The King’s Dream by T. R. Ragland

“What happens to a dream differed?”1 Langston Hughes, a 20th century poet of the Harlem Renaissance, posed this thought-provoking question in his poem titled Harlem (popularly known as Dream Differed). If the “dream” was indeed a real, flourishing thing at one point in time, what becomes of it when it is neglected? Does it exist in a state of potentiality awaiting the day of actualization? Or like nocturnal dreams, does time seem to dwindle the recollection of it to inexistence? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. imparted words of power to the United States of America on August 28, 1963 in Washington, DC. He had a dream. A dream that was not meant to merely exist as an idea in the minds of many, but one to be realized. For he did not hide his dream under a bushel, but instead placed it on the mountaintop for all to see. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of virtue whose self-sacrifice and courage should not be taken lightly. I speak boldly, as a member of the African-American community, when I say we have a responsibility to see that this dream not be lost along with Dr. King himself. If the African-American community wishes to see his dream come true, they must become a people of virtue. The premise of Dr. King Jr.’s dream was found in this statement: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”2

As it pertains to equality, I find it proper to define what we should and should not be expecting from its manifestation. Equality can best be understood as equal opportunity to reach a desired end. The essence of equality leaves no room for advantage or privilege related to accidental properties (skin color, gender, etc.). All participants have a chance to gain access to the thing in question. All participants are also evaluated through the lens of a consistent Continue reading


“A Response to Mr. Elliott” by Samuel Keithley

 For young high school graduates in America, college is many things.  It is an intimidating stage in growing up.  One takes his or her first long-term leave from parents and starts taking ownership of his or her personal life.  It is perceived to be the next necessary step to getting a career.  It is a new social atmosphere with new and exciting relationships.  It is where one can take a break to grow and learn without the common distractions that come from life.

At a Bible college the spiritual element is added.  Mr. Elliott did a great job addressing a problem that can occur when that spirituality is added to a place that is seen as essential in the next steps of life.  In his article that appeared in the previous issue of the SOMA, Elliott fought for intellectual integrity of the Christian student that feels called by God to his or her place for personal development.  Elliott clearly stated that one should work hard at the task that God puts before them and that there is no room for the excuse that only the urging of the Spirit is needed for ministry.  While the article gave solid encouragement for people to stop making excuses and put their nose to the grindstone, there are a couple things that need addressing. Continue reading

“An Unrehearsed Symphony” by Sarah Spaur

The Conductor has very poor musicians to work with, indeed.1

We are a mixed crowd of secretaries, unemployed hipsters, students, lawyers, teachers, and doctors that know nothing about music. In our concert black we might look at least somewhat presentable on the outside… except, perhaps, for the one wearing suspenders who has substituted dark skinny jeans for slacks. Where is his tie, anyway, and how can he play his instrument with his iPhone glued to his hand?

We have been given one small morsel of direction: “Watch me,” He says. Yet for some reason our eyes always manage to stray,  to stick up our cognitive noses at those members of the symphony that misbehave—if the concert is a disaster, it’s because of them—or to frequently survey the audience for signs of approval or disapproval.

Thank goodness the Director is a much better Teacher than we are students.2

We cannot make music. We are, in fact, incapable of it.3 The standard for pleasant tunes soars far out of our reach. It is with miserable trepidation we gaze at the score, jumbled like a foreign language. Stomachs plummeting, the concert starts, and we expect nothing but disaster to occur. Continue reading

“Sexuality & Union: Part II of ‘Genesis, Sex, & Sexuality'” by Calvin Peronto

Last semester I posted my thoughts and reflections from Biblical texts regarding sexuality and masturbation. This paper serves as a much-needed supplement to that post, for it (the post last semester) solely regarded sexuality apart from union with Christ and the effects of soteriology on the human person. But now attention is given to sexuality within its restored context, specifically considering the interweaving of sexuality and soteriology in the mind of the apostle Paul. I hope that this article shall not be quickly read then passed over, for the import of his subject can hardly be expressed. I would also ask the reader to dwell on and contemplate the movement of the narrative of Scripture as it relates to sexuality and union, and most certainly to examine themselves and their own conceptions of sexuality. I pray that this would be helpful and beneficial and would cultivate discussion and thought concerning human beings as sexual, but also that it would express the profundity and gravity of this topic. This I offer up work to God in service of his Church. May it be used by him!Sexuality and Union shall be considered in three movements within this paper, each movement consisting of two passages. The first movement examines sexuality in general and marital union in particular in the created ideal, thus Genesis 1 and 2 are the focus. Next, the implications of The Fall on sexuality and union are explicated through Genesis 3 and Romans 1:22-25. The final movement considers our topic in the context of redemption, specifically for those who are united to Christ, by inspection of 1 Cor. 6:12-20 and Eph. 5:21-33. Continue reading

“It’s All About me, Right?” by Peter Elliot

The European Renaissance was a wonderful time of educational, artistic, and philosophical fervor. The 14th-17th century “Rebirth” revived scholastic work, while also birthing a peculiar system of thinking, humanism. Humanism, which was a term given to Renaissance thinking by Georg Voigt, is a system of thought which shifted the focus of education from the traditional academic authority of the teacher to individual academic authority of the student.1 Humanism put the emphasis on the individual human and not on the communal doctrine that ruled in the universities and churches. This academic freedom gave students the ability to break free of the dogmatic teachings and thoughts which were thrust upon them by their traditional teachers. The humanists did not wish to destroy doctrine, rather, they wanted to individually arrive at truth without being told what truth was, they wanted emotion to be an essential part of their education, and this made individual authority necessary. Renaissance Humanism in giving individual authority to every student allowed for the increase and eventual over-emphasis of individualism in the Western world. Continue reading

“The Punk Rock Sentiment” by Samuel Keithley

Punk rock is most known for Mohawk hairstyles, ripped jeans, obscene amounts of drug use, and anarchy (among other things).  It is a subculture that fights for individuality and individual responsibility at all cost.  These ideals were carried through the amps of the late sixties, early seventies of the Ramones and the Sex Pistols to now with the ever-aging, never-slowing acts of Bad Religion and NOFX.  At its worst, punk rock is just a naïve phase of youth and loud, repetitive music, but at its best it is a community built around acceptance and asking the questions no one else will.  Through all of the music, all of the drugs, all of the explicit and inappropriate gestures there is a core ideal that the punk rock scene has taken advantage of and taken to the extreme.  You may be surprised to hear that this ideal is actually one that is a part of our heritage as Evangelical Americans.  This sentiment is an individual’s conviction of a virtue that takes precedence over systems or authorities that the individual is under.  Thankfully, most of us find ourselves a part of systems and organizations that give us the ability to value and practice most of our strongest convictions, but for some this punk rock sentiment brings them in conflict with their current context.

What does this sentiment have to do with Christianity?  Continue reading

“In [Insert Here] We Trust” by Stephen Angliss

“That this nation—under God—shall have a new birth of freedom. That Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”1

These words concluded the Gettysburg Address. They received no thunderous applause or immediate praise,2 and after giving, “a few appropriate remarks”3 to honor those who died in the recent battle, Lincoln left without event. Yet those few words forever changed a nation. Ironically, Lincoln never intended to say, “Under God.” They do not appear in his original drafts.4 In the spur of the moment, Lincoln—a man who never professed Christianity5—felt strongly enough about the phrase to end his speech with the mention of God. To those who heard it, the ad lib meant nothing, washed away in the sea of that day’s speeches, but to Americans today the words mean everything. Less than a year after Lincoln’s speech the motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on U.S. currency,6 and upon creation of the Pledge of Allegiance in 1942, the words “Under God” were added in Lincoln’s honor.7 The idea of America as one nation under God caught on quickly with the American people. Continue reading