Student to Sue State University over Conservaphobic Practices

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A protester holds a sign, as protesters usually do.

Frustrations are on the rise at one California university as students and completely unrelated activists alike fight to end a perceived attack on student choice. The Second University of California has long held to its liberal values; it is a place known for its lack of enforcement of all antiquated ideologies, which administrators boast promotes a distinctly amoral and anarchist atmosphere that no private school would be able to match.

“We pride ourselves on having absolutely no convictions,” says the dean of admissions, who has opted not to be identified by any formal name, title, or pronoun. “By not taking sides on any issue, we don’t offend anybody. And that is the goal of a higher education, after all, to avoid offending students as they learn to live their lives.”

But, one student in particular says that this is not the case. Maryn Blue, junior Biblical studies major at SU of C, is stepping up and speaking out against the only thing that this school stands for and has stood for throughout the past century.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Maryn emphatically. “They say they don’t want to offend anybody, but it’s just not true! I’m here and I’m offended!”

When asked what exactly she found so offensive about her college, Maryn said simply one made-up word:
“Conservaphobia.”

While SU of C claims to be completely free of all institutions and ideologies that might cause offense to anyone, everyone, and their dogs (SU of C is also known for its animal inclusion program and is currently the only school where a chimpanzee not only was admitted but graduated magna cum laude with a degree in philosophy. It is speculated that this brainy primate might have had a paw in writing the school’s “Suggestions of Conduct,” a document which gives vague and optional guidelines for student behavior and can be signed or amended by any student if they are so inclined.)

However, despite SU of C’s striving for total affirmation of all things, Maryn is not alone in feeling oppressed by what she considers to be rampant conservaphobia. She, along with a small but loud group of like-minded students called the “Morality Underground” is taking aggressive measures to force the school to change in order to accommodate them.

“Yeah,” said Maryn with a defiant shrug, “I probably could have looked into the school’s lack of policies before I came, or maybe read their pamphlets before applying, but why should it be my responsibility to be informed about the college I attend? That’s a lot to ask of a 23-year old.”

When asked to elaborate on ‘conservaphobia,’ Maryn explained, “SU of C is a wonderful place. I love this place so much. It has sidewalks and benches and coffee and really good breakfast burritos. I cannot really stress how much I love this place.”

After waiting a few more minutes for Maryn to finish her professions of love for SU of C, she continued to complain about how cruel the school has been to her and how unhappy she has been there.

“I’m a Biblical studies major,” declares Maryn. “But you know what upsets me? My academic advisor keeps telling me that SU of C does not have a Biblical studies degree program because it’s a secular university. That is really an injustice! It’s conservaphobia, plain and simple, that they won’t hire professors or offer courses for my chosen field of study! I mean, just because a school is secular does not excuse it from having to promote subjects that contradict its values, right? ”

Maryn did not wait long before answering her own question.

“Right! I’m absolutely right and when the school tries to tell me I’m not, it really hurts my feelings, which, if I am not mistaken is against SU of C’s only value: that of non-offense.”

There are numerous private universities across the United States that hold to the same values that Maryn posts about on her Tumblr. It is reasonable to assume that such schools would have welcomed Maryn and Co. with open arms and financial aid, but when asked why she did not just choose to attend a school that aligned with her values rather than “hateful conservaphobia,” Maryn rolled her eyes and answered:

“Here’s the thing. Who’s usually paying for college? The parents. So who gets the biggest say in where a kid goes to college? That’s right. The parents.”

She went on to explain that her parents could not afford to send her to a private university and that even if they could, they were adamantly against the strict morals of such places.

“They wanted me to be a woman of the world, but that just wasn’t me. So here I am, trying to be myself in this place where I do not feel that it is appreciated. When I am told I can live in whichever dorm I want, am given vegan options at every meal, and am taught amoral subjects such as math, I feel the the weight of my trial. I have drafted a series of demands. If the school does not immediately cater to these whims, my friends and I are prepared to sue for damages.”

Already, over 93 individuals of the 80,000 that make up the SU of C student body, have signed this petition. Of these, nearly 17% have acknowledged reading the document and claim to possess a general idea of its contents.

“Yeah, I read it,” said Kale McBirkenstocks, super-senior undecided major. “I oppose phobias of all kinds and it would have been against my clinically-diagnosed phobia-phobia to not sign this petition.”

Maryn is confident her support can only grow from here.

“I think most people will come to agree that forcing a secular school to adopt religious moral policies is not unreasonable,” she concluded. “Besides, everyone will certainly agree that the government’s hard-earned money should not be used to fund education that promotes ‘conservaphobia’ rather than traditional, virtuous learning.”

Maryn is hopeful that she will be able to gather the external support necessary to pressure SC of U into complying with her goals. And, despite never truly defining ‘conservaphobia’ or proving how it violates her rights, Maryn is insistent that it is “a newfangled notion that can be overcome with greater activism.”

 

Miss Darcy

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman having read or seen Pride and Prejudice, must be in want of a Mr. Darcy.” – Jane Austen and Ryanne McLaren*

*Note: The above quote does not actually represent the entirety of this post, but I did think it rather apt in capturing the feelings of Austenites everywhere.

Rereading Pride and Prejudice is probably the most fun summer homework I have ever had. I find myself procrastinating my other work as I continue to become absorbed into Jane Austen’s Regency world of country lanes, stuffy dinner parties, heartfelt letters, and- of course- the universally-beloved romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

In beginning to read this book for the second (or is it third?) time, I was determined to figure out which leading lady I am the most like. My mother used to tell me to “put on my Jane face” whenever I needed to act sweet and politely charming. But, others have mentioned that my sass is more in line with Elizabeth. I hope that I have never been a Lydia or Kitty, though I fear I may occasionally be Mary.

But…the more I read, the more I come to realize that I am not completely like any of these characters. And, while most girls will argue that Elizabeth is their spirit animal, I am afraid that I am, instead, Mr. Darcy.

Granted, I am obviously not a “young man in possession of a good fortune,” but I cannot avoid acknowledging the incredible similarities I have discovered between Darcy’s character and my own.

First of all, according to internet searches, which we all know are always accurate, both Darcy and I are INTJ personalities, commonly considered to be the “architects” archetype. INTJs are characterized by planning, introversion, and analysis. Of course, the Meyers-Briggs indicator does not capture the whole of our natures, so I will continue to delve deeper, using Darcy’s pursuit of Elizabeth as my primary evidence.

  1. Rudeness and cluelessness:

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“I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men” (Austen 7-8).

I do not think that Darcy meant any overt meanness here, but was simply being blunt with his thoughts. If I had a nickel for every time I said something insensitive simply because I thought it obvious, I would be able to buy Pemberley. He was also clueless that the woman he slighted at first will become attractive to him within the next few chapters. I’ll admit this has happened to me too; upon meeting someone, I might not give him a second thought at first, even if he becomes important to me later.

2. Eye love intelligence: 

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“No sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes” (16).

Pardon the terrible pun, but Darcy comes to admire Elizabeth’s whole figure upon finding he admires the witty sparkle in her eyes. This is usually the first thing I see in a person too; a good-humored and intelligent expression in someone’s eyes is the most attractive thing to me and gives that entire person a handsomeness that cannot be matched.

3. Knowledge is power, but also love: 

 

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“He began to wish to know more of her” (16).

It might sound horrible, but people like Darcy and myself don’t care that much about learning about others unless we have a genuine affection for them. It goes right along with our detest of small talk. We don’t give two pence about someone’s thoughts on the weather,his/her favorite dinner course, or where he/she buys tea biscuits. Unless we care for this person deeply. In that case, we will not only want to know everything about him/her, but we will make a clear effort to ask and observe in order to gather information.

4. Falseness if futile: 

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“‘Nothing is more deceitful,’ said Darcy, ‘than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast'” (35).

When Miss Bingley copies and compliments everything Darcy does, he does not hide his annoyance, but expresses it in wise sayings she is sure to misinterpret but still allow him to speak his mind. He is aware of and despises all ploys of manipulation. Similarly, nothing bothers me more than falseness or deception and when I am aware of these manipulations, I speak my mind. And, though I usually believe I am correct, I also generally regret it.

5. Slow to form opinions, slow to discard them: 

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“My good opinion, once lost is lost forever” (43).

I agree with Elizabeth that this tendency is “a failing indeed,” but it is a failing I share with Darcy. Wickham wronged Mr. Darcy and deserved to lose his favor, but was it wrong of Darcy to renounce forgiveness? This is a fault of mine as well, for I am guilty of remaining cold toward people who have “lost my good opinion” for unreasonably long periods of time. But, I will add, the trust and friendship of such characters as Darcy and myself are not easily won, so it is understandable that breaks in these bonds are also not easily forgotten.

6. Desire is danger: 

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“He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention” (44).

This is an exaggeration, but I am right when I say that Darcy feared his attachment to Elizabeth. Feelings of any kind are discomfiting to natures such as his, for they not only contradict reason but are at risk of being found out by others. The fear of a person discovering where Darcy’s (or my own…) affections lie is all too real for him (and me.) We know from experience that secrets relating to the heart are best kept in complete privacy because it allows for protection of our own egos as well as make the likelihood of getting over such affections greater.

7. Reason > Romance: 

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“Steady to his purpose, he scarcely spoke ten words to her…and though they were at one time left by themselves for half an hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, and would not even look at her” (43).

As I said before, if Darcy could forget his admiration of Elizabeth, he would likely congratulate himself on avoiding ridiculousness. It is the first instinct of people such as him and me to try and adhere to reason rather than romance, especially when there is a risk of the romantic feelings not being returned.

8. A matter of company: 

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“We neither of us perform to strangers” (135).

Although this scene centered around a piano, Darcy is not talking about musical performance, but rather social interaction. He makes it clear that he does not do well in many common social situations. This is crazy relatable for me. Dentist appointments, customer service lines, and ice breaker activities are torture because they require me to chat lightly with people I don’t generally connect with. (And, in the case of the dentist, I have to chat with sharp objects prodding my gums, which I think must literally be a punishment from hell.) However, when we find a place or group in which we meet people with shared interests or natures, we perform our social duties admirably enough to be mistaken for extroverts!

9. The gift of time: 

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“More than once did Elizabeth in her ramble…unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy…on these occasions it was not merely a few formal enquiries and an awkward pause and then away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk with her” (140).

Darcy has made it clear up until this point in the novel that he does not enjoy spending much time chatting or idling. However, this is exactly what he keeps doing! In talking and walking with Elizabeth, he is showing that he cares for her enough to make time with her a priority. This is perhaps the greatest gift he can give her at this moment and, in the same way, I express my love by making time for people I love greatly.

10. When all else fails, GET TO THE POINT! 

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“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you” (145).

Here is where Darcy and I differ; when Elizabeth fails to catch all of his hints, he straight up tells her “Hey, I like like you. Do you like me? Check yes or no.” I wish I were this bold. It would probably save me lots of overthinking. Maybe someday I’ll give it a shot… I do, however, share Darcy’s appreciation of straightforwardness and wish more people were like him in this way.

11. Service speaks: 

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“He had done all this for a girl whom he could neither regard nor esteem. Her heart did whisper, that he had done it for her” (248).

When his profession of love was not returned, Darcy continued to show determined care in his actions, taking on the shame of the Bennets and doing all he could to restore their propriety. It is such selfless service that speaks Darcy’s love the loudest. I only hope I serve those I care about, even if they do not always share my feelings, in the same quiet and generous manner. Let’s also take a moment to celebrate that his determination and patience prove totally worth it in the end! ūüôā

So there you have it. Again, I am not the tragically romantic figure that Darcy is, nor am I so reserved and skeptical as he is. Still, while I may not be as much like our dear Mrs. Darcy as I had hoped, there is nothing wrong with being a sort of Miss Darcy, as long as I don’t go about earning a reputation of being “proud…above [my] company…and above being pleased” (6).

 

Works Cited
Austen, Jane, James Kinsley, and Fiona J. Stafford. Pride and Prejudice. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.

 

 

A Little Lament

Throughout the course of last semester, I was intrigued and challenged by one subject in particular, that of lament. Previously, I had held to the common view of lament, that it is solely¬†an expression of grief and despair. While this is partially true, it is only the first half of lament. As I read the book of Psalms, I realized that lament is more than a dispirited complaint but rather an honest outpouring of distress before the One Who can give relief. Biblical lamentation consists of two primary parts: crying out in genuine distress and then in either trust or praise following God’s deliverance. However, this was mostly an intellectual realization for me.

Until now.

There are so many problems and crises in the modern world that I truly lament. I pray for deliverance from them and for guidance in facing them and do not hesitate to express in such prayers my great sorrow over the fallen state of the world. However, these threats are external to me and it is easier for me to trust God in such situations. The greatest danger to my peace is within myself, in the form of pride.

I absolutely¬†hate to admit it (which just evidences the reality of it), but I have struggled with pride all my life. I don’t mean that I am stuck-up or think I’m the bomb.com or anything. (For reals, I said “bomb.com” so clearly I am not that cool.) For me, pride manifested itself as perfectionism. We all have our weaknesses and this happens to be mine. Throughout the past couple of years, it¬†has manifested itself in some self-image issues and a near eating disorder. Again, I really hate admitting this, but I am learning the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I have done much better throughout the past year in this particular area, but it is still a struggle. Lately it has been on my mind more than I would like to admit. I will not go into detail, but I will say that my prideful desire for control was bringing me nothing but disappointment. Yes, on one hand, my perfectionism pushes me to work hard for excellence, but, on the other hand, when I fail to achieve my crazy expectations, it drags me to the point of lament.

However, today, many small realizations and lessons seem to have reached a conclusion. Throughout the semester, various verses had resonated with me and I was not entirely sure why. Now, I see them all fitting together, forming the second part of this little lament: correction, assurance, and thanksgiving.

Correction: Mark 7:15

“There is nothing that enters a man from the outside which can defile him; but the things that come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.”

My attempts at control were misplaced. What or how much I eat is nothing compared to actively working to advance the Kingdom!

Assurance: Philippians 4:11

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

My contentment should not be dependent on myself or my physical situation, for if that is the case, then I will not find true, lasting joy. Better to rest in eternal assurances than situations I attempt to balance on my own.

Thanksgiving: Psalm 139:14

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

The hands that made me before I was even born are continuing to shape me into who I am meant to be. Who am I to doubt the skill of my Creator?

Today, I felt pretty nasty, so I didn’t do much besides sit on the couch and eat lots of toast. I confess that this bothered me. Not only was I missing what promised to be a really really really fun night out, but I felt that I was being super lazy and probably eating way too much (toast is just so comforting when you’re sick!). However, I kept being reminded of these verses and the lessons that I’ve been slowly learning. My identity and happiness will never be found through my own efforts, which are, as Ecclesiastes states, “vanities of vanities.” However, in knowing that I have a Savior in heaven who has redeemed me from this struggle and has been working in me to overcome it, I can rest in His peace; I can sit¬†still and munch on all the toast my little queasy stomach desires for I know that, as Philippians 4:19 says:

“My God shall supply all [my] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I’ll leave you (if you read this far, that is) with one last thought. I opened one of my favorite devotional books this evening,¬†The Valley of Vision, and¬†opened randomly to¬†this prayer:

“Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,

my heart admires, adores, loves thee,

for my little vessel is as full as it can be…

I bless thee for the soul thou has created,

for adorning it, sanctifying it,

though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body thou has given me…

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.”*

My heart rejoiced at this, for it is exactly what my scattered thoughts wished to say. May I truly love God first, above my selfish desires, and be thankful for what He has given me, through no merit of my own. And may I continue to increase in love and service for Him, living by a faith that transcends my human efforts.

*(note that I cut parts as this prayer is rather long)

 

 

 

A Bigfoot Story

I’m currently on vacation in Montana with my family, staying in a charming cabin near Glacier National Park. The cabin has a guestbook in which visitors are asked to record the highlights of their stay. In flipping through it I became bored immediately. Most people wrote things like this: 

“Ate pizza and went skiing. Fun times! Lovely cabin. Thanks!”

“Met some fellow Canadians while in the hot tub. The weather was excellent.”

“Went hiking with some goats. Ice cream shop in town was good.”

“Thought we saw a bear. False alarm. Lol.”

 
Dull, right?! Well, being a writer and, admittedly, a Bigfoot enthusiast, I had to do something to break up this pattern of lameness… It is with great pride and no small amount of humor that I present to you my vacation log. It is my hope that it will entertain and frighten guests long after I depart this place. ūüėą





Hopefully the owners don’t mind that I took up so many pages in their book… But if they are annoyed, they can email me at PrincessBigfoot42@gmail.com, which is indeed a real email. ūüėé

Melanie’s Lemon-Berry Muffins

It seems that every year around the beginning of summer I reread or at least skim parts of Gone with the Wind. I even venture to take the 959-page tome into the pool, to the horror of bookworm friends who doubt my ability to keep from dropping it into the water. (Seriously, people, I am an expert. Any girl who can ride a bike or swim laps while reading can easily sit still on a floaty without turning Gone with the Wind into Drowned in the Water.)

Anyways, because of this annual revisit to Georgia through the words of Margaret Mitchell, I have come to associate¬†GWtW¬†with the start of summer. You know what else I associate with summer? Baking. Having been away at college where the closest thing to baking was microwaving a cookie in the caf, I have a lot of recipes to catch up on. That said, upon finishing¬†GWtW, it seemed fitting to mourn Scarlett’s fate and to celebrate the beginning of summer with a yummy treat. Plus, I had a ginormous carton of strawberries that were going to go bad. So, I found a recipe and – as usual- did not follow it,¬† instead creating a delicious and actually rather healthy summer snack. In the interest of relating this recipe to literature, I shall call them “Melanie’s Lemon-Berry Muffins.” They are as sweet as Melanie with their strawberry savor and as sassy as Scarlett with their lemon twang, making them perfect for afternoon tea or a neighborhood barbecue. (Boom. I can relate anything to a book if I try hard enough. Convincing, right? ūüėČ )

So here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

Melanie’s Lemon-Berry Muffins

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  1. Gather your ingredients: 
    • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup cane sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1 cup pureed bananas (about 2 bananas)
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp. lemon zest (I just guessed- I have no idea how much made it into the bowl but it does not matter that much)
    • 5-7 drops lemon essential oil (I use Young Living, but any is fine)
    • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line cupcake pans
  3. Combine flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix.
  4. Whisk egg, milk, bananas, lemon juice, and vanilla together in a smaller bowl.
  5. Pour liquid ingredients into flour mix and stir thoroughly
  6. Fold in lemon zest and strawberries
  7. Spoon into baking cups and bake for 19-21 minutes
  8. Enjoy while reading¬†Gone with the Wind ūüėČ

*This yields approximately 20-24 muffins depending on how full you want them.