Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Is the church sending women the wrong message?
Mar29

Is the church sending women the wrong message?

Published in the March 29, 2017 issue of The Bells Humans have the unique ability to communicate, record, and understand each other in ever-deepening ways with language. We’ve used these methods of communication to make movies, write poetry and songs, and convey news to the masses. The Lord uses it to bring us into a deeper understanding of himself, and churches use it to encourage revival. But are we, as the church, conveying the proper message with some of the words we speak to our women? I know avid church goers, family members and pastors have the right idea. They want to encourage chastity and purity by giving women an incentive: stay pure for your husband. Nobody wants damaged goods or low hanging fruit. Matthew 5:8 says, “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I’m not trying to undercut the Bible. Purity in all forms is definitely important. I’ve also heard enough sermons to know how satisfying it is to wait until marriage. However, should we be teaching women from a young age that they are somehow less worthy of love and affection because of their past experiences? That their only motivation for purity should be to actualize a fantasy for her future husband? That no one will want her if she is not a virgin? The Bible does not condemn us and turn us away from the Lord because of our sins. If the wages of lying, stealing, and cheating are death (Romans 6:23), then so is sex outside of marriage. Sexual sin is no more potent a grievance against God than getting drunk or disrespecting your professor. In fact, Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for the prideful, the hypocritical, and the unbelieving believers—not for the sexually immoral (Matthew 23:13-36). My intention is not to twist the words of God, saying that it’s a good thing to have a rotation of sexual partners, or to play with the fire of sensuality. However, sexual sin, whether for singles, those married or homosexuals, suddenly seems to be placed on a higher pedestal of condemnation than all else. All humans are on the same level. “From dust you came, and to dust you will return,” (Genesis 3:19). In other words, we’re all in a sinking boat, and throwing stones at the group you feel is most deserving of hate will only sink you both faster. By calling women who have been sexually active by these derogatory names, we propagate the idea that a woman’s worth is found in a wedding ring. This language tells her that in order to be of the most value, she must maintain...

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Dating in the 21st Century
Mar08

Dating in the 21st Century

Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bell Deciding how to navigate the dating world in the 21st Century can be somewhat confusing. You will have to decide who pays for each date, whether you will exchange gifts, and when engagement and saying “I love you” is appropriate. Who pays? Many believe that only the man should pay. I firmly disagree with this position, seeing as a vast majority of university students do not receive a constant or large paycheck, if they receive one at all. Therefore, it’s unfair to expect that the men of our community be expected to foot the bill and spend all of their extra cash on their date. When dating in college, girls should understand that our men are not yet standing on their own two feet, and don’t yet have their whole lives figured out. Therefore, we should also pay sometimes, and try and make equal payments. This effort will be much appreciated and reciprocated. Gift giving. Many women of our generation seem to want to continuously be treated well and pampered. But sometimes, we seem to neglect the fact that our men deserve to be pampered and treated well also. Women, we need to pamper our men. We should celebrate the fact that we have good ones. By pampering and treating our men to good treats (such as an occasional date planned around the various things they enjoy), we allow them to be appreciated and loved in the same way we hope to be. Engagement and saying “I love you.” There seems to be a difficulty deciding when it’s appropriate for either. Saying “I love you” is a personal decision between the people involved in the relationship, and yet it seems that we tend to advise our friends when they should take these steps. But instead of listening to others, we should talk to our partners and see how they are feeling, and decide when we feel it is right to say I love you. As far as engagement goes, talking over with your significant other how they feel about marriage and being married in or out of college is important. It’s important to mull over the relationship itself and whether that relationship is one that is both fulfilling and exciting. By thinking these things over and talking them over, you’ll be able to fully decide whether or not you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship. Dating in the 21st Century can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that each relationship is different. What works for one couple might not work for the next. So, it’s...

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Tablets vs. textbooks:what should schools use?
Mar08

Tablets vs. textbooks:what should schools use?

Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells It seems that educational systems have been pushing for more tablet use in the classroom over the use of a textbook in recent years. Although this is not a new topic, the controversy is still an ongoing question of how this might benefit students in the educational realm. Its highest effects have been in the high school area. My biggest concern is how the dependency on tablets will affect students when they get to college. As I sat in the second row of my dual credit British Literature class during my senior year of high school, the class began to review the reading assignment. Dr. Caddell, my literature professor who had a passion for books, stood up and spoke out about this controversial topic. While he was speaking, the principal rolled a huge cart full of iPads into the classrooom. Dr. Caddell, very confused by the interruption, asked what was going on, and the response was that our books were being replaced with the tablets so we could read from them and not have to waste money on getting new books each year. It seems logical from an economic stand point to use tablets, but to my professor it was more than that. She was worried about the future education of the students. Most, if not all, the students in the class were in there because they were moving onto higher education. She stood up and said that these kids needed to know the feeling of a book in their hands, to carry the weight, to know what it’s like to read from worn pages and flip them, not to just swipe right. College was going to be no different. I was in complete agreement with her claim. Being a book nerd myself, I love the smell of new books, walking through Barnes and Noble and feeling the new pages and smelling it like it was hot off the press. I also love the weight that it had, the story it told, and the richness of the character’s background and timeline in my hand. In the educational world, it is said that everyone learns differently, and that is true. I believe forcing students to read from tablets rather than a book might be beneficial for some. They will like the feel of the technology in their hands. It might even help them feel more comfortable with reading the material because the tablet is their comfort zone. However, I do not believe it will help them later on in college. College is about getting out of your comfort zone, meeting...

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The top three most underrated animated films
Mar08

The top three most underrated animated films

Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells From Disney to DreamWorks, animated films take us on journeys into an exciting, new world. Many times, amazing movies are overlooked by critics because they don’t fit certain criteria. However, a good film is something that you can look back on and still enjoy. The movie has to stand the test of time. Sometimes, I’ll go on Netflix and watch movies and shows that I watched when I was younger, just to bring back memories. Some of them make me wonder, why would I ever see this? This is so stupid. But others, those small gems in Hollywood land, have a close place in my heart that I will never get tired of seeing. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you – The top three most underrated animated movies. These movies either did not perform well at the box office, received poor reviews from critics, or are not as well known as they deserve to be. Treasure Planet  (2002) Here is a movie that combines stunning visuals with an interesting storyline. Many times in movies, animated or live action, the creators get so consumed with special effects that they forget the most important element in a movie – telling a story that sticks to the minds of the audience. Treasure Planet is about a rebellious teen named Jim Hawkins who receives a map to legendary treasure. On his journey to finding the treasure, he forms an alliance with a cyborg, John Silver, whose only motivation is to get to the treasure first. On the way, they encounter numerous obstacles in their pursuit. This movie sparks creativity. The animators create a world with a steampunk and Victorian feel, reminiscent of the book Treasure Island. The relationship between Hawkins and Silver is an interesting one, as Jim lacks a father figure and Silver represents the dad he never had. The friendship between the two only gets more dramatic when Hawkins finds out what Silver’s true intentions are. Sadly, Treasure Planet did not perform well at the box office. With a budget of $140 million, the film only made $109.6 million in return. The Prince of Egypt (1998) It is rare to get movies and shows based off of the Bible, but it is even rarer that these Biblical films capture the true emotion and passion behind the stories (ahem, I’m looking at you Noah) like DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt. This movie follows the story of Moses and the events that followed, which led to Pharaoh letting God’s people go. I love everything about this movie. The idea that Moses...

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Best devotionals for students to read
Feb22

Best devotionals for students to read

Published in the February 22, 2017 issue of The Bells College can be a fun yet stressful time in a person’s life. But in the midst of trials, the most important thing to do is to turn to God. You might wish you had more time to dwell in God’s Word, but classes and other college-related activities take up a lot of time. However, it’s important to realize that there is always time for God. It helps, even in the most exhausting and challenging moments of your life, to pause and see what the Lord has to say to you. I’ve always found that devotionals are a good place to start when wanting to find peace. The Bible app, found on Android and Apple devices, allows users to read the Bible, watch Christian videos, highlight verses, create notes, and access devotionals. There are five devotionals that I believe will benefit students in their walk of faith. College Student Devotional – This devotional is a 14-day plan that has a story about real college students’ struggles and a Bible passage that relates to the story. At the end of the narrative, the devotional asks you questions that helps you deepen your understanding of your own life. Exploring Your Gifts – God has given each of us our own gifts and talents. College is a perfect time to discover what He has given us and how to utilize our abilities for His glory. Exploring Your Gifts is a four-day plan that walks you through how God is preparing you for great things, by using examples of leaders in the Bible such as Moses, Esther, Hosea, and Timothy. Divine Direction – This seven-day devotional discusses a principle each day that will help you seek God’s direction in your life. These principles cover decisions involved in starting, stopping, staying, going, serving, connecting, and trusting in God. Chasing the Light – Chasing the Light helps readers to “pursue the Light of the World.” What’s interesting about this devotional is that for each day, there is an inspiring image of nature with a Bible verse that you can post on social media. Stability in a Fragile World – This devotional helps you find peace in Jesus. At the end of the devotional, there are affirmations that remind you that God is an infinite and loving Father who will always help you in your trials and tribulations. Devotionals are just one resource to strengthen your hope in Jesus. Reading the Bible, praying, and connecting with other believers will also help ignite your faith and restore peace in your heart and mind. You don’t have to walk...

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Should we have single gender classrooms?
Feb22

Should we have single gender classrooms?

Published in the February 22, 2017 issue of The Bells Should single gender classrooms be required in schools? This is a question that has sparked a lot of debate over the years. Research seems to support the idea that people learn better when they are in an environment with peers of the same gender. However, there are social downfalls to students learning in an environment with only those of the same gender. Parents should consider whether the educational benefits outweigh the social downfalls. I think that students should be separated into single gender classrooms during the elementary years. It is important that students learn as much as they can in this stage because they are so impressionable. Therefore, it would be a positive to eliminate distractions from the classroom. In this scenario, boys wouldn’t have the chance to tease and distract the girls, and girls wouldn’t have the chance to bug the boys with their elementary attempts at flirting. Having the students learn in a single gender classroom could also help minimize gender-specific bullying in schools, which can cause serious emotional trauma. Single-gender classrooms at an elementary level will help increase learning during those first years of school. However, in the middle school and high school years, I believe that single-gender classrooms should only be in the core classes; English, science, mathematics, and history. It is important that students are able to learn these skills in a more focused environment. But in the elective classes, students should learn in a co-ed environment. Students shouldn’t be completely isolated from the other gender, however. It is important that students learn how to work with the opposite gender. In the college classroom, it is imperative that students are in co-ed classrooms. These students aren’t just learning basic skills anymore. In college, you are preparing yourself for the real world. The real world involves adults of both genders working together to solve problems, to make the world a better place. In a co-ed classroom, students will learn how to work with the other gender, especially through collaboration and group projects. Males will come to realize that their female counterparts can handle multiple things at one time. Females will come to understand that a male can focus his attention on one thing at a time without being distracted. These skills can be learned in a co-ed college classroom environment. There are many benefits to learning in single-gender classrooms. These benefits have a greater effect on elementary students. However, as students grow up, they need to learn the skills to be able to work together. Research shows that single gender classrooms eliminate distractions. These distractions...

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