Sunday, October 29, 2006

Church is a Verb

Michael and I have had a hard time finding a church. It's hard knowing that we're probably only here for a year, and then we'll be leaving again. We did that last year, and by the end we felt like we had checked out, and so had the people at the church.

However, that's no excuse for us. This week I have been thinking a lot about how much I miss being surrounded by a community of supportive and prayerful Christians. I am (trying to) learn how to live the way Christ is calling me to in a secular world, while still maintaining my integrity and faith, and I'm finding that it's difficult at times.

I received a phone call from a friend this week and he reminded me that it's ok to just be me, that I don't have to try to be this super-Christian (I'm paraphrasing). That was helpful. Then last night Michael and I went to a Harvest Party hosted by some old friends from Fox. It was crazy because many of my worlds were colliding, there were friends from high school, college, and my old church all in one house. But again, it reminded me that I have been aching for a young married-Christian-type supportive community.

Yesterday we went to a wedding that also reminded me of the importance of having others within the Christian community supporting Michael and I and keeping our marriage accountable.

Today Michael and I went to the same church that we went to a few weeks ago. I felt a peace there today because the sermon was about some of the exact things Michael and I have been talking about lately when discussing the Church. The pastor spoke about the disconnect between Jesus' teaching and the way Christians live their lives. He shared a story about a young woman he met that complained that Christians are angry, judgmental, hypocritical, and politically motivated. The pastor realized that this girl wasn't saying that she didn't see Truth in God or the Bible, she just saw this huge disconnect between the preaching and the people and didn't want to be a part of that.

The pastor said a lot of Christians are extreme, they are either A) Turn or Burn or B) Stick their heads in the sand. This sort of resonated with the phone conversation I had that reminded me that it's ok to not be extreme either way. I have to remember that yes, people are watching me and I need to represent Christ as best as I can, but I know I won't do it perfectly or fairly. And that's part of the learning and growing process.

The sermon was the first of a three part series called, "Church" is a verb, and the point was there's a lot more to the Church (big C not little c) than showing up on Sunday for an hour.

1 Peter 2:12-13(MSG) "Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the people so that your actions will refute their prejudices."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In a rut...

Well this is the week I finally hit a big wall.

The last couple months of school have been busy, but not extremely difficult. The last few weeks we have been slowly transitioning from observing to preparing a two-week unit to teach at the middle school level. I am so excited to be having more interaction with students and to be moving on to this part of teaching. Along with that comes the extra stress and difficulty of planning lessons and class time.

Many of us in my MAT program are starting to feel overwhelmed with the work load of homework and all the planning we are doing for teaching.

I just need to remind myself to push through this next month or two, and then I will be home free!! Well, sort of. Once everything is turned in during December, I can really focus on my student teaching full-time experience for second semester. I can't wait for that!

But alas, one step at a time, one lesson plan at a time...

It's true...

"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Habeas Corpus only applies to Americans

I am blown away by the signing of the Military Commissions Act which was signed on Tuesday. I barely can comprehend how this country has justified this. I understand that the bill is directed towards "aliens," as in, not American citizens, but this comes back to the question: Is an American life worth more than ANYONE ELSE? Well, according to Bush and this Act, Yes it is.

Basically, this Act says prisoners do not have a right to ask a court why they are being held, a core value of our American heritage. It also gives the President the right to detain anyone he wants indefinitely, another slap in the face of the Constitution. Again, whether this is referring to American citizens or not seems beside the point . Basically, this Act is saying that we believe in natural rights of Habeas Corpus for Americans, just no one else.

This bill also gives Bush the power to "interpret the meaning and application" of any limits on prisoner treatment, or what does or doesn't qualify as torture. So we've put this determination into the hands of our President, who is now able to cover the rear-ends of all the people involved in the explicit torture of prisoners over the past few years.

All this justified because we are "fighting" a "War on Terrorism."

In The Oregonian this morning there is a story about an Iraqi in search of missing relatives, only to find them tortured and mutilated to death. The last statement he made at the end of the story spoke loudly:

"I don't believe there is anything or anybody that is cheaper than Iraqi lives these days."

Monday, October 16, 2006

How to vote regarding education this Novemeber

Today I received this email and I thought I'd spread the word. Now that I will be part of the public education system, I am suddenly a lot more aware of issues that will affect me as a teacher.

I don't agree with everything, but a lot of it is good stuff.

This link is the Oregon Department of Education's recommended list of how to vote on key issues in the upcoming Oregon election.

I encourage you to be educated before you vote on these important issues.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sarcasm and a movie

"Sarcasm is the devil's tool for destroying intimacy."

My old Young Life leader from high school used to say this. And I've quoted him ever since. In college I had a couple friends that were extremely sarcastic, and I'd whip this little line out. They would reply, "I don't want to be intimate with you." Then I would have to explain that the point of the saying is that people who are sarcastic are using sarcasm to build up a wall, because they are afraid to get close to people. (I'm sure there are more interpretations.) I usually just got more laughs and sarcasm.

Lately I've found myself making sarcastic comments constantly, especially at school. My quick-witted responses and sarcasm get a lot of laughs, but it's almost like I'm addicted to it now. I feel like I am way too sarcastic all the time. So I'm trying to be more intentional about what I say and how I say it.

On another note, Michael and I were given free movie passes by some dear friends, so we went tonight. I can't remember the last time we had seen a movie in a theater. We saw "Man of the Year," with Robin Williams. It looked like it was going to be a comedy, but it actually had a lot of depth to it. It was funny, but also made some important points about our nation's political system. I recommend the movie!!

Friday, October 13, 2006


I've officially entered the world of education; along with that comes the world of politics and other exciting ways to spend my time thinking.

And boy does it have me thinking. I am not becoming some whacked-out-crazy-liberal; however, my "conservative" roots are giving way for issues that go beyond the typical Republican, (especially the Far Right Christian Evangelical-type Republican.)

Let me explain.

It all began my freshmen year of college. I remember reading a school newspaper article in which a student argued that many (most?) Christians are Republican for two reasons: 1)Anti-Abortion issues and 2)Anti-Gay Marriage. The point of the article was to argue that there are other issues besides these two that Christians should be concerned about. And I remember agreeing that all I ever heard about politics growing up in the church was to vote Republican because Democrats were Pro-Choice. That was my basic understanding:

Democrats=bad because of Immoral Bill Clinton and because they are Pro-Choice.

An example of this was in The Oregonian a few weeks ago. The article discusses how Jerry Falwell equated Hilary Clinton with the devil. Then the article explains why Falwell, and religious conservatives (aka Christians), "do not favor Clinton for several reasons, but mostly because she is an abortion-rights advocate, 'the cutting-edge issue for social conservatives.' "

One more time: why is abortion (and gay-marriage) the only major issue(s) with so many Christians???????? Can someone explain this to me???

I have to clarify that I am still Pro-Life. But, if Christians are Pro-Life, what about after the babies are born, such as Health Care? Education? (the list could go on and on)...I'm Pro-Life for these issues as well.

To be totally honest, I have been doing a lot of reading and studying of current issues lately. And I have been unimpressed with Republican stance on issues of social justice. Yes, the statistics of abortions are alarming and downright sickening, but what about the number of children (or people) that die from war, starvation, war, lack of clean of water, war, homelessness, WAR, suicide, and war? Shouldn't Americans, I mean Christians, be concerned about these issues as well??

And, to get on my soap box for a minute, (which I can do because this is my blog and no one reads it anyway), what the heck is up with Christians=war mongers?? There is a disconnect to me. I'm embarrassed to be associated with the "Religious Right" that supports torture and war and all the other things that I just don't think Christ would support. As Bill Maher said, "of all people, you'd think Christians would be opposed to torture...Christ was Crucified!"

Speaking of Maher, have you listened to his show? He finds these evangelical, far-Right Christians and tears them to shred on his show. The ironic/maddening part is that I usually tend to agree with him. He knows the Bible better than some of the people he brings on the show!!! It's people who are extreme fundamentalists that have caused people like Bill Maher to 1)stereotype all Christians as the same, and 2) denounce the hypocrisy of Christians and thus Christianity itself. And I can honestly say, as I listen to his show, I get frustrated with what many Christians say and do, because I don't agree with them.

The even more frustrating part of all of this is that there are Christians that are doing really good things, but they get overshadowed by the extremists.

I recently registered to vote in my new county. And I had a hard time picking a party to be affiliated with. As cliche as it sounds, why can't we vote for the issues instead of strictly by party??

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Is an American life worth more than an Iraqi?

Is a Christian life worth more than a Muslim?

426,369-793,663 Iraqis haved died violently since March 2003

2,756 Americans haved died since March 2003

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I hate being sick.

I hate it even more when my husband isn't around to take care of me.

I'm sick and Michael's out of town.


Yesterday I had to leave school because I was feeling shaky and cold and feverish. I had to go talk to my professor and tell her I wasn't feeling up to class, and as soon as I walked into her office I started balling! I was so embarrassed because I couldn't stop.

I got home and went straight to bed, where I was still crying, shaking, and freezing for the next hour and a half. I was sort of freaking out, because I felt so weird. I started calling people, but no one was answering their phones. I don't know what I thought anyone could do for me, but I called anyway.

Finally I got ahold of a friend who came over. By the time she got there I had finally stopped shaking. Well, I went to bed last night feeling better, and then woke up at 3am and the whole thing happened again: shaking, freezing. So I got up, made some tea, and laid on the couch for a couple hours.

Needless to say I called in sick to school today, even though it was supposed to be the first day at the middle school where I will be teaching a unit in a few weeks.

I'm feeling better tonight, though still weak. A lot of my symptoms remind me of when I had mono for a week in high school, although in that case I was hospitalized for a week, and I'm not that bad.

Tomorrow I have to go to school and then leave early to make it to the Portland airport. I'm flying to Fresno, California where Michael flew yesterday for a wedding. The busyness never ends.
Hopefully I'll get some good sleep tonight...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Carmel+Cider+Whip Cream= YUM!

I just finished my last paper of a looooong string of papers due this week for school. Many of my classes are ending tomorrow as a new set of classes begin.

Beginning Friday I will be moving from the high school site I've been observing at to a middle school. For the next month I will be observing a 7th grade Geography class twice a week. In November I will be teaching a two week unit (on what specifically, I'm not sure yet.) Of all the social studies topics I could have been assigned, economics is the only subject that falls below geography in my interest level. I am excited to find a way to make geography engaging both for my students and me!!!

I have no doubt this will be beneficial in the long run.

On another note, I'm so excited that it's the time of year for Carmel Apple Cider at Starbucks!!! I love to eat the whip cream and gooey carmel off the top!!! There is nothing better. A good friend emailed me recently to remind me they are in season. This particular friend and I used to take study breaks in college and head to Starbucks for this delicious treat. It's funny how tastes and smells evoke such strong memories...