Letter from the Co-Editor, Issue #4

“Stop doubting and believe,” Jesus tells his disciple Thomas, when he doubts that Jesus actually came back from the dead. Patronizingly, modern Christians dub him “doubting Thomas,” a subtle expression of their superiority, and miss the point: Jesus actually gives Thomas reason to believe. He tells Thomas to touch the holes in his hands and the gap in his ribs. He only asks him to quit doubting once he no longer needs to.

In our first three issues of Satellite, we explored themes of rebirth, identity, and devotion. As our online magazine settles into its purpose and identity, we shift in our fourth issue to examine doubt. We address the ways doubt shapes us by sometimes draining our vitality, sometimes galvanizing our search for the truth.

Doubt is a growing thing: we watch it fissuring through the public square, splitting our trust in our government and public institutions. In our newest issue, previous Co-Editor Karla Freyre examines the recent wave of television expressing doubts about the American justice system. William Hernandez highlights the recent popularity of wild conspiracy theories and how they can only thrive in an unstable and doubting society.

Artists are more likely than the rest of society to sense undercurrents of doubt, according to Vonnegut’s canary in the coal mine theory. In this issue, we listen in to how musicians like Andy Mineo and the alternative-rock band Twenty One Pilots doubt God and redemption, from Phillip Morrow and Josef Junek respectively. These pieces explore the ways doubt can completely unground us, yet also, paradoxically, bless us.

The theme of doubt also undergirds Katrina Bolman’s piece on the cinematic movement the French New Wave and Felicia Giwa’s prescient observations on the decline of movie theatres. NiNi Banh traces the parallels between the doubts of Jesus’ apostles and the doubts of cult followers in the indie film Sound of My Voice. In my piece on Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered, I express doubt whether the novel is the proper arena for overt political criticism.

Doubt, while often unseen, is churning below the surface of popular culture, with all its noise, clamor, debate, and invective. To preserve our faith against doubt, we must reclaim mental space from encroaching noise, as Victoria Thomas encourages in her piece, “A Retreat in the Everyday.”

Yet our primary response to doubt should not be to silence or escape it. In her piece on the Rothko Chapel, Natalie LaValley explores via negativa, the ancient apophatic theology that emphasizes what God is not rather than what he is; it is the posture of waiting out the darkness, while clinging to the truth.

We hope that as you read Satellite, you are challenged by the sincerity of our doubt but encouraged by our hope. Doubt is a fearsome thing. It’s best experienced with company.

With Love,

Corrie McCloy

Co-Editor, Satellite

Letter from the Editor, Issue #2

Last fall as the students and I were preparing to launch the first issue of Satellite we found ourselves circling back time and time again to one question: what was the identity of this new thing we were making together? For several months we gave ourselves the freedom and space to explore all the possibilities we could dream up. We could be a college newspaper, a literary journal, a sports website, a pop culture blog. We could publish short stories by established authors or movie reviews by budding writers. We could focus on fashion, religion, or local Houston culture. We did our homework and steeped ourselves in all manner of publications. We studied Image Journal,The Believer, The Oxford American, Grantland, N+1,Mockingbird, and more. We allowed ourselves to borrow what we liked, and we figured out what wouldn’t work for us.

What we landed on is the work you’ll find in our first two issues. Officially, we are HBU’s student-run arts and culture online magazine: we publish essays, videos, poems, and more that reflect on the way the arts and culture shape us as spiritual and relational beings. Unofficially, we are still finding out who we are and what we do best.

Because we are still defining who we are, it seemed fitting to organize this second issue around the theme Identity. We invited contributors to consider how and where they found, forged, changed, and solidified their identities. The result is a compelling collection of pieces. The predominant through-line here is the messiness of our individual journeys and how our faith ultimately illuminates who we are. In their respective essays, Shantelle Slaughter, Natalie Mulvahill, Ben Byrum, and Victoria Hornsby interrogate the perils of defining oneself by what one does or creates. In our first video essay, Josef Junek reckons with his place in fan culture. In two pieces, Nick Vafiadis uses a new film and a recent book as a means of personal introspection. Tèa Ashanti and Rechanne Waddell consider the power of representation for African-Americans in films new and old, and Noah White looks at what coming-of-age movies tell us about the fluidity of identity in adolescence. You’ll also find thoughtful essays about empathy in our media-saturated culture, the connection between skin care and the soul, and the diversity reflected in Houston’s food scene.

Our hope is that as you read and watch our stories of identity, you’ll be encouraged to reflect on your own. After all, it is through sharing stories that we come to know and empathize with one another.

Bearden Coleman
Editor-in-Chief, Satellite
Associate Professor of Cinema, Media Arts, and Writing
Houston Baptist University

About Satellite

The Department of Cinema, Media Arts, and Writing at Houston Baptist University is pleased to announce the launch of Satellite, HBU’s student-run arts and culture online magazine. Satellite is proudly the descendant of The Collegian, the student-led newspaper of HBU since 1963. Over its long and prestigious history, The Collegian faithfully reported on campus news and prepared students for careers in journalism. In my role as the new director of The Collegian, I’ve been tasked with guiding this student publication into its next chapter, finding the best ways to serve our students, our campus, and community.

Satellite was born out of our students’ desire to create a space to reflect on the ways the arts and popular culture intersect with their faith. The students’ passion for the arts and the skills they are acquiring in the Department of Cinema, Media Arts, and Writing make Satellite a natural outlet for students wishing to hone and showcase their talents.

For the online magazine’s first issue, the students have chosen the theme Rebirth. Satellite’s readers can expect thoughtful essays on how film, music, sports, fashion, video games, and more encourage transformation. Ultimately, each essay at Satellite considers how the arts and culture shape us as spiritual and relational beings.

Bearden Coleman
Director, The Collegian
Associate Professor of Cinema, Media Arts, and Writing
Houston Baptist University

Letters from the Editor, Issue #1

Hi, I’m Rebecca Kister, and as co-managing editor of Satellite, I welcome you to HBU’s student-run arts and culture online magazine. Satellite was born out of a desire my fellow students and I had to create a space where we could reflect on the ways movies, television, fashion, sports, video games and more intersect with our faith. We aspire to be vibrant, engaging, accessible, and challenging to our readers.

It is remarkable the amount of hard work and dedication that was put into making Satellite a reality. I would like to thank each of my fellow students for not giving up, so that we could share this with you today.

Rebecca Kister
Co-Managing Editor, Satellite

Greetings. I am Tèa Ashanti, co-managing editor of Satellite, and I’m proud to introduce to you our inaugural issue which focuses on the theme Rebirth. Woven throughout these stories you’ll see how we look at the changes happening in our culture and how we are challenged to start anew every day. For example, in his piece on Blade Runner 2049, Nick Vafiadis looks at the possibilities and disappointments in Hollywood reboots. Essence Wilson considers the importance of hip-hop’s recent return to its narrative roots. And Felicia Giwa looks at the cost of going to live music events in an age when mass gun violence shades all communal experiences. We hope these stories and the many others in our first issue cause you to reflect on what Rebirth could mean for you.

So, welcome to Satellite. We think your time with us will encourage and challenge you. We know we’re encouraged that you’ve found us.

Tèa Ashanti
Co-Managing Editor, Satellite

SATELLITE is a publication created by
students in the Department of Cinema,
Media Arts, and Writing at HBU

Bearden Coleman    Editor-in-Chief
Rebecca Kister    Co-Managing Editor
Karla Freyre    Co-Managing Editor
Corrie McCloy   Co-Managing Editor

Corrie McCloy    Copy Editor
Hannah Gentry  Copy Editor
Tierra Hollis       Copy Editor
Adamarys Aguilera  Copy Editor
Earl Wilson  Copy Editor
Alfredo Ruiz    Art Editor
Katherine Bujosa   Social Media Coordinator
Felicia Giwa    Social Media Coordinator
Gabriel Hood    Social Media Coordinator
Rechanne Waddell Image Coordinator

Associate Editors
Timothy Ajayi
Alejandra Deras
William Hernandez
Daniel Nguyen
Gabriel Roland

Editorial Staff
Katherine Bujosa
Felicia Giwa
Madison Hankins
Gabriel Hood
Josef Junek
Corrie McCloy
Alfredo Ruiz
Nicholas Vafiadas
Rechanne Waddell
Earl Wilson