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.

Parking policy unfair to students
Mar31

Parking policy unfair to students

Purple spots are for students, white spots are for faculty and staff and yellow spots are for visitors, right? Wrong. Cars with a faculty/staff parking sticker can park wherever they please, including the best student parking spots. On a daily basis all over campus, faculty/staff cars can be found parked within the purple sanctity that students are meant to enjoy. Students get a $25 reprimand for the same infraction on the tempting open white parking spaces. The heinous double standard allows faculty and staff to park wherever they like without limitation or repercussion while students scramble for the few parking spots left before a class only to find out a professor has taken it. Sure, a class can’t be conducted without a professor, but shouldn’t there be a strict set of parking regulations for them also? Students are given a laundry list of parking rules at the beginning of each semester; they must park inside the lines, cannot back in and cannot park in white spots. But faculty and staff are not held to the same strict color-coded standards when choosing their parking spots. If close parking availability is the reason that professors and staff park in student parking, then welcome to the world of the college students on campus. They have to carry pricey, heavy books to class whether a close parking spot is available or rain is pelting down on their heads. Just because the spot is closer does not mean that faculty and staff should be able to take advantage of what is meant to be a student space. Parking is always available. It just may not be as close to the building as they prefer. Parking standards should be the same for everyone. There should be enough parking available for both students and faculty/staff to park at the building they need to access without having to infringe on student parking areas. The administration should be even-handed with students and faculty/staff. It is important to show students they are equals at the university, and that begins with expecting the same from everyone. Students are equally vital to the continuation of UMHB, so why not treat them that...

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Caring parents raise responsible children
Mar31

Caring parents raise responsible children

By Garrett Pekar It is funny that the record of our relatives is called a “family tree.” Human life is nothing like that of a tree. Trees are a beautiful part of creation, but people are God’s focus. Both people and trees grow old until eventually dying. Both produce seeds for the next generation to live on, but that’s where the similarities end. Trees don’t raise their seeds. This simple fact creates a bottomless chasm separating them from people. As if skin and bark wasn’t enough of a difference, trees just drop their seeds to the ground, paying no attention to whether they take root in good soil or on rocky ground. It takes loving parents to raise a child successfully. According to the Facts for Life Web site, a publication by The United Nations Children’s Fund, the first eight years of a child’s life are vitally important. These early years are the foundation of future health, growth and development. Children learn more quickly during this time than any other in their lives. The Web site also states that babies and young children develop and learn more rapidly when they receive love and affection, attention, encouragement and mental stimulation as well as nutritious meals and good health care. Talk about the importance of good parenting–it can literally make or break a child’s life. The nourishment of a loving family ensures a child’s ability to succeed and be happy in the future. Care, comfort and communication are just a few important pieces of a family that glue them close together and make them strong. Discipline is another extremely important part of raising a child. Parents should not beat their children, of course, but spanking a child for doing something wrong is the best way for them to learn proper behavior at a young age. Most parents who spank their children do not do it because they want to hurt them. They do it because they have to teach them right from wrong. They do it out of love. A young child does not learn anything from timeouts or other ridiculous punishments. If anything, they take advantage of the situation. Spanking is a form of discipline that teaches children how to behave themselves and how to treat others. The values instilled by spanking will stay with children throughout their lives. The most important thing parents can pass on to their children is their religion, their faith in Jesus Christ. If faith is introduced to a child from day one, the child will rarely stray very far from the Lord. Reading Bible stories with children is one good way to help them...

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Today’s modesty lacks clear guidelines it needs
Mar10

Today’s modesty lacks clear guidelines it needs

“Modesty.” The seven-letter word is scattered in the university handbook, and posted next to a full-length mirror in Mayborn gym is the phrase, “Modest is hottest.” Modesty is relative. Don’t believe it? Ask anyone’s grandmother what she was allowed to wear in school. Back then, girls were only allowed to wear skirts and blouses. No pants and definitely no shorts. Girls had to learn a special grace to walk like penguins on their mile walk to school because their skirts were so long. Today, modesty has become a thin line that so many try to walk without technically crossing, and the line is ever elusive. It cannot be objectively nailed down. Should a girl’s shorts be finger tip length or two inches above the knee? What about those with long fingers? Are they just sentenced to wear longer shorts for life because they have longer phalanges? No two people agree. Females are left with more questions than answers, and comical late-night discussions between girlfriends try to answer a few of them. Nobody can seem to decide what the qualifications are for the “hoochie factor.” That’s not to say that some young women don’t obviously need instruction to keep their appearances family friendly. I’ve seen more than my share of wardrobe malfunctions. In my summer English course, one of the requirements was to give a presentation in front of the class. Unfortunately, the girl in front of me gave “presentations” nearly every day, and not the class-appropriate kind, either. At Wal-Mart I saw a girl wearing yellow shorts that were obviously too small. I know she probably got more than one look that day, and perhaps that was her goal. But what about those who don’t want to see that? Why should they have to suffer? It may seem laughable that in the “olden days” grandma had to wear a skirt that fell bellow her knees and always wore a hat to church on Sunday. But the shift toward more casual dress has brought complications of its own. Companies have to provide detailed rules for their work dress code. Baptist churches are adding to their constitutions and bylaws guidelines for what is suitable.  However, universities, such as our own, have avoided being particular. Instead, the 2009 Student Handbook says, “Standards of dress are not minimized nor eliminated by the absence of regulations, but the university administration assumes the students shall continue to accept individual responsibility for appropriate dress as a member of a Christian academic community.” Our “individual responsibility” is relative to each person. I don’t mind. While some may be fine sitting in class with what I deem a...

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Learn to juggle life
Mar10

Learn to juggle life

College life is a lot harder than people make it out to be. Students are dropped off in a random dormitory where their freedom is stolen by curfews, room checks, and all sorts of fines. Some work two jobs while taking 18 hours of class, which means around midterms and finals, anxiety and stress levels skyrocket. On top of that, many want to work out at the gym, play intramural games, spend time with friends, go to Focus on Wednesdays, go out dancing on Thursdays, serve at Reaching Out on Saturdays, go to church on Sundays, and participate in an endless number of other activities. Then there are roommate problems and disagreements. Professors don’t understand the problems of sharing a room with someone who refuses to shut the light off before 3 a.m. and blasts her rap music at whatever hour she chooses. Professors also have the habit of assigning projects and essays for the same week. Then there are the stresses of finding a job in a crappy economy, or piling on thousands of dollars in extra debt for loans to go to graduate school. Of course, there’s finding a spouse. Those who haven’t found their special someones better move quick, because after age 23 it all goes downhill. College students have so much to handle and too many decisions to make. That’s why in the chaos of juggling work, school and relationships with friends and family, it’s easy to become self-centered. It’s popular to blame financial institutions, corrupt media and broken families for screwing up America, but individuals are also at fault. Americans have glued their lives together by indulging in affluent lifestyles. Our society has lied to itself for so long that it is corrupted by selfish patterns and desires. Yes, circumstances are demanding and situations can be tough, but as students at a private institution in a Christian atmosphere with housing of any sort and edible food on the table, we are blessed. Feeling small and victimized is easy with deadlines and varying conflicts, but it is important to remember when money is short, people are demanding, and life is tough, we’re all in this together. Complaining and sulking only adds to the...

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Everyday life can be radical mission
Mar10

Everyday life can be radical mission

Smoke billowed from the washing machine because the California king comforter stuffed into it stopped the rotors from moving. For those who need a translation, a normal washer loaded down with an extra-extra large blanket equals too much to handle. Like this washer, sometimes life gets bogged down with trying to clean all the impurities of faith. Can this extra-extra important part of life intertwine with normalcy? All my life, I have been told God has a fantastic and wonderful future in store for me. “He has great and mighty things for you to do and accomplish,” they said. What are these things, and is this future knowable? The ridiculous picture of me as a whitewater rapid tour guide, brown hair flowing from my shiny helmet pops into my head when I think of “great and mighty.” Maybe a future in the dark despair of Africa saving babies from starvation and disease is not what God has called me to. Certainly I don’t plan to appear on Joel Osteen’s television show. Even if I don’t want to be Miss Missionary, does that disqualify me from the race of faith? I want to be normal, but where does that desire and my passion for following God meet? It might seem strange, but living the grand missionary life others image for me is like standing on a long, beautiful platform wearing this knock-out dress and killer high heels, all the while being completely miserable wanting to simply wear a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and flip-flops. One looks better, but if I can rock out the plain-Jane outfit with heart, vibrancy and love, that would be preferable. I want to tell people around me during the daily grind about Jesus, his love, grace and hope. I want any and every person I can reach to hear the good news and to see it lived out the best way I can with help from someone much greater than I. There just doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with living a normal life and sharing Jesus with those I come across. Is it necessary to go somewhere exotic to do great and mighty work? The other day my friend was talking about her younger bother. She said, “If I can just keep him from getting married before he finishes college, then he will be good.” The reply was simple: “Just because the way he is choosing to get through college is not the way you would do it does not make it wrong. Getting married could help him grow up, and he might just get better grades in the process.” People think they...

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Christians should end divisions, find unity and common purpose
Feb24

Christians should end divisions, find unity and common purpose

By Garrett Pekar A house divided against itself cannot stand. Christianity contains many different churches and denominations. Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist and Brethren are just a few. One could even argue that non-denominational is a denomination in itself. Which of these is truly the way to salvation? Many people are torn apart by the differences in denominations and forget that they are all under one umbrella–Christianity. Christianity should unite, not divide. It is my belief that God judges all people differently, according to the circumstances of their lives. People should follow the teachings of their denomination and respect those of others’. Catholics should follow Catholic teachings to the best of their abilities, and Baptists should do the same for Baptist teachings. Most importantly, everyone should focus on following the teachings of Jesus. He taught many lessons through His parables about how to live righteously. Jesus teaches in the New Testament how to become closer to God. The key to this is becoming closer to other people. It is important to care for all of God’s children. Every person should strive to give compassion to others without wanting anything in return. It is always wrong to hurt someone else for any reason, especially out of envy. Caring for and helping others is not always easy. In fact, it is often the hardest task imaginable. When someone mocks, hurts, or insults me, my first instinct is to hurt them back. Jesus taught to turn the other cheek and be kind to people despite what they have done. I still struggle to put this into practice, but it is the ultimate display of compassion Again, I believe God judges every person differently. We are all created to be unique. The experiences one goes through in a lifetime are never the same as anyone else in the world. A person who is blind from birth can perform more good in a lifetime than someone who has all of the senses but takes them for granted and doesn’t use them to help others. Someone who is wealthy but only spends money on material things will not find favor in the eyes of God. However, someone who gains riches and donates a great deal of them to charities or gives them to other people who are less fortunate will surely be rewarded by God for such compassion. People are different. God created us this way, so it is only right that He would judge every person uniquely. An earthly set of standards for reaching heaven does not exist because they are different for each person. A poor man can reach heaven just as much...

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