Monthly Archives: November 2013

Mumford and Sons: Your Money’s Worth and a Bit More

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By Alice Boone, Class of 2016

September 9, 2013 marked a historic night in Birmingham, Alabama. On that night in The Magic City, three sold out concerts took place: Hanson with Paul McDonald, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Mumford and Sons. I chose to attend Mumford and Sons and boy, did I choose wisely.

Bear’s Den opened the show with a short set that resembled a toned down version of Mumford. Next, British rock band The Vaccines took the stage. Their set was loud and enthusiastic, but they failed to engage with the crowd and their lyrics were difficult to decipher. My favorite part of The Vaccines’ set was when Marcus Mumford made a surprise appearance to sing and play a tambourine furiously. While I enjoyed both openers to an extent, I was counting down the minutes until Mumford started playing.

The lights dimmed. The excitement in the stands was almost tangible. I could barely make out four silhouettes ambling onto the stage. In total darkness, the opening lines of Lover’s Eyes began to float over the audience. On the drop of the first chorus, purple and blue lights flooded the amphitheater. At the end of the second chorus, the stage lights exploded, finally revealing the four Brits we had all been waiting in anticipation to see. The show continued at a spectacular pace. Marcus, Ted, Winston, and Ben played with incredible energy and were able to engage the crowd in every song.

As soon as “Little Lion Man” began, the lights that had been strung from the top of the radio towers to the stage lit up. The strings of bulbs flashed on and off throughout the song, keeping in time with the beat. With the change in song came a change colors that followed its mood.

Each hit brought a fresh wave of energy and enthusiasm that rippled through the countless rows of fans.

They decided to tone it down a notch and leave their backing musicians behind to do an acoustic set. The ballad “Reminder” closed that set and it was beautiful. Soon after, the band left the stage and in turn left the crowd screaming for more.

Mumford took the stage yet again, bringing out Bear’s Den and The Vaccines to help them sing “a new song by an up and coming band we’re trying to support.” They dove in to an smashing rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together”. It was my favorite Beatles song I’ve seen besides Paul McCartney’s rendition “Live and Let Die.”

Following that electrifying cover, Marcus decided that since it was the band’s first time in this state, it was only right that they should play Sweet Home Alabama. There was only one problem, not one member knew the lyrics! They pulled a random fan from the crowd to sing with them, and the audience was in for a pleasant surprise. The nervous fan sang his heart out and did not disappoint with his surprising talent.

The concert came to a smashing close, and no one was ready to leave. Its rare that I see a band with such passion and it was quite a treat. From the fast tempo strumming if the stringed instruments, to the wide range of vocals, to the hilarious comments about Alabama’s beauty and heat, Mumford made sure their followers got their money’s worth.

Mumford gave a phenomenal performance in Pelham, Alabama, that night with their outstanding music, powerful vocals, and amazing accents. In simpler terms, Mumford and Sons rocked Pelham’s face off. It was definitely a night that none of the of the 11,000 attendees will soon forget.

 

Don’t Look Ahead. . . Without Looking Back

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By DeAnna Lockett, Class of 2017

“I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past,” states John F. Kennedy, expressing the age-old truth that history repeats itself. In order to determine what is to come, one must examine what has already occurred. When you hear the word “history,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Some people consider history to be one of the most boring subjects to study because it is often only associated with names, dates, and events. History does not interest many people because they dislike the details. They also fail to discover how all of the puzzle pieces come together to create the bigger picture. According to John F. Kennedy, studying the elements of history and how they unfold in the future is essential to understanding the world one lives in.

The importance of studying history is so that people can learn from the mistakes people made before their time. Also, by studying history people can follow the example of those who have gone before. For example, at the founding of America, the framers of the Constitution struggled with creating a central government that was strong while still preserving individual rights. The early Americans had to reflect back on the Pilgrims’ efforts of gaining political and religious freedom. They realized that just as the Pilgrims had agreed to work together in being independent from Britain and forming their own laws, the Americans must also unite their freedoms together to protect each other’s liberty and form a successful government. Clearly, history is full of reoccurring themes. In other words, examining the past allows one to understand the world he lives in at the present time, and then he will know what his contribution to the world should be. Then, the individual will realize that when he makes a difference in the world, no matter how small, it will all work together for his good to complete the puzzle of life.

Sharing the Monkey: The True Spirit of Cross Country

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By Maddie Hoaglund, Class of 2017

Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” This verse was the strength of the Westminster Cross Country team of 2012. The team desired to sharpen one another for the glory of God. Whether teammates were running at practice or studying for a test, the goal was for each person to strengthen another.

Cross Country is a team-oriented sport. In order for a team to place, at least five runners must participate. Each person depends on the team to succeed. This is a unique idea because a runner competes individually, yet scores as a team. Before the middle school championship in Scottsboro last year, Coach Callahan encouraged the girls’ team with an image of a monkey. “We all share the monkey. Each person can have a little bit if him. Someone can have an arm or a lip, but no one carries the whole thing.” Coach Callahan was attempting to convey the message that each person was not alone. The entire team shared the burden of running. The top runner or the second runner did not carry the team, but every teammate ran for one another. Every person on the team was necessary and important.

A true team runs not for the glory, but to have fellowship with others on the team. Furthermore, the ultimate goal is to improve in all aspects of life and to glorify God. Morgan Reynolds, the only senior on the cross country team, stated, “The purpose of cross country is to build character to be applied throughout your life. Cross country is not just a sport, where the goal is to win a trophy. It is a team oriented sport which teaches endurance.” Cross country develops habits of hard work and perseverance. Although trophies and championships are accomplishments, they are only impressive by the world’s standards.

The Westminster cross country team’s ultimate goal is to glorify God. If a team wins a championship while glorifying Him, then He receives the credit. Winning for Christ, is all about creating a platform in order to minister to others. The team strives to be a light to the world and live out the love of Christ. As Coach Thompson and Coach Carrell put it best, “The result of my efforts must result in His glory.” In conclusion, no matter how the team does, God will be glorified.

How to Grow a Story

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by Sarah McDaniel, Class of 2017

When people think of writing, they think about one of the following things: school or books. Writing is so much more than that. It goes beyond the persuasive paragraph and the expository essay. It is all about imagination and dedication.

It all starts with a little idea. This small idea is like a seed in a garden. From this seed roots start growing. These roots turn into a character, then two, then they become a landscape, a picture in the depths of your mind. Just like tending a plant, it takes a lot of time and work to make this idea perfect. Soon, the plot and climax grow, then finally you’re ending. You step back to see your idea has grown into an amazing story.

However, you don’t stop there. You keep editing. In other words, you provide the environment for your plant to thrive in. Sometimes you will go through a drought where you have no words to add. Eventually, you will get the perfect story. You just need to find the right inspiration, that first, tiny seed. It can be anything from a storm in the sky to a dog running astray. Some people write about a popular band or their favorite television show. For certain individuals it is easier to write about facts and prove points, while for others imagination is the key as he or she writes about a girl who lived in the 1700s.

Writing can do much more than just entertain. Writing gives one a chance to escape his or her troubles and become part of a new life. It can give you a fresh perspective. Everybody is a writer. Passion is behind every story and is therefore within every writer. Relating back to the original analogy, passion is what drives you to find the perfect seed for your story. Then, you keep this passion and grow your entire garden. The art of writing may be difficult, but it can help you in so many ways.

Parable and Paradox: Rethinking Predestination

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By Heath Padgett, Class of 2016

In the New Testament, one of the most common and effective ways Jesus explained various truths was through parables. A parable, as defined by the Webster’s Dictionary, is a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle. Thus, when it comes to the proper balance between freewill and predestination, a great way to understand the concept is through parables. Since both ideas are implicitly and explicitly revealed through Scripture, Christians must not believe in only one yet not the other. Instead, a Christian must believe first that God chose him and that he must also choose God. How is it, though, that both coexist so perfectly? The simplest way to describe the belief is through a parable:

A man gives all women a chance to marry him as long as they get to know him on a personal level. He also determines ahead of time how and whom he will propose to. He knows for certain his future bride will love him with all her heart, for he would not ask if he knew otherwise. As a result, he proposes. The woman has the freewill to say yes during the proposal and is held fully responsible for her actions.

Now, as was done by Jesus after the Parable of the Sower, this new parable must be explained. Predestination is the belief that events in the lives of humans have been planned out ahead of time by Yahweh, while freewill is the ability to act as a result of one’s own choice. This idea of predestination is demonstrated by the man planning out the event of his and his bride’s future marriage. Following this, all people have a “choice” or freewill to choose God if they desire to know Him on a personal level just like the man in the parable. However, if a person is not first chosen by God, then that person will not be the “bride” of Christ. God’s elect resides in those whom He knows will love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds. Likewise, a man usually does not first choose a wife unless he knows the same. Also, it is the full responsibility of the wife to choose her husband, even though she has first been chosen by him. If the wife does not say, “I do,” then the marriage cannot go forward. The same is true with Christians. Christians must accept Jesus as their own and place all their trust unto Him.

Although this exact parable is not stated in the Bible itself, the Gospels repeatedly refer to Jesus as the Bridegroom of the Church. Furthermore, the parable, although it does not completely explain the ideas of predestination and freewill coexisting, aids in understanding the basic existence of the two.

Chapel: Laying the Foundation

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By Olivia Godfrey, Class of 2016

The Westminster School at Oak Mountain has much that sets it apart. One of these features is chapel. The worship at Westminster’s Chapel is student led. A variety of students participate, from seventh grade all the way to twelfth. These students are gifted by God both instrumentally and vocally. Chapel also gives students a chance to take a break from the typical busyness of schoolwork to learn about and worship the Lord.

Chapel usually occurs about five times during the school year, normally on a Thursday. There are both All School and Upper School chapels that take place throughout the course of the year. “All School” Chapel creates the opportunity for grades kindergarten through twelfth to come together and worship the Lord, while Upper School chapels are reserved specifically for Upper School students and staff. This creates a different atmosphere than the “All School” Chapel in that it is a smaller group, and has less of an age gap between the students.

The service normally begins with a student led or faculty led prayer. Then the students are led in a time of worship by the Chapel band and singers. This time of worship usually consists of about three songs. After this, there is a brief time of teaching given by a chosen pastor or teacher. Once this time of teaching ends, a final song is sung. To close the Chapel service, a student or teacher will close in prayer.

At the beginning of each year, a theme is chosen to be the focus of the songs and the messages over the course of the year. This creates a focal point so that there is a clear direction in which the teachings and songs will go. For example, this year’s chapel theme is the virtues of faith, hope, and love. The teachings and songs all reflect these three aspects of the Christian life. This creates a plan and purpose for all of the chapels as the year goes on. It also means that each song that is chosen to be sung or each lesson taught will tie into the theme for the year.

The overall purpose of chapel is to take time from the school day and to refocus on God. This is refreshing and encouraging at the same time. Not only is this the case for students, but teachers as well.

As Westminster continues to grow as a school, community, and family, it will be crucial that we invite God to be present in everything. Chapel is one of the ways that we intend to do this.