God brings theaters to life
Apr15

God brings theaters to life

In an era when darkness and violence have come to be the thrills moviegoers seek, glimmers of light are flickering across the silver screen. Competing with blockbusters like Divergent, God’s Not Dead brought in viewers interested in a message of life-changing redemption. The plot is derived from various real-life stories of court cases and students who challenged the authority of professors and universities to force them to abandon their faith. The multiple storylines that are interwoven to build the plot are fresh and strong. Nothing is sugarcoated. The message of the gospel reached people where they were. Some accepted it, but others rejected it. Further, superb acting by Kevin Sorbo, who played Hercules in the 1994 series, combined with appearances from the popular Duck Dynasty couple, Willie and Korie Robertson and Christian rockers, The Newsboys, draw upon a wider demographic of moviegoers than some other Christian films. The story is set mainly on a college campus where a freshman needs to fulfill a philosophy credit. He ends up in the class of a professor who is a devout atheist. The instructor tells the entire class to write “God is dead” on a piece of paper and sign it. The young student, passionate about his Christianity, refuses. The angered professor issues an ultimatum. The student must prove in three lectures that God does, in fact, exist. If he fails, he fails the class. As the lectures go on, the true reason behind the professor’s unbelief begins to come out. In a heated exchange, he admits that he hates God, to which the student replies, “How can you hate someone who doesn’t exist?” Finally, after the final week of class periods devoted to the existence of a creator, a driver strikes the professor in an intersection. A pastor and a missionary who provide a side plot and comic relief are at the scene when it happens. The pastor prays with him, and he dies in the street reconciled with God whom he once hated. The movie ends at a Newsboys concert where Willie Robinson, who had heard of the freshman’s strong defense of his faith, encourages everyone present to text “God’s not dead” to everyone on their contact list. The movie audience receives the same mandate right before the credits roll. Because of the full range of emotions, the well-developed storyline and the call to action, this is a must see for Christians looking for practical ways to share their...

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ASL movie night honors Deaf Awareness Week
Apr15

ASL movie night honors Deaf Awareness Week

Students and people from the community gathered recently to watch Versa Effect in honor of Deaf Awareness Week. The movie night, along with other events during the week, was put on by the American Sign Language teacher’s aids. The movie has no sound, and the actors are all Deaf – there’s only signing throughout the film. Of course, subtitles help for those who don’t know sign language. Junior psychology major  and T.A., Maggie Bates is trying to spread the awareness of ASL courses to UMHB students. “It is a great program that has impacted so many students and their futures, and we wanted to get the word out,” she said. “We also wanted our peers to be more aware of Deaf culture.” The ASL classes watch different movies to see what the culture looks like and to get the feel of how sign language is used in the lives of people who need it to communicate every day. The T.A.s decided that playing Versa Effect would be the most beneficial entertainment for the event. The movie is similar to the popular film called Freaky Friday. Two people who despise each other end up switching lives for a day. After a few turns of events and getting back to their bodies, they fall in love. The movie shows Deaf people communicating just as hearing people do, such as getting someone’s attention, communicating through closed windows and even showing how they are signaled when their doorbell rings. Junior education major Annie Phillips attended the movie night. She is in ASL 4 and is planning to get her master’s in Deaf education. “I really like the idea of ASL becoming more widespread on campus. I think it is important to recognize other cultures, and I think this is one that many people forget or are ignorant about,” she said. While students in ASL and those just interested in learning about a different culture came to support the event, the T.A.s were pleased to have a few people in the Deaf community watch the movie. Norma Moreland is from the Killeen Deaf community. She and her husband came to watch the movie, and they enjoyed it. Moreland thinks it is wonderful that the university’s students are involved with the Deaf community and are so interested in learning ASL. The T.A.s hope that Deaf Awareness Week will become an annual event and that it continues to grow with more students interested in learning about the...

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Spring movies provide break for viewers
Apr02

Spring movies provide break for viewers

THE BELLS –By Jordan Yarbrough and Leif Johnston Two movies have recently hit the big screen in the last month that target very different audiences. The first is geared toward Christians and is a religious film about Jesus’ life. The second is a book that turned into a movie, fitting perfectly into the recent trend. The film Son of God has been filling theaters across the country and has topped the North American box office, raking in over $26.5 million in less than a month. Produced by Mark Burnett, it has been received well by a wide variety of audiences. Making religious movies always seems like a touchy subject now that no one wants to step on any toes, but Burnett quickly gave a reason why he knew his film would do well. In a recent interview with Fox News he said,  “In general media circles … people get uncomfortable around God. But actually, more Americans as a community go to church than do anything else. More Americans go to church on Sundays than watch football. Son of God illustrates that in such a huge way…. What does this nation stand for? The Bible and free enterprise are the two things that built the nation.” Son of God illustrates the life of Jesus Christ better than any other movie or television show that has been available to the general public. It is a film that someone who doesn’t know much about Christ’s life on earth can understand. It is accurate to scripture, and the timeline of events makes it easy to follow.  One reason the movie is doing so well is because it doesn’t fictionalize any of the stories of Jesus. “If you came to the movie and you didn’t know anything about Jesus, you would really get a sense of the journey of his life. It was our job to make sure that the journey emotionally connected with you,” Roma Downey, who played the Virgin Mary in the movie, said. “So we told the story on the one hand as a political thriller… It is a beautiful love story. There is intimacy to it, and we hope that you’re drawn in… and you get a sense that you really know who Jesus is.” Divergent is another movie people are dying to see. With a strong female protagonist, it doesn’t just attract girls. Like The Hunger Games, there is a lot of action but less romance, making it a great movie for everyone. From a pregnant teen in ABC Family’s old TV show The Secret Life of an American Teenager, to the strong lead, Tris, in Divergent, Shailene Woodley...

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New student body president has high expectations
Apr02

New student body president has high expectations

THE BELLS –By Wesley Ashton Results are in for university student body president,  and next year’s SBP is sophomore engineering science major Christian Harper. Voting took place March 3-6 after a long road of advertising, debating and reaching out to the students of the university. The campaign started with the student government presidential debate Feb. 27 when all four candidates talked about their different platforms. “My previous affiliations with SGA include serving as both the freshmen class president and vice president,” Harper said. “I plan to address several issues, including campus dining, the housing process, creating more parking, making textbooks tax free and improving the chapel experience for everybody. Something else that is very dear to my heart is the bridging of the social gap between students and student athletes on this campus.” Harper ran against junior psychology major Alex Aleman, junior international business major Jonathan Kendall and junior economics and marketing major Ryan Sewell. Candidates chalked the side-walks, posted on dorm doors and loaded tables with advertisements in hopes of representing the university’s student body. Ultimately on March 6,  the email went out that Harper had won. “As student body president, I look forward to serving my fellow students as liaison between the student body and administration,” Harper said. “I endeavor to improve each student’s educational, social and spiritual experience here at UMHB.” Harper is a football player at the university and uses that as a platform to get to know others. He wasn’t involved in SGA last year but hasn’t allowed that to stop him from staying up to date on current issues facing students. “I didn’t think people really had issues with so many things,” Harper said. “Then I started asking what we could do better. I really found through SGA I could make a difference. Freshman year, I really got a feel for what I wanted to do here at UMHB. We need to go to the people to build community on the campus.” Besides getting football players more involved on campus and reaching out  to them, Harper wants to try to make the chapel experience more appealing to students at the university through the addition of a band. Students came out in support during voting week for the vision Harper has for the campus—the year to come will make his dreams of change that much closer. “I like his idea of bringing a band into chapel and looking at the past bills that weren’t passed and seeing why they didn’t,” freshman cell biology and chemistry major Kristan Gomez said.  “I hope that the other candidates who didn’t win will help Christian become a good...

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Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party
Feb25

Cru Knights: a Gatsby-approved party

Lights. Camera. Cru Knights. The legendary man pageant is one of the highlights of the spring semester. Each year, male students from across campus come together to represent an organization or group. They dance, make videos, strut and compete to win the title of Mr. Crusader Knights. This year, 23 men hit the stage under the direction of junior computer graphics design major Lauren Theodore. The goal was to put on a show that would transport audiences back in time and showcase the hard work each contestant put into the performance. For this year’s theme, the directors selected Roaring Twenties. Each advertisement and decoration featured Art Deco elements, and all the glittering gold and extravagance resembled a party Jay Gatsby himself would be proud to host. The set, designed by junior exercise sport science major Shannon McGorty, wowed audiences and cast members alike. Sophomore public relations major Katie Valenzuela helped run social media on the promotions team. She was excited to find ways to make the theme come to life for the audience. “We were like ‘Hey, come dressed in your best Roaring Twenties Great Gatsby outfit,’” Valenzuela said. “We (wanted) to transport these people into a different place and really create an awesome show for them, so for the audience to be able to be part of the production is something really neat.” Juniors Braxton Tucker and Taylor O’Rear emceed the event, transitioning between dances and videos with 20s-styled jokes and one-liners. “Please silence all cell phones because they don’t even exist yet,” Tucker quipped on opening night. The competition began Friday with parody videos submitted by each contestant. Their assignment was to spoof a viral YouTube or music video. New spins were put on old favorites ranging from “Charlie Bit Me” to the Sonic commercials with those two guys in a car, and a few music videos in between. After each cluster of parodies, one set of men would perform their group dance on stage. The contestants ended the night with a large group dance. Saturday evening was filled with struts, interviews and plenty of dancing. Former Mr. Cru Knights and alumnus Tanner Clarke was featured in a number before crowning this year’s champion later in the evening. “I’m really blessed to do this from a different perspective. Getting to pour into these guys every single day, doing devotionals at practices, really helped me to be part of their lives even though I wasn’t a student anymore,” Clarke said. “Giving away at this point is a blessing for me because I get to pass on what I had as a student to somebody else.” After an interview...

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Country musician admits to infidelity
Feb25

Country musician admits to infidelity

THE BELLS — One of the giants in the Texas country music scene shocked his fans in mid-February. Josh Abbott released a series of tweets that confessed he had been going down the wrong path and was a completely different man from what his fans could see. Abbott has become one of the more successful Red Dirt artists originating from Lubbock. He made a name for himself playing in local venues. He now travels all around the country performing in front of thousands of people. Some of his biggest hits have been about living the “small town life” and numerous love songs that have given the impression  he and his wife were the perfect couple.  But just like anyone could do, he fell into temptation traveling so much, and he fell into the trap of alcohol and infidelity. His latest album Small Town Family Dream worked its way up to number three on the Billboard Country Charts. But with all of the fame came a breaking point, and Abbott explained what he had been going through on Twitter. “I have not been the Christian husband that I needed to be in my marriage. I have destroyed my marriage through multiple problems, including problems with alcohol abuse, infidelity and language. Somewhere along the last several years, I have lost myself as an accountable human being.” Abbott thought letting his fans know through him would be the first thing to help lead him back to the right path “The temptations that we as artists and celebrities face are unreal to many of you…I have to own up to my mistakes….I’m 22 days sober and hope that I can continue to control my addictions. I want to be an honorable and godly man, and this is the first step,” Abbott said. I am a fan of Abbott’s music, and it is evident that he is a great musician with talent that few can compete with. But this scandal could hurt his reputation in the country music arena. However, many of his fellow artists were quick to send prayers and thoughts to him and his wife as they try to work things out. Abbott has continued to tour and play for packed houses, but for many it just isn’t the same listening to his songs now. He insists his fans realize that his music has always been sincere and will continue to be so. “I hope the songs I have written have inspired you… because that’s why we do what we do. That part is real. What hasn’t been real is the perception that my marriage is perfect & I’m an incredible husband....

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