Column: Christianity was foolish. Then I became a Christian.

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Tyler Smothers

Assistant Faith Editor

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” — from Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth: 1 Cor. 1:18 (NIV)

Was I really perishing, though? I mean, perishing sounds a bit over-dramatic in describing my life at 15.

I certainly wouldn’t have said I was perishing before I became a Christian.

I had all my necessities provided for by my parents and grandparents, and I led a mostly worry-free life as a kid. My parents woke my sister and I up at an early time, be- cause the church we were dragged to was just outside of town. We had a nice time with our friends there, playing games with pens and paper, writing notes back and forth, receiving a “hush” from mom or dad. We were hushed a lot.

Church was a regular part of my life until I was ten or so, but that whole time the spiritual realities meant nothing to me.

The Sunday service was just an event at a particular location every week. My little league football games on Saturdays were much more exciting to me and my parents, too.

For lack of better reasons, I went to church because I had to and because it was a rather nice time to see my friends.

I came into my teenage years apathetic about church, just as many others do.

My grandpa died in late 2012 and a month later my parents announced to my sister and I that they were getting a divorce.

It was unfathomable to me then that I would move more than ten times over the next four years.

This felt like perishing, or at least as close as my young mind could have imagined at that time, and I tried to solve this feeling.

The court-ordered therapist visits, the diagnosis of depression and the medications only made me feel worse most days.

I tried the strategies we are all taught to follow, but they all failed me.

This is the part where I share the rest of my life story, which I will not do now, but maybe we can all see where this is going.

And maybe that’s the point.

Life is hard. This is no secret. Just ask an artist. Many great artists and creators have created wonderful works while having incredibly tragic personal lives.

Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway is an absolutely beautiful picture of how hard modern life is for an individual.

She emphasized the ease with which anxiety and distraction and regret slip into daily life, and her life was filled with tragedy.

Virginia Woolf’s mother and father died and she was physically abused by her step brothers. Alongside her experiences, she probably had clinical depression among other psychological illnesses, which were still mostly mysteries to researchers in her time.

From Virginia Woolf to your neighbors to yourself, all humans have known despair and have suffered by it.

All humans know suffering.

Jesus was a human, too, and he knew despair. He even knew it in greater depths than we can. His life was riddled with betrayal and desertion from friends and being despised by family members.

He knew what it was to be mocked publicly and falsely accused and rejected by his people. He was stripped of his clothes and he was brutally beaten by Roman soldiers.

Then, Jesus knew death.

But Jesus rose from the dead three days after this, defeating death and offering eternal life to those who place their faith in him and follow him.

And I’m not arguing here that becoming a Christian ends or solves the difficulties of life.

Instead, I’m arguing that the strong desire for hope and the out- cry of humanity for a reason not to just commit suicide this instant is based on the fact that the savior, Jesus, rose from the dead.

He demonstrated the power of God over death, and ultimately over the troubles of life.

Our suffering undeniably involves an outcry for something bigger than us, for something — or someone — to give us a reason to keep going.

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus displays both the authority of God over despair and depression, dejection and betrayal, and the sacrificial love of God for humankind, even with all of our messiness.

Jesus died and then defeated death when he rose from his grave.

This is the hope we are looking for — A hope that will last beyond death.

This message of hope in Christ is the Gospel, and it is the overarching narrative of the Bible, from the creation account to the ending. It is God’s eternal plan to redeem humankind to himself.

The Apostle Paul states that “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,” 1 Cor. 1:22-23 (NIV).

In our calamitous school-shoot- ing and sex-trafficking-filled world, the hope we place in ourselves and in our governments does not last long before we are thrown into personal crises.

Our trust in governments fail when its agents hurl tear gas at children at borders and when the vulnerable aren’t cared for.

And our hope in ourselves is broken when we belittle another person, or watch pornography, and then feel immense shame and disgust with our minds and bodies.

So, after those hopes are gone, what’s left?

It didn’t appear to me that I was perishing as a young teenager, but I knew it was hard to live most days. The reason I didn’t share the rest of my life story at the beginning is because you probably knew it was going to get worse.

We expect suffering, and we can sometimes prepare for it, but we cannot overcome it. It always goes deeper than we think it will. The only hope we can have that suffering does not have the final say is the only hope that will satisfy our hearts.

We must hope in the foolishness of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How should we react to personal injustice?

Audrey Branham

Assistant Faith Editor

“If you get hit, hit ‘em harder, if you get killed, walk it off,” Captain America says as he rallies his team to fight against an army of destructive robots in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The speech is fitting coming from someone that embodies the ideas of the United States. As you are prob- ably aware, if you grew up watching popular media, one reoccurring characteristic of our nation is the fight against resistance.

This is precisely the reason we re- late so many characters battling intelligent robots and shape-shifting aliens; this world puts us in a constant state of conflict.

Everyone meets resistance when pursuing their goals and must overcome obstacles to achieve them. And while there are not many constant things, the past and current state of our world testify that conflict is one of those few things.

But how do we react to conflict? Like Captain America? How do we react when we stand opposed?

When asking how to act in difficult situations, we should look to Jesus, our savior, and how he reacted to situations far more difficult and unjust than we could ever be in.

As in the past, every generation has suffered terrible conflicts that have even led to claims about the “End of the World.”

While people on YouTube might be saying that the coronavirus, rumors of World War III and the Australia fires are all signs of the end of days, people in the ‘60s protested the Cold War that might have very well ended the world. In the ‘40s, thousands of people succumbed to polio and even more died from the bubonic plague 500 years before that.

Christians, especially, have always been and always will be targets of the enemy. War, epidemic, sickness, and disaster have always been on this Earth, and it will stay that way until Jesus recreates it. But the question is not “when is it coming?” but “how do we react to it [whatever ‘it’ may be]?”

This, however, might be the result of the most misunderstood books of the Bible, Revelation.

Rowena R. Strickland, associate professor of New Testament Dr. Bandy, said, “Revelation is not primarily focused on giving signs of Jesus’ second coming,” but, instead, Revelation focuses more on showing God’s people how to react to conflict and oppression.

The Christians depicted in Rev- elation live in an environment of tremendous religious, social, and political pressure to conform to worshiping idols, specifically their political leader. Refusal to worship, we see, ends in loss of respect, livelihood, freedom and even life.

This directly mimics the life that first-century Christians lived in the Roman world and the lives of Christians in the modern world. The culture that Christianity was born in was rooted in the worship of thousands of gods, especially emphasizing the worship of the Emperor.

Refusal to engage in worship of the gods brought a loss of status, and, even more dangerous, not worshiping the Emperor was seen as a political threat. This was one of the primary reasons Roman Emperors like Nero used Christians as scapegoats for social problems; they were some- one to blame for problems that were nobody’s fault, if not the rulers.

Just as sickness and disaster will always be a problem on Earth, so will persecution and opposition against God’s followers.

Revelation speaks to those people who feared a painful death the next time they refused to pour incense over the altar of Nero, but also identifies with the secretly Christian woman in modern Iran and the American Christian that faces daily spiritual attack. In Revelation, Jesus gives us a model that will apply to any situation of opposition. In Revelation 5, God holds a scroll sealed with seven seals and written on both sides, an image of God’s revelation to mankind. An angel then asks the world, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But chapter 5:3-5 says that there was no one worthy to open it, so John, who is witnessing all this, begins to weep.

However, he is the comforted by angel who tells him that “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and it’s seven seals.” But when John looks up to see this ‘Lion of Judah’, he sees a killed lamb who takes the scroll and opens it.

How does this relate to overcoming opposition?

It is the ultimate picture of surpassing impossibility: Jesus, the ‘Lion of Judah’ is also the slain lamb, and He triumphed by allowing Himself to die for His children.

“[O]vercoming is the way of the lamb, not the lion,” Bandy said.

Jesus was able to be the “Lion of Judah,” the savior of the world, by submitting to murder. This is precisely why Jesus calls his followers to ‘turn the other cheek’ and not ‘return evil for evil’: because we don’t need to.

If Jesus, God Himself, is victorious over death itself and is able to reveal Himself to us, then we don’t need to hit back harder. God himself, perfect and just, allowed himself to be unjustly murdered to reveal himself to us.

This is the type of message that Jesus brings: when we come against natural disasters or are treated unjustly, they become small matters, because Jesus has already given us more than we could ever deserve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBU Challenges Students During Focus Week

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Courtesy Photos / OBU

Dr. David Gambo and Dean Inserra joined students in Potter Auditorium for a series on Focus.

Naaman Henager

Faith Editor

Every year OBU hosts Focus Week. This week is designed to encourage students to focus on Christ while also emphasizing discipleship.

This semester students joined Dean Inserra, Pastor of City Church in Tallahassee Florida, and assistant professor of Christian ministry Dr. David Gambo to discuss the importance of focusing on Christ.

Monday, Feb. 10, Inserra kicked off the week by speaking from 1 Corinthians 3-4. He separated people into three categories: the unbeliever, the spiritual person and the fleshly believer.

“The spiritual person, so we are told, welcomes the things of God. The unbeliever does not welcome the things of God. This per- son [fleshly believer] at some point has welcomed the things of God but now is functionally rejecting them,” Inserra said.

He continued to speak on the fact that many Christians find them- selves in the fleshy believer’s “spot” – where they are professing Christ, but they look like the world.

He said that Christians are being con- fronted with the world’s message which is: “you just do you, follow your heart, do what makes you happy,” Inserra said.

Inserra concluded his message on Monday by challenging the students to look inside themselves and see if they truly have the faith, as well as to see what needs to change internally.

Wednesday, Feb. 12, Inserra continued Focus Week by discussing the topic of cultural Christianity and the fact that being born into a Christian home does not save someone.

He proclaimed a number of times that being born in the church or growing up in the church does not save you. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ that saves a person.

His message came from Matthew 7:21-23.

He told the students he would be discussing “the mission field of un- saved Christians.”

When discussing the topic of the unsaved Christian Inserra said, “I believe what we are talking about is the largest mission field in America today.”

“Don’t let belief be the barrier, something as precious and beautiful be the barrier to actually knowing the good news of Jesus Christ,” Inserra said.

Inserra challenged the students to look at the people around them and said those that claim to be Christian, might just be the ones they need to be evangelizing to.

“What if more than trying to make people feel like they are assured of their salvation, we actually make sure they had it in the first place,” Inserra said.

Friday, Feb. 14, Gambo spoke on the topic of knowing God.

During his sermon, Gambo discussed the difference between knowing about God and truly knowing God, i.e. tasting Him.

He spoke from John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Gambo began his message by tying the life of William Borden, a famous missionary, to the focus students need to have on eternity.

Borden left his life of wealth and comfort to move to China to minister to Muslims. However, before traveling to China Borden lived in Egypt for four months to learn Arabic. There he died of cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-five.

Gambo used Borden’s life story to challenge the students to keep their focus on eternity.

“Those whose are focused on eternity, will make a difference for eternity,” Gambo said.

After discussing the first question of what it means to have eternal life, Gambo continues by answering the question of how one obtains eternal life.

He said that it is not through a theological knowledge of God, but a personal one.

“The most important thing about knowing God is not having an intellectual knowledge about God but having a personal intimate relationship. That’s what it means to know God,” Gambo said.

Gambo concluded his message by changeling the students to share their testimony with their neighbors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church planting class continues OBU’s mission

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Courtesy Photo / Curt Goss

Students enrolled in church planting class will have the chance to connect with many other people groups who follow many different religions.

Naaman Henager

Faith Editor

Oklahoma Baptist University is known for its academics, but also its mission to reach the lost.

One way that OBU is furthering the kingdom of God this semester is through a class called Cross-Cultural Church Planting, lead by professor of cross-cultural ministry Dr. Bruce Carlton.

“This is just an amazing opportunity that I would have never thought about” sophomore cross-cultural ministry major Hannah Butler said.

A key component of the students’ grades in the class is their capstone project.

This semester they have the opportunity to experience a church plant in Shawnee or Oklahoma City. There was also another option: students could write a fifteen-page paper about a hypothetical church plant.

Students who made the decision to participate in church plants have a number of opportunities to experience hands-on what planting church is like.

Butler, a student in the class, chose to work with the International Church of OKC.

“We will do prayer walks, sharing the gospel and really just pour into those people[’s] lives and come into their community” Butler said.

The students share the gospel with the communities surrounding their church plants.

While the students will be sharing the gospel and working to impact the lives of the communities they are in, Carlton expects students to be impacted on a personal level as well.

Carlton proposed the unique situation that God has placed his students in will force a number of them to step outside their comfort zone and lean on God more than they have before.

During this semester, students who are enrolled in the class will learn ecclesiology, which includes the basics of planting a church and the Biblical mandate to do so.

Students in the class will read books about starting churches and other areas of ecclesiology, then discuss the texts and how they relate to their on-the- ground experiences in class.

Recently, the students were given the assignment to write a paper on what they believed the ecclesiological minimum of a church was.

Carlton said that this could be one sentence, or it could be three pages. The only requirement was they look to the Bible to support their position.

Another recent assignment in the class was a full-class effort to separate the necessary and unnecessary theological foundations. This sparked debate in the class, but resulted in unity.

The students in Cross-Cultural Church Planting hope to grow spiritually this semester and learn the foundation of what a church plant is and needs to be.

 

 

 

 

Standard for Christian movies needs improvement

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

Often, after seeing a Christian film, there’s one comment that reoccurs in post-movie discussions: “That was a great movie,” someone says, “… for a Christian movie.”

That last little phrase irks me. Not necessarily because it’s inaccurate – (it’s often very accurate, and sometimes I’m the one saying it) – but because of what it implies.

The phrase implies that Christian movies can be judged by a different standard than most films.

Initially, this might seem like a good thing. Christian films should be held to a different standard than other films, since we are called by God to do everything we do in order to serve and please God, rather than people. And so, in this sense, the remark that a movie is a good Christian movie is a compliment.

Unfortunately, there’s a difference between a movie that is “a good Christian movie” and one that is “good, for a Christian movie.”

These two very similar phrases have two very different implications.

While the first phrase implies the movie is good and also Christian, the second phrase carries a more demeaning implication. “It was good, for a Christian movie” implies the same kind of backhanded compliment that could be found in other sentences that use the same grammatic structure.

Saying that a female athlete is good, “for a female athlete”, carries the unspoken implication that when compared with all athletes – male and female – she is no longer good enough.

Similarly, saying that a Christian film is good compared to Christian films, implies that it’s not worthy of comparison with mainstream films.

It suggests that Christian filmmakers produce a lower quality of work than main-stream filmmakers.

Even more unfortunate, this suggestion is typically accurate.

Christian films frequently fall short of the quality standards of mainstream fi lms.

This is partially due to the budget limitations of smaller Christian indie films compared to Hollywood-backed film budgets. But it is also partially due to failures of plot and storytelling.

It is easy for Christian films to oversimplify their storylines – writing fables, or apologetic arguments in the disguise of stories. And while sermons and fables are generally good things, the movie theatre is not usually the most effective venue for them.

Many of these films try to wrap up their plots into a pretty little bow in the two hour time span of the film, by telling the story of a huge problem that was easily cured by God.

Take the 2015 film “90 Minutes in Heaven,” for example. The film tells the story of Don Piper – played by Hayden Christensen of Star Wars prequels fame, who dies in an accident, goes to heaven, then comes back to life and endures a grueling physical recovery process while battling depression.

Yet near the end of the fi lm, his entire struggle with de-pression is cured by a single inspirational conversation with a Christian friend, and in the closing scene he gives an inspirational speech, urg-ing his fellow Christians to believe that God really does answer prayer.

Although this particular film is based on a true story, this basic plotline is perhaps one of the most common of all Christian movie plotlines. Despite the detailed character work of Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth, the film lacks the level of artistry required to acknowledge all of the conflicting aspects of physical and psychological recovery.

And like many Christian movie endings – the physical healing and cure for the character’s depression depicted in the film offers Christian moviegoers a reminder of the Christian hope, but potentially turns away others.

When most people attend a movie theatre, they don’t go in order to learn moral lessons, they go to be entertained and perhaps to experience empathy with the characters on the screen – think of your friends who talk about their favorite films being so good they cried, for example.

Moviegoers know that they live in a messed up sinful world, and trying to tell stories to them that promise conversion to Christianity as the wonder drug for all their problems won’t change their minds.

These filmmakers mean well, but their films are unlikely to be viewed or thought highly of by audiences other than converted Christians.

Instead, Christian films should tell high-quality stories that can only be told through film.

Telling an honest, gripping, detailed and nuanced story is an incredibly powerful thing but in order to achieve this we need to tell not just the success stories, but the failures.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with telling stories such as “90 Minutes in Heaven,” we just need to make sure that we’re also telling the stories of those who’s prayers do seem to go unanswered.

Telling both of these kinds of stories is important for three reasons:

1). It allows Christians to see a Christian world-view applied in a context that they can relate to, no matter if they’re on the mountain top in their lives, or going through a valley of sin and suffering with no end in sight.

2). It shows the rest of the world that Christians are relatable human beings, by acknowledging that the answers to life’s struggles are not easy for Christians.

3). Most importantly, it glorifies God by building respect for Christian film-making in non-Christian and mainstream circles.

If we can tell nuanced stories that truly acknowledge the difficulties of life, we show the world we can do better than, “good, for a Christian movie.”

We can make good Christian films.

OBU’s spiritual foundation will be missed

By Kedrick Nettleton, Faith Editor

There are a lot of things for a graduating senior to be anxious about.

First of all, of course, you have to be sure that you do graduate, which means taking care of the schoolwork that remains on your plate.

For many, this includes wrapping up capstones or final theses, meaning that those ideas you’ve had in your head for two years finally have to actually coalesce into something real.

You’re actually going to have to finish – and you’re going to have to do so while writing those final papers or completing those final projects that are a part of the end of every semester, including your senior semester.

Not an easy task.

Then you have to figure out what comes next. Now, I’m not saying this is hard for every senior – there are friends of mine who know exactly what they’re doing after May 17.

Some of them are headed to grad school, and others have jobs and apartments lined up.

They’re going to step seamlessly into their new life, no prob. They’re excited, and I’m excited for them.

But I know just as many others who have no idea what’s happening next. I include myself and my wife in this category.

We have leads, sure. Lines in the water. Eventually, something’s going to bite, and we’ll be fine.

But until that point, what we have is stress. Loads of it.

And we’re not alone.

Even with all of these stressors bouncing around inside my skull for the past few months, I’ve become aware of something else that I’m worried about: losing my spiritual foundation.

That sounds more ominous than I mean it to. I’m not talking about losing my faith or rejecting the church; I’m talking about leaving the strong spiritual environment that I’ve come to enjoy here on Bison Hill, and leaving some of the people that have become mentors in my life.

Because I am leaving. It’s happening.

My wife and I are leaving Oklahoma, we’re headed to a new adventure.

The church that we’ve come to be a part of will be left behind.

Our professors and mentors here on Bison Hill can’t come with us.

We’ll have to find a new church family. A new small group. New people that we can open up to about our faith, that we can encourage and be encouraged by.

And like it or not, I’m going to miss the environment of faithfulness that Bison Hill encourages.

Think about it. First of all, we have chapel. I know that these can be annoying at times – I know that you’re certainly not just amped to go every Wednesday.

But these services, I’ve found, have a way of really sneaking up on you.

Often it was the Wednesdays when I least wanted to be there that I found God speaking to me the clearest – and what He was telling me, often, was to slow down. To focus up.

Then there’s the classes themselves.

It’s an unusual thing to have Christian truths sprinkled into your study, into your disciplines.

This isn’t going to happen at work. My boss isn’t going to stop a staff meeting to make connections to the Gospel.

There won’t be a spiritual life office at my company. There won’t be an RA or an RN asking me how my walk with the Lord is going.

I’m trying to say that we’re inundated with the Christian message around here, and while I know that can feel annoying at times during your college career, it’s a blessing. An unusual blessing.

At no other time of my life will I have all these resources to grow spiritually.

I’m leaving that behind, and it’s a worry to me.

Sure, OBU is a bubble. But there’s a part of me that’s going to miss that bubble

 

Hobbs College presents honors theses

By Kedrick Nettleton, Faith Editor

As the school year rapidly comes to a close over the next few weeks, the hard work and dedication of honors students across the campus is coming to fruition.

Students from different disciplines across campus are presenting their honors theses at various afternoons in the months of April and May, and many of these presentations include the final projects from students in the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry.

Chandler Warren presented his final thesis on April 15.

His project, titled “The God of Hell: The Relationship Between the Divine and The Damned,” was concerned with the doctrine of a literal hell, and how God’s inherent attributes interact and in-form on that doctrine.

Warren’s research ranged from a number of aspects, the most interesting aspect being the relation of God to time.

“Chandler’s thesis presentation is a model for OBU Honors students, whether in Hobbs or some other discipline,” Dickinson Associate Professor of Religion and the faculty advisor for Warren’s thesis Matthew Emerson said.

“His argument is sophisticated, his methodology is careful, and his presentation was both witty and informative.”

Other presentations from students in the department included Jonathan Knox, who brought forth his project titled “The Nature of Sin: Inward, Outward, Ultimate,” April 22.

In the future, there are three more presentations dealing with subjects relating to religion.

Matthew Shively will present “Predestination, Election, and Encouragement to Christlike-ness in Paul’s Epistles” Thursday, May 2.

John Ellis’ thesis – “What has Darwin to do with Design? Are Evolution and Christianity Compatible?” – will be presented Tuesday, May 7.

Noah Jones will finish off the honors presentation Wednesday May 8, with his thesis, “The Mereology of God Incarnate: A Critique of Part-Whole Approaches to Christ’s Attributes.”

Jones says that the title of his project sounds more complicated than it really is.

“I explore ways to understand traditional Christian beliefs about Jesus,” Jones said. “For example, I explore and critique some answers to questions like ‘If Jesus was fully God and fully man, was He material or immaterial?’ I also discuss similar questions related to Jesus’ omniscience and whether He was inside or outside time.”

For Jones, completing this thesis project was taxing.

“[It] was very difficult,” he said. “My thesis required more work by far than any other task I’ve had at OBU.”

That challenge, though, made the process memorable.

“It was especially rewarding to me to focus in so much detail on a single topic and become an expert (as much as is possible for an undergraduate) on some small thing,” Jones said.

All theses presentations take place in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium in Bailey Business Center, and all presentations are open to the public.

Student finds strength through testimony

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

Junior forensic psychology major Brooke Goodale is a hardworking student, a confident friend and steadfast believer in Jesus Christ.

Her life, testimony and friends all reflect this to be true of her.

Although Goodale’s testimony is what some people might call a ‘typical Christian testimony,’ it holds no less power in her life and still has a lot of meaning to her today.

“When I was a toddler, I asked Jesus into my heart several times because I knew it was the right thing to do and I loved learning about God at church every week,” Goodale said. “However, it wasn’t until I was nine years old that I understood the reality of Salvation and ‘officially’ prayed the prayer and became a Believer. I was confident that it was real this time and I would be going to Heaven.”

The person that had the most effect on Goodale when she finally chose to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior was her grandmother.

They were very close while she was growing up and she helped lead her in the right direction.

“My grandmother was the one who guided me through the prayer of Salvation and helped me fully grasp the significance of following Jesus,” Goodale said. “Even though I knew I was ready to take that step; I was still unsure how to go about becoming an official follower of Christ. My grandmother walked me through the prayer, and I repeated each line after her. I felt so much comfort in my heart when the prayer was finished.”

Now that she’s at OBU, her faith is able to flourish even more in the environment she’s been placed. Goodale said she feels that OBU has aided to the growth of her faith and her walk with God and has allowed her to become bolder in her faith than she might have been.

“My relationship with God at OBU is a lot easier to interact with because this campus is such a safe and welcoming space for Christianity and its believers,” Goodale said. “This was not the case when I was attending public school prior to college. It is so freeing to be able to talk about your beliefs and know that others around you want to build you up in Christ as well.”

Her friends can also see this in her day-to-day life around campus, in classes and the clubs in which she participates.

They see her boldness to speak out against wrongdoings and her ability to love others as well.

“I see Christ in Brooke’s life because no matter what someone has done or who they identify as, Brook tries to understand them and love them as Christ loves,” sophomore Psychology major Kaitlyn Patterson said. “She never backs down from the truth and asks the hard question to further her faith and other’s faith.”

Not only that, but she pushes people to be themselves and to live out their lives unapologetically.

It has had quite the impact on people close to her and has pushed people closer to Christ as well.

“Brooke has helped me realize that my job as a Christ follower is not to change people,” Patterson said. “I am called to love them where they are at to show them Christ. She also helped me to learn to love myself.”

Apathy is hard to conquer, but necessary

By Garrett Jones, Contributing Writer

The biggest enemy of success is apathy.

How do you complete any task you don’t care about? It only gets more difficult when you feel like you can’t care about it.

The more apathy takes over one thing, the more it creeps into other parts of your life. It can start with something you don’t want to do, school or work. Then it slowly creeps into your relationships with friends and family.

Maybe you stop seeing your friends as much. With apathy taking over your life, before you know it, it’s been months since you’ve seen your friends. If you let it get that far, it can suddenly take over your relationship with God. This one hurts the most. It might be the hardest to get back.

The best way to restore or even maintain a relationship with Christ is by spending time with Him in the Word or through prayer. How do you do those things when apathy has taken over your life?

It feels like you just forget to read Scripture at first. Eventually, it has completely become a chore. You don’t want to do it. Even if you can force yourself, you don’t care enough to comprehend what it means and certainly not enough to apply it to your life.

So, what do you do?

Obviously, you’re stuck in this spiderweb of detachment. It probably seems like there is no way out. It’s amazing how the lack of emotion toward something can cause more emotion than the thing itself. From my experience, there is one way out.

I will warn you, it’s not very easy. You have to be completely fed up with your apathy. The desire to destroy it has to overcome all of your natural instincts.

Pray without ceasing. I know, it sounds too simple. Quite frankly, it is too simple, but it’s the only thing that is guaranteed to work. I’ve already said prayer is something hard to care about when struggling with apathy; that’s what makes it difficult. You have to force yourself.

Set reminders on your phone. Wear a rubber band around your wrist or something. As long as you can remember, you can make yourself pray. Not only does this praying open up communication between you and God, but it changes your perspective on life. Everything you say or do is done with the mentality that God is present in your life always. Even your thoughts change.

I know it’s a difficult challenge, but if you can’t stand feeling apathetic anymore, it’s what you have to do.

Social clubs encourage community in Christ

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

Although the female social clubs may have different events and philanthropies that make them unique in each of their own ways, there is something that unites them all: faith. Each of the social clubs aim to bring their members closer together as sisters in Christ, and to raise one another up, to encourage each other and to have a place to turn when times get tough.

Through these clubs, many friends have been brought together that otherwise may not have met. This is one of the most special aspects of social clubs and something that many of the girls cherish.

“Kappa’s, to me, is a huge support system,” junior Kappa Phi Beta member Isabel Palos said. “I’ve met girls from all different types of classifications, majors, and every person possesses a unique set of interests. It’s a really beautiful thing to see how the Lord has brought this sisterhood together.”

The girls also are a major support system for one another, as they are each other’s ‘sisters’ in the context of being in a social club. From praying for one another to coffee runs, to even just helping out with some homework, there is no shortage of love that is given to each girl in each social club.

“Honestly, fellowship and doing life together is a huge part of the Christian walk that isn’t focused on,” junior Pi Sigma Phi member Jillian Walker said. “The girls in Pi Sigma Phi played a part in helping me find a church when I was church hopping. They helped me get connected and feel a part of church instead of just attending.”

Another thing that social clubs do in their faith aspect? They have different ways that they encourage the group, such as prayer groups, prayer retreats, and devotions that they do in their club meetings. They help each other in their good times and bad, and they share their prayer requests and praises as well.

“I’ve had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life lately,” junior Theta Sigma Chi member Taylor Boyd said. “And every time I would come to them with something, they never fail to let me know they love me and are praying for me.”

Not only that, but these social clubs are open to every girl on campus, and they do their best to make sure that every girl feels like she has a place and is free to share what’s on her heart with her fellow sisters in Christ. Social clubs are a growing opportunity to grow stronger in both their friendships and their faith.

“I personally find it hard to get into those conversations on my own,” junior Theta Sigma Chi member Sierra Davis said. “But Theta’s is a safe place where Christ-centered conversations just flourish – and you feel safe in sharing your insecurities or questions concerning your spiritual life and journey.”