Thursday, October 30, 2008

4ish days and counting....

Please read this article:

Let me just say once more that I am pro-life, and generally a social conservative. So this has been a very difficult election for me. I have wrestled with this. A lot. We have tough moral decisions to make. I do not believe that everything is relative. I do believe in good and evil and that spiritual forces are at work all around us. I have limited understanding. We don't live in a black and white world. Often, issues are gray, for various reasons (read the post below). I think I have decided that voting for Obama would serve the greatest number of people, realistically. If I could specifically vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, I would, but that is a question for the Supreme Court IF a case ever goes to trial and IF the justices overturn it. But health care, peacemaking, combating racism and sexism, and helping not just the upper and middle classes but the poor (no matter what your opinion of how they got there) can happen RIGHT NOW. It's not ok for so many of our most important systems to be this broken.

This is a good article too:

In case you didn't read the first article, here's a good passage from it:

"It is not easy to make an imperfect decision. It just doesn’t feel right to say to the state, “Please kill less”… as it still holds an imperative “Please kill.” However, ideals can keep us from working for “better.” We make imperfect decisions all the time. For instance, you may try to avoid the large corporate Home Depot and shop at the local hardware store but then find out that the hardware store owner beats his wife, thus further complicating things. We always need to make informed decisions, though we may not endorse things that are imperfect manifestations of kingdom values.

One way for people of so-called “privilege” to act in solidarity with the poor and marginalized is to ask folks in poverty who we should vote for. Another experiment for white folks in this election might be asking people of color who have suffered so much historically whether we should vote or who we should vote for — and to honor their struggle by submitting our voices with theirs.

One way to look at voting is that it is damage control -– not so much voting for something as it is voting against something worse. We must do everything we can to reduce the destruction done by the principalities and powers, and voting may be one way to do that. Being an agent of God’s kingdom, transformation means calling out the best that the state can do, and not expecting it to be our savior."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I read this on a blog from a pastor.
* Note: I don't think the pastor was just talking about illegal immigration. And I thought that maybe this was a church issue, not a government issue (or visa versa), but then so are all the other moral things we vote for. So it's just something to think about. Not saying I'm 100% behind this. It just made me think.

Voting as a Resident Alien

Rich Nathan
Congregational Email - October 2008

In the upcoming election, the question that ought to be on the hearts of all Christian believers is, "How should I approach my voting decision?" About 20 years ago, Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon wrote a book provocatively titled, Resident Aliens. Resident Aliens had to do with the way that we Christians understand our fundamental identity and our calling in contemporary America. The idea behind this title, Resident Aliens, came from a quote from the Apostle Paul: "But our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20-21). In other words, our primary identity is not as Ohioans or Americans. We Christians are, first and foremost, citizens of the kingdom of God.

Hauerwas and Willimon argue that we must regain our vision of being a distinct community with a calling to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ. Christians need to be different than people around us and have a distinctive way of looking at issues that affect our society.

Wearing Bible Spectacles
What is the peculiar way that we Christians should look at the issues affecting the upcoming election? John Calvin, the great Protestant Reformer and author of The Institutes of Christian Religion, said that we Christians look at the world through "Bible spectacles." In other words, everyone looks at life through a set of lenses based upon our culture, our life experiences, our self-interests, etc. Calvin suggested that for the Christian, the Bible serves as the God-given set of lenses profoundly shaping our vision of life.

So what does this mean for the upcoming election?

Inadequate Bases for Voting
There are many inadequate bases upon which the majority of Americans (including Christians) vote. For example:

  • Voting by Heritage - My parents always voted Republican or Democrat, therefore, I will vote as they did.
  • Voting by Tribe - My tribe (white suburbanites, black city dwellers, evangelicals, Roman Catholics, etc.) always votes a certain way, so I will vote that way.
  • Voting by Voter Guides - Virtually all voting guides (including "Christian" ones) are by their selection of the issues designed to push the voter towards a certain candidate.
  • Voting by Campaign Advertising - Guess who the campaign advertiser wants you to vote for?
  • Voting by Media Interpretation - Do you think that CNN, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, or Michael Moore are wearing Bible spectacles as they interpret issues and candidates?
  • Voting by Purely Secular Concerns - Secular concerns may include cost-benefit calculations, security concerns, pandering to fears and prejudices, appeals to self-interests, etc.
Most of these things have nothing to do with looking at life through Biblical lenses.

The Limits of Biblical Thinking
Just because we read the Bible doesn't mean that we will all arrive at the same conclusion. If we did, we wouldn't have hundreds and thousands of different denominations. And just because we all read the Bible doesn't mean we will all share the same political viewpoints. Why is that?

  1. Because we can't point to any particular verse in the Bible that plainly tells us to vote Democrat or Republican.
  2. Because though the Bible is infallible, our interpretation of the Bible is not infallible. And our application of the Bible to contemporary issues is certainly not going to be infallible.
  3. Because reasonable Christians may differ on the prioritization of items upon which the Bible speaks.
And even when we agree on the specific issues on every Christian's agenda (poverty, war, abortion, religious freedom, etc.) reasonable Christians may very much disagree on the best way to tackle these issues. In other words, we may agree with each other on the principles, but reasonably differ with each other on how to apply our principles.

Beginning with the Bible
My concern as a Christian pastor is to disciple our church to begin with the Bible in all of our thinking. While we may differ on working out the Bible into such complex issues as voting, I would be overjoyed to discover that members of Vineyard Columbus at least began with the Bible in thinking about voting.

Let me apply this to one real world issue, illegal immigration. Recently the Columbus Dispatch ran a series of articles on illegal immigration. Their secular analysis focused exclusively upon security concerns for Americans, economics (Do immigrants take jobs away from Americans, or simply take jobs that Americans would not take? Are illegal immigrants a burden on the American taxpayer, or do they pay back more in tax money and in unclaimed Social Security than they put in?), and issues of crime (are illegal immigrants more or less dangerous than American citizens?). Arguments for and against these secular concerns were marshaled.

While these issues are not unimportant, I would hope that attenders of Vineyard Columbus would first put on biblical spectacles when approaching the issue of illegal immigration. The biblical Christian would:

  1. Begin with the conviction that illegal immigrants are persons made in God's image and are, therefore, worthy of respect and dignity. (Genesis 1:26,28).
  2. Appreciate the fact that many of our spiritual ancestors were themselves economic refugees. Thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob moved from the Promised Land on several occasions in search of food (Genesis 12:10; 26:1; 41:57; 42:6; 43:1-7). The story of Ruth is the story of an immigrant who continually crossed national borders in search of food. Other spiritual ancestors of ours were pushed out of their homeland because of war or persecution (Joseph, Daniel, Moses, David, and the baby Jesus). So immigration because of economics, war, and asylum-seeking is not far from every Christian's own heritage.
  3. Specifically apply the Second Commandment to illegal immigrants: "The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:34).
  4. Care for immigrants since they had a central place in the laws and practices of ancient Israel. Israel was commanded to love immigrants because God loves immigrants. "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigners residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt" (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).
  5. Be hospitable according to New Testament teaching which literally means to "love the stranger" or the alien (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9). Jesus commanded his followers to welcome people who had no social standing such as the poor, the sick, and the outsider (Luke 14:12-14).
Now none of these Bible passages answer the question about whether we should build a wall covering the whole length of the border between the United States and Mexico, or whether we ought to educate the children of illegal immigrants here in the United States in our public schools. But these biblical considerations, in my mind at least, do shape a Christian's heart so that we are more inclined to be tolerant, welcoming, and inclusive of immigrants who come to America seeking work or asylum.

My bottom line appeal to you, who read this letter, is this: We Christians must look at issues facing America differently than does the rest of society. We should not be motivated primarily by partisan rhetoric, economic expediency, or ingrained voting preferences. Rather, we Christians are to look at the world through the spectacles that God has provided for us - the lenses of biblical thinking. Our citizenship in heaven ought to be more important to us than any earthly nationality. And on any specific issue, the tack we take ought to correspond with our Lord's heart revealed in the Bible.

In this election, vote as a resident alien, someone whose loyalty is first and foremost to the kingdom of God.


I understand how a Christian could vote for McCain or Obama. What I don't understand is how we can see things in this election as black and white. There are lots of gray areas. So what I don't understand is how someone can not wrestle with this. I'm still wrestling. I know I'm indecisive. But I just think this is a big deal. Tomorrow night has now been designated fact check and Bible research night for me, to finally get it all together. I need to organize my thoughts. Maybe make a list. I love bullet points. I also love comments. Let me know what you're thinking about all this. Especially my new readers :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kroger makes decent queso dip

Let me tell you, after last week, I needed a relaxing weekend with no work.

Friday afternoon, I told my kids that I was leaving right after school for the beach, so they needed to pick up their papers and push in their chairs and generally clean up because if not, Monday morning would be clean up time. I think I scared them a little, but really I should be asking for that everyday. Because I'm not their mamas. I clean up after them too much.

So I left at 3:30 on the dot and generally had an amazing weekend with Meredith girls. Beautiful weather, great conversation, and lots of sleeping. I got to catch up on my book, Three Cups of Tea, watch Medical Mysteries with the girls, and blow my budget a little. But it was worth it.

I got home last night, spent some quality time with the hubs ;), went to Whole Foods and Quail Ridge Books, ate a quick dinner with the in-laws, caught up on the news from the weekend and new posts (hilarious).

Today went ok. The morning is generally ok, but the afternoon always falls apart with a couple of kids. It's really frustrating. I think they just stink at transitions. I have started reading The Witches, which is so fun and creepy and October-ish. Plus Roald Dahl is amazing.

The end of the quarter is on Monday which means crunch time for Mrs. Orr. Ouch.

Today I came home to find the hubs passed out, sick. I made some curried kidney beans, which he woke up for, and we have been watching TV and "surfing the web" all night. Which brings me to the title of this post. I didn't make enough for dinner, and we had to supplement it with chips and queso. And Kroger's queso isn't as gross as you'd think. Who woulda thought.

Tomorrow is backwards day for spirit week at school. This could get awkward.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today was a long day.

I got to work at 6:57. School ends at 3:30. It is amazing how many little things happen in those few short hours. I am trying this new thing with some difficult kids. It's called "Go sit in the hallway if you are going to disrupt my class." I realize this sounds harsh, but I have come to the conclusion that these kids are doing most of it for attention. And it is really disrespectful to the whole class when I have them work independently while I give one-on-one attention to a child who is yelling out or generally being rude in my class. So while I'm not sure if this is "best practice," I am sane and the rest of the class is learning.

I stayed after school for 3 hours doing work.

Then I gave childcare for a Title 1 meeting (a total answer to prayer because I got some money for it!) and I just got home (around 8). Long day!

Phew. I'm off to eat some noodles and broccoli (all I had energy for) and watch some reality TV. The day is over.

Monday, October 20, 2008

One more post

I just needed to post about the things I am thankful for.

I've been discouraged lately at school and really anxious about things in here's my thankfulness post.

1. Marriage.

I used to be so scared of it, and for anyone who is like me now, let me tell you-marriage is wonderful. Here's why:

-a partnership. We make decisions together and we help each other with the little things (the dishes, vacuuming) and the big things (choosing a retirement plan, working through spiritual issues). We are not fashion experts, but I love that I can walk into the living room and ask Joel, "Cute or frumpy?" and he'll tell me honestly. I love that because I have this huge aversion lately to cooking meat, I am now the veggie preparer and the dish washer.

-a friendship. We laugh together a lot. We talk in silly voices or make jokes all night. We look a stupid websites. We watch old sitcoms. We run errands. We go for walks. We eat our weight in fried fair food. We are best friends.

-a romance. We aren't the most romantic people, but the little things make a huge difference. A book from Quail Ridge on my new favorite topic or a back rub or cooking dinner for me when I just can't get up-that is romance. It is wonderful.

-a confidant. I love that I can tell Joel anything. He is such a good listener. We definitely have our arguments, but we try really hard to keep those "lines of communication" open. We talk a lot-about anything. Even though right now we're in bed with our computers ;) Actually, we are both going to bed so late. So we decided that tonight we are going to get in bed with our computers early and then hopefully we'll go to sleep earlier. We'll see! We both just looked at each other with a smirk. We are so 21st century.

-protection. I don't think about this a lot, but tonight when I was drying my hair, all the lights in the room cut off, along with the hair dryer and heater. I called out to Joel a few times and he didn't answer. I had just gotten out of the shower but I ran into the living room (after freaking myself out!), and Joel was there. He couldn't hear me. I know my imagination is crazy, but I was so thankful to see him! He fixed the fuse box and also said I didn't have to be scared. I love having a husband.

2) This house. We are so thankful for this house. We talk about it all the time. It is such a blessing in so many ways- the location, the size, the price, the comfort. Truly, we are blessed.

3) Our jobs. We are really happy with our schools and love our jobs (even on our worst days).

4) Our small group at Crown. We've discussed how much we have learned from Crown in just a few weeks. It's great to learn from all these people.

5) All the things from my previous post. When I look around the house, I can see so many blessings. We are so thankful for the gifts given to us. I can look in our bedroom and see the bedding given to us from my bridesmaids, the bed from his parents, the mirror from my much love :)

All in all, I just need to be thankful!


I wanted to post one more thought, and it's off this topic. I've been really troubled with this election. I came to my decision through various things, and maybe I just look at things differently. I feel like I weighed the issues, and am still doing so. I am really troubled by the issue of abortion, but I'm also really troubled by other things on the republican platform. I just wanted to say that I am not staunchly anything. I think that my primary allegiance is to a "King and a kingdom." I am having trouble transferring the things I believe to be right to a secular, earthly government. I have no idea how a Christian can arrive at this decision easily. If you have, please let me know. I just don't think either candidate is perfect or a savior. I also know both are politicians. Neither are completely honest. There are things I feel like important on both sides. This is not a one issue election. How do we rationalize the other things away, you know? Does this make sense?

To anyone that actually reads this, I welcome your input.


Random things I love to look at in our living room....

The teacup from my mom's collection she gave me for our home.

The dragonfly Joel and I bought in Charleston from a fair trade market.

A picture from Peru from Ashley and a gourd from Joel's mom.

The tea set given to us from various people. The teapot is from my mom. Beautiful :)

Plate from my roommate in my favorite color!

The hutch we bought right after we got married.

Our china and my favorite wedding picture.

Finally! We have nice coasters (in my favorite color from my parents!)

The cute pitcher from Joel's mom.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday post

Let me just say...Joel and I went to the fair yesterday with Will and Christine...and it was incredible. We split a lot of things between us so 1) we didn't blow all our $ and 2) we could try more things!

Our combined (between the four of us) food:

-biscuits (ham and sausage)
-deep fried oreos (my favorite!)
-fried snickers
-fried pecan pie
-fried mac and cheese
-frozen cheesecake dipped in chocolate
-fried twinkie
-fried cheeseburger
-roasted corn
-candy apple
-ice cream
-kettle corn

I love the fair.

Today we did the nursery and I got over my perpetual fear of changing someone else's baby's diaper. Almost. Mostly because I didn't have to change any today.

Joel and I are trying this new thing. It's called buying food we actually want to eat at the grocery store. I'm very excited about our menu this week. We've been saving a lot, too, so we were able to go to the fair without taking out any extra money.

I have a lot more to share about school, but for now, I need to eat!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stuff White People Like

This is so true. I'm embarrassed to admit how many I can claim.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A night off...

...kind of.

Yesterday was INSANE. I had repetitive discipline problems in the afternoon, and had to send a child home. It was so frustrating. And then I had to come back for Math Night. I was so exhausted. But today was much better, and tonight I am just sitting back, watching Nanny 911, and grading...

Joel gave me some advice last night...he said no matter what happens, when the bell rings, I'll still be alive. It kind of put things into perspective :)

We are saving up our dollars for the fair this weekend! We can't wait!

There's not a whole lot else going on...I am hoping for Christmas we can get a nice camera and I'll be able to post some nice pictures!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Fabulous Fall Festivities

Sunday afternoon Joel and I went to the Farmer's Market and for under $20 we got:
apples, tomatoes, glass bottles sodas, peppers, pastries, and garlic. SO awesome. We love love love going there to spend time together and get some fresh produce. It is so much cheaper than at the grocery store and we feel good about supporting local farms. Win win win.

Joel and I are trying new ways to save way is going to Kroger because it's super cheap and they have really good deals. And this week they had a sale on all baking supplies so I got to make a semi-homemade apple pie. I cheated on the crust but I did use apples from the farmer's market instead of buying apple pie filling.

We saved about $10 this week from our budget which is going straight into our Fair Fund. That's right-the money we save is going to fund our N.C. State Fair craze. Bring on the guilt-free deep fried oreos and corn dogs!

In other news, school is going a little better. I have a couple of challenging students, so if you could pray for that. I just need wisdom and lots of love to pour out to them. I need to remember that they are just children. Phew. It's hard. But I can see that this is definitely a ministry and I need the LORD to help me, because this is not Mrs. Orr's classroom, it is His. Thankfully, I have gotten some parent volunteers this week. YAY!

Crown is going really well. I love being in a Bible study together. Our memory verse this week was super long but really great. Let's see if I can remember it:

Everything in the heavens and earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from You alone, and You are the ruler of all mankind. Your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12.

P.S. I hope I didn't offend anyone with my post last week. For the few people that read this...I am not angry or judging you if we don't agree. I don't have all the answers. And I don't think either candidate has all the answers. I am thankful that the Lord is in control of everything.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The time has come...

I'm actually quite nervous right now as I post this. I, like Laura, have really thought about whether it was beneficial or not to post my political leanings on such a public forum. But after today, and some deep convictions, I think I have a responsibility to post what I feel now very strongly about. goes.

Joel and I have have independently chosen to support Obama. At first, I respected McCain a lot. I thought he was so different from the rest of the GOP, which I felt tied religion to politics so closely to some it seemed indistinguishable. I thought he would take a stand against the corruption that ran rampant during the past 8 years.

But I slowly changed my opinion of McCain. I think his choice of Sarah Palin was quite frankly a ploy to gain more attention. She is clearly not ready to be 2nd in command. I don't agree with his health care plan, which is more of the same and doesn't solve the root problem. It is such a HUGE problem in our country and a simple tax credit isn't enough. There are many more reasons but I eventually decided that I wasn't going to vote at all.

I talked to Joel, who has always been very political, and he supported my decision.

But then this crazy thing happened and I started to agree with Obama.
Let me tell you why:

1) Health care. The problem is so large and something must be done. I agree with his plan which can be found here

2) Foreign policy. Yes, the war has turned around. But our reputation in the world is ruined. How can we engage other leaders to change some dangerous places unless we first end the war, go after those who really attacked us, and then TALK to people. When I work with children, it is clear to me that how I approach them seriously impacts the outcome of our interaction. When they are wrong, it does nothing to escalate the situation. Things must be turned around with diplomacy first. Then we can gain the right to fight. But not before.

3) Social issues. I am a social conservative, for the most part. But I strongly believe that most of these things are symptoms and the root of the problem is our hearts. The church is told not to judge those outside the church, but to be vigilant inside the church. I believe that most of these issues involve things that Christians should worry about in "our own house" and know we are not responsible for those outside. If you don't agree with gay marriage, outlawing it will not change their hearts at all. It is for the law to decide, not the church, unless it is inside the church.

I do believe that children should have sex education. It is idyllic to think that families talk about it in responsible ways, but most don't. And sex education of another form is in every child's face when he watches television or listens to the radio. It's out there, and we have to work on it in the home but understand that so many don't, and often those children are the ones who really need it.

I also believe that sex education that makes people responsible for their own decisions is the real answer to our abortion problem. I am very pro-life, but I think the problem is so much greater than one law.

I think that the real issues are health care, childcare, the cost of living, poverty, etc. that make abortion seem like the easier option. We need to have support before and after, not just laws that will send women into hiding to have dangerous, illegal abortions.

4) Most importantly, I think we need to support those who the Bible commands us to help: the needy, the poor, the ones who have nothing left. The Lord will take care our our needs. We have enough. We cannot look to those who are in poverty and tell them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

As Christians, we have a duty to fight against injustice, not just here, but around the world.

I agree with so many of Obama's stands on the things that are most important. I don't agree with everything. But I think that we have to make decisions that don't just impact our wallets or our church but the greater good, the cause of justice, wisdom in dealing in a global community. I encourage you to think critically about the issues. It doesn't bother me when we disagree, but it bothers me when as Christians and citizens we aren't thinking critically about the things that will affect the entire world.

Friday, October 03, 2008

'Scuse me, can I talk to you for a minute?

The past few months, it's been hard to get a word in edgewise.

At home with my parents, with my friends, sometimes with the hubs, and of course-AT SCHOOL, I feel like I'm constantly talking over something or someone.

It's made me incredibly protective of my talking time.

I get that I'm soft spoken, for the most part.
I get that I do not tell the funniest jokes or have the most interesting anecdotes. But lately, I have been desperate for just my time to talk. When is it my turn, eh?

The hubs does not mean to do this. He is wonderful, really. He lets me talk and talk and talk when I get home, because I have told him about this huge issue I have. We take walks a couple of times a week so that we can have uninterrupted conversation. Because other times, there is a T.V. on or an NPR story or a friend over or we're making dinner...all these noisy things that get in the way.

Sometimes I just feel like there is too much clutter, too much noise. I just need to breathe and then clean it all up. (In fact, today I got so stressed about this I stayed after school for an hour and a half just organizing papers!)

I just always feel like that. Like I can't organize my thoughts. Like I can't focus on one thing. Like everything in life is jumbled somewhere in my brain I need to dig through to find it.

Tonight on my way home, it finally dawned on me.

Well, the Lord had to hit me on the head and say, "All that clutter and noise-just turn it off. You can't hear Me."

It's so true. I can't hear Him with all these other things in my mind. I need to focus. To just listen. I think I needed these months of feeling like I'm not being heard to finally realize that I'm just not listening enough.