Category Archives: Opinion

Three degrees of communication

How do you make sure ideas don’t get lost in translation?

By Tyann Mullen
Contributing Writer

It is 6 o’clock and you’ve just finished getting ready for your date.

You sit down to watch some TV while you wait for him to arrive. You check the clock, see it’s 6:30, and figure he is just running a little late.

Seven o’clock comes and you start to worry, so you give him a call to see what the deal is.

He doesn’t answer. You don’t know whether to be worried or angry. You call again and nothing. At 8 o’clock your phone rings; it’s him. He tells you that he was at a movie with some friends but forgot to call and tell you.

By this time, you are pretty upset. If he had just called and asked to go out at 8 instead of 6, you would be fine. But instead, there was no communication and your night was ruined.

If you were to ask someone in the dating scene what qualities they are looking for in a potential significant other, their response would most likely be: honesty, loyalty, thoughtfulness or something along those lines.

The most important thing that should be established from the beginning of any relationship is good communication. You cannot expect to form a relationship with someone if there is a line of bad communication.

I have found three ways to maintain good communication.

First, be open about communicating. You should be able to talk openly about anything that is on your mind.

On the opposite end, you should be willing to listen to anything the other person has to say, even if you do not agree with it. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”

Do not be your own judge. Listen and you will also be heard.

Second, be honest. I think honesty is often overlooked as a trait by itself. If you don’t communicate honestly with one another, you will eventually find yourself in a deeper hole then where you started.

Nothing can be solved if it is not honestly communicated.

The last is to be timely. Bringing up events that have caused you turmoil in the past is the wrong way to communicate anything to each other.

Focusing on the now will clear your head for the future and wipe out the toxins from the past. You cannot move forward if you are stuck in the past.

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The iPad is an iDon’t

By Nick Papa
Contributing Writer

For an entire decade, I have been ensnared by Apple’s marketing techniques. With new versions of operating systems and programs being continually released, I have suffered near panic attacks over the thought of owning archaic (not even one year old) technology.

The Apple Island
I sometimes console myself with the words of English poet John Donne, “No man is an island.” In this instance, I am positive that I am not alone on the island of frustrated Apple customers.

Imagine spending upwards of $1000 in the Apple store. You walk out with a new MacBook. Sure, it was expensive, but you also got a free iPod, and you know you will get a lot of use out of both.

“I have suffered near panic attacks over the thought of owning archaic (not even one year old) technology.”
– Papa

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Let them eat cake

Are laws against trans-fats unconstitutional?

By Anna Zetterberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Harvard University published a study in the early 1990s linking the heavy intake of trans-fats to cholesterol, heart conditions and even fatality. Researchers reported that margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oils could double the risk of heart attack.

Since then, several cities and states have taken measures to create a healthier society by banning or limiting trans-fats in restaurants. New York City was the first to do so in 2006 after a unanimous decision by the Board of Health.

Boston and the state of California have followed suit. Many restaurants have had to completely change the oils they cook with, the way they make their food and what ingredients they use.

Shouldn’t laws function to protect us from those who might try and take our freedom? America was founded on individual liberty: that each person can decide what is best for him or her, so long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others. If Americans want to eat unhealthy food, let them eat unhealthy food.

Photo by Christopher Hernandez

“We don’t think that a municipal health agency has any business banning a product the Food and Drug Administration has already approved,” said Dan Fleshler, a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association, regarding New York City’s Board of Health.

I understand the opposing argument. They want us to be healthy. But it’s a slippery slope; will they create a national diet to obliterate obesity next, or government mandated exercise classes because it’s “what’s best for us?” How many aspects of your life do you want controlled by your government?

Where I’m from, New Hampshire, our state motto taken from Patrick Henry is “Live free or die.” It stems from a deep-rooted American belief that life isn’t worth living, unless you can live it yourself.

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‘Secret Life’ character lacks ‘Grace’

By Chris Hernandez
Opinion Editor

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager” is a show on ABC Family that chronicles the life of Amy Juergens, portrayed by Shailene Woodley.

Amy, a teenager who gets pregnant in high school, must learn how to deal with being a mother at 16. Apart from the show’s main story line, the series is full of sub plots that revolve around teenagers dealing with sex.

One of these teenagers is Grace Bowman, played by Megan Parks. During the span of the show, Grace has gossiped about everyone, physically fought over guys, blamed her sexual sin for the death of her father and attempted to become an example for an abstinence club.

I forgot to mention the fact that Grace is the show’s token “Christian” character.
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Vacationing in Para-disaster

By Nick Papa
Contributing Writer

Although most of Haiti has been rocked by an earthquake that the New York Times called “the worst in the region in more than two hundred years” and with almost 200 thousand missing or dead, a small division of this devastated country remains unaffected by all of this.

Ninety miles from the devastated capital city of Port-au-Prince (16 miles outside the epicenter of the earthquake) is a spick-and-span resort known as Labadee.

Leased to Royal Caribbean International by the Haitian government, the port allows tourists on Royal Caribbean cruises to dock in Haiti with the protection of a 12-foot tall fence separating them from the disaster that surrounds.

While I am disgusted by the fact that an American company is able to lease land in a foreign country for the purpose of setting up a disturbing Disneyland-like version of Haiti in Haiti (complete with private beach, American restaurants and bars and a reconstructed Haitian market), there is a far bigger issue at hand.

How could anyone justify spending, at base price, anywhere between $500 (an interior stateroom) and $2,500 (a deluxe suite) to enjoy a holiday on the beach, when, just beyond a partition, they are surrounded by an impoverished and suffering country?

Artwork by Alicia C. Stamm

A large part of the problem is that a number of passengers are not even aware they are in Haiti.

David Southby, Royal Caribbean’s site manager for Labadee, said, “If you are honest, even if you tell them, most passengers don’t know where they are, usually,” according to csmonitor.com.

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Finding your identity in race and religion

By Christopher Hernandez
Opinion Editor

I was given an opportunity to attend the National Christian Multicultural Student Leaders Conference (NCMSLC) in Buffalo, New York last semester and reflected on the conversation of “white privilege” presented at the conference in my last article “What does your mirror say?” If you didn’t get a chance to read it, visit beaconblog.wordpress.com. The following is a continuation.

There is such a sense of sophistication in going to coat-and-tie events; you pick out your shiniest shoes and find your best tie.

You may even take the time to iron that crinkled up white shirt in the corner of your room.

When you arrive, there is an intellectual air in the way a person carries on a conversation about his job and the way that person gesticulates.

Even though a debonair atmosphere is presented, you still get stuck wearing the tacky blue and white sticker that says, “Hello, my name is.”

The style of the sticker is not relevant to the other people with whom you come into contact during the night.

It’s the information that you choose to put within the white rectangle of this sticker that seals the first impression.

Who are you?

Is race Identity?

After attending a seminar on “white privilege” and finding that I hadn’t felt the effects of white privilege in my life because the person in my mirror is essentially “white,” I was tossed into a room to discuss the genetics of race.

For this lecture, the people at the conference were separated by their own race. In my room of Latinos, my observations into my mirror started to take on a new meaning.

A girl from Cedarville stood up and shared her experiences being biracial.

On the outside, the girl looks black, yet one of her parents is Cuban. Since she looks black, she felt more included by her black peers instead of the Latino cliques at her college.

She was asked once to change her ethnicity on her identification card because she didn’t look Latino.

After she spoke, others followed, talking about growing up Bolivian, Puerto Rican and Mexican.

After discussing being Latino with the people in the room, the word “Latino” didn’t feel right.

Yes, our races shared a common language, yet our cultures were all different.

I began to feel that race was not a proper identification. Writing down “Latino” on a “Hello, my name is” sticker wouldn’t even scratch the surface of who I am and neither would writing down “Puerto Rican.” The traditions of my family are different from the traditions of other Puerto Rican families.

At a conference that emphasized race, I was learning that identifying yourself as your race is a fallacy. Isn’t everyone’s race similar yet unique?

Though I never considered the presence of white privilege in America before the conference, that didn’t mean that I looked at the world through a white looking glass.

Isn’t my identity in Jesus?

Romans 13:14 says to clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I look into a mirror, shouldn’t I be seeing Jesus and not race?

The Bible says that a day will come when everyone from every tongue will praise God. This image was the theme of the conference and is the point of identification.

When different people gather, they will be unified by their praise to Jesus Christ.

When that day comes, I won’t look at my brothers and sisters by race; I’ll be seeing Christ in them. They will all be wearing “Hello, my name is Jesus” stickers.

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What if it happened in South Florida?

By Cheyanne Lent
Contributing Writer

Picture this.

You are walking back to your dorm after a long day of classes and all of a sudden the ground starts to tremble under you.

You hear an earth-shattering rumble that turns into loud cracking and popping. You hear screams throughout campus as buildings begin to crumble and chaos ensues.

On Jan. 12, a 7.0 earthquake rocked the nation of Haiti where millions of people instantly became homeless. Thousands of children lost their mothers and fathers.

If this tragedy ever happened here in West Palm Beach, it would be heartbreaking, but we would pick up the pieces and be back on our feet in no time.

However, what is despairing in Haiti’s case is that the places Haitians once called homes were barely held together by straw and tin roofs.

I’ve been there, and have a firsthand account of the spirited nation from my PBA mission trip last spring break.

Here in America, we have numerous resources that would be available should this ever happen in one of our states.

Even in these hard economic times, money would still find its way to help fund the many cranes, bulldozers, construction crews, electricians and humanitarian workers that would get us back on our feet again.

However, for the already impoverished people of Haiti, their new reality is like the worst dream anyone could ever imagine.

From my experience with the Haitian people, I know that the best is honestly yet to come for them.

Through this huge trial, I firmly believe it will make them a stronger, more courageous people.

When our mission team was driving around, we would wave to every passing Haitian and each would greet us with a wide grin.

Even at the orphanage in which we stayed — which is run by former orphans who were raised by the missionaries with whom we traveled — constant joy was felt throughout the walls despite the poverty they were experiencing.

Every day, the children would wake up, do their chores and walk two and a half miles on an unpaved road to school. In the evening, after time devoted to play with my team, every child would take part in the preparing and serving of the “family meal.”

Before they slipped into their bunk beds at night, the children would take a shower and praise God for the gift of water, even though the temperature was likely below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

After this earthquake, by the grace of God, the orphanage still stands. I have been told by the missionary, who is currently in the country serving in the relief efforts, that it did suffer some external damage so the children and staff have been sleeping outside in tents.

However, he also has said that this tragedy has brought the children and their community together.

Their hope still remains alive.

But what will this tragedy do for us? Sure, many people will give money and support organizations across the world providing immediate aid to Haiti. But what about farther down the line?

When Haitians are still picking up the pieces to mend their broken lives, will we too be forever changed in the way we live?

I urge each of you, not as a reporter or as a student, but as a Christian, to let this disaster in Haiti continue to remind you how sovereign God is and that He has called us to love one another.

In John 13: 34-35, Christ tells us that the most important rule in life is to love each other as He loves us.

He didn’t say love each other when you feel like it or when it’s convenient. Christ didn’t command us to love only the people that look and act like us.

We must be the change we wish to see, and if we show the Haitians the love of God through our love for them, it may just be the greatest relief effort possible.

Christ came for everyone, and if we are to be the true Church here on Earth, we need to die to ourselves and let Christ live through us by daily submitting to Him and loving everyone we come in contact with.

This was and always will be Christ’s call to love.

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