The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University
Sep15

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University

Liberty University, or “Bible Boot Camp” to some, is among the most conservative universities in the nation. In a move that baffled and even worried his friends and family, unreligious Kevin Roose took a semester off of studying journalism at the liberal Brown University to try to bridge the culture gap and went to Liberty. He candidly chronicles his time and discoveries in the memoir The Unlikely Disciple. The first few pages of the book contain praise from Christian Science Monitor, The Onion, New York Times, FriendlyAtheist.com, Jewish Weekly, ChristianityToday.com and even Playboy. The readers associated with these publications aren’t known for agreeing, but they all reach the same consensus. Roose’s work is worth the read. Liberty University was founded in the 1970s by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. He wanted to provide an accredited university for Christian students. The school has grown rapidly since that time, with more than 11,000 students enrolled in 2010. Falwell was once the poster-boy of evangelism, but lately is more often associated with sensational remarks he made in the last decade of his life. Roose’s friends and family were quick to point to Falwell’s statements on the 700 Club after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as a reason for Roose to avoid Liberty. “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle … I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen,’ ” Falwell had said. Falwell was still living and presiding over Liberty, with almost a rock star persona among students, when Roose moved onto campus. Roose’s open-mindedness and honesty, along with witty writing, makes the book more than another memoir. He candidly lives alongside devout evangelical students, participates in their religious activates, abstains from cursing, sex, dancing and R-rated movies and everything else described in Liberty’s 46-page code of conduct. Roose even sang in Jerry Falwell’s choir every Sunday morning at the nationally televised Thomas Road worship service. Roose deals extensively with social and moral issues. He also abandoned many of his preconceived ideas about evangelicals. Some of the stereotypes held up, however. He chronicles how hostile the campus is toward homosexuals. Instead of swearing, students were prone to using synonyms for gay as their expletives. He also tackles a class called History of Life where he is instructed that Noah carried dinosaurs on the ark. Despite problems like this, Roose never takes a shot at Christians, and genuinely is interested in the spiritual aspect of their lives. Roose embraced many of the new areas of his life...

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Art professor displays work
Sep15

Art professor displays work

John Hancock has been an art professor at UMHB for more than ten years. He has taught many students and seen many of his students’ art projects become recognized. On Aug. 26 in the Arla Ray Tyson Art Gallery of the Townsend Memorial Library, Hancock’s featured works were placed on exhibit. The show’s theme is “The World’s Happiest Place,” which the artist leaves up to the viewer to decide wherever that special place may be. “The World’s Happiest Place is in my head, heart and hands,” Hancock said. Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes said he values Hancock as a professor. “Obviously we think he’s a great teacher,” he said. “He’s a good asset for the department because he demonstrates a strong professional attitude toward his personal art making. A bit eccentric, but that’s somewhat normal with faculty in university art departments.” Senior art education major Krista Troy has taken Hancock’s figure drawing class and finds him to be very helpful. “He’s a great man to learn from, and he’s given me encouragement in works I thought were gone,” she said. To Barnes, the happiest place Hancock is at is when he is creating art. “I believe when John called this show ‘the World’s Happiest Place’ he was making a comment about his state of mind when he is in the process of making art, metaphorically saying that he is at his happiest when he is making images,” Barnes said. Troy has a different sense of art, but she still recognizes Hancock’s interesting and unique style. “I thought the works themselves were brilliant because they truly challenged me to think and figure out the thoughts behind them,” she said. There are many different ways to interpret art and it may or may not be what the artist intended. Barnes said, “In terms of content, my reading of the work is that it is about man’s inhumanity toward man. He does this by using common vernacular images in a comical sense to confront those things that are...

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Heartfelt student-created film, The Last Waltz
Apr27

Heartfelt student-created film, The Last Waltz

For roughly 12 minutes, the audience that went to see the student- created Cru Films production, The Last Waltz, sat in silence waiting to see what happened to the hard-minded character of Waltz. After living a life of continually being cold to people due to the events in his life, we find Waltz as an old man alone in a hospital bed. With every comment he makes proving to be negative and rude, nurse Steve, performed by 2009 UMHB graduate and performance studies major, Tank Turner, always stays positive and has hope that Waltz’s hard shell will be cracked before his life ends. At the end of the short film, Waltz’s family has come to visit him. After experiencing a heart attack, Waltz wakes up to realize he should let go of his hatred of his life and accept the love of not only his family, but also the love of Christ. Dr. Diane Howard is passionate about the Cru Films organization and was one of the producers of the film. She is honored by the fact that the production blessed her with students who dedicated themselves in order to have a great finished product. “The most rewarding facet for me has been to see our students begin to appreciate the talents and gifts that our Lord has given them for great positive Christian good in the world,” she said. “Watching them learn and practice skills to artfully captivate and persuade audiences as they produce redemptive films has been a joyful adventure.” One of the main characters is the nurse, Steve. Turner enjoyed being a part of the film, and the story line had a lot to do with that. “To me the film was about reaching forgiveness through human connection, and being able to allow yourself to connect with another human being after being hurt in the past by someone,” he said. The whole experience of acting and interacting with the cast and crew was very rewarding for Turner. “It was an awesome experience working with everyone who was involved in creating this film,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be with in taking this journey.” Howard and the other producer of The Last Waltz, professor Donna Teel, had about eight to ten student written scripts to choose. However, it was film studies minor Mateo Gamboa who had the winning story line. He said, “I was happy about it. I was nervous. It really made me anxious to see how it was all going to turn out.” On a whole, watching the short film was inspirational. Seeing a man being redeemed...

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Box office gears up for summer season
Apr27

Box office gears up for summer season

By Emily Keahey As summer approaches, the box office is gearing up for the release of some of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. Films from every genre are poised to make blockbuster history and wow fans. Robin Hood Release Date: May 14 Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, the team that created Gladiator have come together to produce another great action movie, Robin Hood. The story follows Robin Longstride, an archer in the army of King Richard Coeur de Lion. After the king dies, Robin and his men must fight against corruption and oppression in the town of Nottingham, but their adventures don’t stop there. This movie is rated PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content. Iron Man 2 Release Date: May 7 Expected to be as successful as the first blockbuster, Iron Man 2 is sure to be a hit with viewers. In this action-packed sequel, billionaire investor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to fight new enemies. Afraid that his technology will slip into the wrong hands, Stark refuses to reveal his secrets to the military, despite pressure from the press, public and government. With the help of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Stark will form new alliances and face new challenges. This movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some language. Shrek Forever After Release Date: May 21 After saving the princess, getting married and having kids, Shrek (Mike Myers) is on a new adventure. In the fourth movie, Shrek Forever After, Shrek gets tricked by Rumpelstiltskin and ends up in a backwards Far, Far Away where Fiona no longer knows him and ogres are hunted. Just like the other Shrek movies, this is sure to be fun for the whole family. It is rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Release Date: June 30 The third movie in the series of wildly popular vampire novels will premier this summer. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will be action packed, as Victoria leads an army of vampires to seek her revenge. The love triangle between Bella (Kristen Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) will continue to intensify, as they both fight to save the woman they love. Bella will eventually have to choose between the two men she loves. This movie is not yet rated. The Last Airbender Release Date: July 2 Director M. Night Shyamalan’s newest movie promises to impress. It is based on the popular cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. In a world where there were once four...

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Ordinary couple takes on extraordinary night
Apr27

Ordinary couple takes on extraordinary night

Girls can drag their guys to the newest box office comedy Date Night without being worried about their significant other being bored out of his mind. Steve Carell (The Office) and Tina Fey (30 Rock) play Phil and Claire Foster, a New Jersey couple who find themselves bored with their suburban life. An accountant and a real estate agent by day, the two are barely able to stay awake on their weekly date night at the usual spot. In an attempt to spice things up, they head for a more exciting night out in the city. One stolen reservation later, the two find themselves in for much more than the fancy seafood dinner they bargained for. Mistaken for another couple, the Triplehorns, by a pair of thugs, they must maneuver their way out of several near-death encounters. This involves the obvious guns, fast cars and, of course, pole dancing. The two quickly prove themselves as bad plan makers, but as fate and possibly just pure luck would allow, the two manage to elude the bad guys. While the plot is funny, it is somewhat predictable. Despite the fact that the couple makes a great comedic duo, viewers can easily see where some scenes are heading. In one scene Fey drools over sweaty, shirtless, former client Holbrooke (Mark Wahlberg, The Lovely Bones) and it doesn’t take much to imagine what is going through Carell’s mind. Fey does a great job of balancing Carell’s over-the top nature with her sweet but quirky disposition. Together they banter back and forth, bringing lots of laughs, yet they also have some more serious moments. By the end of the movie, the two are both believable and charming as heroes even with their many flaws and mishaps. The supporting cast also helps make the film with appearances from Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Leighton Meester and Mila Kunis. Franco and Kunis are particularly hilarious as the real “Triplehorns” with their crazy personalities. The two pull off a wacky, slightly redneck couple well. While the PG-13 movie as a whole is laugh-worthy comedy, it doesn’t meet classic standards. However, Carell and Fey fans will not leave the theatre disappointed. The movie deserves three out of five stars for its comical...

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Drink tea with Alice
Apr13

Drink tea with Alice

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is coming to life on campus as the Central Texas Book Club meets for its once a semester get-together on Wednesday, April 14. at 5 p.m. The event is being hosted by the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta. Junior English major and president of Sigma Tau Delta Rachel Yubeta said the motif of the gathering is based on a fictional character from Carroll’s novel. “Our theme is the Mad Hatter’s tea party. People are more than welcome to wear their top hats, and we will be serving tea.” Senior English major and vice president of Sigma Tau Delta Alex Fields said that all students are welcome to attend and should come ready in the appropriate attire. “Any kind of hat will do. There is no discrimination. We are not exclusive; we are inclusive. Anybody can wear a hat, and anyone can participate and be a part of it.” The presentation of the novel that is known for its appeal to both adults and children will be given by assistant professors of English Dr. Jessica Hooten and Dr. Jacky Dumas. Yubeta emphasizes the value of discussion and interaction with other readers when delving into a novel. Comprehending and appreciating the story comes from experiencing it with others. “Literature is definitely a community activity. Books are meant to be talked about and read together. I think that is important,” she said. Senior English major and treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta, Evangeline Ciupek, said the audience at the book club gatherings varies based on the circumstances. “The amount of people that attend fluctuates depending on how much interest there is, and how many people are in the English department. If professors offer extra credit, we get a better turnout.” Yubeta said that though the get-togethers are only once a semester, they should be taken advantage of. This semester the meeting is in Brindley Auditorium at 5 p.m. Fields points out that the novel is suitable for readers today. “Alice in Wonderland is very timely,” he said. Ciupek said the tea party will be an excellent way for students to revive excitement over the enchanting world found in Alice in Wonderland. The fantastical story of Alice is one that many people read as children. As adults, it is important to remember and take pleasure in such influential tales. Cuipek said, “Especially with the movie coming out, a lot of people are rediscovering Alice in Wonderland. It’s appropriate at this time to look back at it. The book is written excellently. It is definitely worth coming out...

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