Know the organization you support

It is easy to walk down the sidewalk sporting your new TOMs with the recognized blue and white stripped flag stitched on the back of each heel, and yet have no real knowledge of the company or the founder. I find it sad that people will sport a brand and organization that is doing good in the world, but if approached about what the company is all about would not be able to say anything.

The founder of TOMs is Blake Mycoskie. He came up with the idea of TOMs after forcing himself to take a vacation and a break from work. However, going to Argentina was not just a random idea Blake had. He competed on the Amazing Race before and one of the countries he raced through was Argentina, he told himself he had to go back someday when the race was over.

When he went back he saw the need for shoes in Argentina to help prevent injuries and diseases. He decided to locate a shoemaker in Argentina, work with him and then bring the designs back home.

Then it took off. Soon he was posting adds for interns on Craigslist and working out of his small apartment in Venice, Calif..

The company took off once big name magazines such as Vogue and newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times began writing features on TOMs and soon Nordstrom picked up the trendy shoe, and to this day is their biggest buyer.

Did you know any of that? When walking around sporting the TOMs logo you are sporting so much more then the catch phrase ‘one for one.’ There is much more to your one pair of shoes than just the face value and the fact that you helped send a pair of shoes to a child in need.

You are walking around supporting one man’s dream to help a country he saw in need first hand. You are showing your peers that you support Blake and back him up as he has sacrificed everything and took a leap of faith to make his company work.

It is one thing to wear and support an organization and it is a whole different thing to support them and actually know what they are about, where they came from and what they have done to get where they are today.

Don’t just support TOMs or any organization for their face value; dig deep, educate yourself on the cause and their mission and be one of the few who are able to say, “Do you know how TOMs started? No, well let me tell you how, because it is an inspirational story.”

 

Story by Haley Williams Columnist

Williamson is a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communication. Comments can be sent to hwilliamson15@my.whitworth.edu.

Commending campus and community

Having been unusually complacent in my college search, I ended up at Whitworth because I liked the trees, the abundance of pianos here and was luckily offered a spot on the soccer team. I didn’t put much thought into the Christian or conservative stigmas of Whitworth, but just enjoyed the idea of playing soccer and going to an academically excellent school.

Many athletes have a tough time here, as they come solely to be an athlete, and thus may have negative attitudes about the community at Whitworth. I, on the other hand, fell in love with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of times when I stared at my Buddha collection and asked myself, What on earth am I doing here? However, I always came around, never regretting my decision, even at the culmination of my four years here.

I would almost always recommend this school to any prospective student; of course there are circumstances when I’d say this isn’t the place for you. I think the academics here are outstanding. Here’s a shout-out to the English department whom I have spent much time with in the catacombs of Westminster. Alongside the benefits of class size here, I have found that the relationships developed with my professors compare to no other school my friends attended. I recently told my friend, who attends another university, that I was going to get my professor’s advice on something entirely personal and non-academic, and she was very confused. I had a hard time explaining that that is the way things work around here.

I could commend the professors and coaches here all day from a variety of departments, but I’ll stop short of being a brown-noser for obvious reasons, nobody likes a brown-noser! In a previous article, I discussed how the community at Whitworth stifles the opportunity to explore the community of Spokane, but what a wonderful problem to have. I love that everyone has a friend here, and I know that sounds awfully Bible camp-esque, but it’s true.

Whitworth is a diverse community regarding political, religious and societal views. There is a place for everyone, and a community that will understand you. There is something special on this campus, and I would always want another human being to share the experience that I had here. I have been challenged in ways I never would have been anywhere else, and have met some pretty amazing people along the way.

 

Story by Sarah Berentson Columnist

Berentson is a senior majoring in English and Spanish. Comments can be sent to sberentson12@my.whitworth.edu.

Men and women differ in leadership styles

Personally, I prefer to have a man in leadership positions. I was raised in a patriarchal family where my dad had the final say in just about everything.

I believe in gender roles within the household. I do believe that women should cook, clean and take care of the children. Men should fix things when they break and take out the children to play sports and such. I’m not the type who wants to be a housewife, but I would love to take care of my household on top of my job.

Even though I prefer a man in leadership, I believe women are perfectly capable of leading. I have many female friends who want to pursue leadership in the church and I only encourage them to do just that.

One friend in particular, Helene Mauser, and I had a lovely talk about the matter of women leadership and our talk encouraged me to write this article.

Mauser is currently a freshman here at Whitworth University and will be the Stewart-Boppell-Village small group coordinator next year. Mauser made many good points about women’s leadership that people need to hear.

“Men and women have many different gifts and abilities, and I know that a lot of people are afraid to say that because they don’t want to stereotype anyone, but men and women are different,” she said.

It is not stereotyping to state that fact. Anatomically, socially and psychologically, men and women are very different. Lately women have been trying to be more like men. I find it ironic that feminists try hard to act masculine in order to have respect. I respect a female leader who acts like a woman and uses the gifts God has given her in a feminine way. Men should lead like men and women should lead like women.

We need both forms of leadership.

“They are different in how they see the world and how they relate to the world and we need both of those kinds of people in leadership positions,” Mauser said.

Mauser also believes that women don’t have to lead like men to be strong leaders. Women should embrace a gentler form of leadership. Women are known to be gentler than men. They have a motherly nature to take care of other people with comfort and compassion. The women who try to be like men are just adding to the belief that women can’t lead.

If a woman must act like a man in order to lead, then we are saying that a woman who acts like a woman wouldn’t be a strong leader.

“I’m not an outgoing, crazy person, but I was one of the stronger counselors [at camp] because I was willing to admit that that wasn’t me,” Mauser said. Mauser is the type who sits one on one with people, but also supports the outgoing, bubbly leaders and their style of leadership as well. I think people can learn from her about how to lead. She shows that being yourself and using the gifts God has blessed you with are the true ways of leading.

Women out there who want to lead, don’t try to be like a man. Be proud of your femininity.

 

Story by Jasmine Barnes Columnist

Barnes is a freshman majoring in English and secondary education. Comments can be sent to jbarnes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Criticism and a Christian institution: the unique opportunity for growth

This final editorial is a bit unconventional, but as I start counting down the days before I graduate and hand off the title and responsibilities of my job to someone else, I wanted to take the time to reflect on two topics that have been raised at various points during the last four years: criticism and the role of a student publication at a private institution. The format has changed, but the goal of The Whitworthian has remained relatively the same over the course of its existence: to seek out information and tell the truth. It is inevitable that a student publication receives flak over what is published; ultimately it is why the editor-in-chief position exists — to act as a sounding board for criticism from our audience. As a general rule of thumb, a paper that does not create conversation is a paper that is selling itself short and ultimately not doing its job. Yes, we have received criticism this year, but we have also facilitated conversation through our content, and for that, I am grateful. At no point has our job been to please everyone on this campus, and at no point was that our goal this year. Instead, we did what we knew how to do best: tell the stories of those in this community, even if those stories and those beliefs went against the majority.

Contrary to popular belief, a student publication is not necessarily the soap box of student government or the school it is associated with, even if some would wish that to be true. With that said, this idea is dependent largely on how much freedom student publications are given by upper administration and the Board of Trustees.

I recently had a conversation with another editor at a small private college in Illinois. Similar in many ways to Whitworth, the structure of this particular paper reflected an administration and Board that was relatively leery of placing the power in the hands of a student group. The Board of Trustees and the President’s Cabinet played a significant role in anything from deciding what is published to how the editor-in-chief is selected. Very little was not monitored by upper administration. Only in the last several months did the paper get permission to have a website where they were allowed to post stories dubbed the best of the week. When I started talking about the climate here at Whitworth, she was surprised to hear that I didn’t share the same outside pressures, nor did I have to rely on a voluntary team of staff writers with very little incentive to treat their role as a job.

This conversation reminded me that Whitworth is a unique place. Although the paper receives criticism, I am grateful that we are largely supported by faculty, staff and administration who are free to voice their concerns about what we publish, but leave editorial discretion up to us.

It is a foreign concept to many private institutions in this country, but one that has made me proud to call myself a Whitworth student and honored to be a part of this publication. This freedom has allowed us to strive for a level of success and professionalism that is not always found at other collegiate publications. Yes, we make mistakes — those are inevitable, but above all else we are given the opportunity to learn from those mistakes and turn it into an opportunity for growth.

Honor God, follow Christ, serve humanity: the mantra I have heard repeated countless times by others. I can say that my time over the last four years spent working in various roles on this publication, from copy editor to editor-in-chief, have prepared me to do just that. Story by Jessica Valencia Editor-in-chief

Contact Jessica Valencia at jvalencia12@my.whitworth.edu.

Live for more than a degree

When I tell students that I’m graduating this May 13, I get either of two generic responses. Upperclassmen ask, “Why haven’t I seen you before?” Underclassmen stare for a moment before saying, “Oh, you must have done Running Start.” Yes, I’m graduating early. Two years ahead of schedule, in fact, at the unripe age of 19. While other seniors may be planning to celebrate with their friends over drinks, I’m on campus with the friends who I feel like I only just met and will soon leave behind.

After learning of my early graduation, their next question is usually, “Are you excited?” To which I briskly reply, “No.” Instead of excited, it feels as if I’m cheating myself out of two more years at a place I’ve loved since my first visit. So why am I not staying two more years? I’m still waiting for a generous donor to make that possible, if you know any.

This column isn’t meant as a diatribe against the cruelties of early graduation, though. Instead, I’m writing a letter of advice to you, the students who will be here next year.

As one of my professors, Jim McPherson, likes to remind his classes, students do not come to Whitworth for a degree. If all they wanted was a degree to be successful, they could get any public higher education for less tuition. No, we come to Whitworth to learn about more than science or art. The problem is you can miss everything worth learning if you only show up to classes and do the homework.

If you’re the average Whitworth student, you’ll stay here four years and leave. Those years are shorter than they appear at Traditiation. They’ll disappear if you are not quick to grab onto the memorable moments that matter. What those moments will be depend on you, but in my experience, they are the moments when you reflect one-on-one with your professor on how what you’re learning applies to your life, when you go to a campus club on your own just because it sounded interesting and you want to meet more people, when you ask someone to hear more about their life beyond schoolwork.

I knew coming into Whitworth that I would have half as much time here as a traditional student. I didn’t want to waste any time being hesitant about meeting people. My first semester, I asked Keith Beebe, my D-group leader, to coffee through the Dine With a Mind program. I have used the program to talk with other professors every semester since then.

I also invite friends to coffee who I would like to know on a deeper level but don’t see often when left to our regular schedules. Sometimes I’ve only met these students once and know I might not have the opportunity to talk with them again unless I make it a priority. I gladly put off homework until the last minute if it means creating a closer relationship and hearing someone’s life story. That’s living intentionally.

Living by purposeful, meaningful choices, like putting a person ahead of a grade, means refusing to float through life. The easy but less satisfying way to live is by letting the current sweep you up. You get into a routine of classes, a job, homework, and eating meals with the same people. You perfect your schedule and memorize it until you can go through an entire day without making any choice more serious than eating either chicken nuggets or pizza. You might get to the end of the day and wonder where the day went in the second before falling asleep.

Intentionality means leaving the beaten path to do something unexpected and different. Intentional choices take thought. They are not part of autopilot programming.

On my part, I enjoy asking to coffee people I want to know better. I don’t wait until there’s a break in my busy life. I don’t wait until the other person makes the “first move.” I swallow any nerves and just ask to set a time. If the person refuses and doesn’t want to talk, what have I lost? My pride? Maybe it damages my confidence, but that will heal by my next coffee date.

Most seniors seem to give up meeting new people by their last semester. What’s the point when they probably won’t see the new people again? In my case, though, I’ve done the opposite. For these last few weeks, I planned coffee and lunch dates with anyone I want to get to know a little more before my departure. I’m still seeking new friends even in this final hour. I don’t want to regret after graduation that I didn’t spend more time with other people in my last weeks as a Whitworth student.

In ten years, I doubt I will remember the scores I get on my finals. I will not care to think back on nights spent staying up late to finish a big essay. Those won’t be memories I will cherish. When I look back on my short time at Whitworth, I want memories of connecting with people I have nothing in common with and hearing their stories. I want to remember late nights when the speech filters come off and people say what scares them and what makes them impassioned.

But I won’t have these memorable moments if I don’t make them a priority and live with the intention of finding them. They won’t happen if I have excuses or get distracted making less important memories.

So my challenge for you, the continuing students, is to discover those memories you want of Whitworth. What is most important to you beyond a degree and impressive résumé? If you intentionally make those moments a priority, you’ll find you have time in these four years to make them happen.

 

Story by Emily Roth Staff Writer

Contact Emily Roth at eroth13@my.whitworth.edu.

People-first language shapes individuality

I dedicate this last article I am writing for The Whitworthian to my dad and mom. Daddy, I am forever your little girl who thinks you are superman. Mom, thanks for teaching me to speak up in a quiet world.

People are not defined by ethnicity, the clothes they wear, the way they sound when they talk, what they look like or by a disability they have. People come first, and we should talk about people like that.

People-first language is a concept that was introduced to me by Dana Stevens, a professor in the special education department. The concept is that a disability does not define a person. So instead of saying the autistic child, you should say “the child with autism.” The idea is simple: Put the person first. A person has a disability, but that person could be a teacher, a doctor or someone who loves hiking or skiing. So why do we choose to label them with a disability first? This also goes for people without disabilities. With people-first language, you wouldn’t say that homeless man. You would say a person who is homeless.

An individual is so much more than one aspect. If you don’t believe me yet, or you just don’t think you can change your language, then listen to my story.

My dad was in college when he fell in love with teaching. Reaching out to students and making a difference in their lives became his passion. Dad fell in love with the students right away. The children he has taught in the last 30 years have been mostly from low socioeconomic backgrounds. School is their only constant, and coming to Mr. Fisher’s classroom is the highlight of their day.

My dad loves teaching these children, but he always wants to do more. So, he writes grants. He has written grants to start after-school programs such as a chess team, a cup stacking team and an archery team.

He also wrote grants for technology, new books and better curriculum.

Dad has done whatever he can to show every student in his classroom the potential they have. I remember coming home from school when I was in ninth grade and my dad had bought a pair of shoes for a student who couldn’t afford new ones. I didn’t understand why my dad had to buy that child shoes. He explained to me that being a teacher is more than a day job; it is a way of life.

Three years ago my dad was diagnosed with a brain condition that causes him physical disabilities. At that point in my life I had just become a special education major. Thanks to my dad I was able to see what the families and students I work with go through every day. It’s not easy going out into public and feeling as if the whole world is watching because you are with the clumsy guy with a cane. What isn’t easy about it is not embarrassment because you are with him, but rather the feeling of frustration because people are looking at my dad’s disability first and not him.

Many people don’t understand that disabilities are a part of life. A disability does not define a person. My dad was a brother, a husband, a father and a teacher before his disability, and after his disability he is still all of those things.

My mom is the bravest person I know. When my family’s world started to crumble she held us together. From the moment my dad was diagnosed she knew what our family was meant to do. I will never forget a conversation she and I had in the car once. “Kara, people are just scared of what they don’t know,” she said to me. “It’s our job to explain. It’s our job to teach people that because a person has a disability it doesn’t mean his life is over, or that it defines who he is. It just means he is a little different.”

After that conversation, I knew I had to write this article. This isn’t just about my dad. This is about an entire population. No one person is defined by one aspect.

I recognize it is not easy to change bad habits. But Mohandas Gandhi once said, “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.”

So, I am being the change I wish to see. I am standing up and using my words to promote people first language. Join me in changing how we talk. Join me in changing how we think. Join me in changing, so that people put people first.

 

Story by Kara Fisher Sports Editor

Photo courtesy of: Kara Fisher

 

Fisher is a senior majoring in English and special education. Comments can be sent to karafisher12@my.whitworth.edu.

Technology deserves a round of applause

The global shift toward a world that is more reliant upon electronically based information is often criticized or condemned as an addiction. This attitude reflects the inability to separate use from abuse.

One area of electronic advancement that is relatively recent is the advent of social media. An ABC News article argued that modern technology, such as Facebook, wastes time, reduces motivation, disturbs values, provides second-hand knowledge and exposes youth to personally destructive material. Technology has been blamed for bad spelling habits, and, as many students know, teachers are quick to require non-electronic sources for papers, despite a vast wealth of online information that is easier to access.

Often, technology is demonized and viewed only based on its negative attributes, but there are also positives. Facebook is a prime example. While frequently labeled a waste of time, Facebook provides access to relationships that would otherwise be extremely difficult and occasionally impossible to maintain. It provides instant access to an individual anywhere in the world, and allows for conversation and community completely outside the necessity of physical proximity.

Even further, Facebook provides an opportunity for ministry. My church is a prime example of this. After Sunday sermons, my pastor is able to post a comment about the sermon and prompt discussion about it online. Church connections can be made in ways that are not possible outside the realm of Facebook, and even people who are unable or choose not to go to church have instant access to the ideas expressed in a sermon. Even outside the church, religious ideas can be exchanged with people halfway around the world who live in totally different cultures and spheres of influence.

On a global scale, social media has provided an outlet for political change, human rights advocacy, news correspondence, collective thought and has created its own type of community.

Another device that is attacked because of potentially detrimental side effects is the cell phone and teenagers in particular are characterized as “perpetual texters” who ignore the world around them. There are many ways in which cell phones provide similar instant long-distance relationship opportunities to those of Facebook. While excessive texting can be admittedly impolite, there are ways to carry on a conversation with a phone without taking away from the life happening off the screen at the same time.

But phones are becoming much more than just communication devices. New phones can have GPS, radio, wireless internet, higher quality video cameras, connections to bank accounts and can even allow small business owners to run their industries more efficiently.

A phone not only allows for instant communication but can be used in ways to make daily tasks more convenient and efficient. In today’s world,  we are often told that dependence on technology will undermine society and have massive consequences.

In many religious communities we are even told to fast from these technologies.

Excessive use of electronics is never a good thing, but almost anything in excess causes problems. Personal devices and websites are not inherently bad, and we need to stop associating them with those who use them to an extreme. Story by Ryan Stevens Columnist

Stevens is a sophomore majoring in English and French. Comments can be sent to rstevens15@my.whitworth.edu.

Buying local proves to be disadvantageous

It seems that Earth Day came and went with comparatively little fanfare this year. Usually, it is accompanied by a flurry of admonishments to do something good for the environment.

There isn’t anything wrong with this, of course. Wanting to improve the environment is quite praiseworthy. However, too often our actions wind up actually harming the environment more than they help.

We are told that the free market necessarily disregards environmental concerns, and that we must alter our choices to do what is truly environmentally sustainable. While this may be sometimes true, it is very difficult to beat the economic or environmental efficiency of a free marketplace.

Nowhere is this truer than in the buy local movement. Proponents, dubbed “locavores,” contend that buying locally is good for the environment. Their arguments rest on the concept of food miles.

The further the distance between the origin of your food and your plate, the more gas has to be burned to get it to you. Local food doesn’t have to travel as far, so emissions and your overall carbon footprint are lower.

The only problem is that this way of thinking can actually be bad for the environment. The very concept of food miles defies the important economic principle of comparative advantage. Not every area can grow everything efficiently.

For instance, Washington is known for its apple production. This is not because Washington farmers arbitrarily decided to plant apple trees. Instead, Washington as a region is particularly suited to grow apples.

Consequently, it is cheaper and more efficient (less of a carbon footprint) to produce apples in Washington and ship them to places that cannot grow apples as efficiently.

As Steve Sexton of Freakonomics explains, “forsaking comparative advantage in agriculture by localizing means it will take more inputs to grow a given quantity of food, including more land and more chemicals, all of which come at a cost of carbon emissions.”

As Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center points out, “focusing solely on the distance the final product travels to market ignores most of the energy and resources used in the growing process.”

Thus, the efficiency of apple growing in Washington outweighs the environmental damage of shipping them to other states.

James McWilliams of Forbes provides a more concrete example. According to him, “a 2006 academic study (funded by the New Zealand government) discovered that it made more environmental sense for a Londoner to buy lamb shipped from New Zealand than to buy lamb raised in the U.K.”

It is simply so much more efficient to raise sheep in New Zealand that it outweighs the environmental cost of shipping it to the U.K. Next time you hear someone urging you to buy local to save the environment, just remember you may actually be doing more harm than good.

 

Story by Maxford Nelsen Columnist

Nelsen is a senior majoring in political science. Comments can be sent to mnelsen13@my.whitworth.edu.

Is White Skin Really Fair Skin?

It seems as if we stopped asking questions about race a while ago. As children our curiosity to explore the world and how it functioned was only satisfied by a sheer question. As we grew up we stopped asking the obvious to effortlessly follow without hesitation what others were doing. This led to the formation of incorrect assumptions that never got the opportunity to get clarified. These assumptions led to more confusion brought forth by the complexity of our society. At this point we are going to make the following assumption: all humans are equal. Maybe it was in the process of not asking that our actions fell short to our original intention of accepting others. Our society is racially stratified. It gives certain people unearned advantages simply for being white. We must clarify that this is not an article about white bashing but educating and expelling previous assumptions regarding race.

It is imperative to expose how this reality revolves around the concept of fear. A fear that stems from accepting others as equals. This fear enabled us to hate and discriminate against anyone who looks different.  When we were younger were told to make friends with one another and asked to live in harmony with those around us. Yet it seems as if high aspirations of getting along faded away once we began to understand the reality of our current situation.

A situation where children of color are being prepared to expect to be stigmatized, mistreated, and hated by their white counterpart. A situation where white children are being told to avoid the topic of race—with an intention of ignoring the social problems that come with race or simply to endorse a color blind mentality. While one side is being told to expect the hate, the opposition is being taught to avoid the person of color. How are we truly to accept others as equals when society has already established a platform based of fear?

Individuals on this campus and beyond Whitworth might be under the misconception that race is an issue of the past. If that is the case, well it seems as if our past has caught up with our present. Throughout history the ‘right’ and ‘civil’ way of living life was to be determined by the white standard. Other people beyond these boundaries were to integrate the ‘right’ and ‘civil’ way into their lives to being the process of ‘a savage past to a civilized future.’ Along with setting the norms to the society there was always this fear that the people of color would rebel and break down society. Sadly both mentalities are still very present today.

For a person of color to experience hate a single glance at the media will do the trick. Safe zones are yet another mirage. Such manifestation of discrimination and hate at times takes the form of a direct insult, the incorrect assumptions about a culture, a joke that went too far, the mocking of a language, or a society personifying beauty as a slender body with a light skin complexion. The combinations are endless.

It’s amusing to see how there seems to be a people with the correct combination. Such combination is called white privilege. So why is it difficult for the white majority to see this?

Alicia Fedelina Chávez and Florence Guido-DiBrito attribute it to the following, “White Americans, manifest ethnic and racial identity in mostly unconscious ways through their behaviors, values, beliefs, and assumptions. For them, ethnicity is usually invisible and unconscious because societal norms have been constructed around their racial, ethnic, and cultural frameworks, values, and priorities and then referred to as ‘standard American culture’ rather than as ‘ethnic identity.’”

This has to change. A white complexion is not an excuse to avoid these issues that enable an ignorant state of mind to continue, especially if we want to aspire being courageous in our conversations. We must also be aware that in the attempt of fighting for justice and equality we cannot afford once more to get stuck in the initial phase of conversation. A possible solution must stem from facing our fear of other people. Ignoring such socialized fear will limit our creative minds to find new possibilities of loving one another.

Martin Luther King Jr. tells us, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Justice and equality matter. An underrepresented student being called a nigger is unacceptable. A white student believing they are the “better” race, unconsciously or not, must cease. It’s in giving these labels big importance in our lives that we manage to limit ourselves. Being white or underrepresented are labels of the past.

I chose to write this article with someone who does not come from the same culture as I do; yet all we see in each other is a friend. We are equals. What we are trying to point out is that white privilege does in fact exist. We are trying to establish the new standard for Whitworth so as a community we can begin to instill change in society.

Being white does not mean more important or the only way of thinking. To coexist we must treat each source of knowledge as equal. We need all the pieces to this puzzle to create a holistic picture of what has been fragmented for so long. We must be willing to take action as individuals to continue fighting for equality and justice on this campus and in our home communities.

 

Story by Molly Hough and Sergio Jara Arroyos Guest Writers

Women hold power to influence election

The presidential candidates have taken a clear focus to win the female vote, as it has been at the forefront of discussion and debate. Many believe that women will determine who the president is, though in the history of elections it is not as black and white as focusing on just men or women. Of course women will affect the coming election; they are roughly 50 percent of the population.

The more important issue is to realize why it is important for women to wake up and to protect their rights. Arguments from the Republican side cite statistics from The Bureau of Labor Statistics that 92 percent of jobs lost under Obama have been women’s jobs, while the Democrats contend that Republicans have been and continue to wage a war on women’s rights, from contraceptive use to basic human rights. What is clear is that women need be aware of what is going on in their country and the injustices that are happening before their eyes.

Planned Parenthood has been swarming the media, and even in our own newspaper, so little needs to be said about that. Though I will say that I in every way support Planned Parenthood, as it provides millions of low-income women with primary healthcare, along with providing valuable information to young girls about safe sex and STDs.

However, the problem does not only lie with Planned Parenthood, an article in The Huffington Post notes that there are several other attacks on women. GOP members of the House and Senate refuse to support the Violence Against Women Act because it includes lesbians and Native Americans. The Paycheck Fairness Act was passed in the House, but not in the Senate.

This bill would have worked to end inequalities in pay between genders. Several states are working to redefine “rape” while some states, such as Georgia, are looking to change the term “victims of rape” to “accuser.” According to the Huffington Post, the Protect Life Act that was passed in the House in 2011 was a bill that would allow federally funded hospitals that oppose abortion to refuse to do them, even if the mother’s life is at risk.

In Maryland, republicans cut Head Start, a federally funded program that serves as a preschool for low-income families. Two Republican officials stood by their choice, arguing that education starts at home, and spoke highly of their stay-at-home wives. Essentially, they believe the program is unnecessary because women staying at home strengthens marriages, and communities, and after all that is a woman’s place.

I am not trying to attack either side of the political spectrum, but rather I am trying to stress to women that equality has not been met. I am not an extreme feminist, but I do believe in the general equality for all humankind, whether that be based on gender, sexual orientation, race or anything of the like.

Author Jessica Valenti shows that gender inequality is not at the forefront of our society because basic human rights have been met; women can vote, women can work and there are domestic violence laws in place. However, she argues that we should not settle with basic human rights, but should continue to fight for equality.

Injustices and inequality plague our country and our world, but that doesn’t mean we ignore them all because there are too many, we simply work on them one step at a time.

 

Story by Sarah Berentson Columnist

Berentson is a senior majoring in English and Spanish. Comments can be sent to sberentson12@my.whitworth.edu.

Student Life caters to Whitworth ideal

Whitworth prides itself on the close-knit community that has been established through Student Life. The idea of community here is a strong selling point for most. Student Life works hard every year to ensure that residents have the best possible experience. Resident Assistants are given extensive training and taught how to handle most situations to best meet the needs of residents. The year begins with Traditiation, which is in place to build community within the first few nights on campus. The Traditiation experience sticks with people and, in some cases, defines their college experience. That time is for making long-lasting friendships, feeling comfortable on a foreign campus and starting a new chapter of life. Whitworth’s student life has put together a creative orientation experience.

There are also seminars for students to engage in during the first week on campus. Seminars such as “I am from...” or “Valuing a Diverse Community” serve the purpose of introducing students to a new culture. While these are wonderful seminars for information, they don’t function well in allowing students to create relationships with others.

These are often seminars to be attended with parents and there is little communication between students and leadership.

“Hopefully there are places for everyone to plug in and feel connected,” said Kathy Storm, vice president of Student Life.

However, these experiences can, at times, focus on a specific type of student who is outgoing and generally speaking, an extrovert.

Some students are uncomfortable with participating in Traditiation activities. Being with that many people doing activities meant to quickly create bonds can be overwhelming, yet there aren’t many attractive alternatives. If students do not join in, they risk not being plugged in right away or not making these crucial, initial friendships.

“We did try one year to offer an opportunity for students to meet and have coffee with faculty members in lieu of traditiation, but no one showed,” Storm said.

While this was a good move by Student Life, the students who are likely to be uncomfortable with Traditiation are also likely to be uncomfortable with meeting faculty in a one-on-one setting so early in the year.

This board understands that appealing to the needs of everyone is impossible. However, we also believe that more could be done to cater to a wide range of needs.

One possible alternative is engaging students more with RAs on a personal level during the orientation season. Typically, four to six RAs are in charge of Traditiation in each dorm community. If the resident assistants who were not in charge initiated outside events for students who were uncomfortable with Traditiation, more students could be effectively assimilated into the community. More could also be done during orientation in the individual halls, with the exception of hall meetings, to get students acquainted with their RA and neighbors.

More personal interaction within the first few days could be beneficial for comfortability. Whitworth prides itself on wonderful community and although traditiation is beneficial for most, community also begins with one-one-one relationships for some.

 

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the editorial board, which is made up of five editors.

 

Biblical judgment corresponds with love

I often hear self-proclaimed Christians criticizing the church for a lack of love. Indeed, the modern church is largely perceived as hateful, judgmental and hypocritical. Unfortunately, however, the type of love people often advocate, which is undiscerning, universal and non-judgmental, is not the kind of love that is portrayed in the Bible. While the church admittedly has a long way to go, her accusers, even those within the church, are not without fault. It’s time for a bigger view of Christian love.

While it may feel right in our hearts to believe we should love and celebrate everyone and everything equally, Jeremiah 17:9 points out that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Thus, if we are to examine Christian love in light of scripture, we have to filter out what we personally feel long enough to hear what scripture actually says.

Jesus gives these directions in Matthew 18:15: “If your brother or sister sins go and point out their fault” in private. If the person continues in sin, take the matter before one or two believers. If nothing changes, the matter should go before the church. What is this if not judgment? We are directed to confront others about sin. Yet the whole purpose is to restore the person in love.

Ezekiel 3:18 explains the concept further when God says to Ezekiel: “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.” Given that sin harms the sinner, is it truly loving to uncritically accept them and their sin? Surely not. True love desires to keep people from harm.

Yet Matthew 7:1 appears to prohibit such judgment. Jesus says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” However, Christ is referring specifically to hypocritical judgment. Jesus clarifies himself later in the passage: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Jesus is not telling us not to judge the speck, but to address ourselves first.

Christ is not advocating judgment in the sense that we normally think of it. While we tend to think of judgment as anything negative or critical we say or think of another person, the Bible is not this simplistic. Jesus models proper judgment for us throughout the Gospels. John 8:1-11 is particularly profound. Jesus has just been confronted by an angry mob of Pharisees that have found an adulterous woman and want to stone her. Jesus says to the crowd: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” At this, those in the crowd realize their own sin and slowly disperse.

Verses 10 and 11 finish the story: Jesus asks the woman: “Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” In Greek, the word Jesus uses for “condemn” is defined by Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words as meaning to “pass sentence upon” or to judge worthy of punishment.

In not condemning the woman, Jesus is not writing her off. Yet his instruction to her to leave her “life of sin” is clearly a form of judgment and an expression of disapproval. He was not angry at the woman, but he wanted her to change for the better. In John 16:8, Jesus says that the Holy Spirit “will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Greek word for “reprove” means to bring embarrassment or to call someone to account for the purpose of correction. Thus the difference between correct and hypocritical judgment is the difference between conviction and condemnation.

Yes, Jesus hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes and all manner of sinners. Though he accepted them as they were, he did not leave them that way. Just as he said to the woman in John 8, Jesus commanded those who would follow him to leave their sin behind.

If Christians are to model Christ to all people of the world, we must recognize that though Jesus accepted all people, he did not provide for sin. Judgment must be carried out humbly, not hypocritically, and it must always have the restoration of the sinner as its goal. In this way, correction fits as an integral aspect of love. The words of Paul in Galatians 6:1-2 encapsulate the concept: “If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”

If the church has failed, it has done so not because it has recognized some things as wrong, but because it has failed to be gentle in its correction; however, just because the church has failed in correction does not mean that it should give it up altogether. True love cannot exist apart from correction, for love involves seeking the best for its recipient. By all means, the church needs to love. It just needs to remember to do it properly.

 

Story by Maxford Nelsen Columnist

Nelsen is a senior majoring in political science. Comments can be sent to mnelsen13@my.whitworth.edu.

Sex proves essential in marriage

“Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the to will become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:6). Christians view marriage as a holy thing, but some view sex badly. Sex is key to a marriage and it was created by God to unite man to his wife. It is a beautiful and pleasurable thing meant to be shared by a married couple. Without an exciting sex life or a sense of deep intimacy, a marriage will weaken as time goes on. Since I am an unmarried college student, I had to get most of these facts from my mother who has been married for 12 years. Most of these ideas come straight from her.

At the beginning of marriage, have a lot of sex. Even though sex seems scary and intimidating, it will help strengthen the marriage in its first few months. This is the honeymoon phase of the marriage and, at this point, if the couple chooses to be virgins until marriage, the two are learning how to work sexually with one another. This is the time for exploration and trying new things. At this stage of marriage, different positions or locations are great ways to not only make sex more fun but to also keep it fresh and new each time.

Once children come along, the sex life will slow down again and probably will never return to where it was before children. When children come along, life is committed to taking care of children. Good parents put their children before themselves; therefore, the couple’s sex life is put on the back burner in order to make their children’s lives better.

After children, the couple has the free time to have sex again; however, the couple’s sex drive might not be as high. Menopause slows down the sex drive in women according to epigee.org. Obesity and age also affect sex drive. Even though sex drive is lessened, the need for intimacy still exists. Intimacy and romance are key necessities to marriage and are required for a marriage to be successful. Other forms of intimacy include holding each other, hugging, kissing and other personal things that only the couple knows.  These are also ways a couple can be intimate before they are married if they have made the choice to be virgins or celibate until marriage.

My mother gave me a lot of good information about marriage and sex that needs to be shared with the community. Sex with someone you love is better than sex with a random person because sex with someone you love is a true expression of oneself rather than just an attempt at getting pleasure. Romance and intimacy are the glue of a marriage and without them the couple can be on a path toward divorce. The best advice I got from my mother was the beautiful quote she said to me, “Sex is a part of marriage but understanding, forgiveness, effort, communication, respect, laughter, sharing memories and putting your spouse before yourself is more important.”

Story by Jasmine Barnes Columnist

Barnes is a freshman majoring in English and secondary education. Comments can be sent to jbarnes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Populous churches offer rewarding opportunities

I use to attend a church that had two Saturday night services, three Sunday morning services and a Sunday night service. Each service could hold over 700 people and the overflow room was frequently used. That church falls under the definition of a megachurch. Many times when I tell people those statistics, I get replies that usually go along the lines of “you attended a concert, not a church.” That is all people see, but megachurches are much more. If people just took the time to get involved and did not judge it from the outside appearance or from one attendance, then they would realize that.

By no means am I saying that a megachurch is better then a smaller church, my point is that too many people judge the megachurch and don’t take time to see the impact and good the church is doing. There are two important aspects a megachurch can offer that many people overlook: a community and opportunities.

An argument that I have become tired of hearing is that mega churches do not have community. Yes, small churches offer a great community, everyone knows your name and everything about you, and that is great, however a megachurch offers that too. People don’t stay long enough to get involved and don’t get connected. The leaders and pastors of the church can only do so much to reach out to the people in their congregation; you have to put in some effort, too.

Small groups are offered at almost any megachurch and allow you to form a group of 10 to 15 people that foster tighter, more intimate connections throughout the church.

People need to stop using the argument that mega-churches don’t have any community. It may not be a type of community that appeals to you or that you thrive in and that is fine, but it does have a sense of community that people love being part of.

Opportunities offered within a megachurch are vast and diverse. With a large congregation, there are many doors open for people to get involved.

Such opportunities can include mission work.  A large church can send out many teams overseas to serve on the mission field. With so many teams, more people are able to take part and serve God and his people in ways they may never get the chance to do again.

Other opportunities include jobs. Many larger churches have cafes and coffee shops that are not only run by volunteers but also paid staff members.  This is true for media, maintenance and ministries, all areas that have many volunteers taking part but are also providing people with well-paying jobs.

There are also many opportunities the church offers to simply help people in their own congregation and in the community. Megachurches can bring together people with specific skills or passions and use them to renovate houses for the elderly, tutor at-risk youth or provide a place for rehab for someone who is struggling to change their life.

The positive aspects of a megachurch don’t stop there. The worship is done by volunteers, or paid staff, who are talented musicians and recognized that God has blessed them with the gift of music. At some churches, the pastors are not only recognized by the congregation and community, but are recognized worldwide because they preach in areas that don’t get to hear the Gospel. They have the ability to do that because a larger church with a large supportive congregation is able provide the resources necessary.

If you love going to a small church and that is where you grow and are challenged with your faith, then that is great, and you shouldn’t stop going. But if all you know is a small church environment and think that is the only way church should be done, give a megachurch a chance. In the end, all that matters is that you are growing in your faith. A megachurch changed my life. I challenge you to give it the chance to change yours.

 

Story by Haley Williams Columnist

Graphic art by Eva Kiviranta

Williamson is a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communication. Comments can be sent to hwilliamson15@my.whitworth.edu.

Benevolent sexism poses a harmful threat

On April 11 a screening of “Miss Representation,” a documentary that addresses issues such as the impact of the media on perception of women, was shown to Whitworth students in the Hixson Union Building. While I have considered Whitworth, a liberal arts university, to be quite receptive to advocating gender equality, watching “Miss Representation” opened my eyes to a stark reality. Sexism wears many hats, and quite a few of these various forms can be found on campus. So, I would like to take the time to identify them. Benevolent sexism is perhaps the most common form of unintentional sexism on campus. Believing that men are doing women a favor in keeping them from the workforce is one example. Another example I have heard is the belief that women should stay out of church leadership, unless it’s in children’s ministry. I don’t want you to think that the only ones who exhibit this particular type of sexism are men. Contrary to popular belief, benevolent sexism is encouraged by both genders.

any women will say things such as, “I shouldn’t have to do [insert task here]; that’s the man’s job.” While chivalry at its best is not a bad thing, unintended harm can be done. And it’s hidden in our vocabulary, such as “Chivalrous men work so that women ‘don’t have to.’”

I appreciate the gesture, but the assumption unintentionally places women in a position of inferiority. Imagine a woman who pursues a full-time career and her husband stays at home with the children. If she were to say, “I’m the one who works so that my husband ‘doesn’t have to,’ rather than admiration for her sacrifice, society would generally deem her selfish or condescending. Meanwhile, the stay-at-home dad would either be put down for his “feminine” job or pitied for his “overbearing” spouse. On the other hand, however, stay-at-home moms are generally more socially accepted, and there is an assumption that women often prefer to be domestic.

Another shape of sexism seen on campus has been the self-objectification of women. I know that a lot of you readers are saying, “No way! Whitworth women, of all people, are strong, independent, intelligent, etc.” I’ll agree with you on that, but I have to say that this self-objectification that we women tend to do is perhaps the most subtle, most deceptive form of sexism. One of the undeniable problems on campus is the pressure to find a significant other. I no longer want to say the pressure is to obtain a “ring by spring,” since I am unsure if people feel pressured to get married. But there is certainly a pressure to at least find someone who may possibly propose later down the road. While this pressure follows women all throughout life, even several years after college when “biological clocks start ticking,” as the saying goes, it is incredible that this is a main issue for the average female college student.

For goodness sake, we spend way too much on tuition here to allow our college years to become about the “MRS” degree. Men and women of Whitworth, you are far more valuable than just marriage material. We hear the word “vocation” thrown around like a beach ball at a summer rock concert; that’s because Whitworth as an institution wants us to find our calling. Whether that calling is grounded in marriage and family, graduate school, entrepreneurship, non-profit organizations or world travel, discover what your unique calling is. Don’t allow yourself to become another object in the world of matchmaking.

I am positive that, for most of you, the word “feminism” leaves a terrible taste in your mouths. Feminism has been associated with the worst connotations, from bra-burnings and anti-men protests, to “masculine” women and female-God.

However, here is what feminism means to me and why I think Whitworth needs it. Feminism supports gender equality and equal opportunities, treatment and respect. Without equal respect between genders (both intentional and unintentional), how can we as a community breed college graduates who can honestly take Whitworth’s mission of serving humanity? Feminism does not seek to say that women are better than men, or that women should replace men in roles of power and authority. Rather, feminism calls for justice; feminism desires to give women their dignity back and to tell them they are more capable than society has allowed them to think. Feminism tells women that their worth is not solely in how they look, dress, or in their abilities to find a husband.

Feminism says that a woman’s perspective is just as powerful and essential as a man’s, and that having both perspectives enrich the overall wisdom of a community. With this definition of feminism in mind, who at Whitworth can say, “I don’t want or need feminism?” I hope the answer is, “No one.” Whitworth, we need feminism. We can’t reject it or laugh it off or say “Dear God, not again.” Rather, we should ask thoughtful questions such as, “What’s wrong with traveling the world before getting married?” or “Well, why can’t a woman be president?” Most of all, I’d like to hear Whitworth students, men and women alike, say, “I’m proud to be a feminist.”

 

Story by Rosie Brown Columnist

Graphic art by Hannah Charlton

Brown is a senior majoring in international business. Comments can be sent to rbrown13@my.whitworth.edu.

Christ calls Christians to love all neighbors

Recently, a movie was shown in Whitworth’s multipurpose room called “For the Bible tells me so.” This film, during a week-long set of programs to draw awareness to the issue of homosexuality, was not only offensive, but detracted from the most important component of the controversial subject. Initially, the film sets out as a documentary, in order to explore the religious community’s differing beliefs about the morality of homosexuality. What could have easily been an unbiased effort to explore ideas and invoke critical thinking quickly turned into an assault on a particular belief system with misrepresented stereotypes. The film begins by showing shouting preachers condemning gay activities as “abominations” and showed protesters with derogatory signs shouting hateful calls to violence. This theme of violent and ignorant Christians was pervasive throughout the film. The belief that homosexuality is against Biblical principles is placed in direct contrast with intelligence. Those against homosexuality were shouting preachers in outdated churches, random and uninformed street pedestrians, hicks and even a teenager who claimed that “gay bashing is fun.” In contrast, interpreters of scripture who condone gay lifestyles included several Harvard graduate pastors, a reform Rabbi, several bishops and even a Nobel Prize winner, all of whom were placed in churches, libraries or offices. Those against the idea of Biblical homosexuality were even compared to ideas in times of primal humanity.

One of the more blatant portrayals of “traditionalist Christian ignorance” was a cartoon, in which the ideas of a character subtly named “Christian” were shown as contrary to science, misinformed and childish. Traditionalist churches were shown without any attempt at discretion as anti-gay factories in which homosexuals were placed on a conveyer belt and processed to appear straight. The church factory was accused of using shame and guilt-based tactics to manipulate and directly oppress anyone with a homosexual tendency. The film missed the most important aspect of this issue: the actions Christians should take toward those with whom they disagree. Jesus even said that one of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Christians, regardless of their beliefs about homosexuality, are called to love their neighbors. Christ did not say “Love your neighbors unless they’re gay,” he simply said to love them. Christians should love their neighbors, just as God loves them. The movie spent an entire hour and a half demonizing a theological group for the opinion that homosexuality is wrong, when it should have used its time condemning acts of violence against those whom Christians are called to love.

I happen to believe that homosexuality is wrong, and despite what the film portrays, I am not the only intelligent person who believes this way. I also believe that Christians are not called to condemn, but to love. I regard discrimination, prejudice, bullying, violence and any act of hate toward someone simply because of their sexual preference as wrong and contrary to Christ’s message. It is this message that should be emphasized today: In spite of differences, God’s love for his creation is unconditional. There are valid objections to homosexuality that originate from the Bible, but these should not be the focus of church emphasis. Many of the believers I know who are against homosexuality argue that we are called to love, respect and care enough to understand those around us. Perhaps if “For the Bible tells me so” had focused on this aspect of theology, it would have been a more powerful and a less controversial message of hope.

 

Story by Ryan Stevens Columnist

Stevens is a sophomore majoring in English and French. Comments can be sent to rstevens15@my.whitworth.edu.

Constitutional amendments must follow procedure

Recently, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.” Passed in 2010 by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama, the sweeping legislation overhauled the nation’s health care system. One of the most important pieces of the 2,000 page behemoth that is currently being examined by the Court is the unprecedented requirement that individuals purchase only government-approved health insurance. While the Obama administration has simply shrugged off criticisms of Obamacare’s constitutionality, there are legitimate constitutional questions involved in this case.

More importantly, the case brings to light broader problems with our governmental system as currently exercised. In brief, the amendment process has been effectively discarded in favor of judicial rulings that distort the meaning of the Constitution and expand government power.

The fact that the administration is even attempting to justify Obamacare’s constitutionally should cause us to wonder: how did we get here?

As originally written, the Constitution defines the roles, powers, and limitations of each branch of government. Article one, section eight of the U.S. Constitution lists the powers that Congress possesses in a mere eighteen clauses. One of the clauses grants Congress the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States.” This came to be known as the “Commerce Clause.”

In a letter to Joseph Cabell in 1829, James Madison explained that “[the Commerce Clause] grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.”

In other words, the Clause was simply meant to maintain free trade among the individual states, not to provide justification for new powers for the federal government.

However, the drafters of the Constitution did not believe they had created a perfect, timeless document. They were not traditional old curmudgeons that wanted things to always stay the same. They realized change would be necessary. Since they believed in a government of laws, not of men, they incorporated an amendment process into the Constitution in article five.

For about 150 years, the Supreme Court largely interpreted the Commerce Clause, and others like it, in the narrow way it was intended. Furthermore, because the amendment process is fairly difficult, the government gained little power using this method.

However, with the Great Depression came Franklin Roosevelt and his “New Deal” policies, which significantly extended the government’s control over the economy. Many of FDR’s reforms were initially struck down by the Supreme Court. In response, FDR developed a plan to stack the Court in his favor. Although its unpopularity prevented him from putting the plan into action, the damage had been done. Soon thereafter, the Court began ruling in FDR’s favor, authorizing such programs as minimum wage laws and Social Security.

In many cases, the Court had to adopt a more expansive view of the Commerce Clause to justify a program’s constitutionality. Over decades of rulings, the view of the Commerce Clause has expanded to allow the government to regulate essentially anything that could be perceived as affecting commerce among the states, even though, as Madison explained, the Clause was never intended to be an excuse for government expansion.

Now we find ourselves with the administration defending Obamacare before the Supreme Court, arguing that it can force people to buy government-approved insurance.

If the government were to seek this new authority through the amendment process, it would require a national discourse and widespread approval before the government could legitimately adopt the new power.

James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 43, notes: “That useful alterations will be suggested by experience, could not but be foreseen… [The amendment process] guards equally against that extreme facility which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty which might perpetuate its discovered faults.”

Instead, we have permitted nine justices on the Supreme Court to simply read new powers for the government into constitutional passages which were never meant to support government expansion.

As we continue to forsake a government of laws for a government of men, the Court finally seems to be realizing what it has done. Decades of broad rulings on the Commerce Clause have brought an administration before the Court which believes it has the constitutional authority to regulate anything it wants.

We’ve gone so far that a sweeping expansion of government power can be muscled through a divided Congress on a technicality, against the wishes of a majority of the American public, and when the Court suggests that there are actually limits to government power, our president responds by calling any move to overrule his legislation “unprecedented” and “extraordinary.”

Although there are very practical reasons to oppose Obamacare, the real issue at stake is government power. Do we want to remain a nation grounded on the rule of law and limited government or not? If so, then we need to take a lesson from the Obama’s dangerously cavalier attitude and quickly remember how to use the amendment process.

 

Story by Maxford Nelsen Columnist

Graphic art by Eli Smith

Nelsen is a senior majoring in political science. Comments can be sent to mnelsen13@my.whitworth.edu.

Students with anxiety deserve extra support

In schools there is always talk about how people with learning disabilities need extra assistance from teachers and staff. These students sometimes get special help on assignments and tests that other students don’t. Amongst the students that don’t get the same assistance are students with anxiety disorders. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect 18 percent of the adult American population. There are students here at Whitworth who also struggle with anxiety disorders. One student with an anxiety disorder, who will be named Jane Doe, shared her experience here at Whitworth. For Doe, living in a large dorm is unimaginable. “Anything bigger than Stewart would freak me out.” People with anxiety disorders have trouble being in a large or loud dorm. Too many people, too bright of lights or too much sound can trigger a panic attack. Stewart and the Village are great places for students with anxiety. There are a limited amount of people  in these dorms and they tend to keep to themselves. If there weren’t dorms at this size available for students, Whitworth could potentially lose students with anxiety who are interested in going here.

There needs to be a diversity of dorms that can supply the diverse needs of students. For instance, right now the Village dorms have about 18 people each. Slightly larger you have Boppell at 84 and Ballard at 62. Then there are the two largest: East with 170 and Warren with 215. The large range of numbers of residents leaves the students with the ability to pick what fits their need. For a student with anxiety, the best number would probably be no more than 50 residents in the building.

Going to the Hixson Union Building for dinner is also a challenge. Doe is too nervous to eat by herself or in front of people who don’t know her that well.

“When I eat I can just feel people’s eyes on me. I get paranoid and assume that they are going to judge me.” Luckily, Doe has a good group of friends who she eats meals with. If she didn’t have these friends she probably wouldn’t eat.

“The first few days of school this year before I met people, I didn’t eat. When I thought about going alone my heart began to race and my palms began to sweat,” she said.

Having community in the dorms is also necessary when supporting people with anxiety. People with anxiety can easily have breakdowns which can end in depression, isolation, self injury or eating disorders. Thankfully, Whitworth has a great team of RAs who make sure people are enjoying their time in the residence halls and provide support to those in need.

The classroom is also a tough place for people with anxiety to be.

“I study hard for every test but when they put the test down in front of me I feel like the room is spinning and that everything I studied is swirling out of my head.”

Whitworth needs to ask its students if they struggle with anxiety in order to provide them with the support and assistance they need. Knowing which students have anxiety will not only help professors offer academic assistance but the professors will also know not to call on that student randomly in class.

“I’m too nervous to ask someone where I can get help or to tell my professors that I have horrible anxiety. I wish there was something that I could just check a box and someone would come to me and offer help. Until then, I am just going to try and make it on my own,” Doe said.

Whitworth needs to inform the students of where they can get help and reach out to those who need it. Whitworth is a wonderful institution full of great people who are caring and gentle enough to be mentors to these students. A program should be started for students with anxiety so that people like Doe can get more out of their Whitworth education.

 

Story by Jasmine Barnes Columnist

Graphic art by Eli Smith

Barnes is a freshman majoring in English and secondary education. Comments can be sent to jbarnes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Jeremiah 29:11 provides Christians with optimism

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’.” There are many verses in the Bible that are easy to take out of context; this is one example.

Taking the verse out of context is why some people label Jeremiah 29:11 as one of the worst verses of the Bible.

People consider it the worst verse because it gives false hope. It gives a view that God will never allow bad things to happen.

Then, when harm and hurt come into their lives, they blame God for not taking care of them, and say he is the cause of their pain because he is not fulfilling the promise that Jeremiah 29:11 gives. They call him a liar. Then what is the result of that? Lost faith.

Now, while I do agree with some of those points, I believe it is the worst verse only if it is taken out of context.

I may be biased because of the fact that this verse is my family’s verse and I live my life by this verse, but I also strongly believe this verse gives the most hope to anyone and everyone.

This verse clearly displays the promise that God will not leave our side. No matter how bad things get, one thing still remains: God will pull us through.

It gives us reason to keep on going through the hard times; if we had nothing to live for or look forward to, then our suffering would consume our lives.

It would consume our world and become our identity. Jeremiah 29:11 gives something to look forward to.

When you are on your knees, hitting rock bottom, crying out ‘God why me?’, this verse is there telling you that whatever you are going through is hard, it’s tough, and it may last days, months or years, but it does not mean God has forgotten you. It is there to give you the promise that there will be a day that God will make you prosperous, a day where he will reveal his hopes for you and give you the most amazing future.

Then you will stand at the gates of heaven when your time comes and he will stand before you saying ‘thank you, good and faithful servant.’

This verse is your crutch to not give up on him, to not cave in to the hardships, to keep going, keep striving, keep pursuing God so that he can one day reveal to you everything great he has in store. That is what he would thank you for: not giving up on him.

It is so easy to take a verse out of context and misinterpret it when it stands alone. The verse that follows says that we must seek him with all our heart, and when that happens, we will see God’s promise unfold. God will do his part when we do ours.

That second verse is one of the key components that must not be forgotten but is so easily overlooked. The true value of this verse is not that bad things will never happen but that God will be with us, a plan in mind, even through the bad times.

That is the problem; people miss the true meaning of the verse and take it out of context. Jeremiah 29:11 is not the only verse easily misinterpreted or taken to literally.

Leviticus 19:28 commands us to not mark our bodies with cuts or tattoo marks. Well if you take that verse alone like that, then no Christian is allowed to have a tattoo.

Just before that verse Leviticus 19:26-27 says no one should eat any meat with blood in it. So if you are a Christian you can no longer eat your medium steaks.

We take these verses black and white and label them for what they say but never take the time to further read or further interpret what the true value of the verse is.

Earlier in Jeremiah the Israelites were told that they would have to endure 70 years of exile, pain and struggle. Yet, that was God’s plan from the start and after those 70 years he fulfilled his promise to them by bringing them back to their homeland.

Justin Knowles, associate youth ministry pastor at Christ Church of the Valley in southern California, said that exile and pain brought upon the Israelites was in order to have them look to him, grow and become stronger during those 70 years.

That is what God intends to happen with our hard times. He wants us to continually look to him and then use these experiences as a learning experience, a way to grow and become stronger then ever in our faith.

Don’t look at Jeremiah 29:11 when life is good and think life will always be good, then when one thing goes bad look at the verse as a lie. Rather turn to this verse when you are experiencing the darkest days and remember who is looking out for you.  Turn to Him, trust Him and know that the good days are on their way.

 

Story by Haley Williams Columnist

Williamson is a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communication. Comments can be sent to hwilliamson15@my.whitworth.edu.

 

Campus community ideal stifles adventure

Whitworth has many key words and phrases that will perk the ears of Whitworthians for the rest of their lives: worldview, pinecone and Core to name a few. A big one is community. Community is a Christian ideal that Whitworth expands on and has made its own. We pride ourselves on the importance of Traditiation, an event that allows freshmen to integrate into their new community. Dorms hold Prime Times almost every evening; there are small groups, clubs, hall dates, hall meetings and a handful of other ways that students can meet other people and find their own niche in the world of Whitworth. Though I roll my eyes when I have to write about community, or even hear the word sometimes, I have found it is one of the aspects of Whitworth I value most. I appreciate that community is a valuable and important quality of campus life because it extends outside the social circle and into the athletic and academic realm, as well. My experience at Whitworth has been valuable because I have developed sincere relationships in every community I have been involved with.

However, the very thing that many of us value as one of Whitworth’s best qualities is also one of its most stifling. Many Whitworth students leave with positive notions of Whitworth, but negative notions of Spokane. Whitworth’s community lacks only its failure to include the surrounding  the community of Spokane. Many students stay behind the pinecone curtain, consumed in Whitworth’s community.

Spokane is certainly no Seattle, but it isn’t the dump that many people think it is. Spokane offers beautiful parks, a growing music scene, poetry readings, theatre, ice skating, rock climbing, laser tag, etc.

Whitworth doesn’t help students experience Spokane. Because we are isolated in our campus up north, I admit it is harder to experience downtown Spokane, but it’s also worth it. I know that if you don’t have a car, you have a friend that does because there are certainly a limited number of parking spaces.

Spokane may not be utopia, but it does have its perks. Manito Park is beautiful, as is the entire South Hill. The Centennial trail is perfect for any bike lover. Walking in Riverfront Park is perfect for a date. The restaurant options are endless. Have you been to Neato Burrito, Ultimate Bagel or South Perry Pizza? All are affordable and delicious. Did you know that new music is at your fingertips in Spokane? Just check out the Pacific Northwest Inlander for recommended shows. The nightlife is lively, too. There are co-ops, such as Main Market, and farmers markets. There are Spokane-wide events like Elk Fest, Pig out in the Park and Bloomsday.

Though I appreciate the emphasis on community at Whitworth, I wish there were more off-campus ventures that clubs put on that would help students find their niche in downtown Spokane throughout their four years here.

Whitworth needs to expand its mentality about community and truly extend (at least metaphorically) the pinecone curtain to the surrounding Spokane area. Students need to stop bashing Spokane until they give it a shot. Take the community we have developed here, the friendships you have made and go explore Spokane. You might be surprised what you find.

 

Story by Sarah Berentson Columnist

Graphic art by Eva Kiviranta

Berentson is a senior majoring in English and Spanish. Comments can be sent to sberentson12@my.whitworth.edu.