Category Archives: Humanities

The Commercialization of Christmas

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 By Heath Padgett, Class of 2016

If any kid in America is asked why he loves Christmas so much, what will his response be? Most likely he will respond that he loves Santa Clause, reindeer, gifts, food, traveling, and much more of this sort. However, what a child will probably fail to mention is that Christmas is one of the best holidays not because of those fun aspects of the season but something far greater. Instead of recalling that our Savior Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us, the child probably thinks more selfishly. Why is this? The answer is simple — commercialism at Christmas.

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While many parents think that spoiling their children for just one day is harmless, they are wrong. The devil does not come to people as a scary monster as many imagine. On the contrary, the devil often deceives Christians in a way that seems harmless and sweet. Remember, the devil tempted Jesus with simple bread. He does whatever it takes to turn Christiansaway from Christ whether it be with direct evil or causing people to store up treasures in the wrong places. Matthew 6:19-21 states, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” As a result, by teaching children to come up with Christmas lists filled with treasures they want and almost cannot be happy without, the parent is not being a generous, happy soul. Instead they are handing their poor children into the open hands of the devil and his simple trap.

Not to mention, most parents explicitly lie to their children about who gives these gifts which they so greedily receive. Santa Clause is not a jolly old man who delivers gifts to every good little girl and boy. Instead he is similar to a false god whom children love and adore. He is omniscient like God (for he knows whether children are good or bad) and he is omnipresent like God (for he delivers billions of gifts to children at the exact same time). His message: If my children work hard this year and act nearly perfect (nice list), then I will reward them greatly.

However, the true message of Christ, which is the purpose of celebrating Christmas, is as follows: My children are filled with sin. Works of My children do not grant them My gift. Instead, My gift comes freely to those who put faith in Me and seek Me.

After comparing the two separate messages, how could the commercialized Christmas not be a snare of the devil? Santa’s message is the complete opposite of Christ’s message.

Finally, since the wrong way to celebrate has been revealed, how should Christians truly celebrate Christmas. Of course people should read about the birth of Jesus together and explain its significance. Also a family could spend the day not indulging themselves, but instead reaching out to those in need. This Christmas and every one that follows, Christians should try to spend less on themselves (and their families) and use that same money to give to those who might not have much. However, if parents still want to give gifts to their children, then they might want to consider telling them the truth about Santa and his elves. Tell them that Christ came to earth to save them and that no gift they receive from anyone on this earth can equal His great gift which He sacrificed so much to give to us — salvation.

Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”

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By DeAnna Lockett, Class of 2017

“Death is something inevitable. When [a man] has done what he considers to be his duty to his people, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I sleep for eternity.” –Nelson Mandela.

On December 5, 2013 Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner, former President of South Africa, prisoner, freedom fighter for all men, and anti-apartheid hero, passed away. This legend was an extraordinary leader of his people who overcame the trials in his country and achieved his ultimate goal. He abolished racial segregation also known as apartheid in South Africa and wanted equality for all people, black and white.

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Through Mandela’s early education, he learned that at one time in history white and black men lived in peace in South Africa, but the whites, specifically the Dutch and British, later claimed the land for themselves. During the ceremony of circumcision, the main speaker Chief Meligqui expressed his sorrow for the young men including Mandela. He was saddened by the fact that these men were “prisoners” in their own land and would never have the freedom to govern themselves, but would always be fulfilling the work of the white man. At the time Mandela did not quite understand the words of the chief. However, later on in his life he admitted that these words helped him in his work towards making South Africa an independent nation.

During Mandela’s young adult years in 1939, he enrolled in University College of Fort Hare, an equivalent to Harvard University. Being the first in his family to have any formal education, he was elected to the Student Representative Council. Mandela resigned from his position because of the lack of power that the council had. Viewing this as a disrespectful act, Dr. Kerr of the university expelled Mandela and would only allow him to return if he rejoined the SRC, but Mandela still refused to return. To avoid an arranged marriage, He ran away from home to Johannesburg and began to study law at the University of Witwatersrand. There, he joined the African National Congress (ANC), a united group of young Africans, in 1942 who began a violent approach against racial segregation such as boycotts and strikes. He later founded the law firm Ma

ndela and Tambo with his friend from Fort Hare Oliver Tambo.

Eventually, Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years in 1963 for leading an armed strike against apartheid with the ANC. Soon, the South African Government planned for his escape; but the British outsmarted them. He and other ANC members were then emblem of resistance for the blacks of South Africa, and they too stood up against the British and began an international campaign for his release that gained an enormous amount of support, showing how much the world respected Mandela for his strength and courage: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatic46664 Concert: In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela's Life - Performanceally liberates others.” Mandela lived out these words by realizing that God destined him for greatness and he could not simply watch him and his people be enslaved in their own country. Therefore, by fighting for his own freedom he inspired his people to do the same.

Finally, on February 11, 1990, Mandela was released from prison: “As I walked out toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” On the day of his release, he realized that if he let his heart harden against the British, they would still be controlling his thoughts and actions. They wanted him to retaliate so that they could have another reason to imprison him. However, he left prison a changed man and responded to them in love and forgiveness. Although Mandela had already shaken the nation with his bold movements, he still worked with the ANC towards giving his people the right to vote. In 1993 Mandela was declared a Nobel Peace Prize winner forhis efforts in abolishing apartheid. Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president on May 10, 1994.

The Faith to Move Away

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By Sarah McDaniel, Class of 2017

When my family moved to Alabama in 2009, my sister and I thought the south was all hillbillies, football, and endless pine forests. On our way to our new home, we passed a Hardee’s restaurant. I asked my dad why that place called Hardee’s had the Carl’s Jr. logo on it. He told me that Hardee’s is the southern version of Carl’s Jr. My first thought was these southerners were going to be weirder than I thought. But things kept changing as I lived here longer. Nobody had really ever heard of Red Robin, a popular restaurant in Colorado; there were no stucco homes, only brick; it was even rare to find sidewalks; and it was always really hot. Whenever I met someone new at my first school in Alabama, they always asked me “are you an Auburn or Alabama fan?” and based their opinions of me solely on the answer I gave. However, I quickly learned the city was not filled with rednecks or trucks. And not everyone listened to country music. I’m still learning things about Alabama. As I meet more and more people, I realize that some of them were born in Alabama, live in Alabama, and plan on dying in Alabama. Most of the time it’s because people are afraid of change. I know I was. Change is difficult and extremely scary, but if you put your faith in God, he can take you places you never thought you would end up.

The Painful Truth: How Pain Management Professionals are Being Undermined by Vague Laws

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By Jack Stein, Class of 2015

Everyone has a different tolerance for pain.  Some people can have a dangerous injury and either not notice it or think that they can handle it on their own.  Others find themselves in great pain with every knock or bruise and think that they need drugs such as OxyContin to cure it.  As a result, it is almost impossible to judge objectively the level of pain that a given individual is in.  The common way doctors attempt to judge a patient’s pain is a 0 – 10 scale (0 being no pain at all, 10 being absolutely unbearable).  However, each person’s scale is subjective to their experience of pain in the past, making it almost impossible to have a consistent ranking of pain for the same injury suffered by two different people.  Because of this ineffective means of identifying pain, many exploit the system and trick their doctors into prescribing more drugs than are needed for the pain.

This subject is explored in Tina Rosenburg’s New York Times article “When is a Pain Doctor a Drug Pusher?” which discusses the dilemma doctors face when treating a patient as to how real their pain is and what dosage to give the patient.  She argues that there is a problem in the way the law allows doctors to prescribe opioids.  One doctor may prescribe an unhealthy, even fatal amount of opioids to a patient without breaking a law.  Another might be scared to prescribe a reasonable amount for fear of the patient misusing them, which could result in the doctor being arrested. Federal law for the distribution of pain medication uses imprecise legal definitions of terms, and Rosenberg argues that this allows for confusion between real patients and addicts.  It is this very law which thousands of addicts try (and often succeed) to break for personal benefit.  Basically, the law puts the distribution of opioids in the hands of the doctors, some of whom are far less educated about pain than one would hope and expect.

Rosenberg cites the case of Ronald McIver, a pain management doctor with an aggressive style of treatment.  He often prescribed double the amount of opioids usually recommended, sometimes even sixteen times the recommended amount. Because pain can only be measured subjectively, McIver always overcompensated in his treatments, aiming for the pain to be a 2 instead of 5 on the 0 – 10 scale.  However, McIver’s style led him into some serious problems.  Some of his patients would fake pain to use the drugs for their ad

dictions.  Others would sell the excess drugs on the black market.  Some patients would drive hundreds of miles just to see McIver, who attempted only weakly to investigate the reality of their pain.  Even before all the  forms were filled out from the patients’ previous doctors, McIver would still prescribe an unusually high amount of drugs.  In cases of doubt, McIver always erred on the side of giving too many pills rather than not enough.

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Rosenberg’s main argument is that the laws about pain management and medication are too vague.  In fact, many jurors and investigators could not find an exact law that McIver broke, despite a clearly harmful and dangerous method for giving prescriptions for opioids.  Many doctors are being prosecuted for stepping over a line that has not even been established, and with pain education being taught in so few medical schools, it is likely to continue like this for some time.  Rosenberg maintains that misconceptions dominate public opinion.  Many doctors live in fear of prosecution for prescribing controlled substances for pain. This needs to be resolved sooner rather than later, says Rosenberg, because real patients are living in pain.  Despite the potential for abuse, opioids such as OxyContin help thousands of pain victims get back to their normal lives.  As it stands, the laws about opioid distribution fail to account for the benefit of such drugs, and as a result many legitimate pain patients have no where to go and no hope for successful recovery.

Rosenburg states that a huge part of the problem as it relates to pain management is the general ignorance of the problem and a proper solution.  Because of this, she is able to form the argument from a legal perspective, examining what approaches are and are not allowed.  Ultimately, she makes the right call based on the evidence provided.  According to the facts that she presented, I agree that the government should do a better job of defining its terms of pain medication and increase its awareness across the country. The medications that are being prescribed today are real and dangerous, especially for those who underestimate their power.  In order to understand the dilemma faced by thousands of pain doctors, it is crucial to remember the purpose of medicine in its most basic form: to help the victims of pain and suffering.  Anything other than that should not be legal, and all attempts to avoid the illegal distribution and abuse of the drugs should be punished harshly.

Pain is debilitating, and often the only solution is for doctors to prescribe heavy drugs.  Abuse is rampant and unavoidable, and often the good drugs are misused for bad results.  Doctors are facing persecution for giving their honest opinion, and pain victims are the collateral damage when the doctors get scared away.  After reading Rosenberg’s article, one is left with an uneasy feeling of pessimism as to the way out healthcare system is being run.  The article touches on many of the flaws in the legal system, and it leaves the reader to determine whether or not it should be amended.

Lewis and the Proof of Prayer

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by Ethan Shaw, Class of 2015

cslewisPrayer has been on the minds of Christians since the inception of the church. The ultimate question one asks regarding prayer is whether man plays any role in ordering the affairs of God (that is, the fate of the universe). Although certainly a baffling question on the surface, this is one that naturally arises in the conversation between philosophy and theology. Boethius, a sixth century Neoplatonist Christian philosopher, notes the following: “The hopes which we rest in God, and the prayers addressed to him, are not in vain; when they are righteous, they cannot be ineffectual.” Following a lengthy attempt at reconciling divine foreknowledge with human free will, Boethius supposes that man possesses certain free will which enables him to produce righteous and effective prayer. Even so, he rigorously maintains an understanding of complete divine foreknowledge. Boethius’s central assertion to this end is that a partnership exists between the divine and human wills because God exists in an eternal present moment while man does not, allowing the two conflicting realities to exist simultaneously. To a less philosophical end, C.S. Lewis also examines the divine-human relationship by way of prayer in his essay “The Efficacy of Prayer.”At the start Lewis takes up the question of whether the efficacy of prayer can be empirically proven at all. For our purposes, prayer can broadly be defined as the means of communication in which man comes into agreement with God’s will. Lewis is centrally concerned with whether this communication, then, actually produces the desired effects. Following several anecdotes regarding miraculous occurrences, he notes, “Even if the thing were indisputably miraculous it would not follow that the miracle had occurred because of your prayers.” Lewis thus stresses it is impossible to prove a causal link between prayer and subsequent events, miraculous or otherwise. Furthermore, he notes that prayer is by nature request and therefore will not always necessarily be granted. After demonstrating that any attempt to truly test the efficacy of prayer is doomed to fail, he concludes that “empirical proof and disproof are…unobtainable” (380). Effective prayer, Lewis argues, must be sincere. Therefore, true prayer must be grounded in personal relationship and conversation with God.

From this point, Lewis puts forth a number of key arguments that can largely be divided into two categories: the nature of prayer and its general purpose. Regarding the nature of prayer, Lewis observes, “Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person” (381). Put simply, if prayer has any real effects at all, then these must exist in a very personal and relational sense. Lewis further states that the idea of prayer is much more of an all-encompassing category than is typically assumed. Next he thus defines prayer’s central purpose as a cooperative effort: “‘God,’ said Pascal, ‘instituted prayer to lend to His creatures the dignity of causality.’ But not only prayer; whenever we act at all He lends us that dignity.” Lewis maintains that prayer is merely one facet in which God cooperates with man toward the execution of His will. This comprises the “dignity of causality” described by Pascal. In closing, Lewis draws out the implications of prayer on the divine-human relationship as a whole. He specifically illustrates the inherent paradox visible while Christ prays during his final hours at Gethsemane. God, he argues, clearly has no so-called court favorites when it comes to answering prayer. Altogether, considering Lewis’s statements on both the nature and inherent purpose of prayer are valuable in ascertaining his position.
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A discussion of the nature of prayer provides the foundational basis for reaching a verdict on its efficacy. Lewis rightly places this first in the structure of his essay; and, as aforementioned, he focuses on the relational component of prayer. He then notes the diverse aspects which prayer entails: “Prayer in the sense of petition…is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows Himself to us” (381). Here Lewis marks prayer as a revelatory act on God’s behalf and an act of communion on behalf of man. He rightly identifies prayer as a multi-faceted reality that defines all aspects of communication with God. Thus it cannot be seen as a mere robotic function but rather as a living and active discourse in which God brings man into agreement with His purposes. The idea that God answers prayer still remains as a corollary; however, this relational understanding replaces it as the central criterion for determining effective prayer. Lewis persuasively and logically articulates this theologically sound recasting of the age-old query “Does prayer work?” by shifting the focus from perceived temporal results of prayer to divine encounter.perates with man toward the execution of His will. This comprises the “dignity of causality” described by Pascal. In closing, Lewis draws out the implications of prayer on the divine-human relationship as a whole. He specifically illustrates the inherent paradox visible while Christ prays during his final hours at Gethsemane. God, he argues, clearly has no so-called court favorites when it comes to answering prayer.

The second critical step remaining is a proper consideration of the cooperative purpose of prayer. In quoting Pascal, Lewis depicts prayer as God’s way of granting His creatures active participation in determining outcomes. Like Boethius he seems to accept free human will to a certain extent; thus Lewis claims that this view of prayer should come as no surprise when it is seen in the same light as other human actions. Lewis further remarks that such prayers “have not advised or changed God’s mind—that is, His over-all purpose. But that purpose will be realized in different ways according to the actions, including the prayers, of his creatures” (381). Much like Boethius, Lewis seeks to reconcile the coexistence of God’s sovereignty with human action logically. He does so by contrasting what he calls “a sort of divine abdication” with our human propensity “to wield our little tridents.” However, the language of this latter comment has an uncanny resemblance to that of Boethius; this is later found when Lewis describes how “God makes something—indeed, makes gods—out of nothing.” Although prayer certainly involves a substantial measure of divine power granted to man, Lewis seems to go too far in borrowing the Neoplatonist language of Boethius to describe this. God seeks to cooperatively partner with mankind through prayer, not simply to pass all divine power into the hands of mortal men.

C.S. Lewis’s exploration on the effectiveness of prayer provides a much-needed emphasis shift. In truth, understanding the effectiveness of righteous prayer (as detailed by Boethius) does more to illustrate God’s relationship with man than the way in which the world works. Prayer cannot simply be understood through the lens of a cosmic machine, simply because God is fundamentally relational. Therefore prayer, as His means of communication, must be a fundamentally relational activity. By keeping the relational God as our focal point, it becomes much harder to get lost in the vain quest for universally answered prayer. Despite this deeply personal aspect of prayer, it can still fairly be said that prayer does not depend on the person praying. Ultimately God has no “court favorites” because prayer is ultimately about aligning oneself with the will of God. Lewis clearly demonstrates this paradox through the example of Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane. He remarks, “When God becomes man, that Man, of all others, is least comforted by God, at His greatest need” (382). Ironically, greater spiritual strength thus seems to lend itself to being further forsaken by God, at least on the surface.

Reference List

C.S. Lewis. “The Efficacy of Prayer.” The Essential C.S. Lewis. Ed. Lyle W. Dorsett. (New York: Touchstone Books, 1988).

Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. P.G. Walsh. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Love and the Science of Bionic Limbs

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By Josh Moore, Class of 2014

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“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” This quote by Hippocrates, ancient Greek physician and renowned medical historian, points to the foundation of all medicine: helping those who are sick and disabled. When technology and science are used to accomplish this goal, the quality of people’s lives is improved. The latest breakthroughs in medical technology have literally enabled the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk.

Bionic limbs are an especially exciting development that provide tremendous benefits for people who have suffered amputations. Doctors have observed that many times nerves in the leg of an amputee continue to transmit signals as if the limb were still attached. These signals alone, however, are too weak to be detected by the receivers in a bionic limb. In order to solve this problem, surgeons have directed the severed nerves to the muscle groups in the residual limb. When the brain sends signals to the residual limb, the new muscles twitch, amplifying the signals. The electrode sensors are able to detect these movements and send them to a computer chip that controls the bionic limb. This astounding process enables individuals with an amputation to function almost as effectively as before their injury. Unfortunately, technology like a bionic limb is often unaffordable for the people who need it most.

Ralph Merkle, a famous researcher of molecular nanotechnology, once said, “If we can reduce the cost and improve the quality of medical technology . . . we can more widely address the medical conditions that are prevalent and reduce the level of human suffering.”  The truth of this quote became evident to me through a close friend of mine with cerebral palsy. Her wheelchair was old and barely functioning after years of use, but the financial burden of a new powered wheelchair would have been extreme. It would have been impossible without financial assistance. Luckily for my friend, her local church came through for her. But there are others out there without this kind of support. This is why one of the most pressing medical needs of our day is technology that will not only advance patient care, but also lower the cost of that care.

 

Archbishop Turpin: How Not to Model the Christian Faith (A Critical Essay on the Song of Roland)

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By Camilla Lemons, Class of 2018

A question was asked on a blog whether churches judge more than they love, and ninety percent of the readers agreed. If Christians feel judged at the one place they should feel most secure, they will not want to come back. The actions of Christians to one another should be kind. If a community cannot treat those in it with kindness, how can they treat those who are not a part of this group in a way that shows their faith well? It is the duty of a Christian to model his faith well and lead others to Christ. However, in The Song of Roland translated by W.S. Merwin, Archbishop Turpin does not portray this attribute. This religious leader fails to act in a way that would point others to Christ and does not model his faith well. To begin, during the battle against the pagans, the motives for his violence were corrupt. Additionally, he did not abide by the Scriptures in the way he lead his country’s religion or treated the pagans. Finally, Turpin put the love of his country France over his love for God. Archbishop Turpin failed to model his faith in a way that was glorifying to God.

Initially, Turpin did not model his faith well because the motives behind his violence were corrupt. After killing a man in the battle at Roncesvalles, this was stated about the Archbishop: “He will not leave him without addressing him, and he says: ‘Pagan wretch, you lied!'” (XCV). Turpin was killing out of wickedness in his heart. He could not refrain from turning back to address the corpse. Matthew 12:37 states, “[F]or by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” By returning to the body to speak malicious words, Turpin was not representing Christ well. Furthermore, after Turpin slaughtered a pagan magician, he declared, “He was marked out to be our victim” (CVIII). Turpin, as the Archbishop, took it on himself to avenge his countrymen. In Hebrews 10:30 this is exclaimed, “For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.'” It is clearly stated in the Scriptures that God is the ultimate judge and vengeance is His. Turpin did not model Christianity well for his men by acting in this way. One might argue that during the battle at Roncesvalles Turpin’s violence was justified. “The Archbishop says: ‘Our men are brave; there are no better under heaven” (CXI). Some may say that Turpin and the other knights were using their God-given gifts of strength and bravery to uphold their faith. Nevertheless, Turpin relied on his own strength and the strength of his fellow knights to win the battle. I Samuel 17:47 states, “[A]nd that all the assembly may know that the Lord saves not with swords and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.” Turpin failed to rely on God to give the French victory. His words did not reflect the example given to him by Christ. As seen in Turpin’s words, the motives behind his violence are corrupt; thus, he does not represent the Christian faith well.

Additionally, the Archbishop did not manifest Christ well because he did not abide by the Scriptures. During the battle of Roncesvalles, Turpin killed a wicked man; and the French warriors declared, “The cross will not suffer while the Archbishop is there to protect it” (CXIV). In this quote, men who listened to the Archbishop’s teachings admitted that the cross would not suffer. This showed the warped view of the Scriptures administered to them by Turpin. His poor teaching caused his followers to not understand the whole purpose of Jesus’ life on earth. I Peter 3:18 states, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. . .” The purpose of Jesus coming to the earth was to suffer. Since Turpin was a leader in the church, people heeded his advice. When his followers were mistaken about the Scriptures, this showed his poor teaching and leadership. Moreover, before he killed the wicked man, he exclaimed, “That Saracen looks a heretic from head to foot” (CXIII). Turpin judged this man on sight. I Samuel 16:7 states, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Turpin failed to even attempt to follow God’s word. He showed poor leadership through his actions. Being a major leader in the church caused people to look to him to model the faith they followed. By not abiding by the Scriptures, Turpin was not modeling his faith well.

Finally, the actions of Turpin of Reims showed that his love for his country and king was greater than his love for God. After a king named Corsablis insulted the French, Turpin exclaims, “Charles, my lord, is our protector still, and our French have no wish to flee” (XCV). The Archbishop stated that Charles was his true protector. Psalm 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The Scriptures clearly identify God as a refuge, but Turpin’s trust was in his king, who was sure to fail him. Next, Turpin saw Roland fighting in the battle at Roncesvalles. He exclaimed to Roland the characteristics of a noble knight. “He must be strong and overbearing in battle or he is not worth a farthing…” (CXLI). In contrast to this statement, II Samuel 17:45 states, “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…'” In order for a warrior to be successful in battle, he does not necessarily have to be strong. A characteristic that he must have is faith. Turpin lacked faith because he was not fighting for his religion, but his king. This proves that the love of Turpin’s country exceeded his love for God. One might argue that during the battle at Roncesvalles, Turpin modeled his faith soundly by exclaiming, “Barons, my lords, Charles has left us here and if need be we must die for our king and uphold Christendom!” (LXXXIX). Some might say that Turpin was fighting to uphold his religion. However, Turpin put the love of his country over his love for God here because he stated that he was willing to die for his king as well as support Christianity. Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” The Archbishop could not fully support two causes, and the one he chose to die for was his country. The Archbishop put the love of his country over his love for God; therefore, he did not model his faith well.

How can a community love people who are not a part of it if they cannot love each other? Many feel judged at church. This pushes too many people away from their faith or causes them never to find it. Likewise, in The Song of Roland, the Archbishop did not model his faith well. Turpin’s words revealed his true motive behind slaying the pagans. He spoke cruel words to them and in that, did not represent Christ well. Because of Turpin’s status of leadership in the church, it was especially essential that he model Christianity well. Turpin failed to act in a way that led others to Christ.

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.

How to Grow a Story

By | Arts, Humanities, Knightly Herald, Literature, Student Spotlight | No Comments

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.