Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sylvia Welch – A Prayer to the High King

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Forgive me of my sin tonight.
I pray my heart would be contrite.
Protect me from Satan’s evil grasp
And let me always to your Word hold fast.

Shelter and peace from your Word I do seek,
But each day fears attack me; I am weak.
Only your strength can hold me up,
So I may drink from your everlasting cup.

I lay at your feet all of my fears
Feeling comfort you’ll sustain me all my years.
Singing praises to you gives me great joy
And leaves me confident my heart will never be void.

Your grace is a sunrise offering a new start,
Urging me to spread this light which changed my heart.
So now I humbly ask that you give me a thirst
Not to seek empty self glory but to always put the High King first.

Katie Brooks Boone – Adventure Without Redemption

By | Hermeneutics | No Comments

When I opened my eyes there was darkness, thick, black, silent darkness.  A putrid scent of body odor and blood engrossed my nostrils as I gasped for air.  It was consciously hard to breathe, wherever I was at that moment.  The last thing I remembered, I was exploring a cave I had found while rock climbing that beautiful summer afternoon.  After I heard an ear-piercing crash, my memory was no use.  Everything went black, and my state of mind with it.  The times I tried to recount any more details of what happened next, I was only frustrated with no success and a nauseating headache.

Everything was just black, utterly and hopelessly black.  The darkness a thick curtain in front of me, it seemed as though my fingers could move it out of the way and let the light in.  Then the thought occurred to me, have I died?  Did I have some kind of accident in that cave and that was it?  The icy fingers of fear and worry suddenly gripped me.  Who will take care of my wife and children?  Will they ever know what happened to me?  Is anyone going to look for me?  The questions didn’t stop coming.  All I knew at that moment was that wherever I was, I could not move.  Every time I tried to shift my body an overwhelming pain rushed to my legs and ankles.  As I tried to feel my surroundings, cold, hard surfaces came in contact with me everywhere I frantically felt.  It soon became clear I was pinned under a massive stone and trapped in the cave somewhere.  Panic set in my bones as my situation became real.  I knew there was nothing I could do for myself; I was trapped, helpless.  At that point I tried to sleep it off and hoped that I would not wake up and this nightmare would be over.

Surprisingly I did fall asleep, and when I woke up, there were no bright lights and shiny people, just more of the same endless black.  And the more I rubbed my eyes hoping for a different scene, that abyss continued to swallow me in its darkness.  My stomach began to growl, my mouth became noticeably dry, and I wondered how much time had passed since that afternoon I ventured into the cave.  Food had been the last thing on my mind, but since I had settled in to my hopeless surroundings a little more, I was able to recognize my hunger and thirst.  Water was just about the only thing on my mind at that time, and I wondered why I had not felt much pain in my obviously injured legs.  Endorphins were the conclusion I easily settled with.  Once again, my mind wandered on the unanswered questions of my situation and I fell back asleep in my dark little nest of rocks.

The next thing I remember, I woke up to a loud crack, crumble, and crash.  My arm was in excruciating pain as another rock had fallen on it, pinning my body even tighter to the wall of that bleak cave.  It seemed as though my entire body was throbbing under that one rock through my arm; the pain was unbearable.  I must have passed out from the pain, because I woke up for a third time to a more subtle slow throb in my arm and a headache that seemed to just squeeze the life out of me.  My hunger and thirst started to be more uncomfortable and at that point, any pain I had previously felt in my legs was an old and seemingly unimportant worry compared to my overall situation.  Just as I started to give up hope, I heard what sounded like a yell in the distance.  My explanation was delirium until I heard it again and again, louder and louder.  As the voices grew nearer, I could clearly hear what they were saying.  Someone was calling my name.  Derrick, Derrick!  Are you there?  Can you hear me?  Derrick??  My heart leapt with joy and my stomach knotted in excitement at the thought of rescue.   With all of the energy I had left, I called out for help, in some attempt to be heard.  But the more I yelled, the further away the voices got.  Gasping for air and straining to yell, my throat grew sore and it became increasingly difficult to breathe in that tight pocket of air.  Eventually the voices died away and I ceased my calls for help.  There was no hope for me.

Now, I sit on the same rock against the same wall in the same cave I stumbled upon that beautiful summer afternoon.  I no longer feel my legs or arm, and my head spins whenever I try to turn it.  Delirium has set it; the rocks echo the voices of my imaginary rescuers as time passes by, but then again time is irrelevant at this point.  I do not know how long I have been here, and I do not know how much longer I have left.  I am recording everything I remember on the video camera I brought with me hiking that day, and hope one day someone will find this and let my family know what has become of me.  Though this is not how I wish to go, I will settle for my fate.  I’m Derrick Leeland, and as the battery flashes red on my camera, I will conclude with my remaining memories of the day I set out for this cave, the cave that will be my resting place.  The beautiful sun shone across a cloudless sky, glittered on a crystal clear pond, and glistened on the fresh dew that dripped from the grass under my feet.  Harmonious melody could be heard from the birds as a light breeze engulfed my nostrils.  I took a deep breath of the fresh, crisp air and set out on that summer afternoon, embarking on the journey that would end my life.

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Heath Padgett – “Bring Back the Backpack”

By | Knightly Herald | No Comments

Awaiting the first day of school at Westminster as a freshman, I quickly hurried into the school building to prepare for class; yet one major article seemed to be lacking. This article, which I had previously organized in neat pockets with multiple pens, pencils, etc., was my backpack. All summer long, the excitement of using a new, organized (and expensive) backpack struck my pondering mind. However, when that dreadful morning arrived, I walked the halls for the first time in months with a huge void on my back. The reason for this void was due to the fact that school administrators had banned backpacks in the classrooms in order to create more space for new students. On the contrary, the “solution” of banning backpacks has caused many more problems than it solved. By pursuing this unnecessary path, more halls are clogged, more property is damaged, and more people are inconvenienced. In order to solve the previous problems, school administrators should bring back the backpack with a few alterations.

Initially, by eliminating the backpack, halls are becoming more clogged during breaks and during class switches. One of the reasons for congestion is that students drop their class supplies very easily as they carry their things through the hallways. I know the previous example from experience. Day after day, I continue to drop one item after another, causing more and more items to fall, until everything is finally on the ground being trampled on. This not only causes slight anger and impatience from the people behind me but also embarrassment for myself as I sit helplessly on the ground trying to regain my possessions. Following this flaw in the system, the principles of math demonstrate that backpacks take up less space in the hallways than by carrying books. The reason for this is that in a backpack books are stored and carried vertically (saving space), while by carrying books by hand they are held horizontally to prevent dropping. Many teachers agree that without backpacks the halls are more clogged, but they also think that the classrooms are more open and spacious. The outcome is not because of the removal of backpacks per se; but rather that there is, yet again, another rule. This is the rule that only two subjects worth of books can be carried at a time. If this rule were applied in accompaniment with backpacks, then even more room would be made available in the classrooms. This principle has been demonstrated with the girls’ giant bags, which are much larger than most backpacks. The bags are only allowed to hold two subjects worth of materials in them so the result is much slimmer than last year (2011-2012); but if the principle were applied to backpacks, then the result would again be much greater. This is because backpacks are taller and narrower than the giant bags and horizontal books so there would be more usable area (length times width) in the classrooms. Another way that the previous rule (two subjects per bag) would be much more beneficial with backpacks is due to the guys in the school. Since most guys do not carry around giant man purses (European man bags), their books are scattered along the floors and tables of each room. This causes a lot of clutter and waste of valuable space. If they had the more manly backpacks, then the problem of space would be eliminated. Therefore, because of the aforementioned examples, by removing backpacks, the amount of clutter increases.

Another fateful side effect of removing backpacks is that great amounts of property are damaged and destroyed. As I walked through the hall, I looked out the window and noticed that rain drops poured onto the ground. However, as I travelled across the quadrangle to arrive at my next class, my books were being drenched by the downpour. Walking into the next classroom, the amount of damage was astounding. Now I would be faced with high replacement fees for the textbooks. Not to mention, Westminster uses textbooks that are out of print and hard to find, leading to even higher costs. Would this cost be necessary if I had had a backpack to protect the books? Consequently, without the added protection of a backpack, books suffer a greater amount of abuse on a day-to-day basis. In a backpack, books and other various articles are safely and neatly stored, leading to the protection of the books during transportation and arrival upon the destination. Without backpacks books are dropped, kicked, and stepped on, resulting in damage that could have easily been avoided. Therefore, by removing the backpacks, more problems, such as abuse to property, are created than the single benefit of creating “more space.”

Finally, the removal of backpacks causes great inconveniences to the students of Westminster. Students have many pens, pencils, whiteout, etc., to carry around with them at all times. However, when one of theses articles runs out or breaks, then the student is left with nothing. The core of this problem is that the average student cannot carry many extra supplies with his or her already full hands. On the contrary, a backpack has been designed by paid professionals with neatly inserted pockets and dividers for all such supplies, while the entire time trying to use the least amount of space as possible. Uncomfortably stuffing my pockets with extra provisions, I am one of the few who is able to help those who do not have extra supplies with them. I happily lend others supplies without regret since I know firsthand how hard it is to keep up with so many little trinkets. Also, another inconvenience is that it is nearly impossible to keep with oneself personal items such as facial tissues and first aid kits. With a backpack, I was always the person at hand to come to during class when minor wounds would occur. I was always prepared for nearly any situation, with all types of bandages, tissues, and many other articles. Now, however, I cannot do so. I can no longer be the good Samaritan that helps people who are hurting around me. Instead I have to just pass by as the Pharisee did to the wounded Jew in Luke 10:25-37. Along with the inability to act Christ-like (as we are supposed to do according to Westminster’s mission statement), I cannot easily protect myself from morning allergies. Every morning I am stricken with an annoying runny nose but can only carry limited amounts of tissues with me. Now what will I sneeze onto if my scanty supplies run out? Therefore, once again, by taking away rights and privileges of the students (also known as the backpack), more problems are created than solved.

In the end, the elimination of the backpack was meant to create much needed space. However, with a limited amount of space comes a limited margin for error. This limited margin was not accomplished by removing the backpack since backpacks are specifically designed for storing schoolbooks in the most organized and orderly fashion. Clutter is defined as a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass. If Mr. Hinton was to give a tour of two separate classrooms and asked his visitors, “Which room seems to be more cluttered; the room with books neatly stored in backpacks, or the room with books thrown about the floor with nothing to contain them?” Which room would the visitors choose?

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Alice Boone – Adventures in China

By | Knightly Herald, Logic | No Comments

Thousands of steps loom above me. The Great Wall of China is an intimidating sight, especially when one has only thirty minutes to climb to the top and be back at the bottom. A deep breath swells my lungs as I begin my ascent. The steps start small and are easy to scale. The first tower entered is like a maze, housing many nooks and crannies along with ancient ladders leading to the rafters. After exiting the first tower, a gasp escapes my lips. Nearly vertical stairs dominate the scene. Knees lift high into the air as my body crawls up the massive blocks of stone. Now begins the real challenge.

Higher and higher I climb. Arms pump and legs push up the scores of steps. Shortness of breath overcomes me. The second tower has been reached! A break is much needed, but it does not last. Up I go again. This set is even more difficult than the previous one, for fatigue has started to creep through my body. However, nothing can hinder my determination. After what seems like an eternity, the final tower is close enough to be entered.

A few team members and I continue forward until a sign that reads “No Admittance Beyond This Point” blocks the pathway. This meager block of wood is not going to thwart our plans of reaching the highest point of the Great Wall in the area. Heads duck under bushes and feet trip over roots. Then all at once, the overgrown shrubbery ceases and opens to a breathtaking view. Dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, I slowly rotate, taking in the scene around me. Looking back proves that fellow team members Caleb, Ben, and James are doing the same.

Curtains of fog mask the true magnificence of the landscape. An unreachable length of the Great Wall stretches to the peak of one of many small hills. Vines, roots, grass, and trees have completely overtaken it, leaving the stone underneath barely visible. The sun hangs overhead, illuminating the scenery and creating a glare as it hits the mist. Silence screams our solitude. The edges of the crumbling walkway decline severely. Pebbles are knocked off the boundary and disappear far below. Pieces of the Great Wall snake across the mountains’ outline. Words can do no justice to the beauty before me.

Sadly, the admiring must come to an end. After snapping a few photos, we make our way back down the Wall. In some ways the descent is more difficult than the opposite because if a foot is misplaced, we could easily fall to our deaths. Scooting down the steepest steps seems to be the only way to successfully make to the bottom. We speed through the towers, more familiar with the pattern of intricate passageways.

Thousands of steps later we reach the ski lift that carried us to the wall. Thankfully, no one has been injured. There is only one way down the mountain- a toboggan that plummets along a metal chute at alarming speeds. Now begins the real fun. Hopping onto a cart, a Chinese man motions towards the instructions written in broken English. Excitement for the upcoming ride is so overwhelming I do not look at the sign but thrust the lever forward as far as it will go. Down the metal track my cart shoots, swerving the turns and gaining speed every minute. Squeals of joy emit from my mouth, for the ride is thrilling. All too soon the cart reaches the end of the track at the bottom of the mountain. I have never done anything more enjoyable! Four braved the trek; four were generously rewarded.

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Ashley Henton

By | Humanities | No Comments

In the fall of 2009, I was starting my sixth grade year at Simmons Middle School. My sister, Lauren, told me many wonderful stories about the school. There were many activities that appealed to me, but the one thing that caught my attention more than anything were the Sunshine Helpers. A Sunshine Helper is a student who helps out with special needs students.

When the time came, my application form was filled out and turned in. I had all the experience required, so I had a strong feeling the leaders would choose me. Days went by. Students around me were chosen, but not me. After a couple months passed, I eventually accepted defeat, gave up, and stopped anticipating becoming a Sunshine Helper. My friends told me that there would be another opportunity for me next year, but there was still a part of me that doubted my strength and ability.

After the second nine weeks passed had started, my confidence achieved an all time high. One of my friends told me that new Sunshine Helpers were selected every nine weeks. But as the second nine weeks passed, there was still no word.

Finally, in the third nine weeks, my name was announced over the intercom. I immediately was confused. Especially, when the intercom announced, “Ashley Henton, report to the seventh grade principal’s office.” Slowly, my feet uneasily walked to the office. Once I got there, a woman and another girl greeted me. The woman told us we had been accepted as Sunshine Helpers. My happiness escalated, and this time, I was not going to be disappointed. When the lady walked me back to class, she asked me if being a Sunshine Helper still interested me. Excitedly, I told her yes.

It was an amazing experience getting to help with special needs kids, and I sincerely hope I can do it again. It was my job to help and teach the kids, but in the end, the kids taught me. They made me realize that it was good and important to give back to the community no matter how difficult the experience is.

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Robert Mann – Bioplastics

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Over the past few decades, a revolutionary idea has arrived on the scene: Bioplastics. One might think that anything that is supposed to be “environmentally friendly” or “green” must be a good idea. However, in their current state, bioplastics are inefficient. Bioplastics are a type of plastic that come from renewable sources such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, and many other sources. Many bioplastics decompose over time at the same rate as paper and do not rely on fossil-fuels like common plastics. Despite these positive effects, bioplastics are currently not worth implementing.

Even though bioplastics are not currently used on a large scale, they still have a variety of possible practical applications. Bioplastics.com sells products for molecular biologists to use in labs such as pipette tips, tubes, racks, and boxes. Each of these tools can be made from bioplastics. Many of the glass tools students use during experiments can be replaced with reusable and biodegradable instruments. Also, Bioplastics.us explores the idea of Biothane, which is a substance made from layers of bioplastics. Biothane is coated webbing already used in the military, medical field, and in sports. Biothane is also a key safety component in rock climbing and other related fields because it is used for harnesses, belts, and straps. Without a doubt, bioplastics are relevant to a wide variety of occupations and are becoming more available to the world.

Despite their variety of uses, bioplastics should not be implemented because of their negative effects. Discovery.com states that some petroleum plastics have less environmental effect than bioplastics. To create bioplastics requires a great amount of energy, and the energy put into making bioplastics outweighs the energy given back to the soil when they decompose. In addition, Time.com reports that not all bioplastics decompose, and they must be disposed of properly or else they will not break down. Some bioplastics can fully decompose (a Sun Chips bag) or only partially decompose (a water bottle where the cap does not break down with the rest of the bottle). Bioplastics are currently more of a hassle than a help. Thus, because bioplastics are a recent idea, they are only sometimes biodegradable and often use more resources than they give back to the soil.

In conclusion, bioplastics are relatively new idea that explores making objects that can return to the soil and look like soil. The definition of something that is compostable is an object that is biodegradable, disintegrates, and leaves no toxic material. Based on this definition, many bioplastics do not meet these criteria even though they are designed to meet each of these standards. Some objects made from bioplastic only partially disintegrate, while others break down very slowly. The availability of these bioplastics is scarce because they cannot be made quickly. The applications of bioplastics are in a wide variety, but again, the process is tedious and time-consuming. To conclude, bioplastics could be a great tool in the world’sfuture but are too unpredictable currently to make a significant impact.

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Works Cited

1. N. p. http://cordis.europa.eu/search/index.cfm?

fuseaction=proj.document&CFTOKEN=19120 617&PJ_RCN=7901178&CFID=6808047. CORDIS services, 1 June 2005. Web. 30 September 2012.

2. Chen, G. and Patel, M. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic#cite_note-2. Chemical Reviews, n. d. Web. 30 September 2012.

3. N. p. http://www.bioplastics.com/. BIOplastics, 2010. Web. 30 September 2012.

4. N. p. http://www.bioplastics.us/. Bioplastics Company, 2006-2012. Web. 30 September 2012.

5. Marshall, Jessica. http://news.discovery.com/earth/bioplastic-plant-plastic-evironmental.html. Discovery News, 6 December 2010. Web. 30 September 2012.

6. Dell, Kristina. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0, 9171, 1983894, 00.html. TIME Magazine U. S., 3 May 2010. Web. 30 September 2012.

7. N. p. http://worldcentric.org/biocompostables/bioplastics. World Centric, 2004-2012. Web. 30 September 2012.

Possibility of Other Universes – Josh Moore

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“Physicists have sought far and wide for an explanation of the universe which excludes the postulate of a divine being, and intelligent designer who created and will complete all things. One solution is the multiverse that our universe is really only one of the many options out there, that there are other universes that have spun off of this, or perhaps our universe is a spin off of the primary universe or what if this isn’t the primary universe?” The multiverse is the concept that there are an infinite number of universes beyond our own. It was developed by physicists to explain all of the coincidences that make life possible in our universe. (Multiverse, 2012). This idea becomes significant in the search for extraterrestrial life and the debate over evolution.

 

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