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Every Square Inch Review

March 7, 2019

Workshop: The Challenges of Discipleship in a “You Be You” Culture

To get the juices flowing for the main lecture, Trevin Wax dove into a short speech on why “You Be You” culture is a hurdle for discipleship in the church. It seems like everyone nowadays tries to be self-made, self-sustaining, self-expressing solo acts whose main concern is with themselves alone, which contradicts Scripture on multiple fronts. With the “You Be You” culture that has grown to unrivaled providence over the last few decades, the idea is ‘you be true to the you that you perceive that you truly are, conforming to that mindset and lifestyle rather that conforming to the image of Christ’, which according to Trevin Wax, is the whole point of discipleship.

Citing Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” several times, Wax uncovered the issue with the “You Be You” culture by targeting its confusing logic and its moral flaws – such as its insistence on reaffirming yourself no matter the cost, even if you are engaging in a blatantly harmful lifestyle but are happy. He discussed how this culture impacts religion, claiming that due to You Be You’s pillar of happiness, self-definition and self-expression as being the highest goods, anything that tells you how to live otherwise is bigoted and wrong according to society. Wax, not wanting to give too much away from his speech that night in the Concert Hall, asked the following questions for those in attendance to discuss at their tables before inviting those in attendance into an extended conversation on a related subject later that night in the main lecture:

“In what ways does the You Be You culture create new challenges in the mission to create disciples?

What are longings of the people whose purpose in life is to find themselves?

What are the problems in imagining the world this way? How would other countries challenge us in You Be You thinking? How does Scripture challenge us?

What is right about the message of You Be You, what is wrong, and how is the Gospel better?”

Main Lecture: The Gospel vs. Expressive Individualism: Why “Being True To Yourself” is a Dead-End on the Road to Happiness

The main lecture of the ESI conference took place in the beautiful, 1600-seat Grand Concert Hall in the Music and Worship Building at Liberty University. The campus band Captivate opened the night up, leading students, faculty and staff in a few worship songs. The second half of the night included a convicting message by our speaker for the conference, Trevin Wax. Wax discussed why a life of expressive individualism will ultimately lead to a life of unhappiness. Wax describes expressive individualism as “a lifestyle when someone strives to find the deepest part of them self and attempts to express it to the world.” Wax also explained that, according to research, “84% of Americans would say that enjoying yourself is the highest goal in life, and 66% of church-going Christians would say the same.” He then compared the difference between an expressive individualistic lifestyle versus a lifestyle where one is living for the Gospel. He says that living an expressive individualistic lifestyle leads to a dead end on the road to happiness, and the Gospel is better because it avoids running into that dead end.

Wax gave many reasons why expressive individualism leads to a dead end on the road of happiness, and one of the reasons that he explained is “expressive individualism leads to loneliness.” Advanced stages of expressive individualism will eventually lead to isolation, due to pursuing one’s own path. Wax used the example of Elsa from Disney’s movie Frozen; Elsa wanted so badly to express who she was (a snow queen) that she ended up freezing her hometown and having to escape to a faraway land, alone. Wax also gave many examples of why the Gospel is better than striving towards expressive individualism, and one of the reasons that Wax gave is “the gospel gives rest.” Expressive individualism causes one to worry about what other people think about them because they are trying so hard to express themselves as “good enough or happy”. However, the Gospel gives rest because one does not have to live an exhausting life seeking out the approval of others, knowing that God’s opinion is what matters the most.

The evening closed with a Q&A between Trevin Wax and Dr. Karen Prior (English professor here at Liberty). This was an incredible night and we are so thankful for the opportunity to learn more about the discussion on expressive individualism and why the Gospel is better.

The Gray Havens featuring Chris Renzema and Gray

Packing the LaHaye Event Space with scores of fans ranging from Liberty students and Lynchburg natives to JMU and UVA students, this three-artist concert was noted by regular concert-goers as being one of the best concerts ever hosted by Student Activities. No stranger to the stage at Liberty University, Grayson Perry, also known by his stage name “gray”, started the night off with melodic songs that scored him many new fans and pleased many a loyal fan. From there, the stage became Chris Renzema’s, who was welcomed with a thunderous applause. “I Don’t Wanna Go” sticks out as being a highlight from his set, as concert-goers rose from their seats and happily swayed back and forth and sang along to the easily lovable chorus.

Headlining the show was The Gray Havens, who stepped onto the Liberty University stage for the first time. With Dave’s quick wit and Licia’s easily loveable personality being on full display, the crowd at the LaHaye Event Space not only had the chance to sing to phenomenally performed songs, but also to laugh as Dave read from “Gray Flowers”, the children’s book he authored. The Radfords shared the comedic story of how they met, which involves the awkward turning of a corner and a bottle of Sprite. All three artists gave a fantastic show, capping off the Every Square Inch Conference in fantastic fashion and leaving fans craving more, which likely led to many car ride beltings of the artists’ tracks on Spotify. Both new fans and longtime fans alike left with a smile on their face and a song in their heart; the exact feeling you hope to leave a concert with.

It was such an honor to have Trevin Wax here to speak to some of the students and faculty of Liberty, and we loved wrapping up the ESI Conference with a memorable show from The Gray Havens. We’re already getting excited for next year’s Every Square Inch!



Written by: Gabi Cormier & Landen Swain

Gabi is a Sophomore majoring in Business: Project Management. She loves being a part of the SA blog and having the opportunity to discuss crucial topics that she is passionate about with the students of Liberty.

 

 

 

Landen believes the human experience longs to be expressed; through our art, our labor, our songs, our storytelling. As a published playwright, author, and poet, he enjoys expressing his little chapter of the human experience through his writings and is thankful that the SA blog allows him to do that. He is published in numerous magazines, literary journals, and has several plays published by Off the Wall Plays, an online play publishing house.

Where Are You Going? Hawaii!

March 7, 2019

Spring Break: the long awaited and much anticipated event that marks the halfway point of spring semester. When I think of spring break I think of sitting in the warm sun with my toes in the sand, sippin’ on an ice cold La Croix. Funny enough, I have never actually done any of these things during my previous three spring breaks here at Liberty. This spring break, however, will be different. 

It’ll be different because I will be kicking up my feet in a place accurately titled the “Aloha State”, but better known as Hawaii! For the last few months now, I have been scouring the Internet for an affordable flight. Thanks to Sky Scanner, a handy app that notified me about affordable tickets, I will be making the 12-hour journey from Washington D.C. to the beautiful Big Island this Friday.

This is not a typical vacation with a five-star resort, pool and endless buffet. This break I will actually be staying on a YWAM base where my sister has been living for the past few months. Youth With A Mission, or YWAM, is a global missions organization which focuses on serving Jesus throughout the world. My sister, Lauren, is currently enrolled in Discipleship Training School (DTS) at The University of Nations in Kona, HI. DTS is a six-month program where the first three months are spent learning and being discipled in your faith, and the following three months are spent living as a missionary in many different parts of the world. My sister left at the beginning of January for DTS and will be sent out to minister to the people of Germany and Wales at the end of March.

I remember when I first learned about this adventure that my sister was about to embark on. I couldn’t help but be jealous that she would get to learn about Jesus in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. For me, the times I have truly experienced God’s presence the most viscerally has been in beautiful parts of His creation, like looking out at the deep blue waters of Laguna Beach or standing on Sharp Top at sunrise. My sister has learned many things during her short time in Hawaii and I cannot wait to experience a bit of her journey with her this week.

There are a few things I plan on doing during my limited time in Hawaii when we venture out from the YWAM base. My first plan is happily eating myself into a poké and sushi-induced coma. Hawaii is known for their seafood, similarly to how I am known for my love of seafood. The problem is, being from the Midwest, my encounters with good seafood are few and far between. I plan to “strike while the iron is hot” and eat as much of Hawaii’s diverse and delicious cuisine as possible before I fly home on Thursday. Next on my list is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I, like many, have never witnessed the sheer power of a volcano firsthand and I have also never been to any of our nation’s national parks. This would be a lot of firsts for me, but I imagine I will feel a lot like Moana when she encounters the volcano monster Te Ka and defeats it with the power of song. Last on my list is something to satisfy my inner adrenaline junkie, a cliff-jump at a place appropriately named The End Of The World. I have been known to take risks and seek out fun and adventure in many forms, but this will probably be the most wild thing on my list of to-dos. 

The remainder of my week will be spent living the life of a typical YWAM student, from going to class to meeting with my sister’s outreach team to a weekly gathering with the entire school for a time of worship and prayer (much like Liberty’s Convocation). I cannot wait to see the beauty of God’s creation in Hawaii and also get to spend time with my amazing and Jesus-loving sister.


Written by: Kate Dolan

Kate is a senior studying Business Administration: Communications. She has worked for Student Activities since her Junior year and it is honestly the best thing that’s happened to her since coming to Liberty. After graduation, she hopes to move back to her hometown in the suburbs of Chicago and get a big girl job downtown.

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

February 25, 2019

Gabi: It was July 5, 2018, when I knew my life was never going to be the same again. I had spent the night before  sleeping in a hospital waiting room with my boyfriend and little sister. At around 7:00 am, my dad woke my sister and I up and I could tell by the look on his face that we would be saying goodbye to our mom today. Sure enough, a few hours later my mom took her very last breath. I cannot even put into words the way that I felt that day. Only a week before, we found out that my mom had a rare skin cancer inside her chest wall, and she would have about two more years to live. How did two years turn into one week? How could this really be God’s plan?

Kaitlyn: It was September 4th, 2018, when I got the call from my parents while I was walking through Montview Student Union. I knew from the missed calls on my phone and the tone of my dad’s voice that this was not the normal “How are you doing?” call. Without hearing the words, I already knew that my brother, Kyle, had passed away. At that moment, there was relief because of the struggle my brother had gone through, but also immense pain and heartbreak. Only two weeks into my semester, I had to face the fact that my life was going to change forever.  The thought of dropping out and going home popped into my head, but I heard my brother’s voice in my head telling me I need to finish strong. Ultimately, I decided that I needed to stay at Liberty and fight through my pain and suffering; I think that is one of my biggest accomplishments. The first month after my brother passed away, I felt constant guilt whenever I had a smile or a good laugh because I thought to myself, “How could I be happy and have fun while something this horrible is going on?” I had to fight through that and learn that the joy I was experiencing was the joy of the Lord. Even though this was the hardest experience to ever happen to me, I have never felt so near to God, and because of that I experienced strength like none other. Ultimately, I was still constantly wondering: why was this God’s plan?


People are constantly wondering “why bad things happen to good people”. When dealing with death and pain, it is important to remember the life that God desires for us to have. In order to begin this journey of healing, we have to look back in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. In Genesis 1 and 2, we see that God created a perfect world and man in His image. God desired for the world to be filled with life and sinlessness. Genesis 1:31 states, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…” God admired the world that He created because he saw the perfection and beauty within it.

Although God created this world to be perfect, in Genesis 3 we see sin enter into the narrative. Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord’s commandments and believed that their ways were higher than God’s. Therefore, they listened to the serpent and ate the fruit from the tree of “knowledge of good and evil”. It was man’s own doing that brought sin into the world, not God’s intention. When man sinned, not only did sin enter the world, but so did death. In other words, because we are sinners we deserve death. Thankfully, death is not the end of the story. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our past, present and future sins. Because of this, we are able to have eternal life in Heaven with our Creator. Death is only temporary on this earth and no one is immune to it; however, we are able to accept the free gift of eternal life and salvation from Jesus.

As Christians, we are able to hold onto the hope of what is to come because we have the promise of Jesus, and the battle against death has already been won. Often times, the world views death as depressing, but as Christians, we are able to view death as a celebration because we can recognize that this earth is our temporary home and heaven is our permanent destination. By making Jesus the center of our lives, we are able to have the assurance of knowing where we and the ones we love go after our life on Earth ends.

Although we as believers can rely on the truth that this world is only temporary and Jesus defeated death on the cross, it does not necessarily make losing someone we love any easier. We are given the opportunity to either run towards Jesus in a time like this or to dabble in the ways of the world. The world may appear more attractive and simpler, but the only thing that is going to satisfy our deep sorrow and pain is Jesus. Yes, it still hurts losing someone we love, but through fellowship with the people around us and by intentionally pursuing a relationship with the Lord, we are able to overcome pain from death. When we ask the Lord for something according to His will, as stated in John 15:7, He will equip us with what we need to get through such a time, as long as we choose to abide in Him. God provides undeniable strength and peace because He understands what we are going through. God experienced the pain that comes from death because of the sacrifice of His own Son. He sacrificed His Son so that we no longer have to feel the pain of death; instead, we can rest in His joy.

Eventually, things will get easier and life will start feeling “normal” again.


Kaitlyn: For me, it took getting back into a routine and going back to activities that I was present in before I lost my brother for life to feel “normal” again. Being in a routine helped me feel like life was constant and unshakable. I tried to surround myself with people that felt like home and made me feel safe and loved. One of the most important things I learned in my grieving was that community is everything. Community comes alongside you and helps you walk when you can’t walk and mourns with you when you are mourning. 

Also, while making new memories was important for me to feel like my life was continuing, it was also crucial for me to remember the good memories I had of my brother. Some of the most important times for me were spent alone because it gave me space to think and pray. It is so easy to get caught up with being busy so we can distract and numb ourselves from the pain we are experiencing, but the best advice I could give to someone is to spend time alone with yourself and God. My journal and my Bible have been two of the most vital things in my life through this season.

Because my brother passed away while I was at school, I had not been home for a consistent amount of time until I went home for Thanksgiving break. That break was difficult because everything at home reminded me of my brother and it finally hit me that he was gone. The “firsts” are always the hardest, and I have to constantly remind myself that it will get easier and the Lord will give me the strength to go on. Even though life starts to feel “normal” again, there are still times when I am sad, which I know is completely normal. An important thing to remember is that mourning looks different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to process grief. Sometimes sadness will hit you in the weirdest way and at the most random time, but that is okay. Whenever I experience those feelings, I have learned it is better to deal with it right away than to let them boil up and slowly eat away at you. Everyone has a different process of grieving, but it is vital to remember that you need to surround yourself with community, Jesus, and times of solitude.

Gabi: It honestly took a while for life to start feeling “normal” again for me. I had a month left at home before returning back to school, and between planning my mom’s funeral, moving into a new house and starting a new semester and job, it took a while for me to take time to sit down and process everything. In order for life to start to feel “normal” again, it took a lot of tears, prayer, time spent in God’s Word, and the community that my family, friends and hall had to offer. If it was not for being intentional in my relationship with the Lord, I know that I would not be standing where I am today. Honestly, it also took some time for me to figure out God’s plan for my life, and to fully understand why something like this would happen. 

I did not fully understand God’s plan for my life until I started reading the story of Job. Job is a very popular Bible character from the Old Testament. Job had a life full of heartbreak and suffering. Although everything was taken from Job (his wife, his children, his income, his crops, etc.), he still continued to bring God worship and praise. Although I by no means was perfect at praising God through this time in my life, I learned that the more I focused my eyes on God, the more He would reveal his plan for my life and the more I would in turn want to bring Him praise through this time of suffering. Not only is it so crucial to grow deeper in a relationship with God during this time by reading the Bible, journaling and praying, but it is also important to seek out community. God desires for us to be in community with others, and thanks to the people in my life, I was able to move towards a life that is more “normal.”


As stated earlier, mourning and a normal life looks different for everyone and it will not happen overnight. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. are going to be hard (especially the first time around), but eventually things will get easier, thanks to the grace and love of Christ. Therefore, we wanted to include some resources that we found helpful or that were recommended to us and/or are available here at Liberty.

Resources we found helpful:

  • Student Counseling Services
  • Books
    • Hope for Hurting Hearts; by Greg Laurie
    • Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love; by Raymond Mitsch and Lynn Brookside
    • Helping those in grief: A guide to help you care for others; by H. Norman Wright
    • Surprised by suffering: The role of pain and death in the Christian life; by R.C. Sproul
    • A Grief Observed; by C.S Lewis
    • Why suffering?: Finding meaning and comfort when life doesn’t make sense; by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale
  • Community on Campus
    • Community Groups/Hall Leadership
    • LU Shepherd Office
  • Many churches that surround Liberty

If you are reading this, and you have not lost someone, but you know someone who has experienced loss and is going through the process of grieving, the best thing to do for them is to simply be there for them. Although it may be uncomfortable and hard to think of the words to say, listen when they need someone to listen and speak when they need some advice. It is okay not to have all of the answers, because the most important thing is to be a constant friend during this time for them.

Another thing to remember is that if you are experiencing the loss of someone you love, you are not alone. There are people all around us who are also mourning, and we may not even know how close they are. One in five children will experience the death of someone close to them by age 18 (Kenneth Doka, Editor of OMEGA, Journal of Death and Dying). There is a lot of loss and pain in this world, which is why there is an even greater need to foster community within our halls, college campus, hometown, etc.

Although losing someone you love to death can be one of the hardest trials in one’s life, we hope this testimony can be an encouragement to you. We want you to know you are not alone, and there is a God that cares about your situation and loves you. You will get through this by the grace of God. We are praying for you!

Resources

The Action Bible Study Bible: ESV. David C. Cook, 2015.

Anyabwile, Thabiti. “105 People Die Each Minute.” The Gospel Coalition (TGC),

The Gospel Coalition, 31 Oct. 2017. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/105-people-die-each-minute/  .

“Omega: Journal of Death and Dying: Index—Contents of Volume 68, 2013–2014.” OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying, vol. 68, no. 4, June 2014, pp. 383–385, doi:10.2190/OM.68.4.f.

“Student Counseling Services.” Liberty Journal, Liberty University Online, www.liberty.edu/studentaffairs/studentcouseling/index.cfm?PID=161.



Written by: Gabi Cormier & Kaitlyn Skarstein

Gabi is a Sophomore majoring in Business: Project Management. She loves being a part of the SA blog and having the opportunity to discuss crucial topics that she is passionate about with the students of Liberty.

 

 

 

Kaitlyn loves being able to write for the SA blog because she thinks it is important to share her voice. She loves being able to express her own opinions on important subjects that are relevant for students, faculty, and many others.

Why You Should Be Our Next Performer at Open Mic

February 22, 2019

If you have been to one of our Open Mic Nights, you know exactly how much of a good time they are. Open Mic gives students the opportunity to show their gifts to Liberty’s student body, displaying talents such as singing, rapping, spoken word, and comedy. Sign-ups usually fill quickly with students eager to perform, and Argo Tea is packed with an audience of students excited to be entertained.

As an Event Staff who gets to work and sometimes host Open Mic Night, I enjoy getting to see students grow as artists and become more comfortable with performing in front of a large crowd. Every Open Mic, prior participants come back and grow in their confidence, and that is something I love to see. Part of the reason why participants are likely to keep returning and performing is because of the supportive audience of students that attend the events. Having this event in Argo Tea makes it easy for you to sit with friends, grab food, and even work on an assignment while you watch your peers perform.

For anyone who is considering performing at Open Mic, you should definitely go for it! This is a great opportunity for you to share your gifts with the school and grow in your craft. Our next Open Mic will be on March 19 in Argo Tea at 7:00 pm. Sign-ups will start at 6:45, so make sure that you get there early if you plan on performing. We can’t wait to see you showcase your talent!


Written by: Trae Christian

Trae is studying Strategic Communications: Social Media Management. He always thought that he wasn’t a good writer until he started writing about things that he is passionate about. Writing for the SA blog has really helped him get over his writing insecurities.

How to Kick Senioritis

February 18, 2019

Graduating is such an exciting time because you finally get to see the outcome of all the hard work you put in to get to this point. College is not necessarily easy but it is also one of the best times of life because you get to meet new people, try new things, and focus on preparing yourself for the future. Moving on from college and going into another chapter of life can be very exciting as well, but in order to get to that next chapter you have to go through the journey of senior year, and it can be tough.

If you are like me then during your senior year you have experienced what is commonly known as senioritis. Senioritis is used to describe a lack of motivation to push through senior year. While finishing my senior year and talking to other seniors, I have realized that senioritis goes so much deeper than not being motivated.

During this time of looking for a job, or a graduate school, everything is up in the air, which can be very nerve wracking considering the fact that we haven’t really gone through this much change since deciding on a college to attend. Hearing from peers that have jobs lined up after graduation can be very discouraging, but through talking to other seniors I’ve realized that most of us actually have no clue what is going on. This doesn’t make not having anything lined up any better, but it does bring me peace to know that I am not alone in this part of life.

What I have been doing to make myself feel better about graduating is making sure that I am preparing to be a good employee or graduate student. This looks like making sure that my resume communicates what it needs to and also continuing to stay focused on school so that I can show myself worthy of being accepted into a graduate program. If you are a senior trying to figure out what is going to happen with your future, my advice would be to not forget how important it is to live in the present and focus on preparing yourself for the future the best way you can.


Written by: Trae Christian

Trae is studying Strategic Communications: Social Media Management. He always thought that he wasn’t a good writer until he started writing about things that he is passionate about. Writing for the SA blog has really helped him get over his writing insecurities.

SA Previews: Josh Garrels

February 14, 2019

Josh Garrels is a multi-genre, self-produced musical artist who, through only seven albums and a few EPs, has developed a respectable and musically significant career. The Indiana native has scores of fans from all across the country and globe. With close to 850,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and a myriad of songs reaching the seven digit listen total (with “Born Again” from his album Home being his sole song that has reached the mark of eight digits in total listens on Spotify), Garrels’ passionate sound has developed him a faithful music-loving fanbase. The Small Voice Records founder has been seen across many genres as he has dabbled in not only indie music, but hip-hop, rap, folk, and Christian music as well. Appearing in songs by John Mark McMillan, Andy Mineo, Mason Jar Music, Beautiful Eulogy and more, Garrels has been a well-sought after featured voice for years.

Garrels has one of the most distinguishable and recognizable voices in not only the Christian music world, but even in the mainstream music world as well. The only artist that comes to mind as having a similar deep, raspy nature to their voice is George Ezra, but Garrels displays a wider range of vocals, with his soulful falsetto being the main weapon in his repertoire. Pairing his unique voice with his strong but peace-of-mind guitar playing makes listeners feel like their headphones have turned into Heaven’s outer radio frequencies.

Few artists have the ability to make you feel like you have just read a really good book like Garrels does; his music is not only a muse but a journey. In his song “Ulysses”, Garrels takes listeners into Homer’s The Odyssey and Herbert James Draper’s portrait “Ulysses and the Sirens” as he describes fighting pretty temptations that the world offers that will ultimately leave him hurting as he strives to return home to the one he loves. Adding to the variety of his music, Garrels took the lyrics of the 1911 Southern Gospel hit partially written by Reverent W. A. Fletcher “Farther Along” and modernized them, adding a whole new theatrical flair to the tune, which, thanks to the revitalization by Garrels, has become the anthem for many in a generation much different from the one found in the 1910s. “Farther Along” proves all the more that Garrels possesses a timeless sound that is sure to be appreciated for years and generations to come. Josh Garrels offers concert-goers an adventure through love, human struggle, faith and more with a variety of sounds that are pleasing to both the ear and the soul.

Don’t let anything, not Love or War or the Sea in Between or anything else keep you from getting to the School of Music’s Concert Hall on March 22. We’ll see you there!


Written by: Landen Swain

Landen believes the human experience longs to be expressed; through our art, our labor, our songs, our storytelling. As a published playwright, author, and poet, he enjoys expressing his little chapter of the human experience through his writings and is thankful that the SA blog allows him to do that. He is published in numerous magazines, literary journals, and has several plays published by Off the Wall Plays, an online play publishing house.

What My Brother Taught Me About Disability

February 11, 2019

From the ages of two to five, I had the privilege of praying every single day and night for God to give me a brother. Needless to say, my parents were very content with three children, but that is probably the most consistent and intentional I have ever been with my prayer (which baffles me due to my young age). Yet, it seems that with young age and blissful ignorance comes an unbelievable amount of faith. The same kind of childlike faith that Jesus spoke of in the Bible was the exact childlike faith that I lived out during that time. I couldn’t be more joyous or grateful that my prayer was answered. 

My brother John was born on March 20, 2004, in Enid, Oklahoma. Beginning from birth, there was a battle for his life. To put it lightly, he struggled from the beginning. The first few years of John’s life were more difficult than anybody else I have ever met. He was sickly and frail from birth, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, he aspirated food and later had to have the food surgically removed, and was later diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and had to go through copious amounts of chemotherapy. After all of that, he had to have two surgeries, including one open heart, to repair a hole in his heart. And if all of this wasn’t enough, his hip socket was injured during one of the surgeries and for the first 12 years of his life, he walked with a severe limp. Now it has digressed to the point where he is not even able to walk anymore because of the amount of pain that it brings him.

One could have the idea that John could be the most withdrawn and spiteful person on the planet. Thankfully, that statement could not be farther from the truth. John is the single most loving human being I have ever met. He loves without bounds and is not afraid to show you tangibly what that looks like. John has one of the most admirable views of people that I have ever seen. My deepest fears, fondest memories, and greatest dreams all revolve around this human being. In the public’s eye, he is “disabled” or impaired, but in God’s eyes, he is made perfect and will be made complete in Heaven, and that is a day that I long to see more than life.

Why is it that when we see how much joy people like John have and we notice that they live a normal life in and of themselves, we still tend to view them as solely “impaired” rather than as a human with unique abilities? Far too often we see somebody’s disability before we see any possible abilities in them. I argue that this way of thinking stems from a skewed societal view of “normalcy.” 

We need to challenge and redefine what society views as normal and abnormal. According to the ADA National Network, they define a person with a disability as, “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.” While maybe the first thing that comes in our heads after reading that definition is something like Autism or Down Syndrome or a person who can’t walk, I want to make the point of how something so common as a vision impairment where a person is required to wear glasses is defined as a disability. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” If we are made wonderfully in the image of God, then that goes for every human, not just the ones that society deems as different.

I was 5 years old when John was born and I was too young to know that he was going through complications. As we grew, the thought never crossed my mind of what life would be like with a “normal” brother. When you grow up and spend so much time with someone in his situation, you never get the chance to view them as different because you are just doing life together. We should always strive to view everybody as a person and not just label them by their disability. Blaine Grimes, author of “Finding Ability in Finding Dory” summarizes it the best when he says, “Look for the ability in disability.” I challenge you to try and keep this in mind in the future when you encounter someone who is disabled or impaired. The key element of this is to be intentional with others regardless of who they are or how they differ from you. This simple gesture can mean the world to somebody and can promote others to be intentional with you.

References

https://www.christandpopculture.com/99917/
https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/education/edlife/disability-studies-a-new-normal.html
https://services.anu.edu.au/human-resources/respect-inclusion/different-types-of-disabilities
https://adata.org/faq/what-definition-disability-under-ada


Written by: Josiah Frisbie

Josiah enjoys writing for the blog because he believes in the power of discussing relevant topics. He wants to be challenged in his writing and research style while still growing and striving for knowledge.

SA Previews: Every Square Inch Conference

February 7, 2019

Together with the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, Student Activities is thrilled to host the third annual Every Square Inch Conference. ESI was conceived through the thought of Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper when he said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” This mentality is what shaped a two day event filled with workshops, lectures, and music right here on Liberty’s campus.

Over the two day conference, there will be two workshops led by Vice President of Campus Recreation Christopher Misiano, Chair of the School of Divinity Dr. Mark Allen, and author/public intellectual Trevin Wax. Keynote speaker Trevin Wax is the Director for Bibles and Reference at LifeWay Christian Resources and a visiting professor at Wheaton College. His lecture “The Gospel vs. Expressive Individualism: Why “Being True To Yourself” is a Dead-End on the Road to Happiness” will headline the conference on Thursday, February 28th. The two day event will be led to a close through a concert by The Gray Havens featuring Chris Renzema and Gray.

Maintaining the declaration put forth by Kuyper, this conference is a place to engage in intentional, thought provoking conversation. It will be a time to learn and grow in developing a unified vision as the Body of Christ and fostering a community for intentional learning.

Come join in on the conversation of culture and faith on February 28 and 29. Make sure to register for the workshops and purchase your tickets for the show, and for more information about Every Square Inch, visit the event website at Student Activities – ESI.


Written by: Clay Copper

Clay is a grad student that is still trying to figure out what he is doing with his life. Sometimes he writes about relevant topics here, but mostly he writes about what he cares about and hopes you enjoy it.

Fearless Femininity: A Conversation About the Modern Day Career

February 4, 2019

Naomi: I feel like it is an unwritten rule that the seat we sit in our first day of classes becomes our assigned seat for the rest of the semester. As I walked into my first Business: Project Management class of this semester, I made it a point to find my seat in the front of the room. I settled into the chair that I would soon call home for the rest of my time in this class. Glancing around the room, I searched for familiar faces soon realizing I was one of seven girls in a classroom of 40 people.

Kate: I grew up with a single mother who was the sole breadwinner for my family, and that was my normal. As I got older I heard stories from her years in business. Throughout her career in technology sales my mom has had to fight for her place at the table and for her voice to be heard in a career generally dominated by men. Eventually I had the opportunity to go to college and discovered I wanted to follow in her footsteps. The foreign concepts of a glass ceiling and barriers for women in the workplace became something I wanted to familiarize myself with as business would be my world post-graduation.

In recent years with the rise of the third wave feminist movement, the conversation about women’s roles in the workplace has been a hot button issue. We have found there are traditionally two schools of thought. Some believe that women are oppressed by society at large or even men specifically, while others feel as if women don’t have the resources to get to where they want to go within the workplace.

Why is it that companies with women in leadership are more profitable, yet studies have shown that only 4.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women? In a study conducted by the MSCI World Index, companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent per year while companies without women in leadership generated an equity of 7.4 percent. And if countless more studies emphasize this idea, why aren’t companies making any changes?

Kate: The truth is, they are. This is not to say that every company is striving to reform their organizational strategy or has done so already. Rather, this demonstrates that there are a multitude of external factors that have limited these changes and caused growth of women in upper leadership to be stagnant despite growing awareness for this issue.

For example, throughout time women have struggled to balance the responsibilities that come with performing the role of CEO and mom. A study performed by Girls Who Code, a non-profit seeking to increase the number of women in computer science, found that 74 percent of women showed an interest in STEM. Yet, when it comes to fields such as computer science, only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees are earned by women and even fewer eventually find themselves in the C-Suite.

Many attribute this disconnect to the inability for work life balance not only in STEM fields, but more specifically in upper leadership in these fields. For me, having a working mom meant that she was often not present for junior high volleyball games, and school lunch was favored over a packed lunch. There were many sacrifices my mom had to make in order to provide for our family, and as the years have passed I have grown to admire her for doing so. The way she was able to balance these two worlds has driven me to follow in her footsteps. It is obvious to me, though, why many women would be deterred from this life if given the option to stay home with the ever challenging and rewarding career of motherhood as their full-time job.

Naomi: This is one of the many realities that discourages women from moving forward in the industry as a work and life balance is seemingly impossible to attain. Forbes Magazine released a report that stated when interviewing for a job or promotion, men will confidently press forward with only 60 percent of the experience needed. On the contrary, women will typically only go for a job if they have 100 percent of the necessary qualifications. I resonated with this, equating it to how I have felt in the classroom but on a much larger scale.

Egon Zehnder, a professional services firm, recognized that this barrier may be because only 54 percent of women have access to senior leaders who act as mentor in their career. Time and time again professors will encourage their students to seek mentorship; however, this can be extremely intimidating when you encounter what many people refer to as “the boys’ club”. I have found it is especially hard to navigate forming a connection with potential mentors as there are less women available for mentorship in my field of study. With this in mind, I have found it particularly challenging to then navigate an appropriate connection with the men that act as leaders in my academic and professional life.

In reference to the #MeToo movement brought to the forefront in late 2017, The New York Times stated, “In one unintended consequence, executives and analysts say, companies seeking to minimize the risk of sexual harassment or misconduct appear to be simply minimizing contact between female employees and senior male executives, effectively depriving the women of valuable mentorship and exposure.” Even as I am still in college navigating business in the classroom, I often find it a challenge trying to network and contribute my own insights when I am one of few women. This statement by the New York Times is unfortunate, as there is undoubtedly a benefit in learning and working with male superiors (my dad is easily the biggest inspiration and supporter of my career).

At the surface, these statistics are daunting and may cause women to doubt their opportunity. At Student Activities, we feel privileged to work for women who have set forth an example of what it looks like to operate as a leader in a culture where this is sometimes unusual. This atmosphere has inspired us in our own careers, teaching us invaluable lessons that we will carry for a lifetime. Our hope is that in reading this, people will further appreciate the women in their lives and empower them to take on challenges that have not been endeavored upon before.

References

https://www.businessinsider.com/women-hold-just-11-of-executive-positions-at-silicon-valley-tech-companies-2015-1
https://techcrunch.com/2016/04/19/the-first-comprehensive-study-on-women-in-venture-capital/
https://observer.com/2017/06/women-in-tech-statistics/amp/
http://www.ddiworld.com/ddi/media/trend-research/womenatworkgendergap_br_ddi.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/elenakvochko/2016/01/04/women-executives-in-tech/amp/
https://gsm.ucdavis.edu/uc-davis-annual-study-california-women-business-leaders
https://www.businessinsider.com/sheryl-sandberg-quotes-women-careers-2014-8?op=1
https://www.msci.com/documents/10199/04b6f646-d638-4878-9c61-4eb91748a82b
https://amp.businessinsider.com/companies-with-women-in-leadership-roles-perform-better-2016-6
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2017/05/21/432758/womens-leadership-gap/
https://techcrunch.com/2016/05/10/the-lack-of-women-in-tech-is-more-than-a-pipeline-problem/
https://www.ncwit.org/sites/default/files/resources/womenintech_facts_fullreport_05132016.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2017/06/24/women-mentoring/#296526b122db


Written by: Kate Dolan & Naomi Bower

Kate is a senior studying Business Administration: Communications. She has worked for Student Activities since her Junior year and it is honestly the best thing that’s happened to her since coming to Liberty. After graduation, she hopes to move back to her hometown in the suburbs of Chicago and get a big girl job downtown.

 


Naomi 
is an avid coffee drinker and google calendar enthusiast from Arizona who spends most of her time outside, exploring new places. Naomi enjoys writing for the blog because it forces her to remain educated on current events happening in our culture today.  I am especially passionate about bringing awareness to issues such as women’s rights and diet culture.

SA Previews: Oceanic & Rhineland

February 1, 2019

We’re so excited for our first Student Concert of the spring semester! We interviewed the openers Oceanic and Rhineland to learn more about them. Each band has a distinct indie sound ranging from dreamy to alternative. Below, we asked each band some questions to help you get to know them better.

When did your band start out making music? 

Oceanic: Our band started when Jacob and I first met on our dorm in 2016. We recorded horrible demos and wrote songs together for quite a while! Our first show was a Liberty SA Open Mic.

Rhineland: We started making music at the beginning of 2018 when we all came together to play at a fundraiser show.

What does your band name signify?

Oceanic: “Oceanic” is a word we love, and we love the metaphoric significance of the ocean in general. We love our music to be expansive, deep, and full of surprises.

What has been the most exciting project for you?

Oceanic: The most exciting project we’ve completed is our song called Party Song. It was our first single, so spirits were high when we were in the studio recording it. The most exciting project we have NOT yet completed is our full length debut album that comes out later this year.

Rhineland: The most exciting project has been traveling to Nashville in October with the band to record our first single “We Go Down” with producer Kyle Cummings. We learned so much about the recording process and had the opportunity to get creative in the studio to make the song really special.

What are you looking forward to in the future when it comes to the direction of your band?

Oceanic: I’m most looking forward to improving as a band. We work hard at making better and better music, and performing more and more passionately at shows. It’s exciting to think about how that’ll play out in the future.

Rhineland: Right now, our goal is to go on tour as a supporting act for a bigger band and to release an EP in the near future. It’s hard to say for sure where Rhineland will go but we all dream of doing this full time someday.

When you’re not performing or writing, what are you doing?

Oceanic: For me personally, my pastime is songwriting. I’m constantly creating something new, or refining our existing projects. I love that so much more than Netflix so that’s my main muse. If I’m not writing, though, I’m spending time with people. I love people.

Rhineland: We like to hang out with our friends and grab food, as much as we can afford to!

What is the best show experience you’ve ever had?

Oceanic: The best show experience we’ve had is a toss up between a house show last year (that we actually played with Rhineland and ANX), and Lynchstock Music Festival 2018. Both were incredible shows for different reasons.

Rhineland: Our best show experience was definitely opening for The WLDLFE at Speakertree a few months ago. So many people came out to the show and it was really high-energy. We were also fans of The WLDLFE before the show so it was a cool opportunity to meet the band and play with them.

If your band could open for any artist/band, who would it be?

Oceanic: I would open for Coldplay, The 1975, or WALK THE MOON. I would die if I met them.

Rhineland: We all would like to open for a band like Hippocampus or COIN someday, but if we’re talking big dreams, then a band like The 1975 or Coldplay would be insane.

 

We can’t wait for you to experience the energy of Oceanic and Rhineland on February 5th at 8pm in the LaHaye Event Space with ANX! This is a free show – see you there!


Written by: Kay Torres

Kay believes the Student Activities blog is an awesome way to engage the student body beyond events. She feels lucky to get to be a part of a team that cares about engaging different perspectives and the world we live in!