This Friday, the Board Game Club is hosting a Dominion tournament in the Foxhole. What better time, then, to revisit one of the modern classics of tabletop games? Dominion was released in 2008, triggering an explosion of interest in the “deck building” genre. In a deck building game, the central gameplay mechanic focuses on the creation of a deck of cards that, like a purring little engine, pulls the player through the game and, hopefully, across the finish line. A turn of Dominion follows a simple pattern of A, B, C: Action, Buy, Cleanup. On their turn, players can play a single action card out of their hand, then buy a single card from one of the stacks of cards on the table using the money in their hand, and then clean up, where the players discard their hand and then draw a new one from their deck. That’s it! In Dominion, there are, basically, three types of cards: Action Cards, which can be played to perform certain effects, such as giving the player extra money, the opportunity to play more actions or buy more cards on their turn, or the chance to draw more cards; Treasure Cards, which can be used to buy cards, thus adding them to your deck; and Victory cards, which are worth precious points at the end of the game but are useless during the game itself, thus taking up valuable space in your deck. To succeed, a player needs to strike a balance between these three types of cards. Each player starts the game with a small deck composed of a few of the least valuable Treasure and Victory Cards. From here, they slowly build their deck with more powerful and more interesting cards. The real fun of Dominion lies here, in the meticulous crafting of an increasingly inefficient engine. The players will constantly be pulled between wanting to put interesting cards into their deck (especially the Victory Cards, which are needed to win), but in doing so, they run the risk of clogging their deck with chaff (especially the Victory Cards, even though they are needed to win). This tension of efficiency versus variety, along with the feeling of being a kid in a candy store when confronted with the wide variety of cards available, is what makes Dominion so fun and a modern classic.
November 10, 2015Last Saturday night, George Fox University hosted a talent show where several people were allowed to put their talents in the limelight and bask in the applause. Among those talents (and carrying an impressive amount of praise) was Nathaniel Burmeister. Burmeister beat boxed to the tune his choir team sang and the audience was changed and impressed. He is a Cinema and Media Communications major with a minor in Computer Science and a member of the William Penn Honors Program. If that doesn’t sound like a plate full, he also juggles photography, singing, choir, and RA Life. “Ranked from third to first I would love an internship in Portland, Seattle,” said Burmeister, “and my first choice would be going with the CTO program over to Nashville and spending a summer over there working either in the studios or doing a partnership with Belmont University.” Several people will agree that Burmeister’s natural excitement and passion for life rubs off on the people around him. His drive and hard earned talent gives him energy unique only to him. “My mom and dad,” said Burmeister, “definitely put a lot of emphasis on, ‘You try a whole bunch of things,’ and did not put any emphasis on, ‘if you fail then it’s just not meant to be.’ Persistence is one of the biggest things they emphasized.” During the quiet hours Burmeister finds himself turning to his stress relievers. Burmeister calls himself an extraverted-introvert and turns to singing, reading, or watching TV to recharge. “My favorite book for a while has been The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis,” said Burmeister. “There have been very few books that I’ve read and have kept me up in the very early morning hours reading. That’s one of them.” Burmeister finds a way to inspire the people around him either with the talent he show’s in his music or the passion he puts into his studies.
November 10, 2015A young woman walks across her college campus wearing a short black dress with torn, knee-high black stockings and clunky Doc Martens. A few years ago, she might have been the recipient of some judgmental stares. But in 2015, ’90s grunge is a real thing, and her fashion sense is right on the money. What is ’90s grunge, anyway? Acid wash blue jeans and chokers come to mind, as do short, choppy haircuts and plaid shirts slung lazily around hips. Think back to movies like Clueless, and shows like My So Called Life; the decade of the ’90s had a distinct look that was both carelessly simple and purposefully frumpy. The 2015 take on ’90s grunge thrives on minimalism, so when you’re shopping online (or in your parents’ basement), look for shades of black and white. A white tee with rolled sleeves tucked into a pair of slightly baggy high-rise jeans is a perfect place to start. If I could choose a word to describe 90’s grunge, it would be “substantial.” Nothing about it is frilly or ethereal; the fabrics of grunge are hefty denim, wool, and stiff cotton. This look has to come across as carefree: you got up this morning, grabbed a mug of black coffee, and threw on your clothes before hurrying off to band practice. This style is not for the faint of heart, but it is blessedly easy, and the sturdy fabrics and full coverage silhouettes are perfect for the colder months. The look goes from frumpy to luxe when silhouettes like boxy turtleneck sweaters are recreated in quilted cotton, in various shades of soft pink, mustard, and baby blue. Even baggy overalls get a fresh interpretation with gold hardware and cuffed hems. If you’re needing inspiration for your own foray into ’90s grunge, check out sites like NastyGal, Asos, and Sabo Skirt. ’90s grunge might be a style none of us thought would come back. But back it is, with brushed-cotton vengeance; I’m sure Claire Danes would be proud.
November 7, 2015Austin Coates, president of the George Fox Film Society (GFFS), is a transfer student from San Jose State University. As a student of animation and illustration, he found the lines quickly blurred between class and extracurricular club in his experience there. Looking back, he sees the relationship between large clubs (nearly 600 students) and lackadaisical faculty as a dysfunctional, even harmful, product of club dynamics. He brings a sense of democracy and relational growth to the GFFS. The club meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in EHS 102. While some may easily dismiss , Coates sees it as somewhat more spectacular, more glass half-full. He insists that this is not just a CMCO club; accounting, theater, computer science majors, and more have all attended to share in cinematic art and life perspectives. Coates leads the group with Christ at the center of his heart. It is one of his three main pillars for the club. His other visions are increasing the value of visual literacy – the individual interpretation of art or images – among students pursuing art or any other skill, and to keep the discussion of cinema’s core going on: the thinking, the talking, and the experiencing of life. As a brand new club, getting established has been more of a tightrope walk than a cakewalk. The group, open to any and all, hopes for more students to engage in the meaningful conversations the club hosts. At the end of the day, Coates just wants people to know about his passions. He believes in the joy of discussion groups, and he wants to see the GFFS shine from here on out.
November 5, 2015George Fox University’s own Melanie Springer Mock co-wrote the book “If Eve Only Knew” with Kendra Weddle Irons. Published in July, “If Eve Only Knew” investigates evangelical Christianity’s conception of gender and the biblical basis (or, as the book contends, the lack of a biblical basis) for such perceptions. Mock is a professor of English at GFU and teaches creative nonfiction, journalism, and other writing courses. She has published three other books and her essays have appeared in numerous academic and popular presses. Irons is a professor of Religion and Humanities at Texas Wesleyan University, a contributor to the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus website, and author of “Preaching on the Plains” (2007). Together, Mock and Irons run the blog “Ain’t I a Woman?” to engage with popular culture from a feminist Christian perspective. Each chapter of “If Eve Only Knew” delves into a different myth of biblical womanhood, beginning by breaking down the first few chapters of Genesis and reinterpreting Eve’s role in what traditionally has been called “the Fall.” It goes on to tackle such iconic biblical figures as Ruth and Boaz, address the pitfalls and double standards inherent in the concept of sexual purity, challenge the Christian patriarchy, and more. In the end, the book redefines biblical womanhood within the new, broader parameters it has now explored. “If Eve Only Knew” makes a well-organized argument in witty, conversational prose that is accessible to readers unfamiliar with either evangelical or feminist terminology. It provides a fresh perspective on biblical interpretation, based almost exclusively in close readings of the Bible itself and supported with other scholarly works and the experiences of women in the church. The book has received largely positive reviews, and according to Gary Tandy, chair of GFU’s English and Theatre departments, the book allows for different ways of thinking about women and equality from a Christian perspective. While the ease of reading may make it more accessible to the average reader, “If Eve Only Knew” may be jeopardized by its own niche perspective. Secular feminists uninterested in theology – especially a theology that is so historically patriarchal – and evangelical Christians wary of feminism – which is often viewed as a threat to the sanctity of the nuclear Christian family – will both be prone to passing it by on the bookshelf. As the authors themselves write, being Christian feminists is to inhabit a space that “is not well worn.” The feminist slant presents an undeniable bias, but “we always bring our own lens to the Bible,” said Tandy, and more widely accepted interpretations are no different. “If Eve Only Knew” opens up a much-needed dialogue by challenging many of the ideologies and practices within the evangelical Christian church that have gone unchallenged for generations. Mock and Irons strive not to attack Christianity, but to empower and engage those who follow traditional practices and interpretations without examination. At its core, “If Eve Only Knew” is a hopeful book about expanding our understanding of Scripture in order to fulfill everything we – not as men or women but as humans – are meant to be.
October 10, 2015By Rory Phillips Austin Coburn was eleven and almost exclusively watching relatively kosher movies like “Left Behind,” in place of essentials like “The Godfather,” when he was given a film camera as a Christmas present. “Point and shoot” was about all the advice his parents gave him. Prior to this gift, Austin knew that he was over the moon about the movies. He had never shot a film, produced a script, or cut a scene. What he did have under his belt, or perhaps in his heart, was the sympathy of gathering stories. Finally, with the “click” of the power button and the cool breathing of the reeling frame rate, he was given the life-defining incentive to share stories. Since then, Austin has been shooting films for himself and others; and has been garnering awards and attention along the way. In 2012, he was charged with producing a Veterans Day short film, in which he looked through student and teacher interviews; then spliced (by hand) a warming tribute to the troops overseas. For this film, he was awarded the Oregon Optimist prize for the Salem-Keizer District. “[This] was probably the film that I learned most about,” Coburn said. “Like what goes into the producing of film, and looking at it from that side of planning and how you’re going to do different elements.” “Dear Veteran,” the name of this tribute piece, served a higher purpose than just local attention. He entered the film to the George Fox University Scholarship Competition in 2013 to apply for funding as a student of film. This movie, which he considers a personal favorite, earned him a safe place in the school as a cinema and media communications major. For the first time, he felt like a director. “It was the first time I remember people looking at me for direction. People would sit down in this chair I set in front of them and would say, ‘Okay, hey, what am I going to say?’ And I had to have the answer.” Austin has crafted a life in pictures. He gathered his intuition, on- and off-set, with his pictures. His high school vlog, “Vinny and Austin,” provided him the skills he needed to work cooperatively with others. From working on promotional bits for S.K.I.T. (Salem Keizer Inspirational Teens), he acquired the insight of working toward a higher goal, even when partnering with administrators and kids interested in the arts. In sharing and in loving film, Austin is taking stories, thoughts, and words and making something new and comprehensive out of them. He is the photographer, capturing little of moments of life just being life, without disturbing them.
October 10, 2015Five years ago, senior Wonsil Lee left South Korea and her parents to come to America. Shortly after arriving, Wonsil accepted Christ as her Savior, becoming the first person in her family to do so. She decided to change her name to Serena, a variation of a Korean word meaning baptized, because she believed it was important to honor the fact that she was a new creation. Serena no longer wanted to be Wonsil, the embarrassing one who had made so many mistakes. “Whenever someone called me Serena that made me happy,” she said. “It is like someone calling me ‘baptized person’ and I really liked that.” The new name has also made for introductions. Serena is a nursing major with a biblical studies minor. Both areas of study allow her to help those who suffer mentally, physically, and spiritually. She exudes an infections love for Christ. . During her junior year, Serena found a deep passion for working with geriatric patients, yet she was unsure of how this would translate after graduation. Over the summer, Serena flew to Boston to spend some time with her brother. He told her that he wanted her to come back after graduation and work for his business. “He has a plan for me,” she said. This conversation weighed heavily on Serena’s heart. How does she honor her brother who has been helping her pay for school school? Her heart was not in his business. Serena was stuck. One day, after returning to Newberg, Serena sat in the Bruin Den with her journal and a pen. She started to write, seeking God’s help in regards to her future. A question popped into her mind: “What do you want?” Serena quickly wrote that she wanted a community where she could continue to help people heal mentally, physically, and spiritually. A few minutes later, a sophomore and fellow nursing student, Tiffany Nguyen, asked her how things were going. With a refreshed heart, Serena told Tiffany what she just wrote. “Tiffany told me to look up Good News Community Health Center in Gresham,” Serena said. After her discussion with Tiffany ended, Serena began to research the faith-based volunteer clinic. The clinic was started by Dr. Bob Sayson (lovingly known as Dr. Bob) and his wife in May 2007. Those at Good News are unabashedly open about their faith and ask patients if they can pray for them. After reading about the clinic, Serena decided she wanted to check it out. She made an appointment to get a shot. She left Newberg early one morning and drove to the clinic, arriving early. She could see the staff inside praying and instantly felt connected to Good News. “The day I met Serena, the staff had done a morning devotion on Isaiah 43:1, which says. ‘But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine,”’” explained Dr. Bob. During their meeting, he asked Serena what her Korean name was and what it meant. She explained that it was “Wonsil, and it means first fruit.” Dr. Bob shared that before she arrived at the clinic, the staff had been studying a passage that spoke to being named by God. “Her father, who does not believe, had the foresight to name her ‘first fruit,” said Dr. Bob. “I find that powerful.” Serena left the clinic feeling that she had found the community she wanted to be a part of, but she also felt compelled to think about her birth name. “After I became a Christian, I did not want to think about the old me anymore,” Wonsil said. “I was happy with Serena. I only wanted to think about good things. However, after talking with Dr. Bob, I saw the beauty of the name my father had given me. I decided to go back to being called Wonsil.” This decision allowed Wonsil to embrace her old self in the knowledge that God had called her by name. She annnounced this change on Facebook in August and became a volunteer at Good News. While some people still call her Serena, Wonsil explained that “it doesn’t really matter what name I use. What matters is who I am. Now I can be Wonsil, which is really special. There is a reason my father named me Wonsil.” Dr. Bob and his family have become her surrogate family. They do devotions each morning and pray for each other. Good News Community Health Center allows Serena to not only gain practical experience in being a nurse but also gives her the community she longed for. From the moment she let God know what was on her heart, Wonsil has seen Him bring her a wonderful gift and help her reconcile the past. Wonsil said, “We have to let God know what is on our hearts. Only then can He answer us.”
September 26, 2015By: Kelsey Herschberger “The War Room.” The title of the film evokes images of maps in a poorly lit room, with strong men in identical clothing who are arguing and bargaining over the lives they feel obligated to send out into danger. If this was reflected in the film itself, it would be much easier to explain why it was the number two movie its opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. “The War Room” is instead a film centering on the call for followers of Christ to have an active prayer life. However, the film has been panned by secular critics, earning a 37% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and film critic Brad Wheeler reported the film as being so “oppressively preachy that Jesus himself reportedly did a sacramental-wine spit take during an early test screening.” This isn’t the first time that Christian film has been dismissed as being purely didactic, and it certainly won’t be the last. Perhaps the Christians who line up for the film consider it par for the course, being dismissed by secular media. Shouldn’t there be a hunger for art that is centered toward God? Isn’t the message all that matters? No, it is not. What matters is that true art is created. But what does true art accomplish? Dr. Steve Classen, professor and chair for the Department of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, answered this question by quoting C.S. Lewis: “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects with their Christianity latent.” “What good art does, what good Christian art does, is encourage the good reader—somebody who approaches art or literature—to expand his or her world, to experience a new insight into life, to put them into the experience of the other,” Classen said. This idea of art being somewhat alienating is supported by Dr. Abigail Favale, William Penn Honors Program faculty fellow and assistant professor of English. Favale maintains that “there needs to be a space in Christian media, art, or literature that isn’t quite so moralistic in the sense that there is a coherent moral vision, but it allows for the ambiguities, mysteries, and paradoxes of the human experience to be displayed.” Favale uses the book of Job as an example, as it raises questions that are essential to the human experience and doesn’t excuse them, but brings God into those sufferings. These stories ring true for readers centuries later because of that dedication to realistic human emotion that is filled with nuance. Favale argues that “the whole point of literature is to create an experience that draws the reader into the dream of the story, and if you don’t have a compelling dream, then the reader isn’t going to be drawn in.” Furthermore, this is not a new idea to be pioneered. There is a rich history of this approach, according to Dr. Joseph Clair, director of the William Penn Honors Program and assistant professor of religious studies. “A lot of the great artists from Western civilization—the Dantes, the Christina Rosettis, etc. —they had pretty sophisticated understandings of how beauty relates to God and our knowledge of God,” Clair said. “They all had a rich understanding of how our experiences of materially beautiful things—whether paintings, or poems, or even natural landscapes—could draw our souls up to He who is the source of all beauty, the truly Beautiful One.” There has been a consistent lack of focus on beauty and therefore artistry in Christian media, and “The War Room” is no exception. Its plot is formulaic, and the direction is subpar. The film settles on a saccharine comfort that serves to placate the person who already believes. It is American-centric, focusing on the neat lives of a nice, clean, middle-class family. There is nary a hard-hitting consequence for their humanity and brokenness. It is familiar, and striving to be familiar is not what good art tries to accomplish. “The War Room” may borrow from imagery of strife and conflict, but instead it serves as an opiate, dulling the audience’s senses to whatever higher messages that may have otherwise been revealed.
April 27, 2015“Work does cost you something,” says Katherine Donahue, the main protagonist in George Fox University’s spring tragedy by Melanie Marnich, “These Shining Lives.” For Donahue, work eventually cost her life. Directed by Rhett Luedtke, “These Shining Lives” focuses on the lives of four of the so-called “radium girls” who worked for the Radium Dial Company in the 1920s and 30s, painting radioactive glow-in-the-dark paint onto watch faces. Part of the painting process included licking the brushes and over the course of the years these women ingested terminal amounts of toxins. Some of the unique features of this particular production of the show include three roles that are double-cast, a one hundred twenty foot projection screen that encircles the stage, and stadium seating, or “theater in the round.” I was only able to attend one night and saw the cast with Katie Wight, Nicole Greene, and Emily Lund playing the double-cast roles of the three closest co-workers and friends of Donahue played by Olivia Anderson. The projections, designed and projection mapped by Kacy Helwig, offered subtle yet meaningful context to a set mainly devoid of scenery. At critical moments it was also able to emotionally enhance the power of scenes. In particular, an image of glowing watch faces that appears during scene changes grew increasingly more fractured, mirroring Donahue’s life and health. Finally the entire show was presented to seating on all four sides of the stage, adding extra challenges to acting and movement, and yet the story was enriched by the ability to see the faces of audience members. At the outset of the story smiles could be seen all around as we enjoyed the romance of Donahue and her husband and the camaraderie between the four employees. Yet when things took a turn toward the tragic, we could also see the pain and sorrow on one another’s faces. Luedtke’s directing made for an intimate experience both for the cast to audience but also for the audience to audience and each was boosted by the other. The acting itself was brilliant: the early scenes of carefree romance between the Donahues, the growth of friendship between the women, the painful descent into despair, and the decision to fight against all odds stood out as particularly poignant. There is a scene toward the end of the story in which Donahue holds her children and later speaks of “the sound of a mother’s heart breaking.” I watched as the audience’s hearts broke with hers. When Donahue takes the company to court for their actions she says, “This trial has changed things,” referring to the way she is treated by friends and acquaintances. And yet, the historical event really did change things on a larger scale as well. According to the dramaturg, Caroline Smith, “the radium girls . . . opened eyes to unjust corporate practices that valued money over humanity.” I tend to enjoy theater anyway, but some shows need to be watched for more than their entertainment value and this is certainly one of them. Corporate greed and the use of people is not confined to the past. It is a problem today in quieter but equally subversive ways. In Luedtke’s words, “I pray that we are emboldened to live “shining lives” like Catherine [Donahue] and her coworkers.”
March 30, 2015February 27 marked the death of Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy is best known for playing the iconic character of Spock from the original Star Trek series. He also played Spock in eight Star Trek movies, ranging from 1979 to 2013. Though he was most popular for his role as Spock, his career encompassed much more. He was a voice actor and director for many other movies. He wrote two books, one entitled “I Am Not Spock,” the other “I Am Spock” resulting from struggling for many years with only being known as Spock, but he later saw good in the character and what he brought to it. Nimoy also had an interest in photography and music. Nimoy’s death affected many of his fans in different ways. Katelynn Courteney, a student at GFU, described her reaction to the news. “Friday morning I found it on Facebook and clicked on the link to see if it was real…I freaked out and said to my roommate ‘Megan! Leonard Nimoy is dead!’ It was a shock to everybody, including me,” she said. Daniel Mellers, a student at George Fox University, commented on the fact that Nimoy is constantly associated with only the character of Spock. “I think it’s interesting that after Leonard Nimoy died, even though he was just an actor, albeit for a very popular show, he has become a cultural icon,” Mellers said. “[I] associated with his character and in some way having the characteristics of his character. He is seen as the wise, intelligent man because of the character he played.” Despite Nimoy’s death, he will be remembered: not only by the iconic character he played, but also by the photography, books, and music he produced.
March 30, 2015The dish carousel at Bon Appetit (the Bon) spins in a circle, laden with dirty dishes, and behind it, five days a week, Rafael Mancilla works in the dish room. Rafael, better known as Rafa, pulls used trays and dishes covered in food off the racks, scrubs them off and loads them into the dish room’s giant dish-washing machine. He and the other members of the dish room staff work late into the night ensuring that the Bon will be prepared with clean pots and pans for the next day. Cart after cart, all stacked high with dirty pots and pans from the kitchen, are shoved back into the dish room to be cleaned and put away. Rafa, dressed in a black waterproof apron, doesn’t let the mountains of dishes slow him down, but works cheerfully with a big smile on his face. Rafa has worked at George Fox University since November of 2005. “[Most of] the George Fox community probably don’t know who Rafa is, but students should know he is one of the many hard working dish-room staff,” said Brett Harvey, the board manager at Bon Appetit Co.. “I really like working here, especially with the student workers,” said Rafa. He likes to help students feel at ease and is always ready with a joke or to help students learn some basic Spanish. Rafa works very hard, and when asked what he does in his free time, he laughed shyly. “Free time? I have no free time. I work every day, five days here at The Bon and two days a week at the dish room over at Friendsview. I work to make money to help support my family. I work hard for little money.” Rafa rides his bicycle to and from work everyday, rain or shine. He works every day, not only to support his family, but also to save his money for an annual two-week trip down to Mexico so that he can be reunited with his brother and sister. “We always have such a good time!” said Rafa. The workers of the dish room, people like Rafa, are often seen but unnoticed. This does not detract from their importance; they are the backbone, and often what keeps the operation going. “Rafa is one of the hardest working people I know,” said Harvey. “[Not only does he] help to keep our kitchen running smooth and our guests happy with clean plates, silverware and cups, he also brings to our Bon Appetit team strength, consistency and understanding.” When placing trays on the dish carousel, some students yell out thank you to the dish room staff. It might just be Rafa who is on the other side, smiling and yelling back “You’re welcome!”