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Letter to the editor: Robby Knight

If anybody was to look at the chapel schedule issued before the beginning of the semester they would see that Dr. Jim Lo and myself were to partner in vision for the chapel service Wednesday, March 26. Unfortunately, Dr. Lo’s schedule wouldn’t allow him the time to prepare a message with me, due to traveling around the globe (no big deal) and preaching around the states. We met on Friday, less than two weeks before the service, and decided that I should go on ahead and put together the service that day. Dr. Lo was planning on giving a brief introduction in chapel that day, but his schedule became even busier and that detail changed less than two days before.

I sought the Lord and asked what He would have me share. I had a sermon that was extremely transparent, but I was advised to give something a little less transparent. I scrolled through my Evernote folders and came across some notes from a Jesus Culture podcast I had heard nearly three years ago. I had taught from it before, but never in a setting like chapel. I felt confident and a peace when deciding these words were what God would have me share. I crafted an outline, sent it to the Dean of the Chapel’s Office and had the service planned only a little behind schedule.

The night before the service myself and the worship team spent a few hours in the chapel rehearsing and praying specifically for obedience and openness to the Holy Spirit’s calling. There’s not a doubt in my mind that those prayers didn’t go unanswered. I ran through my sermon, found it was too long (nothing new), cut a few things and repeated.

The day came to speak and everything ran smoothly. We walked away knowing and already hearing stories of individuals taking life-changing steps; not because of anything we did, but believing because we as a team asked and were obedient to His leading. There was no doubt God worked in our community.

Afterward a few individuals approached me about the sermon’s illustrations and crafted phrases being close to a sermon from a JC podcast video. I explained that the sermon I preached was that very word – the word that God first used to call me into a life of continual leadership. As I wanted to communicate that, I obviously fell short and did not do so effectively. My intentions were never to steal, build a name for myself or give a word that I did not first learn myself. I wanted to share a word that has and forever will shape the way I live my life in hopes that it would have the same impact on others that it did on myself.

To those I may have offended because of my faults, I mean this with all of my heart – I am sincerely sorry. I ask you would forgive me. It’s easy to look at chapel speakers, leaders, professors or even student body chaplains and think that we have a lot figured out, but I can speak for myself and tell you I don’t.

I’m thankful for three things:

1. There are a lot of lessons that I will need to learn throughout my life, some obviously of legal matters and humility. I’m thankful for these lessons being learned in a loving and incredibly supportive community. Thank you Indiana Wesleyan University for being that for me.

2. The continual affirmation of my calling into ministry and support of friends, professors and others in my life throughout this community.

3. That God is not held back by our shortcomings. That He can choose to speak, call and use individuals like myself, despite their inadequacies, failures, limited knowledge and even their sin. Praise be to Him for even incorporating us into his plan. In the times that I should feel unworthy, I’m honored, treasure and loved enough to still be used.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

-Robbie Knight (sr)

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Letter from the editor: Chapel isn’t about you

Read that title again. And then read it once more the next time you walk into the Chapel-Auditorium. Whether you think chapel attendance should be mandatory or voluntary or if you prefer traditional or modern worship, those details aren’t why you should go.

Chapel isn’t about singing songs you like or hearing messages that feel good to you. It’s not about agreeing with everything that’s said and done on stage and tweeting about what you don’t like. And it’s certainly not about doing homework during the service and standing up to leave during the benediction.

Quite simply, it’s about praising God.

One could also argue it’s about respect. No matter how you feel about any aspect of chapel, the concept as a whole is a matter of respect toward God and should be treated as such.

I’m not saying we should eliminate all discussions regarding chapel and how to make it better. However, those conversations should be constructive and not based solely on personal preferences. I understand and appreciate the desire to improve the chapel experience and I can think of at least three or four specific services that left many students, including myself, scratching our heads.

But I believe our God is intricate; the same One who brought us all to Indiana Wesleyan University for a specific purpose. Couldn’t this God who obviously plans far ahead use a chapel I thought was pointless to touch the life of someone who needed to hear it at that moment?

You bet.

Chapel is always a hot-button issue, and with good reason. On a campus representing many majors, socioeconomic statuses and (believe it or not) ethnic backgrounds, chapel is one of only a few experiences nearly all IWU students have in common. All the more reason we should treat it with the respect and courtesy it deserves, along with the students, staff and faculty who work hard to make it happen.

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Letter to the editor: A Renewal of Focus

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This year provides the student body with a unique prospect of choosing for the first time since 2011 who will be the next student body president. It is my honor to have the possibility of being chosen as the representative for this position. Throughout my years at IWU, I have strived to further develop the community within my own division and various student organizations, including SGA, in which I have had the opportunity to serve. While these experiences have furthered my ability to address student issues, I understand that my learning will never be complete. As such, I have assembled a cabinet comprising individuals who will not only complement my strengths, but also my weaknesses. Together, we hope to renew SGA’s promise of being the voice of the student body by opening our door to the community.

This past year, SGA has been successful in accomplishing long-term goals. However, the current lack of short-term goals is regrettably something that the current student at IWU is not experiencing. Through the renewal of efforts by SGA, we strongly desire to become ingrained within the entire IWU community and be held accountable to the student body. We seek influence from the student body. We seek to be an extension of the student body.

Originating from a strong mentoring background with South Hall, a large portion of my concerns lies with furthering the community through connecting the student body together as a whole. Together we can bring about renewal.

Part of bringing a community together is about building each other up as fellow brothers and sisters of Christ. We are called to respect and love one another. As a team, my cabinet and I are clearly committed to this election, but we cannot and will not condone derogatory behavior toward either party. No matter the electoral result, we hope to end this election as a stronger student body.

Caleb Bowers, SGA Presidential Candidate 2014-2015

 

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Letter to the editor: Scurlock and Company: One Mission

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During NSO of my freshman year I decided to become a class representative in our Student Government. I was unsuccessful, losing the race to my friend Paul Hooker. Soon after, a new opportunity opened up to represent the men I lived with in Hodson Hall. Since taking that position, I have been involved in Student Government: in the Assembly, the Cabinet, and I am now humbled to serve as your President.

Early on, IWU students noticed SGA’s shortcomings. Its structure provided helpful direction, but was incredibly restrictive. Efforts toward transparency and student participation were disheartening. Multiple nights a week students would hear a knock at their dorm-room doors, opening up to find representatives waiting to ask them surface-level survey questions. Students were disappointed that the conversations Student Government had seldom impacted their daily experiences. Our student government’s desire to be visible only succeeded in producing public spectacle.

During my freshman year, a demonstration intended to increase SGA’s influence and notoriety resulted in its loss of credibility with IWU administrators. Our next Student President (Aaron Augello) stepped in to rebuild that bridge of trust. He hoped to redevelop SGA to effectively champion student concerns to administrators and faculty without creating public drama or private conflict. I was blessed to take part in this campaign of renewal; together, we transformed SGA from a disconnected governing body to a group of students for students.

This year we’ve worked alongside our Indiana Wesleyan University President, Dr. David Wright, focusing on his vision of being One. We hoped to encourage the integration of university values into our academic, social, and spiritual lives. And after a year of remodeling internally, the 2013-2014 school year offered the first chance for our new structure to begin its work.

This year we contributed to developing the new first-year course (no more LDR-150/UNV-180), to allowing one week for New Student Orientation, to expanding IWU’s summer language offerings, to combating issues related to Textbook Butler in response to expressed student concern. We sponsored panel discussions on pertinent cultural issues like Media Engagement and Sexuality, worked with faculty committees to add Theology I to the Gen. Ed. Curriculum, provided Pioneer Catering with student feedback on food services such as the wing size at Wings & Tots, and bridged the gap between CAS and the Health Sciences program. Finally, we have created the position of VP for Marketing and Communication, a role whose purpose is to keep SGA and the student body connected. The driving force behind these initiatives was the combined efforts of SGA representatives and other student volunteers.

In one and a half semesters, we have been able to accomplish far more than expected. But one year – although it has been one of the most productive in SGA history – is only one year. For lasting change to succeed, we must create an active student culture.

The cabinet I have selected for this campaign consists not only of the best-equipped individuals to fill positions, but also ones who are eager to contribute to this new culture. Each member has faithfully demonstrated their desire and commitment to cultivate Christian excellence wherever they are planted.

Phil Ross brings deep insight and organizational experience to the role of Executive Vice President. David Priest is uniquely qualified to serve as the VP for Academic Affairs, having worked alongside faculty and academic deans across IWU as the former SGA Senate Chair and current President of Alpha Chi. Eliza Mowery’s experience working as an RA in Evans Hall and as a leader in The Well ministry have prepared her to step into the role of Vice President of Student Life–a position that works closely with campus ministries and the Student Development and the Dean of Chapel offices. Melissa Campbell has served as both Treasurer and President of the Student Education Association, two positions that work closely with SGA in its financial concerns. She will be an excellent VP to manage SGA’s finances while understanding the needs and concerns of student organizations. Jake Smith’s extensive business and marketing background (including his service as the Marketing Manager for the McConn Coffee Co.) will help us provide greater opportunity for students to interact with and guide SGA’s efforts in 2014-2015.

Together, our cabinet has chosen our campaign’s slogan: “One Body, One Voice, One Mission.” We believe this statement reflects our team’s diversity and unity under a mission that is not our own. This is the same vision Dr. Wright cast when he was inaugurated as the President of IWU, and it is a mission we hold central to our purpose in serving the Indiana Wesleyan faith community with integrity.

In the coming week, we invite you to visit the tables in the mallway to hear from each team. Both cabinets want to serve you, but we will have cookies.

In Christ,

Tim Scurlock

Student Body President

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