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.

Christian fiction needs new creative storylines
Feb08

Christian fiction needs new creative storylines

Published in the February 8, 2017 issue of The Bells I am getting tired of reading Christian fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Christians are able to find books that don’t have expletives, bedroom scenes, drinking and vampires, but Christian fiction lacks variety compared to secular novels. A quick search on www.familychristian.com shows that in the top 20 best-selling Christian fiction books, only five of them were not historical or Amish romances. Being an avid reader, I’ve read many books. And the Christian fiction industry has become predictable. Every time I pick up a book of fiction, I know that it’s going to have a girl (usually Amish) who is looking for the perfect husband or just happens to meet the perfect husband. Either the female or the male is not saved, which causes problems for the couple. Despite these obstacles, the couple continues to fall in love. Along the way, the unsaved one finds God and they live happily ever after. This is the Christian fiction plot in a nutshell. I love a good romance, but when 80 percent of the Christian fiction industry has this same non-realistic plot, it gets redundant. To be perfectly honest, only a handful of Christian writers are able to pull this plot off. The rest of them come off sounding forced and cheesy with little literary merit. I’m not expecting a Pulitzer prize-winning novel each time, but it would be nice to read a Christian fiction novel that has a little more depth than they do now. I want books that don’t stop at the wedding. As Christians, we struggle, and getting married isn’t going to stop the struggling. I think these books set up high expectations for future husbands that they may never be able to fulfill. I am thankful for writers such as Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, and Dee Henderson who haven’t succumbed to writing “bonnet fiction”- a term equated with the highly popular Amish books taking the Christian fiction genre by storm. Why don’t we have more writers like Blackstock who explore the dangers of social media in books like Predator? Or writers who write about the spiritual warfare that happens every single day like in Peretti’s This Present Darkness? Or writers who write about the backlash a rape victim receives when deciding to follow through with a related pregnancy like in Rivers’ The Atonement Child? I own a shelf full of Christian romances at home, so I am in no way saying that I want them gone. I just want Christian writers to target real issues occasionally instead of always going back...

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Who should get the check?
Feb08

Who should get the check?

Published in the February 8, 2017 issue of The Bells It is the modern age question, “who should pay for the date?” The generations before us had a simple answer to that question. The man is always responsible for paying. However, we live in a society where women are CEOs, politicians and successful business owners. If our society is advanced enough to put women into positions of power, shouldn’t they be allowed to pay for a date as well? Despite our advanced world, my personal opinion is that the man should always be the one to pay, regardless of the income of the woman. Plain and simple. It comes down to manners and respect. A man should always be a gentleman. When he doesn’t pay it makes him look less like a gentleman. And let me tell you guys, girls prefer a gentleman to any other kind of guy out there. Women have undoubtedly gained more independence. I believe the reason for this is because a gentleman is becoming harder and harder to find. So, yes, the man should be responsible for the check because that is what a true gentleman with manners and respect would do. Now ladies, you too have your own responsibilities as well. You should never take financial advantage of a man just because he is respectful enough to be willing to pay. In order to be a good date, a woman should show her appreciation to the man for paying for dinner or tickets or whatever it was that he spent his hard-earned money on. Small gestures such as writing notes of appreciation or cooking a thoughtful meal goes a long way in a relationship. Women should also be cautious about insisting to pay for a date. Even if she feels an obligation to pay, she should be careful. Some men may take offense to a woman wanting to pay. They may see it as “oh, she doesn’t think that I can provide.” This could hurt a man’s pride, especially on a first date. There are some exceptions to the rules though. Women, I would suggest waiting until you’re a few dates in to pay for a date, just to show your appreciation to the man. The best kinds of dates for a woman to pay for at the beginning of the relationship would be a coffee date or a date to get ice cream. If you are in a more serious relationship, it is okay to pick up the check every once in a while. This is an easy way to show him that you care, without making him feel unneeded. Ultimately, a...

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Embracing more multilingualism in schools
Feb08

Embracing more multilingualism in schools

Published in the February 8, 2017 issue of The Bells With the new president elect Donald Trump entering the White House this January, there have been a lot of concerns over the decisions he’s made at the start of his presidency. One decision that was not reported on by the media was that a California law that forced school districts to teach only English, was lifted after a 20-year ban. I believe that children should have the chance to learn different languages than the one they speak at home, especially in America, where freedom of expression applies to everyone. The United States of America has never had an official language. If you Google ‘America’s official language’, you will find statements like, “The United States does not have a national official language, but English is the most commonly used.” But just because English is the most commonly-used language doesn’t mean we should ban students from learning about foreign languages and cultures. There are many reasons why multilingualism should be encouraged nationwide in both schools and society. The first reason has to do with our ancestry. Early on in American history English was one of the least spoken languages. German was actually widely used throughout the colonies. In the early 20th Century, German was the most-widely studied foreign language in the United States, and prior to World War I, more than six percent of American school children received their primary education exclusively in German and not English. French and Spanish are also some of the most common languages used in America and are still spoken fluently in many states today. French is spoken mainly by the Louisiana Creole, Native French, Cajun, Haitian, and French-Canadian populations and is widely spoken in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and in Louisiana, including some areas in St. Clair County, and many rural areas of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the northern San Francisco Bay area. A study in 2012 found that roughly two million people speak French or a French-Creole language at home here in America. Spanish is taught as a second language, especially in areas with large Hispanic populations. A 2009 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau showed that Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 35 million people aged five years or older, making the United States the world’s fifth-largest Spanish-speaking community, outnumbered only by Mexico, Colombia, Spain, and Argentina. In Hispanic communities across the country, there are signs in both English and Spanish for bilingual purposes. Our ancestry as Americans is not mainly European, but also other cultures that have been suppressed by English speakers....

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How to turn New Year’s  resolutions into healthy habits
Jan25

How to turn New Year’s resolutions into healthy habits

Published in the January 25, 2017 issue of The Bells The New Year rolls in each year with an abundance of New Year’s resolutions, many of them relating to health and fitness. Whether it is to work out more often or to eat healthier, as a new year comes around, gyms seem more packed than usual and grocers nationwide begin selling out of fruits and veggies. But as the year continues, the ambition to keep those resolutions seems to slowly fade away. Gyms suddenly become less packed, grocers stop advertising healthier options, and people start to fall back into old habits. Once seemingly achievable goals start to seem impossible, and they are inevitably forgotten until another year rolls around and the cycle repeats. What people don’t seem to comprehend is that the resolutions they make can’t be a one-time change. They have to be lifestyle changes. When trying to achieve a better body, it seems as though no one wants to put in the hard work. From quick-fix drinks to medical procedures, many people want to reap the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle without actually living one. To achieve a better body, people have to change their lifestyle and really put sweat and hard work into it. The popular 70-30 ratio of good health–70 percent food and 30 percent working out–is important to remember when attempting to change unhealthy habits. One way to make a lasting change is to make better food choices. It isn’t about completely eliminating the foods you enjoy, it’s about moderation and modification. Love fries? Find a recipe for sweet potato fries. Can’t go without having tacos on Taco Tuesday? Make them at home to ensure the ingredients are wholesome. By spending money on food at the grocery store instead of wasting money at the drive-thru, you are able to control factors like portion and the quality of ingredients. . Along with making good choices, it is also important to be consistent with lifestyle changes. Whether you choose to run a mile everyday or eat healthier, you have to really stick to these choices in order to see results. This will help these changes become habits. From staying healthy to dropping a few pounds, the New Year is a fresh start to achieve your new (and old) resolutions.. Maybe this year we can all form healthy habits instead of looking for a quick fix to all of our problems. And if not, there’s always next January,...

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Why Netflix should make more shows out of books
Jan25

Why Netflix should make more shows out of books

Published in the January 25, 2017 issue of The Bells I can’t speak for everyone, but I grew up as a quiet kid—one who would rather have his nose in a book than do almost literally anything else. Having free time meant more time to read. As technology improved and animation and film advanced, I got to see many of the books I read become movies, and in some cases, shows. One of my childhood favorites, A Series of Unfortunate Events, has recently come to Netflix and well exceeded my expectations. The first four books in Lemony Snicket’s thirteen-book series has been made into a series, with each book making up a 45-minute episode. The creators did such a great job with this first installment that it gives me hope to see other former book series come to the media giant. Series like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have already been successful in their transition from print to the big screen, and others like Eragon or either of the Percy Jackson movies have attempted to make it, but just not quite live up to expectations. But taking the time to split a series into episodes available to Netflix subscribers is an amazing idea, especially if they are as well done as Snicket’s books in terms of acting and in how meticulously they stick to the themes of the books. I have a little bias when it comes to books being adapted for other media formats, because I always want them to be perfect, to capture all the actions and emotions of the characters, to make me feel the same way the book did. It’s unrealistic to expect perfection, but in a show spread out among so many episodes, it’s easier to capture more of the essence of the stories we fell in love with. Trying to smash a book that took over 500 pages to convey a story into an hour and a half or even two-hour-long movie is unrealistic. Things must be cut, or it would be too long and much too expensive to produce. But fortunately, for myself and other avid readers, TV shows are much less restricted when it comes to the amount of content they can include. There are just so many different books to pick from that would make a great show. Take for example Pseudonymous Bosch’s series, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, or James Patterson’s The Dangerous Days of Daniel X or Maximum Ride. Sure, they’re kids’ books, but they still have the ability to be great shows. It’s not like things intended for kids don’t capture the attention...

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College textbooks: necessary or industry racket
Jan25

College textbooks: necessary or industry racket

Published in the January 25, 2017 issue of The Bells Many a college student has complained about the high prices of textbooks. In fact, a statistic from NBC News in 2016 states that the prices of textbooks have gone up by 73 percent since 2006. In addition, the College Board suggests to students that they should plan to spend $1,200 for textbooks and other materials a year. College itself costs a lot of money. Many aspects of the price I believe are worth the value, such as room and board and meal plans. However, spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on textbooks that a student is unlikely to ever read again is a waste of precious money. The reason why textbooks are so pricey is because publishers know that students have to buy required books in order for them to succeed in their classes. So, they take advantage of them by raising the costs. As college students, we have to make wise decisions with what to spend our money on. We work hard to pay off tuition, and adding unnecessary expenses is not helpful. Most generic books found in bookstores are less than $20 and more than 100 pages long. Last semester, I bought a textbook that was hardly over 100 pages and it cost me $50. I highly doubt that I will read that textbook again since the course that went alongside it didn’t necessarily apply to my major. Even finding used books, which are cheaper to buy than purchasing new textbooks, are fairly expensive compared to the typical book. And even worse, if you want to buy a fairly inexpensive book, it is most likely ripped to shreds or written in. Also, they can be hard to obtain since many people want to buy the used versions and there are only so many of them available. And besides that, a lot of classes require online access codes which require you to either buy a new textbook with that resource, which is even pricier than a stand-alone textbook, or purchase just the access code itself. According to Amazon.com, a MyMathLab access code with eTextbook is around $100. This isn’t to say that we should get rid of textbooks indefinitely. Spending time outside of class to refresh our minds and learn more about the content discussed in class is very important in order to be successful. A poll on campus found that 70 percent of students think that textbooks are useful while 30 percent disagree. There needs to be a better way for college students to obtain textbooks. Book rentals are one good idea because that means you...

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