for the coed side of things, while the Dream Killers won the men’s division.  Both teams were awarded T-shirts as well as bragging rights until next year. “Winning intramurals is all about getting the...

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