Opinion: Rend Collective leads powerful night of worship

Rend Collective is a Christian worship band that is originally from Ireland. They travel around the world creating an alternative folk sound and on April 14, they performed at Fellowship Church to promote their album “As Family We Go.” This band was not here to be praised for their great music, but to lead the people of Knoxville in a powerful night worship.

Urban Rescue was the opening act to Rend Collective. They began the night with an enthralling performance, encouraging the hearts of everyone in that room. The lead singer’s vocals were incredible. They floated through the room in beautiful sound waves. and left the audience in eager excitement waiting for the main act: Rend Collective.

Patrick Thompson, a member of Rend Collective, came on stage shortly after and told the audience a story about his wife and a dresser. We were overcome with laughter and joy, and when his story turned into an important message, our hearts filled with compassion.

Shortly after Thompson left, the whole band jumped onstage dressed in skinny pants, button-downs varying from a muted red to chambray with suspenders, vests or bow ties. They were fascinating to watch.

Each band member was constantly changing out instruments throughout the songs. They were all incredibly musically talented. It was a real treat to watch them perform with their loud voices and their ability to play a variety of instruments.

Although, this was probably the best concert I have ever been to, and I have been to a lot of concerts, it was not the performance or the band that made it so amazing. It was the content and authenticity of the music. It was the beautiful fact that I was in a room of people that were solely there to worship. That is what makes a splendid concert, in my opinion. The way they praised God was so powerful to witness. It was a truly amazing experience that I will never forget.

I strongly suggest attending one of their concerts, so you can be a part of this striking and captivating love.

For more information on Rend Collective and their tour dates, visit their website.

Featured image by Jolin Baker

Edited by Taylor Owens

Opinion: Big Ears 2016 is an experiential feast

Downtown Knoxville’s seventh annual Big Ears Festival drew yet another potent cluster of world-class artists to our relatively unsung streets. The festival delivered every ounce of promised brilliance to niche patrons and pedestrians alike. Reputable independent art sponsor, AC Entertainment, organized this festival to “celebrate the the never-ending adventure of artistic creation and exploration,” showcasing indie talent that the majority of residents are unlikely to come across.

This year’s eccentric collection proudly included Laurie Anderson, a strikingly avante-garde multimedia artist whose work has remained provocatively cutting edge for 50 years running. She was also the cherished wife and inspiration of the late Lou Reed. According to “Rolling Stone,” her collaboration with “minimalist master,” Philip Glass, was the “most notable” feature of the festival. It was also this particular show’s second performance on earth, and its first performance within the United States.

Envision the Tennessee Theatre’s guilded-age grandeur housing a hypnotized ocean of an audience, each awaiting Anderson’s poetic invitation to the solemn stroke of her bow, each hand clapping feverishly just as she lifts it. Meanwhile, to complement her gripping reflection, Glass’s buoyant piano and comical tone complete the performance by exposing the brighter hemisphere of human experience. With many sate souls shining from many wet eyes, the performance draws to its haunting close, and the audience rises to its feet.

This experience was merely one among many performances that inspired profound responses in the Big Ears 2016 audiences. At the very least, this festival is consistently a testament to the merit of witnessing and supporting rare talent that escapes mainstream press.

Our city is given this opportunity to amble listlessly into presentations that reward our artistic experimentation through film, gallery exhibition, live performance or artist/audience interaction.  As affirmed by the “Oxford American Magazine,” “It’s an obscure and prismatic music festival in an obscure and prismatic city, catching the light from all different angles.”

Next year, don’t be fooled by the discretion of Knoxville’s predominately indoor venues because precious experiences lurk beneath downtown’s scruffy husk.

You can find out more about this year’s festival on the Big Ears website and their Twitter.

Feature image courtesy of Big Ears Festival Facebook page.

Edited by Katy Hill

Opinion: Top 7 Easter activities

[title_box title=”Opinion: 7 Fun activities to celebrate Easter”]

Easter is a holiday celebrating the life of Jesus Christ, and is also full of beautiful pastel colors to resemble the coming of spring. There are so many ways Easter is celebrated throughout the world, and if you are looking for inspiration, you have come to the right place! Here are some things you, your family and friends can do this Sunday to celebrate this bright holiday.

1.) The Classic Easter Egg Hunt

The necessities: colorful plastic easter eggs that open up, lots of candy (Kit-Kats, snickers, peeps, jelly beans, etc.), a large yard with open space and good hiding spots and last but not least, something to collect large quantities of plastic eggs. Scatter the eggs filled with candies and let the hunt begin.

2.) Dye Boiled Eggs

If this is your choice of an easter celebration, you will need eggs and you will need to boil them. You will also need to buy an egg decorating kit, which should help you with the directions, but if not, take the colored pellets and drop them into a bowl of water or vinegar. You can decorate the eggs by coloring dots or lines on them. You will then drop the egg into a bowl of your choice of color. Let the egg dry and you have yourself a colored egg!

3.) Pictures with the Easter Bunny

Around Easter time, malls usually have a giant bunny costume filled with a person. They sit in big chair covered in easter decorations with grassy plains or Easter eggs for a backdrop. Take a picture with the bunny to create a fun memory that can last a lifetime!

4.) Easter Sunrise

Grab your family or a couple friends and get up early. Check when the sun is predicted to rise, and go watch the sun rise to simply celebrate life with the ones you love most.

5.) Sack Race

A sack race is fun for everyone, and a great opportunity for giggles. You will need a couple of large bags that can go up to the peoples’ waists. Have a start and a finish with a prize of candy or money, like 5 dollars or a solid chocolate bunny. Let the fun begin as people hop with both legs in a sack, racing against each other.

6.) Host a Tea Party

If you are a tea fanatic, like myself, this will be fun for you! You can go for a mad kind of tea party, like the Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland,” decorating your table with mismatching tea cups, pots and spoons. Fill your table with a variety of teas and cute petite sandwiches. Serve them up and enjoy small sandwiches and tea for your “very happy un-birthday” with all your friends and family.

7.) Attend a Church Service

Easter is all about Jesus Christ being resurrected, so this is a huge celebration for the church! Go to a local church, hear the story of Christ and learn the history of Easter after a weekend of fun celebratory activities.

The opinion of our writers/bloggers are not a reflection of the opinion of the Tennessee Journalist as a whole.

Featured image by Katy Hill

Edited by Katy Hill

TNJN Kitchen: Easy holiday treats

[title_box title=”TNJN Kitchen: Easy holiday treats”]

The holiday season has officially begun! It’s the time of year for ice skating, Christmas movies and Secret Santa parties! With the stress of finals upon us at last, there’s no better way to relax and take a break from studying than making delicious holiday treats. I’ve created a few recipes that are not only cheap and easy to make, but perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a party with friends or a long study marathon!

Peppermint Chocolate Pretzels

What you need:

  • Baker’s Chocolate
  • Peppermint sticks OR crushed peppermint
  • Pretzels


First, put peppermint sticks in a plastic bag and crush. Crush into small chunks or a fine power, whichever size you like best. Then, pour the crushed peppermint into a bowl and set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave OR put solid chocolate over low heat and stir until melted. Once the chocolate is melted, grab your pretzels. Dip the pretzels into the chocolate first, then into the crushed peppermint and set aside for the chocolate to harden. Enjoy!


  • The best method to crush peppermint is using a small hammer, but if not, a metal spoon will also work.
  • Be careful to stir chocolate or it can scald the bottom of the bowl or pan.
  • Pretzel sticks are the easiest to dip into the chocolate.


Warm “Christmas in a Cup” Drink

What you need:

  • 1 bottle cranberry juice (approx. 32 ounces)
  • 1 can pineapple juice (approx. 32 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup red-hot candies
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Whipped cream (Optional)


Put all ingredients into crockpot and cook on low 2-5 hours. If no crockpot is available, combine all ingredients into microwave-safe bowl and cook approximately 10 minutes or until red-hot candies have fully dissolved. Serve with a ladle and enjoy!


  • If you want a spicier kick, add more red-hot candies.
  • Try topping with whipped cream to get a richer flavor.


Featured image by Hannah Mills

Edited by Taylor Owens


Opinion: My family’s unique Thanksgiving tradition

[title_box title=”Opinion: My family’s unique Thanksgiving tradition”]

It’s that time of the year again. A time where families come together, long held traditions are carried out and the atmosphere somehow seems more cheerful.

While most families follow different traditions each Thanksgiving, mine holds a rather unusual one. Each Friday following Thanksgiving, my grandpa hosts a competition between me and my three older sisters to see who can save the most money on Black Friday.

The tradition began several years ago when my grandpa decided to visit for Thanksgiving and offered this odd deal to my sisters and I.

“Hey kids, you want to make some easy money? ” he asked.

Naturally, we all accepted.

The competition begins each year on a Friday afternoon at the Barnes & Noble inside of a mall close to my home. My sisters and I begin by grabbing coffee and playfully bantering over who will win.

We then split into pairs of two and my grandpa gives each of us $20 and goes over the rules:

  1. You must actually use what you buy
  2. Keep all the receipts of your purchases and savings
  3. You cannot spend over $20
  4. You must return to Barnes & Noble in 2 hours

The winner receives a cash prize of an additional $20.

My sisters and I venture the mall stores eagerly searching for the best sales as my grandpa enjoys his coffee and recently purchased books within the bookstore’s cafeteria.

While my two oldest sisters, Brittany and Ashley, usually win the competition, my other sister Katie and I have gotten better each year.

This year I plan on winning.

When the games finishes, we all return home and talk about our savings and newly bought items with the rest of my family. Everyone laughs about the previous events as we eat Thanksgiving leftovers.

“It’s something I look forward to every year,” Katie says.

“Especially the turkey sandwiches at midnight,” Ashley adds.

“I wanted a way to spend time with my grandchildren and see them bond as sisters through a simple tradition like this,” grandpa said.

Although this started as a silly game that my grandpa proposed, it has turned into a yearly tradition that is celebrated by my family every year. I couldn’t imagine a Thanksgiving without it.

Featured Image by Tom Gill, obtained via creativecommons.org

Edited by Jessica Carr