Students serve at Mission Shawnee





 Collyn Dixon

Assistant Faith Editor

Ministering to children who have never had a chance to hear the gospel through the act of being a role model is the mission behind Mission Shawnee.

Mission Shawnee Director Ryan Brooks and Student President of Mentors Club Sarah Dean describe what the Mentors Club is and its place in the purpose of Mission Shawnee.

 “Mentors Club is a way to get people on campus aware of what Mission Shawnee does through their mentor program. 

Mentors Club is a way to create community on campus and to people aware of being a mentor,” Dean said.

“Mission Shawnee is a nonprofit,” Brooks said. 

‘Our primary focus is to provide mentor relationships to kids in the community,” and, “Our After-School program, Summit, involves elementary and middle school kids on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon where volunteers can be a mentor to a kid.”

“That kid will be paired with that mentor on a weekly basis to help them grow developmentally,” he said.

Brooks said there are three different areas they want to see the children develop in. 

“First is their education, to be able to help them reach goals that they need to. To either reach their grade level or go above,” he said.

“Second, we focus on social/emotional growth. To know how to handle certain situations properly and knowing how to have the appropriate reactions in situations. 

Gaining those life skills that are really important.” 

“Finally, be able to have spiritual growth. So, we to help them see the gospel and see who Jesus is and introduce them to the Bible, if they are not familiar with the gospel or don’t attend church. A lot of the kids going through our programs are hearing a lot about stories within the Bible for the first time.” 

Brooks said it’s a great experience to be given the opportunity to share the gospel and have conversations with a mentee about Jesus. 

Mentor and mentee pairings are even provided different videos to watch so they can choose what they want to learn together. 

Dean describes her experience with her mentee through the Mentors Club, describing it as a gateway to attend Mission Shawnee.

Dean said being a part of Mentors Club is a gateway to attend Mission Shawnee and that they prefer to have events together as a club. 

“Our future plan is to build more community on campus. To… have meetings and little gatherings,” she said.

“Bowling, carpooling and prayer… little things like that to let us get to know each other as mentors because when we are at Mission Shawnee… the group of mentors get to see each other but not hangout. We are supposed to [focus on being] with our mentees.”

“It’s important to have those times to get to know each other outside of that context of Mission Shawnee. 

But also, to have meetings to let people know what is happening and to get more people involved,” she said.

Dean said they are always looking for more people to join, because they more mentors the group has the more children that can join Mission Shawnee. 

“This club is meant for anyone who is interested,” Brooks said. 

“It’s not just for OBU, but it is also for the community at large.”

Brooks wants Mission Shawnee to be a place where meaningful mentor relationships with kids in Shawnee can blossom.

“Our mission statement is to educate and equip individuals through mentoring relationships rooted in the love of Christ,” he said. 

Dean shares some obstacles and blessings that come with being a mentor at Mission Shawnee.

“Time commitment can be difficult. It is just two hours a week… but that can sometimes be hard… Sometimes I feel two hours out of my day would get in the way of doing my homework or prevent me from studying for a test,” she said. 

“But every time I get there… it’s just a blessing to get there and spend time with my mentee… Just being there for your kid… that can be huge for them.” 

Column: Students responding to disasters

 Audrey Branham

Assistant Faith Editor

2020 and peace don’t quite go together, and in this way, this is not a unique time. 

It is very seldom that the world has truly had peace at any one time. 

This life and world will always have people in crises, but what greater opportunity is there than to extend the loving hand of Christ to people in need? 

Several painful and hard situations are occurring right now, and within them all are real people crying out for support and help. 

Hurricane Laura has devastated the South-West and Northern parts of Louisiana. 

Wildfires rage all over the West, throughout California as well as in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

Throughout the country and across the globe, the Coronavirus pandemic continues to overwhelm hospitals and affect livelihoods. 

There are two natural responses when seeing others in crisis: either run away from the crisis or run toward the people that are being affected.

Let me encourage you as a student, a citizen and a Christian to run toward people in crises.

“How can I help?” 

The first step is to familiarize yourself with what is going on. 

Stay updated from news sources such as the BBC, The Washington Post, or USA Today and if possible local newspapers and newscasts. 

Education on any kind of crisis is crucial to making a positive difference, be it a natural disaster, a cultural event or a need in your community.

Uneducated voices without ears do not solve problems or make differences, but people who care for others and take time to educate themselves do. 

Secondly, make yourself available to relief efforts and support systems. Monetary support is always appreciated and can make a big difference to people who have lost their homes or have been injured. 

Supporting a legitimate and effective relief effort can be challenging, because it’s sometimes hard to know which ones are real. 

Search engines such as “Charity Navigator” and “GuideStar” are sources which show effectiveness and efficiency ratings for charities of any kind of outreach. 

While monetary support is valuable, physical charity work, which is any form of outreach that helps people physically, emotionally and/or spiritually, has the most impact on communities and individuals. 

When a community is in need, physically talk with fellow citizens and help them with their goals. 

Simply offering a friendly ear to hurt people can start them on their way to healing. 

Lastly, praying for change and for salvation for your community is not speaking words into air, and it is not a waste of time. 

If one is loved by the Lord of the Universe and has him on speed-dial, then asking his involvement in healing communities is the most efficient way to make a positive impact. 

It is important as America citizens, and especially as Christians, to foster a mindset and habit of outreach and charity. 

While the pandemic and distance might restrict you from serving people of hurting communities in Louisiana or California, those are not the only places in need of outreach. 

Every community needs outreach, because communities are made up of people, and people need help, support and love. 

Look into the needs of your community and make it a point to leave a lasting impact. 

Look into supporting relief efforts for Hurricane Laura, the California Wildfires, and the pandemic. 

I would encourage you to educate yourself on dire situations going on throughout your community, country, and world and to allow yourself the honor of changing others’ lives through offering support and outreach.

Tim Keller offers Biblical view of justice

Courtesy Photo / The Bison
Timothy Keller, author and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC 

 Tyler Smothers

Faith Editor

The outcry for justice in the United States can be heard in metropolis and township. It is read in newspapers and research papers, and people are talking about it more and more due to the several shootings of unarmed Black men and women in America. 

When we all talk about “it” how do we know we mean the same thing? How do you know which voices are trustworthy? How do you know if they truly have the common good in mind?

 Timothy Keller, in his article “A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory,” lays out the key differences between Biblical and secular visions of justice.

“Seldom do those issuing the calls acknowledge that currently there are competing visions of justice, often a sharp variance,” said Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Keller said, though, that “none of them have achieved anything like a cultural consensus.” 

Keller lays out secular and biblical foundations for justice in a charitable and helpful way. 

 He said, “in the Bible Christians have an ancient, rich, strong, comprehensive, complex, and attractive understanding of justice.” 

Secular visions for justice have roots too, and Keller traces them to the enlightenment.

 Enlightenment philosophy was skeptical that any religion could provide a knowable universal basis for morality and justice. 

The alternative to the historic and rich justice of Scripture is that “all moral claims are culturally constructed and so, ultimately, based on our feelings and preferences,” Keller said. 

Keller said, “unless you know what human beings are for, you will never come to any agreement as to what good or bad behavior is and therefore what justice is.” 

A secular perception of the world would say that “we are not here for any purpose at all,” said Keller and, “if that is the case then there is no good way to argue coherently on secular premises and beliefs about the world that any particular behavior is wrong and unjust.”

 It is too easy to stop here and build up the ‘evil atheist’ straw man many believers criticize, but I’m not doing that. 

It doesn’t offer any answers and it shuts down opportunities for meaningful conversations.

People are diplomatic and they cry sometimes. People have always been concerned about how other people are treated in some capacity. 

An atheist and a Christian could enjoy coffee together and agree on the importance of kindness and treating people with dignity, but only one has an answer that holds up for everyone. 

Keller lays out 5 facets of Biblical justice: community, equity, corporate responsibility, individual responsibility, and advocacy.

While the atheist and Christian can agree on these points, still only one has a sturdy and meaningful platform to protest, speak and live from.

 A secular person’s defense of a secular notion of justice is just an opinion. 

Secularism cannot talk about justice as a transcendental truth when it impoverishes truth to an individual’s opinion. 

Keller points out that the views of justice alternative to the Bible address some of the five facets, “but,” he said, “none addresses them all.” 

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

Tyler Smothers.JPG

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.