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Where Are You Going? Chicago

November 14, 2019

In just a few short weeks I will be going back to, in my opinion, the best city in the United States. Chicago is home to some of the most famous American landmarks, amazing food, talented sports teams, unbeatable entertainment stars, bargain shopping, and one of the most beautiful skylines. I could go on and on about how amazing I think Chicago is, but I think I should just prove it to you. Here is the ultimate guide to the Windy City.

The beautiful sights of Chicago are one of a kind and rich in history. The Chicago Fire in 1871 devastated the city, but it also is the main reason Chicago is as beautiful as it is today. Because of the fire, the city coordinators were able to plan out the city unlike almost all other cities around the world. The fire caused a universal building scheme that allows the city to appear as cohesive. One of the only buildings to survive the Chicago Fire is the Water Tower, which is still standing today. Chicago is known as a business hub, especially after the fire, “After the 1874 fire, the slow and expensive process of rebuilding with fireproof materials began. Big banks and businesses, which handled millions of dollars in revenue every year, dominated Chicago’s new business district” (Schons, 2011). In addition to all the business buildings and banks, we have the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center, the Trump Tower & Hotel, and the Water Tower Place. The Willis Tower is the tallest building in Chicago and has a beautiful view of the city from the 103rd floor. The best view of the skyline is by the Adler Planetarium and no matter the time of year, it is always breathtaking.

Deep dish pizza, Portillos, Garrett’s popcorn, Chicago style hot dogs, and Chicago Italian beef are only a few examples of the amazing variety of food that the Windy City has to offer. In Chicago, you will lose money and gain calories because of how good the food is. No one can master deep dish pizza like Giordano’s (and I guess Lou Malnati’s depending on who you talk to). For those of you who do not know what deep dish pizza is, it is pizza that is inches deep and has sauce on the top instead of cheese. It is one of a kind and Chicago is known as THE place to get it. You will never go with a grumble in your stomach when you are in the city because of the countless, delicious options.

Chicago houses some of the best music artists, sports teams, and movies of our generation. Our generation’s most recently talked about artist was raised in Chicago. Can you guess who it is? None other but Kanye West! Kanye’s song “Homecoming” is all about Chicago and all of the things he loves about it. In addition to Kanye, some other artists that are from Chicago are: Chance the Rapper, Chicago, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Fall Out Boy, and Jennifer Hudson. In the 1990s to early 2000s a lot of classic movies were filmed here in Chicago. A few of the movies include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone, The Dark Knight, Transformers, Divergent, The Fugitive, and Spider-Man 2. Chicago sports teams have won numerous Stanley Cup, World Series, NBA Championship, and Superbowl titles over many years. The most recent win for Chicago was when the 2016 Cubs won the World Series title after 108 years without it. “Officials estimate that 5 million people showed up to the Chicago Cubs parade and rally Friday, making it the 7th largest gathering in human history” (Fox32, 2016). Chicagoans are filled with pride for their city, especially when it comes to sports.

It is so easy to shop till you drop in a city with thousands of cute and trendy shopping options. Magnificent Mile is the epicenter of shopping in the city, “The Magnificent Mile boasts more than 460 retailers, including popular brands; major department stores; international luxury labels and designers; and three vertical shopping centers, each with incentives and premier savings”. Another hidden hotspot for shopping is Nordstrom Last Chance, which is a little bit outside the city. There are only two of those stores in the entire United States and it is a “final-clearance store for returned and overstocked merchandise from Nordstrom stores, Nordstrom Rack, and Nordstrom.com”. They have designer brand clothing at thrift store prices. Shopping never gets old in this city and neither does my wallet because of the countless great deals!

Chicago is an amazing city filled with beautiful sights and people. I encourage everyone to go and experience all this city has to offer at least once in your lifetime! I hope you can use this as your guide to explore the Windy City!






Written by: Kaitlyn Skarstein

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.


Your Voice Matters

November 11, 2019

The increasing epidemic of human trafficking (child labor, underpaid labor, sex trafficking, debt bondage) is one hard pill to swallow; it can be easy to think it is too large an issue for one person to tackle alone. I think where a lot of people struggle in helping in social justice issues is they personally feel that they are not “big enough” or “important enough.” This could not be further from the truth.

I read a story recently of two women from the article “Understanding Human Trafficking in The United States.” These authors are two women who were someone’s daughters, someone’s friends. Their names are Samriah and Enung, and they were “recruited” from Indonesia to live with a kind, American family. This family would provide them work and a way to make their dream happen here in America. These women were promised much by this American family. Once arrived, these women were excessively beaten, abused, starved, and tortured by the family. There was no explanation as to why these women were treated so poorly; the family was twisted and selfish. This is human trafficking and it is happening in America. These women were seen by various witnesses within the home. A witness even saw one of the women crawling up from the basement, her forehead bleeding. They were seen by outsiders, and yet were not rescued from their terrible reality until one of them ran away to the police after five horrible years. Why did no one ask two clearly abused women what was happening?

Recognize signs, friends. Report suspicious behavior. Ask neglected-looking individuals about their lives. Medical professionals have so much opportunity to recognize trafficking victims, like when children or a “family member” do not resemble the rest of their family, or when sickly patients come in with excessive dental decay, HIV, or pelvic pain. The list goes on. Maybe you aren’t a medical professional so these signs feel irrelevant – don’t feel irrelevant. I have seen human trafficking and not known until further learning the signs of it. I could have done something, but I didn’t do anything, and it genuinely hurts me knowing that I could have done more. I don’t want you to look back and realize you could have helped, but didn’t.

There was one night I was driving back to my hometown, somewhere where prostitution is active and known about. I noticed three BMW’s all sitting, turned off, lined up along the curb of an empty street. Seeing this at 1:00 AM as an 18-year-old-girl didn’t make me feel the safest, so the last thing I thought to do was stop and investigate. Although, looking back, I know for a fact that those three well-dressed men, all sitting in their cars, late at night were there with the same intentions. I learned just a bit later that prostitutes will generally wait outside of sight, while pimps roam the streets searching for waiting cars. As the cars wait, pimps select a victim, put them in the car, and they begin their “work”. It is as disgusting and repulsive as it sounds, and I actually saw this all happen. I 100% did not do the right thing in this. Obviously, everyone, stay safe. Make wise decisions and know your boundaries. BUT, if you see this occur, please by all means call the police and report what you have seen. You can do so anonymously (which is what I would recommend), and leave the situation knowing you did all that you could. Even seeing children out and about with adults who seem crude, aggressive, and genuinely disrespectful to the child can be a sign. Asking children you meet about their life is not a bad idea; in fact, be a little nosey if you believe something more may be happening in their current living situation.

Donation to organizations who are actively training medical professionals, counselors, law enforcement, or providing safe homes helps so greatly. Engaging in challenges such as Dressember makes an impact. People ask questions because they don’t understand, but you can help them understand. Ask questions when you don’t understand. It is okay to not know, but push yourself to learn and educate yourself so you may be the positive change the world needs. This world needs more fighters in Jesus’ name. In knowing Christ, we know then that the same Holy Spirit who lived in Moses, John the Baptist, or Paul lives in each of us. The Holy Spirit is not limited to whether or not you believe you are enough; the Holy Spirit is entirely outside of our own comprehension and will use you if you allow Him to.

There is so much I wish I could say in this little post. One blog won’t shake the world; I know that full well, but I hope if anything it is able to give you a glimpse into the life of a human trafficking victim. I think understanding victims starts with allowing ourselves to become uncomfortable for a minute or two. Jesus was fiercely uncomfortable in His most important work, so we should be able to be uncomfortable too if it means bringing forth change. We all have a voice to be used. My greatest hope is that followers of Christ would use their voice, in love, to impact those around them; this is me trying to do that. Please, everyone, know that your voice does 100% matter; YOU matter. Anything you say is heard by those around you, whether you believe they are listening or not.

Human Trafficking Hotline:

Call: 1(888) 373-7888

Text: BeFree to 233733

Human Trafficking Organizations (Donate! It is good for everyone involved!):

Dressember: https://www.dressember.org

International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org

Free the Girls Bras: https://freethegirls.org

Polaris Project: https://polarisproject.org

Shared Hope International: http://sharedhope.org




Written by: Natalie Barsamian

Natalie is a Junior Digital Marketing & Advertising Major, and she decided to write for the blog because getting to share a bit of her story to encourage other students sounded like an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.


SA Previews: Spider-Man: Far From Home

November 7, 2019

We’ve all seen some form of the Spider-Man movie franchise, whether it was the original Tobey Maguire version, Andrew Garfield’s portrayal, or who seems to be the new crowd favorite—Tom Holland. With Holland making his debut in Captain America: Civil War, fans were bound to take a liking to him since he was introduced immediately into the Marvel world. Shortly after, Spider-Man: Homecoming was released, in which fans were able to see the original backstory that is associated with Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Tom Holland quickly became popular with the Marvel fan-base, as he starred in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. With SA’s movie night just around the corner, I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek into the latest Spider-Man release: Spider-Man: Far From Home.

In this Spider-Man based sequel to Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker is still dealing with having to hide his secret identity from his classmates as they embark on a school trip to Europe. Peter, wanting to refrain from any sort of super-hero activities, intentionally leaves his suit at home. Thankfully, Aunt May sends it along. What Peter thought would be a relaxing vacation with his classmates turns into a whirlwind of chaos, including a new character–Mysterio, a gift from the late Tony Stark, and the Marvel icon—Nick Fury. With the introduction of Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Parker is forced to take on his secret identity as Spider-Man to ensure the safety of his classmates. This film gives fans a more in-depth look at the life of our new favorite superhero by appealing to the grief we all felt when [SPOILER ALERT!!!] Iron Man fought his last battle in Avengers: Endgame. But let’s get real, if you didn’t know Iron Man is no longer with us, you’ve been hiding under a rock.

After Spider-Man: Far From Home was released this past summer, fans were concerned when Sony announced that Spider-Man would no longer be a part of Marvel; however, not long after, it was settled that Spider-Man was officially back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, along with a new release date for Spider-Man’s next movie. I highly recommend stopping by our movie night on November 15 at 8 PM in the Vines Center for some free popcorn and a thrilling look at Peter Parker’s adventure in Europe!





Written by: Madelyn Mauck

Madelyn is a Junior studying Business Administration: Project Management. She enjoys writing for the blog, not only because it helps her develop as a creative writer, but because it gives her a chance to share her experiences through a platform she would not have without Student Activities.

Candy Crush: A Love or an Addiction?

November 4, 2019

Did you know 9.2 million people play Candy Crush Saga for three or more hours a day?1 And this is just 3.4% of those who have downloaded the loveable (and frustrating!) puzzle-matching game. Discover King, the developer, shows there are currently more than 270 million players across the series. In 2018 alone, the Candy Crush series made over $1.5 billion in revenue. Compare this to Pokémon Go which brought in $800 million or Fortnite’s $455 million on iOS, and you see that the game is highly addictive.2

Both Kaitlyn and I consider ourselves avid Candy Crush players; and some days, we might even be part of those 9.2 million (some of you consider this an “addiction,” but we’ll call it a devotion to something we love). For those of you who have played, you can certainly share with us the ups and downs of trying to complete many levels one right after another. From the (sugar) rush you experience when finishing a level to the utter frustration of running out of lives, playing Candy Crush takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. We are happy to admit that even at our lowest points, neither of us have dropped a dime on the app. Although, we can’t say it hasn’t crossed our minds to spend our life savings just to add another booster to the bunch (just one more color bomb, please!).

We are here to share the benefits of Candy Crush, if played within moderation. Just like anything in your life, the time spent should be balanced and not interfere with your priorities (your spiritual health, family, relationship, academics, job, etc.). So, assuming we’re all playing at a non-addictive level, what mental and social benefits come from swiping a few colored candies each day?

We believe games often have the misconception of being a waste of time, as well as something that rots a person’s brain. Candy Crush is not immune to this stereotype. However, Candy Crush has been said to increase your dopamine levels, which is the neurotransmitter that plays a part in our happiness levels. Dopamine is instrumental to our learning and helps develop both bad and good behavioral responses because it begins to retrain our brain behavior. 3 Women’s Health states that your dopamine levels are raised when you win a level of a game because you are craving the success, and then you hunger to beat more levels. 4 The same article goes on to say that when you are playing the game, the “bright colors activate your brain’s reward system”. 4    

Candy Crush is also beneficial in increasing cognitive behavior, including memorization. Woman’s Health states, “Thirty daily minutes of mobile gaming can exercise the brain regions responsible for problem-solving, memory, and spatial recognition.” 4 People sometimes think that apps like Luminosity or Elevate could develop brain training more than handheld games like Candy Crush. However, The Sun found that those apps are not any better at stimulating your brain than Candy Crush is. 5 Another article concluded that active video games that were played for just 12 hours increased the reading levels of players that had dyslexia in the same time as one year of reading development classes. 6 Video games have also been known to improve the attention spans of participants, which could then increase their attention span during classes, church, or many other activities.

Discover King’s mission statement states, “Our mission is to provide highly engaging games to our audience to match their mobile lifestyles.”7 The goal for this company is not for the average consumer to get addicted to this game, rather for it to “match their mobile lifestyles”. There are a few questions to ask yourself to decide if a game is becoming an addiction for you. First, am I spending money on this addiction? Second, am I playing this game during everyday routine tasks or conversations? Third, is this game interfering with my life on any level?3 Handheld games, such as Candy Crush, can be a help in “escaping the stress of today”, which is conveniently the games’ slogan, however it can also become unhealthy really quick. Limiting your time on games or even on your phone can lead to more intentional relationships. Understanding that things are good in moderation is a good way to go about playing video games because it still gives you the freedom to enjoy games without the addiction to them.

If the facts are true, then is playing games on your handheld device as bad as people make them out to be? We believe Candy Crush has many benefits as long as it is enjoyed in moderation and paired with other passions, priorities, and plans. Candy Crush not only helps increase dopamine levels, but it also helps increase cognitive behavior at the same time. We love Candy Crush and the thrill of beating a level, and we hope that someday you might give it a try too!


1 https://gizmodo.com/candy-crush-developer-says-9-2-million-users-play-at-le-1835893580

2 https://www.gamespot.com/articles/heres-how-much-money-candy-crush-makes-compared-to/1100-6464305/

3 https://www.pilotonline.com/blogs/article_0e05c407-3eea-5da0-9bfd-b814ce913752.html

4  https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19910448/candy-crush-saga-addiction/

5 https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/4000340/candy-crush-could-be-as-good-for-improving-mental-health-as-brain-training-app-lumosity/

6 https://www.lifemapco.com/news/health-and-wellness/why-candy-crush-may-be-good-your-health

7 https://discover.king.com/about/

Written by: Steph Ward & Kaitlyn Skarstein

Steph is the Director of Student Activities. She has a B.S. in Visual Communication Arts: Graphic Design and a M.S. in Management. Steph oversees the overall calendar and vision of the Student Activities Department from promotion to execution and analysis. She also leads the Student Activities staff, comprised of 20+ full time and student worker employees.



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.

SA Previews: Binge & Banter: 13 Reasons Why

October 31, 2019

After the success of our first ever Binge and Banter (which was on the topic of the fan-favorite Netflix original Stranger Things), we decided to bring the event back this November! For those of you who were unable to attend the first Binge and Banter and are unsure of what this event is we wanted to explain it, because this is an event you are not going to want to miss. The first part of the event, “Binge”, is what you will do on your own time – watching the show. SA does not endorse or promote the shows we use for this event, meaning that we’re not going to be the ones to tell you what to watch. Rather, we choose shows we know a majority of students have seen, that way we can have healthy discussion about it. The “Banter” portion is when we will have a group discussion about the show, fan theories, the characters, and more.

We are excited to announce that this Binge and Banter is going to be on the Netflix Original series, 13 Reasons Why. We decided on 13 Reasons Why for our second Binge and Banter because it has been such a controversial discussion since Netflix first aired the show back in 2017. We want to discuss the content, characters, purpose, and fan theories through a biblical worldview. The series is on their third season and there has been so much that has happened from season one to season three – there is so much that needs to be discussed! Therefore, this Binge and Banter is going to cover all three seasons. We hope that you will join us on November 12 at 7:00pm in the LaHaye Event Space, for some refreshments and conversations about the series. We will see you there!

Written by: Gabi Cormier

Gabi is a Junior majoring in Integrated Communications. 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.

Fighting For Your Time

October 28, 2019

How do you spend your free time? If we sit back and really look at our lives, it can be interesting to see how you really spend your days. There are so many things that we want to accomplish in our everyday lives, but when it comes down to it, we are almost never as productive as we would like to be in our spare time. Some people choose to try and rest or grow in various areas of their life, while others squander what is given to them and do not use their time wisely. Isn’t that something that we have always heard since we were kids? “Use your time wisely.” We’ve all heard it, but what does that really mean? It is different for each person because we are all heading in different directions and striving for different goals. For some, watching and critiquing movies or plays is the best use of their time, while for others, choosing to analyze and study the stock market is the most productive thing they can do. We each need to find the best way to use our time.

Look around our world – there are so many things that each one of us wants to do, but it seems like we always wind up choosing to fill our time with the things that don’t matter. For example, I want to go to tutoring, counseling, exercise, listen to and write music, grow in my friendships, etc., but I seem to always wind up doing anything besides what I wanted to get done. In life, almost any activity that you are involved with will pressure you and make you feel like it is the most important thing in your life. It seems like everything fights for your time nowadays. Time is the most important and valuable thing that we can give, but we can never receive it back. Unless you are Doctor Strange, no matter where we go, time goes on and never returns. When we leave school, get sick, or go home, time refuses to stand still, and people move on with their lives. This should be motivation to get out there and make the best use of your time.

One of the biggest struggles with using your time well is trying to combat boredom. Boredom can be so draining, and too much of it can make you feel like you are sinking into a pit where you are incapable of doing anything. It is a gateway to laziness, which is the exact opposite of what we should be striving for. But there are healthy doses of boredom that can be good for you. In our day and age, it seems that instant gratification and satisfaction are the only things that people want. This is especially rampant among those surrounded by technology and electronics. Generally, when somebody gets bored, one of the first things that they do is to pull out their phone to “kill time”. This is not the approach that we should be taking when we have extra time lying around. I would argue that a healthy dose of boredom is good for the mind! With the right mentality, it can keep you from relying too much on instant gratification and can help you actually stop to look around and view the details and beauty that exist around us in life and in nature. A little bit of boredom can help somebody think and branch out into a creative outlet that they might never have tried before. I believe that cutting down on the amount of time we spend on electronics is crucial to reclaiming a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle instead of a life run by technology.

Fight for your time! It is good to relax and rest; we are not able to perform our best without first taking the time to recharge. Do not get complacent with your life. Spend your time wisely! Get out and go rock climbing like you’ve been wanting to, make that playlist you’ve been telling yourself you would make, and go make those friends that you keep desiring. If you are wise with your time, you can accomplish anything that you want to do.

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: Battle of the Bands

October 23, 2019

All around Liberty, there are musicians who want nothing more than for their band to be the one that makes it. Students seem to be constantly coming together with their friends to create music that will mean something to someone. Lucky for all the musicians out there, Battle of the Bands gives the opportunity to 10 special bands who have wanted to create meaningful music; it is a time to finally let their band be THE BAND on campus. Each band has to have just three or more students, allowing 75% of the band members to be Liberty students (which should be no biggie considering Liberty is filled with some pretty amazing musicians).

Battle of the Bands is a one-night event on November 16, but who performs is up to Liberty students. From November 4 until November 10, the 10 bands Student Activities chooses who submit themselves as contestants will be voted upon by other students online. Submitted bands can be classified as whatever genre they prefer – from rap, to folk, to rock, all are welcome.

After the online round of voting, the top five bands will then perform on the night of the show. So yes, invite your friends, your family, and your campus crush all to come and see what you can do. After the top five bands perform, another round of text voting will take place to narrow down the top two bands. This is when the night gets juicy. The top two bands will battle it out for the winning spot and only one will be elected to win by a second round of text voting.

“But what happens when I win?” you may ask, and friends, the prizes are good. To the band who battles the hardest, they will receive not only clout, but also a Speakertree recording session, $500 Lynchburg Music gift card, and will be gifted the chance to perform once again as the headliner at a spring student concert.

Now after hearing about one of the best events coming up this fall, gather your musical friends, practice like no other, and submit your band to Student Activities!

Written by: Natalie Barsamian

Natalie is a Junior Digital Marketing & Advertising Major, and she decided to write for the blog because getting to share a bit of her story to encourage other students sounded like an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

Mental Health

October 21, 2019

“I don’t understand what you’re going through, but I will fight with you.” This sentence alone has the power to transform lives – specifically the people in life that are battling mental illnesses. We can say with confidence that loving people battling mental health issues is not easy at all. It can be a hard and frustrating role, as you are desiring to help that person and not getting anywhere. This topic has been on my [Kallie’s] heart for years now as I am continuing to battle anxiety and depression. The people in my life who love me will often ask me how they can help and/or love me better through this season. Even though I get this question often, it can be difficult to answer on the spot, because I’m not sure that I even know the answer to this question. The conclusion that I have come to is that there isn’t one. You may be thinking, “wow, Kallie, that’s pretty negative”, except it’s not. The reason that there is not a conclusion is because there are hundreds of different conclusions for hundreds of different people. There are many different types of anxiety, many different types of depression, and not to mention all of the many more types of mental illnesses. Considering each person’s different genetic makeup and the level of intensity of their mental health, it would be nearly impossible to release the secret recipe to the perfect way to love someone in your life battling mental illnesses. What I am here to do though, is to give you a few of the tips that I believe will generically be a huge aid in loving that person you are thinking about while reading this.

My first piece of advice would be to deepen your understanding. This is extremely important and can help you figure out exactly what your loved one could need from you. Even if you personally struggle with the same mental illness your loved one has, it doesn’t mean the circumstances or situation is the same as theirs. Therefore, educating yourself on their type of anxiety, depression, etc. is extremely important to better understand why they do what they do. If you do not struggle with any type of mental illness, it can be difficult to understand the way this person is acting without diving into what they deal with on an everyday basis. Educating yourself, for example, can look like Googling facts about the specific illness, watching YouTube videos about personal stories, asking a doctor or someone who is an expert in the issue, reading books, and lastly, asking your personal loved one what they experience in purposes of learning more about them. Another important way to educate yourself is to learn their triggers and symptoms. This is so vital for being a good friend for this person. By recognizing what triggers them and what happens when they are triggered can immensely help in their safety and comfort. Often times, recognizing mental illness is difficult as it isn’t necessarily obvious. Mental illnesses are often called “silent killers” because they are mostly internal. For this exact reason, you should focus on studying the triggers and symptoms to better notice when your friend, family member, or significant other is struggling without them having to say anything.

Another tip for loving others that are struggling with mental health is to refrain from offering your own advice. With mental illnesses, there often is not a reason in the present that could be why they’re experiencing what they’re going through, and they also might not be able to explain how they are feeling. The most important thing to do is just listen. Whether you are listening to them rant, or verbally process, or even just listening to their silence. It’s important that you let them speak and do not offer your unsolicited advice. You do not have their brain and you are not living their life with this illness, so giving advice usually will not be helpful. Although giving advice is not recommended, neither is ignoring it. One of the worst things for all parties is pretending it doesn’t exist. It is important to use the “I” pronoun instead of using “you”. “I am worried”, “I am noticing”, not “You are acting like –.”

NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, is an incredible resource for insight on mental illnesses as they offer practical applications to offer support for others. They emphasize the importance of helping your loved one recognize their needs. This doesn’t mean telling them what they need to do and then expecting they will somehow get better; rather, it is about supporting them as they attempt to lead healthier lifestyles. One of the most encouraging things you can do is fight this battle along with them. Karen Young, writer for HeySigmund, says “You don’t have to fix anything or change anything. If there was a way to do that, they would have done it themselves by now. Instead, acknowledge their pain…and validate what they’re going through.” Be the person that’s there for them without having to change them.

We have to realize that depression, anxiety, and illnesses along those lines are trying to steal the people that we love. The enemy is using these struggles with mental health to take the people that we should be fighting for away from us. As brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our imperative duty to step up and reflect Jesus’ love onto them. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Ultimately, the only thing that can bring true healing to these scars is His love, and He has commanded us to love each other as He has loved us. We have to love one another; it isn’t a choice, it is an obligation.

“I don’t understand what you’re going through, but I will fight with you.” This affirmation is the hope that can change the lives of those you love who struggle with mental illness. We have the opportunity to bring light into this darkness that so many people are going through. We encourage you guys to not sit on the sidelines anymore, go out there and fight for each other. Love is the only answer.


NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nami.org/Find-Support/Living-with-a-Mental-Health-


Young, K. (2016, July 14). When Someone You Love Has Depression. Retrieved from


1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Written by: Kallie Moore & Alex Quan

 is a Sophomore Digital Media Video Major and enjoys writing for the blog because of the amazing platform it is to have a voice and discuss topics that might not be commonly addressed.



 is a Junior Business Communications Major and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity to express his thoughts and interests through the medium of a blog! It’s a healthy way to share his opinions with others and hopefully start a dialogue with them.

SA Previews: The Lion King

October 17, 2019

The Lion King is a classic Disney movie that almost all of us grew up watching as a child. Its heart-wrenching plot and irresistible soundtrack must leave us thinking ‘How could The Lion King get any better?’ Well, it can! The new 2019 version of The Lion King is ranked #11 overall of all-time box-office hits domestically, while the original version ranked #26. So, one might ask, “Why is the new version of The Lion King ranked higher than the old one [in these statistics]?”

This year’s movie does a fantastic job of keeping a lot of the original ideas of the 1994 version present; it seems like that was important to everyone working on this version. The live-action version’s nostalgic feel is undeniably a draw for adults that grew up in the original Lion King era. Even though this year’s Lion King kept a lot of the animated film’s essentials, it did add a lot, starting with the graphics. The graphics this year changed the animated movie to being one of many newly computer-generated movies, which is similar to game technology. This makes everything in the movie not only pop, but also feel realistic. In addition to this, the creators also used “…a range of live-action filmmaking tools and techniques — from lighting to camera movement to set dressing — that have been around for more than a century, as well as a few that are entirely new”. Many have commented about how beautiful the animals and scenery are, making it look like a real-life nature documentary. Another change in the new Lion King is the popular casting among the characters. Some big names that were casted in this movie include: Beyoncé, Seth Rogan, and Donald Glover. The publicity from having these actors be a part of this year’s movie has caused a lot of success.

The basic plot of The Lion King (2019) is about Simba’s journey from a young lion to a powerful leader that takes after his father Mufasa. Scar, Mufasa’s brother, tries to kill Mufasa and his son Simba in order to take over the kingdom’s reign. However, he does not succeed with killing Simba. Simba runs away from home after the unimaginable scene that happened in front of him, and it was not until he met Timon and Pumbaa that he returned home. Once he returns home, he is approached by his childhood friend, Nala, who tells him about Scar’s reign throughout the kingdom and how Simba needs to stop it. After he is informed, Simba does everything he can to fulfill his destiny as king and overtake Scar. The audience gave this film an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1/10 from IMDB reviews.

Join us Saturday, October 26th at 8 P.M. in the Vines Center for a fantastic night of nostalgia with The Lion King (2019)!





Written by: Kaitlyn Skarstein

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.


Opinion: Truth Hurts

October 14, 2019

This past summer I was able to work with two separate camps, both having the overall mission of sharing the gospel with children and adolescents. Being immersed in that environment where those working around me were Christians and it being generally understood by everyone attending the camp that the Gospel was something that we openly talked about and shared, it became unusual for me to see any big time kick back towards the Gospel – after all, the kids attending these camps had signed up and paid for the camp knowing that they were going to a camp run by a youth ministry organization.

After two months of really not having my phone for that much, I randomly decided to get on Twitter. It just so happened that the first headline I saw was about Maraji sharing the Gospel and offending many people. Until that headline I had no idea who Maraji was; @Maraji_, as she is known on both Instagram and Twitter (which have 1.1 Million and 102.7k followers, respectively), is a popular Nigerian YouTuber and Social Media Influencer whose real name is Gloria Oluruntobi.1 Her followers, just like with any celebrity, range in backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs, so when Maraji took to her Instagram story to offer thoughts on faith, she offended many with a repost of Own the Truth Ministries’ (@ottministries) July 24, 2019 post that bore a picture of Fred Flintstone and the words “THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO HEAVEN[.] NO ALLAH, NO BUDDAH, NO KRISHNA, NO EVOLUTION, ONLY JESUS” followed by John 14:6 at the bottom of the post, which reads “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Many took to Twitter to vocalize their outrage or disappointment: Gimba Kakanda (@gimbakakanda) noted that Maraji was “insensitive to her fans”, a user going under the name Olumide O.G (@OlumideOG) tweeted “Some opinions are best kept unsaid, and the fact that she chose Eid-El-Kabir of all days, very offensive, insensitive, and uncalled for.”, Iyorah Obehi Desirée (@Desireeiyorah) said “Why is it so impossible for some Christians to fathom the idea that theirs is not the only way??”; these were just a few of the many tweets against the content Maraji posted, while there were also a host of supporters as well.2

The tweets criticizing Maraji bring up some valid questions Christians must assess:

Should we still share the Gospel even if it offends people?

Should we just let people go on believing their faith to spare their feelings?

What’s wrong with people believing other things?

For starters, yes, we should share the Gospel even if it offends people. Bluntly, the Gospel is offensive; there is an acknowledgement that our best efforts to be good enough are not good enough for Heaven, we are sinners, and we are deserving of Hell. It’s offensive and it hurts, but the truth of the Gospel crashing into us wakes us up to our depravity, our lostness, and our need for a Savior, which points us to Jesus, the greatest truth of all. People going under other religious banners will likely be greatly offended by the statement that Jesus is the only way, which comes as no shock considering that if you are saying that then you are questioning the very ground they stand upon; it is Earth shattering to say that the faith you follow is wrong and another is right. Through that breaking down of a foundation a new structure can be built on which you can rely; you can exchange the sand for solid ground.

Many will likely say claiming that Jesus is the only way is bigoted and stubborn, denying the presence of absolute truth. As Dr. David R. Reagan writes, “The mantra of the Post-Modern Era is the statement, ‘There is no such thing as absolute truth.’ Truth is viewed as being relative. You have your truth, and I have mine, and neither of us have the right to declare that our truth is the absolute truth. This mantra is a lie. First of all, it is hypocritical. Think about it: When a person asserts there is no absolute truth, he is uttering an absolute truth statement! He is saying, ‘It is an absolute truth that there is no such thing as absolute truth.’ The statement is self-contradictory.”3 When we realize that Jesus truly is the Truth, we should be inclined to share the Truth to dispel all the lies.

Letting people go on in their beliefs just because we do not want to be potentially offensive or confrontational is not really an option. Just the other day I was throwing a football with some friends and with my untrained and quite inaccurate throwing arm I launched a pass that veered towards a professor walking by. Seeing the potential pain coming his way, I called out “heads!” to give him warning, not just letting him continue on his way. The same applies to our faith; if we see people heading towards doom as they are misled, the only loving thing we can do is tell them of the impending danger, the perils that lie ahead, and steer them towards what is good and true.

Some of the tweets against Maraji asserted that Christians believe that their way is the only way and that is ignorant; it is not arrogant to believe that biblical truth is the highest truth and that Jesus is the only way, it is brave to stand up for the truth as the world tries to deny the firm foundation upon which you stand. The assertion that there are multiple ways to Heaven (as in different faiths and following different gods will eventually lead you to the same place as all other faiths) is wrong; polytheism simply does not add up if a person thinks through the concept of God.

In Greek mythology, different gods ruled over different things (Poseidon was the god of the sea, Demeter was the goddess of agriculture, etc.) but being the god of just one or a few areas of existence implies limits and confines. With God, there is no limit – He is infinite, incomprehensible, and Holy. He is the Alpha and Omega, Sovereign, and Omniscient; “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:9-10). God is King and the King welcomes into His Kingdom whom He wishes; those who try to find another way into the Kingdom except through the designed way of His Son will be sadly let down and disappointed. Denying that there are other ways to Heaven and accepting the fact that Jesus is the only way to the Father is part of salvation.

While Maraji did right in sharing biblical truth, the medium through which it was shared may not have been the wisest. With social media, for the most part, it is easy to misinterpret tone and you are usually limited in how long your message can be, which speaks to there being better methods of sharing the Gospel. From experience, and from observation, that best way to share the Gospel is to do life with people, come alongside people, develop a relationship with the person, and then speak truth and act out truth within their lives. When you have a relationship with someone you have built trust with, they are much more likely to listen to you, trusting that you have their best in mind. With strangers on the internet, there is little to no intimacy or trust between the two people, likely making it way less effective; this is not to say that someone cannot come to know the truth of the Gospel through the internet, but doing life alongside people sets up accountability, discipleship, and a host of other things.

Regardless of medium, we must be mindful of our rhetoric, tone, and the way we treat people before, during, and after sharing the Gospel with them. The truth hurts but that does not mean we have to shove it down people’s throats. Like medicine, sometimes it is better to spoon feed it to people; the important part is that they are getting what they need. Be gentle but unwavering from truth, firm but not strict, listening and not closeminded, proclaiming and sharing but not screaming. The truth hurts, it may even offend, but through both of those, there comes eye opening, realization, and healing.





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.