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For students, by students | October 2013 | Issue 15

r o f g n i y e d s u p t y S l a c o p A e h t



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[letter from the editor]

On the importance of sleeping, reading and being alive


aybe it’s the pressure of senior year, or maybe it’s just me, but this fall came as a swift kick in the arse. I found myself suddenly overwhelmed by classes, work, responsibilities, applications, friendships and oh yes, thoughts of the future. For the first time ever, I spent three consecutive evenings in Marshburn past 1 a.m. legitimately working on homework due the following day. Less is more when it comes to sleep these days. APU, however, runs on no sleep and lots Peet’s Coffee (shoutout for the upgrade). APU is alive and abuzz. Not that it was dead before, but I can feel it. There’s an active energy that fills every place I go on-campus. Big conversations, ideas and topics are being brought to the table like never before, and this is not a cliché way of saying “prepare yourself for the controversial slew of articles.” In fact, I am not even talking about Collide yet. I am talking about the students on this campus who have come back to make this semester, at the very least, engaging. From the most diverse freshman class ever to the growing number of the student body in general, APU has changed dramatically even since 2010 when I was an impressionable, shy teen in the towers of Trinity. So for the newbies, enjoy it. Soak up the knowledge awaiting you in school, friendships and faith.


Editor-in-Chief Arielle Dreher

Art Director Sarah Ottavis

For the oldtimers, fear not because we aren’t even close to being done learning; in fact, I think it’s just begun. Regardless of what perspective, background and passions you carry with you, I hope that Collide can help you think, speak and act on those convictions. So with that, I should probably say, “Welcome to Issue 15 of Collide!” This publication has seen a

Arielle Dreher Editor-In-Chief

variety of editors and writers over the past few years — all very different in opinions and mindsets. This year, the staff is no exception. I feel obliged to tell you that we are an all-female editorial staff (who run the world?). So with that out of the way, let me just say that I am not neglecting the lads on purpose. In fact, we have one male writer on staff, and I will always be looking for guest male-writers to ensure a balanced publication that appeals to both sexes.

On every issue we print the words “For students, by students” on the cover. I wholeheartedly believe that, and our goal for Collide this year is to write a story that each student on campus can connect with by the end of this academic year. When I shake J-Dubs’s hand in May, I want to leave knowing that if each student had picked up an issue of Collide, every one would have found an article that was interesting, upsetting or amazing. With that in mind, please take heed, you must read to engage with us. For the cliché-lovers wondering, yes, Collide is all about ideas colliding. But that doesn’t work unless you pick up an issue and read beyond the Threads. We all love soundbites, but I challenge you to engage the deeper content. There will be serious stories alongside light-hearted ones. Read both. Information should be consumed responsibly, so reader, now it’s up to you. Read about Zombie Apocalypse preparation and saving that extra dough to get off-campus, but also read about societal impact of skin color and being a “cool” Christian. We want to start conversations and engage the intellect of the student body. We have done our part; now it’s your turn. I am excited for this year and the opportunity we have to exchange ideas and stories. I hope you’ll join us. Thanks for reading!

Online Editor Ashley Cameron

Copy Editor C. Amaris Felton

Publicist Chelsey Barmore

Busness Manager Danielle Ahn

Faculty Advisers Kyle Huckins

Tim Posada

Contributing Writers

Katelyn Montalvo, Melissa Quintero, Scott Jacob, Emily Layva, Moriah Larson , Marisa San Miguel, Brooke Seipel, Caitlin Trude

Contact Us

Located between the Caf and Cougars’ Den Café. On Facebook, Instagram or on Twitter @apucollide.

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PO Box 9521, Unit 5165 Azusa, CA 91702-9521 CONTACT: Danielle Ahn PHONE: 626.815.6000x3515 FAX: 626.815.2045 Attn. Collide EMAIL: All checks made payable to: Azusa Pacific University, Collide

Mission Statement

Collide is a publication of The Clause, a multi-media student voice of undergraduate Azusa Pacific University. Our stories seek to bring people together on our pages where our ideas collide and stories impact readers. We provide narratives, inquiries and dialogue in a Christian academic setting that values individual’s stories as well as community concerns. Our writers are student-journalists interested in crafting articles • 1




9 An Apocalyptic Upbringing


10 Lost in the Darkness 12 The Crisis of Cool

Shorts 6 A Colorful World of Chaos


7 Save that Dough 7 Ariana makes her “grande” debut

Threads 4 Ditch the A, Hike B-Z



Lost in the Darkness Students discuss the societal impacts of skin color. 2 • collide • october 2013


The Skinny Learn the health benefits of chia seeds; they’re not just for pets.


A Colorful World of Chaos Explore the new colorful world of Grand Theft Auto 5.


Ariana makes her “Grande” debut The next Mariah Carey?

4 Numbers 4 The Skinny 4 Beauty is in the of the beholder 5 What you should have read this summer 5 Coffee and Conversation 5 Christianese Crossword


The Crisis of Cool How does Christianity fit into “cool” culture?

Cover Photo: Sarah Ottavis



collide online

[venture] The Last Bookstore

Behind the Scenes zombie photoshoot

The Last Bookstore’s weekly open mic nights, held every Monday at the 435 Spring St. location in Downtown LA, attract a colorful array of people. Anything goes for the event—comedy, poetry, prose, songs, instrumentals and anything else that allows the performer to fully express themselves.

Meet your cast


John Kerry announces decision on Syrian Chemical Weapons

ZOMBIES: Kaela Decker, Zach Wolfe, Ben Moore, Carla Ramelli, and Hayleigh Connor

online exclusive

HUMAN: Elizabeth Swartz

Visit to read more.


CHeck out our archives

Find it online in our print archive THE RACIAL DIVIDE | HUBBARD’S OFFICE | THE 50 SHADES FAIRY TALE

watch a video online at





| OCTOBER 2012 • ISSUE 9

The Cannabis Around You

The Higher Side of Health

Los Angeles

Street Art's Canvas

Just Friends

Navigating The Nightmare • 3


There are several great places to experience God’s creation outside of Azusa. Chantry Flats: Only eight miles from our beloved Azusa, this 3.7 mile hike is great for those new to hiking and includes numerous waterfalls, such as Sturtevant Falls for cliff diving or a refreshing dip in the shallows. Big Santa Anita Loop: Also along the same trail as Chantry Flats lies a lush 10mile trail reminiscent of The Shire. The hike is moderate in difficulty, but who wouldn’t want to feel like Frodo for at least half a day? East Fork of the San Gabriel River & the Bridge to Nowhere: This 10 mile hike leads you through the Sheep Mountain Wilderness where you will have numerous river crossings, so don’t wear new shoes. The trail will eventually lead you to the infamous bridge known for dead body Mafia drop-offs and cult activity… if you’re into that kind of stuff. Eaton Canyon: This relatively easy hike is less than four miles and ends in a 40-foot waterfall. Sounds great, right!? Well, a lot of people think so too, so make sure you get to the trailhead early on weekends. Hollyridge Trail: If you’re looking for a REAL California hike,then hike to the Hollywood sign. Although the sign is rumored to be on private property, this trail will get you extremely close. Just be careful of all the pollution from the city. –Katelyn Montalvo

The Skinny

with Ashley and Sarah

4 • collide • october 2013


# 60

percent of individuals lie within the first 10 minutes of meeting someone new.


The age when children begin to lie.


The average hours between lies for 4 year old.


Beauty is in the I... phone of the beholder 5c vs. 5s Apple is at it again. The September release of the new iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s and IOS7 software has heads turning to see what’s next in technology. While they’re both new, the 5c and 5s have some significant differences. The 5s is considered by Apple to be the “fastest iPhone ever made.” The new M7 processor and A7 chip sense when you’ve stopped browsing and cut off data usage, giving the 5s the longest battery life of any other iPhone. While both phones seem like they have great features, the 5s seems to be the option for someone looking for the most up-to-date and

efficient technology. IOS7 is the same iPhone technology you know and love but with a new, sleeker makeover. The icons you recognize have been redesigned and new typography has been added. The new camera features a flash on both sides of the phone and the Photos app now has the ability to edit pictures by adding filters. Other new features include being able to access the notification center from the lock screen and the ability to jump between apps by sliding the screen instead of closing one app to open another. Apple’s makeover is familiar yet completely different. –Brooke Seipel

Size: 4-inch retina display Software: IOS7, A6 chip Price: $99 “Starting Price” Camera: 8MP iSight Camera LED Flash Colors: Pink, Blue, Green, wYellow, White Bandwidth: LTE Wireless

Size: 4-inch retina display Software: IOS7, A7 chip, M7 coprocessor Price: $199 “Starting Price" Camera: 8MP iSight Camera with TrueTone Flash Colors: Gold, Silver, Grey Bandwidth: LTE Wireless Bandwidth 13 bands Sensors: Fingerprint identity sensor

The average minutes between lies for 6-year olds.


The amount lies men tell in a day.


The amount of lies women tell in a day.

ong before chia seeds decorated our animated ceramic pets, they were a staple food in the Aztec diet. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, chia seeds help lower cholesterol, promote cardiovascular function and regulate the digestive tract. These en-


ergy-packed seeds were the perfect supplement to build stamina in preparation for a long hunt. If soaked in water or other liquids, chia seeds will expand to a gel-like consistency— thus making the stomach feel more full for a longer period of time which potentially lowers

an individual’s calorie intake. The mildly flavored seed is an easy addition to yogurt, smoothies, cereal or oatmeal and can even be added into baked goods for an extra energy and health boost.

courtesy: Apple, TFS Magnum, Vicky Pablos

Ditch the A Hike B-Z

What you should have read this summer 1. The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green Cancer patient Hazel buys herself a few more years of life, thanks to a tumor-shrinking medical miracle. Nevertheless, she is still at the final stage of her illness when an unexpected twist brings Augustus Waters into her cancer support group. 2. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald In the midst of the Jazz Age, self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby portrays the lucrative obsessions of man: money, ambition, greed, love and the promise of new beginnings. 3. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky Intelligent but shy Charlie starts his freshman year of high school, hoping to simply survive as he holds on to tragic events from his past. In this coming of age story, Charlie learns he is a wallflower, stuck between living his life and running from it. 4. “The Silver Linings Playbook” by Matthew Quick Pat believes that his life is a film produced by God, that he must live out accordingly in order to be

granted a happy ending. Discover the intricacies of perspective and how life experiences affect Pat’s distorted but beautiful mind. 5. “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling When Pagford loses respected citizen Bairy Fairbrother, the town is left in despair and people are at war with one another. The empty seat on the parish council, left by Bairy, soon becomes the incentive for the biggest battle yet. 6. “Catching Fire” (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins After winning the Hunger Games, Katniss returns home only to find that nothing is the same. Her longtime friend, Gale, holds her at a distance, and her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark turns his back on her completely. Katniss has fueled a strife that she is afraid she cannot stop. –Melissa Quintero

Christianese Crossword

Ever wonder how much Christians misuse language? Try our crossword to find out.

(v.) blessed, called, loved,

(n.) purpose, doors,

pursue, wrestle, struggle, debrief

(adj.) genuine, intentional, vulnerable, accountable

trials, seasons


& conversation Senior Alyssa Wenger has what some people might consider a dream job. She works as a dancer, character and performer in California Adventure’s Pixar Play Parade and Disneyland’s soundsational parade. Staff writer, Marisa San Miguel, took five with Wenger to find out just how dreamy her Disney life is. Marisa: Why did you decide to audition? Alyssa: I tried out for Disney when I was a senior in high school, and I danced my whole life. I’ve always wanted to dance in the parade. I saw that it was a great job, especially for college students or dancers in general. M: What was the audition process like? A: There were about 500-600 dancers, and they basically cut you in half at first and learn a really easy combination. M: What are the different kinds of costumes you wear? A: I’ll wear anything from a green wig for Buzz Lightyear Girl to a huge dress that has huge fake curls. I’ll also wear different character pieces. My favorite costume would probably be Buzz Girl because that was the first one that I got hired to do. They’re basically girl versions of Buzz Lightyear. It’s really fun and it just feels like we’re in the Pixar movie. M: What are your favorite moments from dancing in the parades? A: For soundsational, I was a court dancer, and we danced in front of the princesses. It’s just really cool to be able to see the people and kids who are there and how excited they are just to see the parade and just being a part of the magic on Main Street. M: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a job like this? A: I always encourage people to try out because they get discouraged and think they could never work there. You don’t have to be the best dancer in the world, so I always encourage a ton of people to always just audition and to keep at it. • 5


Grand Theft Auto V seems more real than ever before.

Grand Theft Auto V: Drive by a Colorful World of Chaos by Caitlin Trude


ullets scream past my head as I sprint for cover behind the husk of a burning vehicle that used to be my escape route. I switch from my exhausted HK Mark 23 pistol to a M4 Carbine Rifle, reload the weapon with a fresh clip, grit my teeth and lay down a sporadic line of cover fire as I dash for a rapidly ascending helicopter. Welcome to Grand Theft Auto 5. The vast, almost insurmountable Los Angeles-paralleled world that players find themselves in is called 6 • collide • october 2013

Los Santos. Sprawling mountains, thick forests, vibrant cityscapes and treacherous waters act as the medium through which a brilliantly crafted storyline is brought to life. Franklin, the street-educated gangster, Michael, the high-class criminal and Trevor, the drug addict wild card, make up the unlikely trio of GTA 5’s playable cast. What is so enthralling about these characters is the amount of emotional depth each one lacks near the beginning of the story and how much each man learns about the other as the

game progresses. This grants the player an intimate glimpse into the protagonist’s true passions and motivations. Rockstar did a phenomenal job formulating the game’s dialogue, making the speech more fluid and complex than previous installments. Each individual instance of dialogue allows the player an opportunity to form an opinion — the same opinion that will define many of the characters encountered throughout the story. A delicate balance between malicious intent and unwavering loyalty will be forged through the fiery crucible of dialogue. While a riveting plot remains the backbone of this game, there is by no means a lack of outside missions, exploration opportunities or mini-games (golf rounds, bar darts and yoga sessions, to name a few).

Ariana Grande makes a statement.

In addition to this, Rockstar integrated a dramatic overhaul of the vehicle selections. The game features myriad new cars (the Felon, the Carbon RS, and the Elegy RH8), ATVs, planes, helicopters, boats, semi-trucks and even jet-skis, as well as some old favorites such as the Bullet GT and the Buffalo. However, expansive landscapes, high-octane vehicles and full-bodied characters mean nothing unless the essential necessity of video game playability permeates the foundation: the game must be flat-out fun to play. This is where GTA 5 finds its strongest trait. There is something for every type of gamer in this lustrous world—don’t have the time or patience for the intricate missions? Just explore the world and wreak havoc as you see fit. Consider yourself a perfectionist when it comes to ranking and awards? Replay missions until you achieve that 100 percent completion and grab the shiny gold medal. For those who have waited more than five years, as well as casual gamers who want to experience the pinnacle of modern-day gaming, pick up this game and immerse yourself in the beautiful complexities of Los Santos.

Save that Dough courtesy: GRAND THEFT AUTO, left page; Republic Records, right page top

by Caitlin Trude


ou’re back on that college grind, and you’re stoked – but you’re broke. Take heed of the following tips to make the budgeting process hurt less. Tracking Device Recording every purchase you make can shed light on your spending tendencies. Whether you splurged on a midnight milkshake run or iTunes singles, you can better identify what areas you can spend less on or cut off entirely. Smartphone money-tracking apps are free, such as iSpending and Pocket

Expense. No smartphone? No problem. Try a pen and paper. Check for ID Discounts aren’t just for seniors or military vets; you might be surprised by what’s out there if you have your college ID on you. Aero Theatre, Ford Ampitheatre, the LACMA and most museums provide student discounts. Reduce, Reuse, Freecycle For those paying monthly utilities bills, you know not to use excessive amounts of water and electricity. Do reuse the old, forgotten furniture sitting in your attic at home for your apartment – after all, it’s free. To the students still looking for furniture, turn to Craigslist, thrift stores and garage sales for that recliner you so badly need – or look to Freecycle, a network where people give away free stuff to other people living in nearby areas. Trash to Treasure Really think about some of the getup sitting in your closet and the last time you wore that neon sweater. Consider selling them to consignment stores, Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange. Then scour the rest of your room for items with little sentimental value to you— but with value for potential buyers. It’s a long shot, but don’t discredit some of the “junk” lying around your home. Consider hauling it over to Azusa Pawn. Buy in Bulk Rather than buying small amounts of paper towels or Top Ramen weekly, shop at Costco and split the cost with roommates. For items each roommate will use, it’s smarter to buy larger quantities at cheaper individual costs than having to go to the store repeatedly for the same items. Bargain for Books There are some classes where the “required” textbooks aren’t even required. But if you do end up needing the textbook, you have other options than just the bookstore – look into Amazon, renting, sharing or kicking it in the library. Some books are available for free online (Project Gutenberg), otherwise check out Chegg,, Booksfree or do your own Google search. While some may resort to taking toilet paper from the public restrooms and reselling old textbooks at black market prices to the freshmen, there remain less shady ways to stay out of the red.

Ariana makes her ‘Grande’ debut by Moriah Larson


ariah Carey dominated the ‘90s. Beyoncé peaked in the ‘00s. If music history is to repeat itself, then Ariana Grande might just steal this decade’s top spot. From a childhood of impressive theatrical performances, to the role of Cat Valentine on the hit Nickelodeon show “Victorious,” Grande quickly revealed her acting abilities. But it wasn’t until her single “The Way” topped the iTunes singles chart just seven hours after its release that the industry started to take notice. The 20-year-old Grande redefines what it means to be a powerhouse performer, fully equipped with musical talent and positivity in both her image and lyrics. And as one of only 15 solo female artists whose debut albums have opened up at No. 1, it is no wonder Grande’s first studio album Yours Truly received praise from music producers and fans alike. With a hint of R&B and a dash of pop, Yours Truly contains an incredible range of emotion, and of course, high notes in songs such as “Baby I,” “Right There” and “Honeymoon Avenue.” As the world of entertainment continues to evolve, it is refreshing to see a genuine gift in Ariana Grande – no foam fingers or twerking required. • 7

8 • collide • october 2013

An apocalyptic upbringing words by Ashley Cameron photo by Sarah Ottavis


ot only is the Zombie Apocalypse taking over the big screen, but it is also affecting the way some families do dinner. Senior English major Danielle Coleman could teach Brad Pitt a thing or two about real life zombie-hunting and survival. At weekly family dinners, the commuter student’s parents try to teach their four children the importance of Christian ideals, along with how crucial it is to be prepared for the end of the world. Danielle Coleman grew up in a family that encouraged her to be independent. “We never really did anything together except forced family camping trips,” Danielle said. “Now that we are older we get together for family dinners and it is just insane.” A common topic for discussion for the Colemans is the Zombie Apocalypse. “We’ll talk about [how we are going to be prepared] at every family dinner,” Danielle said. She attributes the family’s fascination with this potential catastrophe to her oldest brother, Jon. Though he normally discusses topics such as Obama’s gun control policy, various television shows regarding potential apocalypse scenarios have peaked his interest. “I categorize him as a conspiracy theorist. He’d start talking about the end of the world and how it was coming and we have to be prepared for it,” Danielle said. “Thanks to the Discovery Channel, the whole family started getting into the Zombie Apocalypse shows and how you prepare for that.” With their interest on the topic growing, they decided to educate themselves. Dan Coleman, the father, and Katie Coleman, the sister, at-

Families that prepare for the apocalypse together, stay together-and last longer.

tended a training class at REI called “Zombie Preparedness.” This course offered practical tips such as using machetes rather than guns due to the inevitability of running out of ammo. Although the discussions started out as a joke, after the entire family got involved, it turned into a “well, it could happen” attitude. However, the conversation soon widened from just zombies to any sort of disaster. “Zombies are something fun to play against in a videogame, but I don’t put much stock into an actual Zombie Apocalypse happening,” Danielle Coleman said. “ I don’t believe my family does either, but [members] use it as an allegory for being prepared for any situation that could happen, like a huge earthquake or something along those lines.” Every member of the family has a role in survival if the time comes. Coleman’s knack for guns will help her protect the family, and her writing talents will help her record their survival story. Sister Katie’s nursing background will enable her to treat any injuries incurred during the catastrophe. Other post-apocalyptic topics that are of interest to the Coleman family also stem from television shows. When the show “Revolution” aired, Dan Coleman was quick to become a follower. The show illustrates what happens when every device is out of service and a worldwide blackout occurs. “My dad started researching it so now we have a couple of bins in our garage of non-perishables and big water jugs,” Danielle Coleman said. “Any time we watch a TV show, my family is really affected.” Post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows such as World War Z and “The

Walking Dead” are in high demand. “Apocalypses are so popular right now because it’s something that people can fear, something so absolutely unknown that any portrayal of it and any chance of understanding it is jumped upon,” she said. Along with bins in their garage, the Colemans each have a “Go Bag” ready for emergencies. “When we were kids, you’d go to school and you’d have to bring in an earthquake preparedness backpack,” Danielle Coleman said. “Now we all have a backpack in our car in case something happens. … Mine has water, food, an emergency blanket, matches, a knife, all that kind of stuff.” To ensure that their friends also have a working knowledge, Dan Coleman began a small group at their church that focuses on how to be prepared for disasters, including but not at all limited to a Zombie Apocalypse. “[The Zombie Apocalypse] is more of an allegory to be prepared for earthquakes or wild fires that could hit somewhere near us. So in case something like that happened, we all know who to contact and where to meet up,” Danielle Coleman said. “Now at church the other families will say, ‘If you don’t know what to do, go to the Colemans. They know what to do during any type of apocalypse.’” The Colemans are now closer as a family than they were in previous years. Zombie Apocalypse or not, they have realized that family fun need not be reserved to only camping trips. “I love how crazy we are,” she said. “It’s never boring.” • 9

LO S T I the darkn words by Chelsey Barmore and C. Amaris Felton photos by Sarah Ottavis



he essence of beauty among lighter skin tones has created a conversation in not only our own APU community, but also throughout world. Although it seems to be an ancient concept, it cannot be denied that it still affects the lives of those who have a skin color that is seen as “less preferable” to the public. Shortly after Nina Davuluri won the 2013 Miss America title, one tweet among many others stated, “WHEN WILL A WHITE WOMAN WIN #MISSAMERICA? Ever??!!” Herein lies a reflection of the anomaly of skin color within our society. The view of beauty, or appreciation towards various skin tones, has become stagnant 10 • collide • october 2013

for some. However, a recent study (see sidebar) has brought forth a potential answer in hopes of revealing some of the psychological reasonings behind this societal dilemma that some APU students have reflected on and, perhaps, many more can relate to. Benny Lee, a freshman art major, is a Korean student who lived in India for a large portion of his life. During his stay, he found himself paying more for things because of the skin tax set in place by the Indian government. “[Skin tax] was actually a term that was made by Indians saying that if you’re not Indian, if you’re not local, then you have to pay more for things,” Lee said. Because Lee is lighter than his Indian counterparts, he was subject to the pains of discrimination. “[A] lot of people in India think

that all the foreigners there have a lot of money,” Lee said. “It doesn’t feel nice when you’re treated in a different way because of your skin color.” The “colorism” study (see sidebar) also mentioned how darker skin can trigger fears of criminality. In addition, the academic work analyzed how black first-graders have a better

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever; Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.” -John Keats, “Endymion”, 1818.

In ness chance of remembering stories where light-skinned individuals are seen in a positive light as opposed to those of darker skin. Norris Spagner, a senior theology major and an African-American male, shared how he was a victim to the societal pressures of wanting lighter skin to reduce potential stereotypes in his community. “I felt like I had to be lighter, specifically white, in order to get home,” said Spagner. “If I’m out at a certain time at night, [and had lighter skin] I would feel like I wouldn’t get pulled over as much.” Spagner even mentioned that while driving, he takes off his hat and sits up properly in his seat to avoid potential contact with police. Furthermore, he said there is a mentality present within culture, specifically within the African-American community, when it comes to relating personal character-

istics to different skin tones. “There is this thing where lightskinned guys—they’re the pretty boys or they’re the guys who can’t fight or are weaker, and then there’s the darker guys who are [seen as] the tough ones,” Spagner said. This societal stereotype Spanger presents is not limited to the African-American community. According to the “colorism” concept, it can be found not only in the lives of Spanger’s peers but also worldwide across an entire spectrum of cultures. Heather Garza, a junior biochemistry major who identifies herself as Mexican, attended a high school that consisted of a large population of wealthy, Dutch students whose parents owned dairy farms— a community in which lighter skin was the norm and the motto of “if you aren’t Dutch, you’re not much” echoed. “When I was in high school, I wanted to be Dutch,” Garza said. “Even though I’m Mexican, I have lighter skin to begin with, so it was easy for me to fit into that mold. [However,] I forgot my identity in my culture, and I forgot who I was because I wanted to be so much like the other people.” Garza also observed that even though lighter skin was seen as the norm within her community, having sun-kissed skin or as advertised in Neutrogena’s products, a “healthy glow”, also became the new attraction. “I felt like where I grew up, the white students wanted to look tanner [and] that was a sense of beauty too—was to be tan,” Garza said. However, by coming to APU, Garza has realized that beauty goes beyond skin color. “I feel a lot more confident now,” Garza said. “Having friends that are darker in skin tone and are completely comfortable in their skin, made me embrace my culture.” The definition of beauty is a hazy one that society may not ever agree on. Because popular culture is constantly in flux, beauty can be seen as often changing with the times, but the concept will forever remain.


An article entitled, “The Skin Color Paradox and the American Racial Order,” written by Harvard professor Jennifer L. Hochschild and University of Virginia assistant professor Vesla Weaver, characterizes the idea of “colorism”. According to this study, “colorism” is defined as “the tendency to perceive or behave toward members of a racial category based on the lightness or darkness of their skin tone.” This idea further explains the social divide within skin color variations. It is also carried into the framework of individuals’ socio-economic statuses. Hochschild and Weaver state, “People attribute higher status and grant more power and wealth to people of one complexion, typically light skin, within the groups designated as non-white.” The effects of “colorism” psychologically interject the minds of those who are victims and victimizers in the skin color discussion. The victims are affected stereotypically while the victimizers continue to play into those stereotypes and base their perceptions on what seems to be truthful.

51% of the freshman class at APU represent racial minorities. • 11

People gather around in and out of the lobby after a Sunday morning service at Mosaic in Hollywood, Ca.

12 • collide • october 2013

Where do we draw the line between culture and Christianity, or is there even a line?

THe CRISIS OF COOL words by Arielle Dreher | photos by Sarah Ottavis


moke machines, neon lights and palettes decorate the stage in the dark auditorium. The lead singer is in skinny jeans, but he’s not alone, as both female vocalists look like they walked straight out of an Urban Outfitters catalogue. The sound is edgy, electronic and undeniably cool. Where are we? Not a concert. It’s a Sunday morning at 11 a.m., and we are at church. In 2009, Los Angeles-based writer and journalist Brett McCracken embarked on a journalistic endeavor to investigate a sweeping trend he noticed in Christianity in the western world. That investigation turned into a year of in-depth research, and the result was the book, Hipster Christianity, which was published in 2010. The book examines how Christianity is beginning to fuse with the “cool” elements in culture. The term “hipster” was chosen for the title of the book, but McCracken did not use the term to guide his research or interviews. McCracken’s biggest question at the heart of his book is, “Can Christianity be cool?” He had found that this trend now dubbed “Hipster Christianity” had swept over not only

how Christians and churches present themselves but also over how we think about our faith. “Cool is ephemeral, and Christianity is transcendent,” McCracken said. “Cool is self-focused; Christianity is self-effacing.” Christianity and cool are, in essence, closer to opposites, according to McCracken. “If we define cool as being setting yourself apart from someone else and showing off your unique style and your music tastes. … There is a definite friction between Christianity and cool,” McCracken said. In his research, McCracken looked at multiple Christian communities and groups of people in churches, on college campuses and in several different cities and countries. He found that while a few authentic cool Christian communities existed, “wannabe cool” Christian communities were the most common. Authentically cool Christian communities were typically found in urban centers where members of that community naturally dressed a certain way and listened to particular kinds of music due to their environment, while wannabe cool communities were consciously trying to be cool in the way that they presented themselves.

McCracken did not suggest a total abandon and denial of what is cool and hip today, but rather he suggested a balance. “We should care about culture because we want to worship God through it and grow in our faith. … Through the truth that exists in culture,” he said. “[But] when we use culture to make ourselves look cool and hip, rather than approaching it in a humble way, that’s the problem.” In his book, McCracken identifies several “Christian hipster churches” that are the epicenters of the culture of cool integrating with Christianity on several levels. Mosaic in Hollywood is one of those churches. Although Hank Fortener, the lead pastor, has not read McCracken’s book, the term “hipster church” turned him off immediately because of the negative connotation that goes along with the word “hipster.” “Mosaic is one of the most inclusive communities on the planet,” Fortener said. He expressed that Mosaic was a community that wanted to include the cool kids, the people who dislike the cool kids and the uncool kids. “They don’t have to fit into a subculture [to be included],” Fortener said. • 13

Beyond the surface-level “cool” things, however, a deeper question is being asked: can Christianity hang out within the context of the modern-day culture? “Jesus has always been cool,” Fortener said. Keeping services as cool as Jesus typically attracts younger crowds; according to Fortener, around 70 percent of his congregation is under the age of 30. There has been a longstanding debate about Christianity’s place in the world and in culture. How are we to be in the world but not of it? Mosaic’s stance is simple. “The way we communicate [is] to and with the culture, not at the culture,” Fortener said. McCracken defined his list of “hipster churches” because a big portion of the congregations at these churches were hipsters(i.e., those who favor more indie music and film, as well as, value styles that go against the mainstream). His main critique of the hip, emerging church asks what happens when “one of the places in our world where people can escape that [culture] and feel welcome” is not no longer inclusive due to its hip-ness. “Is this what the church should be? If a soccer mom walked into this church, would she feel welcome?” McCracken said. Of course, most churches would not consciously be exclusive. However, the hipster movement hinges on exclusivity. You can’t go against the mainstream without neglecting those who are a part of the mainstream. “Ultimately what the church has to offer is the antidote to that exhausting pursuit of the ‘now’ which defines our culture these days,” McCracken said. Hipster Christianity was not limited to a discussion of the emerging church. 14 • collide • october 2013

McCracken targeted the hipster movement particularly on college campuses, working at Biola University himself and writing from a place of self-critique as a Christian hipster. The book calls Christian college campuses “hotbeds of hip.” Why? “College is this place where you are on your own so that you have the freedom to experiment with new ideas and with your identity,” McCracken said. “So much of hipster culture is about coming into your own identity.” Students just beginning college should be prepared to have their ideas and foundations shaken McCracken said, but they should not let new ideas completely undermine their faith and core values. College students tend to go through a cynical, doubting phase and come out senior year on the opposite side of ideology from where they began. The pendulum swing of ideas is natural, but the truth is probably lying somewhere in the middle McCracken said. For seniors, it is best to question yourself and your new ideas that you have come to believe. “The broader your sense of Christianity becomes, the more you see your own small view of it,” McCracken said. While reading Hipster Christianity can be a wakeup call to motivations for liking certain bands or dressing a certain way, be wary of dramatic shifts of thought. Self-reflection on motivations behind how we engage with culture and consume media is a good place to start. According to McCracken, eventually, you should get to a place where you like a certain band, film or other form of media because it’s good, not because it’s cool. “I’ve had to abandon my desire to be up on

The Hollywood Walk of Fame begins right outside Mosaic Church in Hollywood.

culture and the ‘you’ve never heard of it’ mystique,” McCracken said. Think you might be a Christian hipster? It took McCracken a year to research and write his book, exploring the mysterious, intertwining hipster and Christian cultures. This theological question is deeper and more complex than one article can summarize; however, it’s worth thinking about. “At the base of all of this, is our epistemological understanding of what is truth and where does it come from,” McCracken said. “And that’s very much in debate these days.”

The main stage of Mosaic after the 11 a.m. service.

courtesy: Brett McCracken

Brett McCracken

Read a short excerpt from his book, Hipster Christianity

“On the West Coast and particularly in California, a number of CCCU schools have high concentrations of Christian hipsters-- schools like Azusa Pacific, Westmont College, Point Loma, and Biola, the latter of which is my current place of employment. The Christian hipsters at these schools have a decidedly SoCal aesthetic-surfer/skater/ punk with more earrings, tattoos, and hair dye than their counterparts in the Midwest. More of them are making short films or playing in bands, spending more time practicing and experimenting with art rather than learning or debating theories about it.” Page 108, Hipster Christianity • 15


Peace and Conservation

on earth

God’s Daily Theatrical Encore

by Austin Layton

16 • collide • october 2013

TRIVIA Q. What body of water in North America supplies water to three different oceans? HINT: The same body of water has decreased in size by 60 percent over the last century and a half. A:Columbia Icefield in Alberta, Canada.The run off from its glaciers contributes to rivers running to the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

I realize that one individual is not responsible for attempting to steal the nearly 1,000-foot thick, 3.7 mile-wide Columbia Icefield that supplies water to three different oceans (think Vector shrinking, then stealing, the moon in Despicable Me). However, we should be aware of our role in its conservation. Christians are often one of the first groups who get a finger, or the finger, pointed at them for how we treat the earth. Lynn White, a well-known professor of medieval history in the 20th century, wrote an article in 1967 entitled “The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis” in which he conjectures that Christian tradition is responsible for the onset of the destructive behaviors that came to fruition during the Industrial Revolution. Christians in the modern west have adhered to a dualistic approach, separating God from nature. White describes how Christians have viewed humans as the only figures in Creation made in God’s image (anthropocentrism) while Creation was made primarily for human use (human chauvinism) which has led to indifference or even hostility towards nature. White finishes his essay with this thought: “Both our present science and our present technology are so tinctured with orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature that no solution for our ecologic crisis can be expected from them alone. Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not.” Christians fall back on verses like Genesis 1:26 as proof of our role as “ruler” and “user” of the earth and Creation. The verse says that God

made man in His image and granted him dominion over the rest of creation. Western Christians historically have asked: If God did create the earth for our use, why should we not utilize it to its full potential? When you run into a Greenpeace representative on the street corner, which you do often in my Portland (Oregon) hometown, the person says something along the lines of, “Your grandchildren won’t be able to {fill in the blank} if you do not help!” I am not about to let a 20-something hippie guilt trip me about the environment with some pre-packaged emotional speech. How I treat the earth has a whole lot more to do with glorifying Creation and its Creator than making

sure Los Angeles does not look like Beijing. (Yes, the smog can get worse.) I think God makes himself evident and obvious in different ways, some crazier than others. There may be stories in the Bible where God made himself known by making fleece wet, but God reveals himself to me through biology. I love to nerd out over cells smaller than the tip of a pen. While that may not hold true for everybody, I have yet to meet a person who is not taken aback by the beauty of a sunrise peeking between the trees of a forest or a view of the Milky Way during a backpacking trip. We have a responsibility to be stewards of this beautiful Creation gift we have been given. We as humans are masters over Creation, but as Christians we are also caretakers of the earth. We can respect and worship the Creator by honoring the Creation. I am not suggesting you should chase down whalers or tie yourself to a tree in the Brazilian rainforest. Maybe just use a water bottle instead of buying bottled water. This is one easy suggestion, but I trust (and hope) that you are more creative than I. Even if you’re not, APU has a little known Environmental Stewardship department. Look into it. G.K. Chesterton wrote: “Perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.” God has been staging a show on earth for thousands of years. Who are we as Christians to trash the stage? Guest writer, Austin Layton, has been a student of life since 1992 and at APU since 2010. He is a senior biology major who hopes to one day create dogs who are forever stuck in the puppy stage.




More Stories. Exclusives. The Archive. Venture & Digest Blogs. Meet The Staff. • 17

18 • collide • october 2013

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