Event discusses social costs of porn

Last Monday, Unite hosted ‘The Elephant in the Room’, a discussion about pornography open to all students. The Oct. 15 discussion was led by Whitworth alumnus Jason Soucinek. It covered facts about pornography and the porn industry as well as some of its effects, including pornography’s link to human trafficking.

Soucinek is a member of Project Six19, a non-profit organization that promotes biblical sexuality. The organization mainly targets youths. He speaks to local high schools and universities on sex and relationships.

Approximately 55 students attended Monday’s event. Each was given the opportunity to pose their written questions at the beginning of the evening.

Whitworth students junior Sam Abbott and senior Ruth Nalty shared their personal stories during the evening.Soucinek started the conversation by giving background on pornography’s influence. He said that the average age that children are exposed to pornography for the first time is at 11 years old, and that there are 4.2 million websites dedicated to pornography. He also said that the no. 1 target audience for pornographers is boys between the ages of 5 and 9.

Senior Ryan Sutherland said he was surprised that children were becoming targets at such a young age.

Among the issues discussed was pornography’s connection to human trafficking.

Soucinek outlined four of the direct and indirect ways that porn contributes to human trafficking: actual trafficking for sex; videotaped rape of sexually exploited victims to sell as pornography; the use of porn as a tool to groom prostitutes and seduce victims; and the rationalization of inhumane behaviors.

Soucinek said the objective of his talks is not to blame or judge anyone’s choices.

“It’s more about celebrating sexuality than causing shame or guilt,” Soucinek said.

He said that sexual desire is not inherently sinful and pornography is a distorted way of viewing something truly beautiful and holy — the human body.

Junior Audrey Evans, associate director of Unite, said there is a misconception that being Christian means not suffering from vices such as porn addiction.

“The goal was not to say, ‘Porn is evil, and so are you for looking at it.’ The goal was that next time you see it, you can see it through a different lens,” she said.

Evans said she thought the event was successful overall. Due to the controversial nature of the subject matter, she said she was not sure whether or not anyone would show up. However, she was pleased with the turnout. She said that students were well-involved, and that education and conversation are important to spurring action.

Sutherland agreed that conversation was important, even though some topics, like this one, can be uncomfortable.

“It’s a necessity to talk about things that are not necessarily easy or fun things to talk about,” Sutherland said.

One focus of the event was what students can do individually to take a stand against pornography.

Evans said that anyone who views pornography can help stop human trafficking by turning it off. Every click to a pornographic website is money contributed to that industry, she said.

“There will be a supply as long as there is a demand. If we eliminate the demand, we eliminate the supply,” Evans said.

Soucinek had a similar message. He said that as our technology progresses, our access to pornography is greater than ever before, and the best way to limit it is to refuse to take part as a viewer.

“If you want to stop porn from having an impact on you, turn the phone off,” Soucinek said.

Along with the information and discussion, students were offered multiple support resources. They included XXXchurch.com, a source for porn addiction recovery; covenanteyes.com, a website providing internet accountability and filters; Dirty Girls Ministries, support and help specifically for women struggling with addiction to pornography; and Project Six19.

Katherine Knoll Staff Writer

Contact Katherine Knoll at kknoll16@my.whitworth.edu

Greek and Hebrew Words: Your Inspiration

Do you ever have an idea or concept in your head that simply cannot be put into words? Are you looking for inspiration for a new tattoo, or perhaps a name for your new club, ministry or nonprofit organization?

Are you a fan of using archaic words or objects because they transcend the phoniness of our modern age?

It sounds like you could benefit from developing a shallow but workable vocabulary of Hebrew and Greek words. Let me take a minute to explain why this is a good idea.

Ancient languages are obscure, and obscurity is in. Forget tattoos with Chinese letters and symbols, those went out of style around 2003. Hebrew and Greek? They are the next big thing.

I’m telling you this in confidence so that you can hop on the cool-train before it even leaves the station. Why? Because I like you.

Need a name for your church retreat? Flip through a New Testament Greek Lexicon, flap your fine finger on any one line, and you got yourself a new name!

Example: “Come join us on the Honeydale Community PRAUTES church retreat in November. PRAUTES is the Greek word for spirit, because we’re all spirits, you know?”

The beauty of using an ancient language for your new tattoo or organization name is that not only are the words deep, Biblical and smart-sounding, they are also aesthetically beautiful.

They just look SO COOL! You don’t need a huge tattoo, just get the Hebrew word “hesed,” (which means steadfast love), on the inside of your forearm. Your peers will be entranced.

Besides, if you are a theology major, it is pretty much a requirement that you get a tattoo in either Greek or Hebrew, for New and Old Testament scholars respectively. That’s how we know you are legit, that you really know your stuff.

One final way these words are useful is in the way they help us avoid chronological snobbery, or the false notion that our thinking and way of life are getting better and better as time goes on.

The truth is that we would all be better off if we could just go back to the good old days when things were perfect like in the days of the early church.

Selective use of Greek and Hebrew words ripped out of their Biblical context is a great way to tap into the inherent goodness of old things.

So get out there, you! Start planning out that ministry retreat and sketching your next tattoo idea. Shalom and agape. E pluribus unum. Jonny Strain Columnist

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Contact jstrain13@my.whitworth.edu

“American dream” hones in on Christian commands

The American Dream has seen more popular days. Not only has government expansion gradually crowded out the promise of the American Dream, but certain strains of Christianity have challenged it on a moral and theological level. But is the American Dream really at odds with Christianity? Not necessarily. In some cases the American Dream corresponds with Christian ideals, and in other aspects it depends on how it is approached on the individual level.

At the most basic level, the “American Dream” provides opportunity; it leaves the door open for people to pursue their dreams as far as their hard work and responsibility can take them. In its perfect form, the American Dream does not distinguish between race, nationality, gender or religion, but provides equal opportunity for all to pursue their dreams, none of which is anti-Christian in itself. In the modern context, however, the American Dream is often negatively associated by Christians, such as mega church pastor David Platt, with individualism, materialism and status. Platt argues that Christians should rebel against the American Dream, giving away potentially everything we have instead of simply striving for success. There are two problems with his argument. First, it does the very thing it claims to oppose. If prosperity is viewed as incompatible with Christianity, then why give money to the poor in India or the needy in our communities in order to increase their prosperity? The ultimate goal is the same. Assuming, then, that the goal is to increase others’ well-being, the question must be asked: What is more effective, or more sustainable if you will: giving away all you have in a moment of fervent radicalism, or working hard your entire life to be successful in order to be able to continually contribute to the needs of your community and the world? There is a much stronger biblical case for the latter. Second Thessalonians chapter three recounts how Paul worked and toiled to avoid being a “burden” to anyone.

By working hard and taking responsibility for himself instead of relying on the collective, Paul lived out in a Christian way, the individualism of the American Dream. Working, and working hard, is an integral part of the Christian life. Later on in Second Thessalonians, Paul instructs the Thessalonians that “if a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Regarding status and success, Colossians 3:23 instructs Christians in this way: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” There is no higher work-ethic. Furthermore, Proverbs 14:23 notes that “all hard work brings a profit,” and Proverbs 22:29 declares that a skilled man “will serve before kings,” not “obscure men.” Thus, we are commanded to work hard for Christ and, if we do our duty well, presumably our hard work will bring profit and recognition. Up to this point, this seems to fit nicely with the American Dream.

What Christians need to be wary of is making wealth the ultimate goal. Riches and success are no substitute for reliance on God, since even the richest are not safe from trouble (Proverbs 11:28). The fact that some individuals allow themselves to be controlled by materialism is not an indictment of the opportunity provided by the American Dream. The American Dream that allows one person to relentlessly pursue material success is the same Dream that allows another person to spend a lifetime working in nonprofit ministry. Indeed it is precisely the prosperity that has resulted from the American Dream which has allowed the U.S. to be the world’s largest contributor (by far) to charitable causes, according to Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute.

Instead of renouncing the American Dream, Christians should take advantage of the opportunity it provides to succeed, and then turn around and reinvest that success back into the Kingdom of God.

Story by Maxford Nelsen Columnist

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

Tattoos provide a form of transformational ministry

Everyone has their own reason and desire for having a needle slowly inject ink onto their skin, resulting in a tattoo.  In my opinion, there are three types of tattoos. The first type comes from the rebellious phase/I just want a cool or cute tattoo in a generic location that does not mean much but looks sweet, and can be hidden and revealed when chosen.

The second is the artsy or symbolic tattoo that has an awesome story or meaning behind it; this type always sparks a conversation and you know a lot of time was put into thinking about the look, placement and reason behind it.

Finally, there is the ministry tattoo.  Much like tattoo number two, it has a lot of sentiment and meaning, but usually the purpose behind it has to do with one’s faith or relationship with Christ.

This tattoo allows for people to ask what it stands for or why it is important, which opens a door to ministry.  It can be an opportunity to share a verse and the meaning behind it, the way God has moved, impacted or saved their life or just how much they love God.

It is not uncommon for people to see Christians, pastors or others in leadership within ministry, perhaps, with tattoos and think “doesn’t the Bible say not to get tattoos?” Yes, it does.

Leviticus 19:28 says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.”

As much as I respect the Bible as the word of God and as guidance on how we should live our lives, there are some pieces of scripture that Christians may take out of context too often.

If we read this verse for its black and white meaning, not only would we not be allowed to get tattoos, but we would not be eating pork (Leviticus 11) and when women are considered unclean they would have to go through a ceremonial cleansing (Leviticus 15:28). Those are both pieces of scripture that we respect in the Bible, but no longer view as a necessity to be a Christian.

Tattoos can be used for ministry.  They can lead people to ask questions that can be directed back toward having a relationship with God and what that means to that individual.

It may open a door to conversation about Christ in a casual way.  It gives people the opportunity to publicly display what they believe and are proud of.

A simple tree on the ankle, verse on the back or a detailed picture on the forearm may lead to salvation, God’s grace, the power of scripture and more.

It is a good thing that we do not take Leviticus 19:28 so literally, or there could be a lot of people in the world today that would never hear the gospel.

Haley Williamson Columnist

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

Lecturer describes the effects of love in politics

Christ’s love can have monumental effects in politics, an evangelist and peacemaker shared Monday, Oct. 1. Michael Cassidy is a political activist, author and founder of African Enterprise, an evangelical reconciliation ministry that has been crucial in healing post-apartheid South Africa. By following God’s will and listening to his urging, African Enterprise was formed, Cassidy said.

AE has been reaching Africa through leadership training, evangelism, reconciliation and community development in Africa for 50 years, according to africanenterprise.org.

The nature of the ministry was influenced through Cassidy’s experiences in America during the civil rights movement, as well as the extreme segregation in South Africa during apartheid, Cassidy said.

Cassidy came to embrace the messages of Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the messages of evangelist of Billy Graham, he said.

“I came to the conclusion that the love ethic has huge political implications,” Cassidy said.

With that in mind, Cassidy began his movement to evangelize Africa and promote change through godly leadership. AE went to different political groups during the apartheid struggle and prayed with politicians from the far left and far right, Cassidy said.

Ninety South African politicians over six different weekends experienced a retreat at AE where they shared their autobiographies, told their visions for the new South Africa and heard the enemy humanized, Cassidy said.

“It’s a very powerful thing when you hear someone’s story,” Cassidy said. “You have to understand who they are and why they think the way they do.”

That is a foundation, but still is not enough. One can love individuals but that love must also go further into structures in order to bring social and political change, Cassidy said. Justice is love built into structures, he said.

Godly governance can result in major transformations of entire countries, according to AE’s website.

On April 27, 1994, elections were held in South Africa that marked the end of apartheid. Ten days prior, a prayer rally had been called because a surge of hostility between political parties threatened the lives of a million people, Cassidy said.

The Jesus Peace Rally was called in order to pray for a peaceful way forward through the first democratic elections, he said. Twenty-five thousand people attended the rally. Several of the main politicians from the various parties met in a VIP lounge of the stadium where the rally was held and came to an agreement about a way forward, he said.

Two days after the rally, those leaders announced that they would cooperate, thus avoiding an outbreak of violence, Cassidy said. The election was held over three days, and there were virtually no reports of violence anywhere in the country. It was a miracle, he said.

The United States needs love in its structures just as much as South Africa does, Cassidy said. He said he feels America needs an assembly of Christian leaders and visionaries across the nation who will speak to the social issues.

“I would love to see an American political system that has prayer as part of the system of government. I understand realistically today, that is hard,” sophomore Rachel Gerig said.

AE trains leaders by equipping pastors and citizens to think biblically and live out their faith in their place of work and influence, according to ,a href="http://africanenterprise.org/">africanenterprise.org.

Some of AE’s ideas and principles directly relate to Whitworth’s mission to “Honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.”

“Cassidy’s model of leadership meshes well with Whitworth’s inclusive and ecumenical approach,” said Gordon Jackson, professor of communication studies.

Gerig said students can demonstrate leadership at Whitworth even in small ways. She suggested talking to ASWU senators or participating in class as ways to do so. Sometimes, leadership starts simply with friendship, she said.

Cassidy encouraged students to seek God’s plan for their life and enter into it. God is faithful, he said.

“Whatever it is he has for you, He wants to lead you into it,” Cassidy said. “If I look back on 58 years of Christian experience, my testimony is to the faithfulness of God. He has stood by me.”

Kendra Stubbs Staff Writer   

Contact Kendra Stubbs at kstubbs15@my.whitworth.edu.

God’s gifts are testaments to His noteworthy nature

How can you hear about God and not be impressed? Genesis gives us a glimpse of what God is capable of. He made the sky and gave it life. Below it, he created the ocean and the mystery of its depth. He hung all the planets, plus the moon and the stars. Then, He stretched the trees to challenge the height of the tallest mountain peak. He gave life to the microscopic, while in turn made us to match His perfect image. All of this was done for us.

How can you hear about  God and not be impressed?

Look at all the stories in the Old Testament. In the beginning of Isaiah, when God displayed the supremacy He has to destroy the Earth, He rose up powerful nations that were brought into deliverance in God’s name. Other examples include when He spoke to Moses through a burning bush, saved Daniel from the lion’s den and used a mere shepherd, David, to defeat the enemy of the Lord’s city. He provided, promised, saved and loved. Impressed now?

The New Testament continues to display how awesome God truly is. The Gospels tell the story of God’s only son, sent in human form to die a painful death in order to give us life. He loved the rejected, gave to the poor and healed the sick, while He was loved by few and rejected by many. God used Jesus as an instrument to show his abiding love for them, and inevitably for us. To bring peace to the hearts of the troubled, reveal truth in the midst of darkness and clothe with gladness those with hardened hearts. God used Jesus to perform miracles; raising Lazarus from the dead, driving out demons and ridding people of leprosy, blindness and lameness.

Everything Jesus did was through the power of God. God prophesied these accounts to happen so that once Jesus took his last breath, once he said it was finished, we’d have the chance to spend eternity in Heaven with a God that loves us more than anyone ever can.

Impressed yet?

God is the father, the beginning and the end, the all-powerful and untamable who rules with mercy, grace and wisdom.

He loves you; he loves me, for all we are and all we will ever be. While the devil wants to destroy us, He is fighting to keep us in His kingdom and in His arms so that we may live out the promise Jesus states in John 10:10 as His work for God, “I come that they may have life, and have it in full.”

With everything God has done, everything He is capable of doing and the awesome God He is, He still loves us unconditionally. Now that you have read a mere smidgen of God’s impressive work I will ask you again: how can you hear about this God and not be impressed?

 

Haley Williamson Columnist

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

Though founded on Christian values, Whitworth does not impose its faith

Coming to a Christian school, students are aware that religion is sewn into the fabric of Whitworth. Students are not tricked into believing that faith is not an integral part of the university. This editorial board believes that this approach by Whitworth should be appreciated and embraced by the student body.

Whitworth has Christian values and mission, but it does not strive to impose these elements on its students. Opportunities abound for students to explore and implement their Christian values, but these opportunities are not forced upon students. The university itself acknowledges its Presbyterian background while making a conscious effort to be as accepting as possible. It is impossible to attend this school and not expect to be exposed to any elements of the Christian faith.

Modern culture seems to value inclusiveness, but there comes a point where that inclusiveness precludes any attempt to converse frankly on difficult subjects. It would be easy for Whitworth to lose its rich and religious background in an attempt to conform to the values of today. Instead, the school does a good job of allowing students of different backgrounds and beliefs to have a say in what happens at Whitworth without losing religious traditions.

For a university founded on Christian doctrine, Whitworth is comparatively liberal. At Azusa Pacific University, students are required to attend chapel three times a week. Here, chapel is not required, but half an hour has been blocked out twice a week for students to gather if they so desire. It’s an open invitation without the pressure.

From others’ experiences, Christian universities refrain from having discussions surrounding taboo topics. Whitworth, on the other hand, embraces these discussions.

The campus comes together to shed light on topics including homosexuality and racism. The ‘Hear from an Atheist’ event has also become tradition. The fact that the university sponsors a discussion surrounding atheism is a testament to the idea that Whitworth is not imposing in nature. Not only is it accepted to be of a different faith, a space is created to hear what one believes and why one believes it.

The school also offers a wide-range of classes that are based off the perspectives of others and Whitworth allows students to engage in academic work by authors of various backgrounds and faiths. A fair portion of the Core program provides students with ideas that are non-Christian and opens their eyes to many views.

Whitworth also encourages study abroad experiences, allowing students to dive into a completely different culture. For many of these trips, students experience cultures that are not dominantly Christian or Western in their ideology. This allows students an opportunity to understand different perspectives and to bring that new understanding back to Whitworth when they return.

However, there is only so much that professors and administration can do to promote an open atmosphere. At some point, it becomes the students’ responsibility to embrace the different perspectives and backgrounds of others.

College is a time to explore and discover, and part of that is beginning to own your personal beliefs. When we pass up the opportunity to openly discuss things with people who may have different views, we make it easier to hold the views we already have, but we also reject an opportunity to hone our beliefs and come to new, deeper understandings.

Whitworth gives us an incredible opportunity for openness, but many viewpoints will never make it to the surface if students do not show a willingness to listen respectfully to differing opinions. Students must embrace Whitworth’s approach to Christian values and be grateful for an environment that fosters growth in spirituality.

Whitworthian Editoral Board Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

A woman’s life does not end with ‘I do’

When I first started talking to my dad about the possibility of getting married, his first response was, “Don’t drop out of school.” The idea of dropping out for the sake of getting married had never crossed my mind. I had always excused women dropping out to work at home as an archaic tradition that, though still practiced by some, mostly ended with my parents’ generation. However, when my husband proposed to me, the questions started rolling in from fellow students, strangers, family friends and others.

“Will you still go to Whitworth once you’re married?”

“So you’re probably not going to grad school since you’re getting married, right?”

“It’s so sad that you won’t be able to pursue your career now that you’ll be having kids and doing the wife thing.”

My plans haven’t changed all that much. I’m married now, and clearly my future plans have morphed a bit to incorporate my commitment to family, but my personal plans and goals aren’t obliterated.

I did decide not to take an entire year to study abroad, as I had planned to do before getting engaged.

However, I made decisions like these because I can’t imagine a year without my husband, not because I felt a need to fulfill some sort of social obligation and fill my time housekeeping and cooking.

In 2012, being a married woman doesn’t have to mean giving up personal autonomy. More than that, being a married woman definitely doesn’t have to mean dreams of graduating and having a career are obsolete. In fact, according to the American Council on Education, 23 percent of female undergraduates in the United States are married.

Married students who dream of graduate school will take solace in the fact that 43 percent of graduate students are married. Married women may also get a pay benefit once they’re in their careers. According to a 2010 study, married women earn about four percent more than unmarried women in similar positions.

I have no problem with women working in the home or ending their education because they choose to re-prioritize after getting married; however, this shouldn’t be the automatic assumption for young women who choose to marry their significant others.

Lindsie Trego

Trego is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communication and English. Comments can be sent to lwagner14@my.whitworth.edu.

Writer speaks on searching for God through doubt

In her junior year of college, Andrea Palpant Dilley scraped the Christian fish decal off the bumper of her Plymouth hatchback, a symbol of her discontent with the church and foreshadowing her eventual departure from it.

Dilley, a documentary writer, director and producer, read from her recent book, “Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt,” in the Weyerhaeuser Hall Robinson Teaching Theatre on Sept. 21. Her book is the memoir of her abandonment and subsequent return to faith, God and the Church.

Dilley was raised in Kenya, the daughter of Quaker medical missionaries. She grew up visiting patients that died the next day and attending funerals. Even the hospital morgue was only 50 feet from her front door. Her later childhood was spent in the Pacific Northwest as a member of a committed Presbyterian church. For college, she stayed in the Northwest, attending Whitworth where she obtained degrees in English literature, writing and Spanish.

“She was someone who other students looked up to, which was a very unique position,” said Maggie Wolcott, Whitworth English professor and former classmate of Dilley. “She was very kind, with a sarcastic edge.”

Being surrounded by intelligent, conscientious Christians gave Dilley room to struggle with faith and God. She asked questions that vex doubters and believers alike: Why does God seem so distant? Why does the church feel so dysfunctional? Why does God allow suffering?

At age 23, Dilley walked out of the Church with no intention of going back. For two years Dilley wanted nothing to do with faith or God.

Yet at age 25, Dilley found herself returning to the Church for the same reasons she left.

“I had to believe in God to believe in justice, which is anchored in objective morality,” Dilley said.

Senior Shaina Whittlesey said that doubts in the faith are often seen as something to be ashamed of and thus not shared.

“I liked the honesty she used when talking about doubt,” said Whittlesey.

Dilley said she believes that doubt belongs in the sanctuary of Church. All her questions belong in the Church; it is the only place that offered her the space to search for God.

“I’ll always have demons, but I might as well take my demons to church,” Dilley said. “Sitting in church every Sunday, my doubt is my desire — to touch the untouchable, to possess the presence of God,” Dilley said.

Luke Eldredge Staff Writer

Contact Luke Eldredge at leldredge16@my.whitworth.edu

Following Christ calls for relationship and devotion

Being a Christian is more than just acknowledging the existence and presence of God, it goes beyond being able to say you have faith and believe God is real. James 2:19 says that even the demons acknowledge that there is one God. Acknowledging God is not considered unusual. However, Christians are not called to become part of the norm, but rather to stand out and be fully devoted followers of God. Being a follower is not just taking on the title of a ‘Christian’, it is a lifestyle, a daily proclamation of God’s love and  a glorification of His kingdom.

Of course we will never be able to live exactly like Christ, but we should strive to do so daily. We should strive to live out the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians, and put the Beatitudes, found in Matthew, into action. We should walk with courage knowing we are wearing the armor of God spelled out at the end of Ephesians, and go out and tell people that God has a hope, love and purpose for everyone no matter what.

Having a personal relationship with God is part of this lifestyle. This involves  spending time in the word and praying daily. It is making God your focus and the center of your life; not talking about God like He is not in the room.

This lifestyle also includes becoming the hands and feet of God. Christians are commanded all throughout scripture to take in the homeless, clothe the needy, give to the poor, love both neighbors and enemies and to respect authority. We are to live in such a way that people see the love of Christ portrayed through actions. James 2 says that faith without works is dead.

Having faith is just one step, and acknowledging God is just one part. Living a life glorifying His kingdom: that is what being a Christian is all about. It is being all in.

Francis Chan, pastor and author of Crazy Love, said, “He [Christ] wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.”

You can’t say you have faith and not live it out, and you can’t only do good deeds in order to seal your salvation. It is a package deal; one cannot bring salvation without the other.

This lifestyle is different from those living for the world. It can be hard at times, really hard. Yet, in the end, it is worth it. Are you living a life that is glorifying God’s kingdom, or are you just acknowledging Him and wearing the title?

Haley Williamson Columnist

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