"Is Jesus a Pacifist?" follows "God and Guns"

After the "God and Guns" panel in February, a group of small group coordinators wanted to continue the conversation by creating the “Is Jesus a Pacifist?” panel. The panel was more theology based than “God and Guns.” During the panel, audience members texted questions to a number projected behind the panelists. The panelists were sophomore Andrew Langbehn, Provost Carol Simon and Director of Church Engagement Terry McGonigal. Langbehn served in the military for six and a half years and since then his position on pacifism has evolved. He went into the military in 2008. In the military he had an identity crisis, but Christ became his identity which changed his perspective, Langbehn said.

“As a Christian I had to look hard at what I was participating in and see if that was for the interest of America or actually for the global human interest,” Langbehn said.

Langbehn accepted principles of Just War theory without knowing it when faced with operations and tasks, he said.

Just War theory was a practice used by early Christians to determine whether a war was just. Some principles of the theory included determining if military involvement was necessary to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people and if nothing else could solve conflict.

He had to come to terms with whether he was trying to put an end to the violence or furthering the violence, Langbehn said.

“In my position I would say use the just war theory,” Langbehn said. “And principles of that to approach situations, to approach wars.”

Simon agreed with Langbehn’s use of the Just War theory but said she doubts someone can know if they are using it correctly.

Just War theory was developed as a way for Christian leaders to know when and how they should seek military solutions to conflict, Simon said. In most times, however, people had no choice whether or not to participate in the military.

“As a Christian I find the view of that I will call modern military pacifism compelling,” Simon said. “As an ordinary citizen I have no way of knowing if officials have tried every other way.”

McGonigal recalled his discussion with a friend of his who is a military chaplain who had been involved in multiple combat situations. There is a lot of violence in the Bible and some justifies violence, McGonigal said. The military chaplain said that Christians who think in the way that the culture has given them is frustrating because it creates a binary thinking, McGonigal said.

In Joshua 5, before the people of Israel escape oppression in Egypt, Joshua is leading the people across. When he sees someone holding a sword, Joshua asks “are you with us or against us or are you for us?”, McGonigal said. The person responds with “Neither. I am the commander of the army of the lord”.

“Joshua came with a binary,” McGonigal said. “Are you with us or against us?”

Sophomore Clare Newell found the perspectives from the panelists on the relationship between violence, pacifism and Jesus interesting.

“The stories and personal anecdotes from what they’ve learned from other people was really interesting,” Newell said. “Particularly, I liked the story McGonigal shared of how Mennonites define pacifism a little bit differently.”

Sophomore Eric Espinoza said his biggest takeaway was that there were lots of references to violence in the Bible.

“We’re talking a lot [in Nonviolent Defense] about how love fosters movements for change. If you go based on love, you can change a person’s heart. The idea that Jesus Christ faced so much and suffered is interesting. He could have defended himself but he didn’t, he didn't avoid it because he knew in order to teach his people [his oppressors] he needed to endure torment.”

 

Krystiana Morales

Staff Writer

Contact Krystiana at kmorales17@my.whitworth.edu

"The Space Between" showcases senior art

Last Tuesday marked the opening day for the 2016 senior exhibition, “The Space Between.” Located in the Bryan Oliver gallery inside of the Lied Arts Center, "The Space Between" exhibit is a compilation of works from Whitworth senior visual art students. The show features a wide variety of projects, including a wire installation, graphic designs, screen prints, paintings, photographs and even an artist book. Before graduating seniors are asked to come up with a final project that reflects both their time at Whitworth and their chosen field of study.

Senior art and psychology major Christina Dobbins prepared a four-panel mixed media work, a painted photograph of a bustling city on canvas. Using a photograph and a gel medium, Dobbins transferred the black and white photo to the canvases and then painted over selected parts of the image with oil paint.

“I am from the San Francisco area, California, so I came up with the idea from some pictures I took of street life when I was home,” Dobbins said. “I really like the busyness of cities, and the diversity of people in them, and so that's where I got the idea.”

Dobbins' work is neither fully a photograph nor fully a painting, but rather it is a unique combination.

Senior Britney Baker chose to share both her love for photography and for her older sister. For her project, she displayed a series of photographs that she took of her sister and her husband titled, “The Story of Them.”

“The pictures on the wall is a storyline of my sister and the few big moments that have happened in her life so far, her getting engaged, her newborn pictures and having her first child.”

Additionally, Baker put together a book of photographs she has taken that the viewer is invited to flip through to experience her style of photography.

“The book is a compilation of all the things I have been recently working on,” Baker said. “I wanted the book to be a product I would be able to show to clients in the future.”

Senior Jeff Skaggs’ work “Aging Process” is made of six similar but slightly different labels on aging bottles of wine, to show the evolution of his knowledge and skills as a graphic design major and his aging process.

“My work...is my reflection on the change throughout my collegiate career, a change as a person, and now I am getting ready to enter the workforce and what we would classify as the ‘real world,’” Skaggs said. “It’s a change and a progression, so it’s an aging process, and that’s why I labeled it that.”

The faculty in the art department work to equip and discuss with their students the reality of life after college, but not without presenting some healthy challenges for them along the way.

Dobbins’ challenge has been juggling a psychology and art major, and trying to navigate life after Whitworth.

“I’m a psychology and art major, so it has been interesting trying to balance the two, and figuring out what I want to do,” Dobbins said. “We have some really good professors, that are always willing to help talk through things and come up with ideas, so that’s been really helpful.”

Growing as an artist and a person at Whitworth has proven to be sometimes difficult for Baker.

“It’s definitely been a bumpy road at times, I have learned a lot about myself,” Baker said. “[The professors] really push you to do your best and they push you sometimes when you don’t want to be pushed, but they do anyways, and I am better artist because of that.”

Skaggs has been challenged to grow his knowledge in areas beyond his major and. “I have felt really happy here at Whitworth,” Skaggs said. “I am really thankful that I didn't just spend all my time dedicated in one specific area, because then I feel like I wouldn’t have had the knowledge and skills to apply other areas into my work.”

The artwork of these seniors and their classmates will be on display in the Bryan Oliver Gallery from now until May 21.

 

Kailee Carneau Staff Writer

Freshman Jira Hammond interprets senior Annie Feuerstein’s piece titled “Set Time, Face Self”.

Contact Kailee at kcarneau17@my.whitworth.edu

Diversity Monologues: What is a community?

Robinson Teaching Theatre was filled with tears, laughter and applause March 31 as students shared personal monologues on how they come to know community. The Diversity Monologues were established by the Director of Diversity Initiatives and Social Justice Michael Benitez Jr. at Dickinson College. The monologues were created in order to showcase the talents of students while calling attention to issues of diversity and social justice, according to speakoutnow.org. Benitez is currently the dean of diversity and inclusion and the chief officer diversity at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

The monologues began with an introduction from President Beck Taylor. Taylor referred to Whitworth’s mission statement which states, “The University’s mission is to provide its diverse student body an education of the mind and the heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.” To be Christian means to be radically inclusive. To be Christian means to see ourselves as a part of a larger tapestry of human creation, Taylor said.

Coordinator for Diversity, Equity & Inclusive Ministries Stephanie Nobles-Beans prayed with the audience and for the students who shared their monologues before introducing David Garcia, assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Garcia thanked some of the forty individuals who played a role in putting the event together.

Benitez introduced the students sharing their monologues and provided commentary on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in between student performances. Benitez also shared some of his own poetry.

Senior Marianne Sfeir was the first student to share her monologue, “Tired: Reflection of a Lebanese-American.” Sfeir is from Beirut, Lebanon which has suffered from the ramifications of a religious civil war, she said.

“Politics, religion, war,” Sfeir said “These three words were the axis of my world. They told me who I was and who I am and who I am is Lebanese.”

Junior Emily Thorpe thinks diversity is about more than people’s race or ethnicity, which is a factor of diversity, but it is also about people’s experiences.

“No two people have the same story and no two people see the world in the same way,” Thorpe said. “So I think that’s what diversity means to me.”

Sfeir said that she’s tired of the sectarianism in Lebanon, which divides people who hate and use that hate in the name of God. She’s tired of the division that is created by the language of people, Sfeir. She came to the United States hoping to find something different. But she was disappointed, Sfeir said.

“In China they created this great wall,” Sfeir said. “In America this great wall is called 'eamana' for which the English translation is blindness.”

Blindness is a system that glorifies winners and losers, Sfeir said. It is calling others too sensitive when you have not taken the time to listen, Sfeir said.

“Community is when a human being looks into the eyes of another human being and doesn’t stop at the divisions created by politics, religion, war,” Sfeir said. “But with humility acknowledges their blindness and says, ‘please teach me more’.”

Freshman Olyvia Salter shared her monologue “The Art of Storytelling” about the elders of her family as well as the individuals who helped motivate her goals and dreams which include artists, writers and family members.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants. A foster child and militaristic man are my parents. A bipolar published poet is my aunt and a recovered addict is my grandmother,” Salter said. “I am a product of survival.”

Her habitat does not shape who she is but it creates knowledge and understanding, Salter said. She wants to use that knowledge to conform hearts and use her education, love, respect and creativity to reconstruct society, she said. She loves to converse with the older generation and the stories they tell, which may fall on their last set of ears, Salter said.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants. A believer and a war veteran are my parents. A social activist is my aunt. A caregiver is my grandmother,” Salter said. “I am a product of survival.”

The best part about the monologues was hearing from each individual, Thorpe said.

“It is so incredible that even though everyone was given the same prompt, each performance was completely different than the one before it.”

The writer's life

Junior Josh Tuttle, an English major on the writing and literature tracks and computer science minor, has been passionate about writing from a young age. After learning the alphabet as a child, Tuttle used to type on his family's old typewriter. “I have always wanted to be a writer; the problem was when you’re a little kid, the challenge of being a writer isn’t necessarily the writing, it’s having something to say,” Tuttle said. “I didn’t have anything to say, because I hadn’t had the right experiences to have anything to say.”

Tuttle has come a long way since his typewriter days and over time has found many things to say. “Eventually I got older, and you both get more life experiences, and with practice, you get more facility with language and writing, and mental stamina,” Tuttle said.

Last year, Tuttle won the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts essay contest and will have one of his short stories published in an anthology entitled “Songs of My Selfie,” a collection of 17 short stories by millennial fiction writers.

“I had always wanted to get a short story published and I hadn’t been able to yet, so that was why I was so excited to hear that it was going to be published," Tuttle said.

Tuttle’s soon-to-be published short story is a fictional work; however, that may not be the writing style he continues to pursue.

“I feel a bit unmoored right now,” Tuttle said. “I sort of stumbled upon creative non-fiction, and I think that will probably end up being more of my thing. That does make me a little sad, because I really wanted to be a fiction writer, but I've discovered that I like creative non-fiction more.”

Before coming to Whitworth, Tuttle served in the army for two and a half years, where he worked as an Abrams crewman and a Stryker Mobile Gun System crewman.

“I picked up a book when I was in the Army called "Reading Like a Writer," by a woman named Francine Pros,” Tuttle said. “I picked it up and it sounded interesting, because I had always wanted to be a writer. The book was fantastic, and that was the first time that I ever really felt like I could see the path forward.”

After the Army, Tuttle attended De Anza community college (CA), where his writing professor, Charles Gray, reminded him of how much he enjoyed being in an English class environment.

“I loved the environment so much,” Tuttle said. “Without that experience, I really don’t think that I would have had the necessary insight to want to come to a place like Whitworth, where I would be in a good place to explore that side of things, so I owe a lot to him.”

After attending De Anza, Tuttle eventually transferred to Whitworth, where he was drawn to the English department.

“I came to Whitworth to be a computer science major, because I wanted to work for Microsoft,” Tuttle said. “I also wanted to explore the writing side [of myself], and I figured my opportunity to do that would be better served at a liberal arts university than some state school. And I was right. Our writing program, on the creative writing side, is just fantastic.”

There has been no single person of inspiration for Tuttle, but rather a whole department of support.

“Our professors are so supportive and so wonderful, after coming from places like the Army and De Anza College,” Tuttle said. “Just the personal relationships with these professors, I don’t think I could name anyone in [Whitworth’s] English department, that I haven’t had something like that with.”

“Songs of My Selfie,” the anthology featuring Tuttle’s short story, will be available in print by April 5.

 

Kailee Carneau Staff Writer

Contact Kailee at kcarneau17@my.whitworth.edu