Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Site

Sorry, this should have been posted earlier. We have a website that we are currently trying to bring back up to date as we are now back in the states. You can find us at www.sojournershope.com.

Thank you all for your support during our families adventures. We look forward to hearing from you all soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Time in St. Louis

We are on a journey to Belfast, N. Ireland. We just returned from St. Louis where we visited Bobby's family for the month of August. It was a wonderful time to connect and adjust to our new life style for the next few months. We have plenty of hopes and dreams for the future, but we are currently discovering God's call for each day and in each moment. As we gain clarity for what is to come of the Orf Family (Diana Spencer is an honorary member) we will keep you posted. Until then enjoy the pics.
St. Louis

Sunday, August 2, 2009

...to be BLESSED

Our family is still working out how we view life. There are a few things that we believe with solid assurance and sure enough we learned most of them in kindergarten. We believe that Jesus loves me, all of the little children and everyone who is in the world. To love and be loved are two of life's simplest and greatest joys. Life is meant to be lived with others not in isolation. Finally, (this is not an exhaustive list by any means) a man on the streets of Portland taught us the eloquent phrase, "The present is one of God's greatest gifts."

We are slowly learning to live each day as the result of a promise. We shall be blessed. Our challenge is the vehicles of blessing. Challenges are often thought to be hard, unwanted and generally difficult things to stay away from. Today, August 2nd, 2009 will mark a day where our family accepts God's challenge to follow him. Belfast is a place that we feel called to live and learn and partner with what God is already doing. Our hearts are open and yearn "to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead" Philippians 3:10-11.

Yesterday we surrendered the keys to our condo. Today Joy resigned from her role and compulsory income at Calvary. Even more challenging, we had a going away party where people lavished love, appreciation and blessings upon us. After yet another lesson of what it means to receive, we are quickly learning that to be blessed is a humbling position to be.

To all of you who have blessed us, thank you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

But to do justly too...

I appreciate your insights and reading recommendations.

So, we are going to begin our 4+ months of nomadic life this Friday. The implied stress of quitting your second job in as many months, signing your home over to complete strangers, naively planning an international transfer with a child under one year and a trusting wife, all based on the desire to surrender your stubborn will to God as you follow what seems like a whisper to some and a shout to others, but none-the-less a call that has lead to more uncertainty than our family has faced to this point in our existence as three may be keeping me up.

Another contributing factor to my insomnia is this question, which has plagued me all day.

What is the difference between Justice and Fairness?

Innately I know there is a difference between something being just (that which is right) and at the same time being fair (free from bias, dishonesty or injustice). But what are the nuances that make these two concepts distinct? I believe in justice being a worthy pursuit of our life's actions and a necessary measure if we are to deem anything good. Fairness conjures different parameters for consideration. It is not only elusive, but also naively sought after as good. Circumstances and people are too unique for all necessary factors to be weighed and returned as fair.

If something is fair does that mean that it is equal?

I have no desire to pursue equality in all things. I do not believe that justice is equal pay for a days work. As I understand justice it dignifies each individual as unique and worthy certain inalienable rights as a human being, but it does not go so far as to divvy up what other privileges one might obtain along the way.

My final question tonight. I will sleep only to hurry the time until I receive all of your intelligent insights.

In seeking justice for the oppressed are we striving to level the playing field or tilt the system in an entirely different direction?
If the later, what is a just direction to lean towards?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

But to do Justly...

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God" -Micah 6:8 (it's in the Bible)

You are now subject to my late night pondering, but this is current theme in our lives.

Lately Joy and I have had a lot of time to consider justice both in theory and in action. She is finishing a class on the Theology of Work and I am working on a project for the class I took in June dealing with faith based affordable housing. She works with the homeless and I am currently employed among the working poor. We are seldom on the receiving end of injustice. Sure, we deal with selfish people, opportunists, thankless tasks and the like, but we rarely know the plight of the oppressed. So, it is curious that justice would become one of the driving themes of our life.

People still ask, "Why Ireland?"

A clarification, of which we have only been asked by the Mulhollands who currently live in Dublin would be, "Why Northern Ireland?" It is an entirely different country with a different history, culture, scars and celebrations. We hope to be in Belfast come mid-October. Don't worry, we ask the same question of ourselves often.

It continues to be an incredible journey of faith as we set out on this adventure. Although a more pressing question is why is it always the underdog, why is it the oppressed, why do we seem to gravitate towards a counter-culture, why seek unrest when comfort has almost been handed to you on a silver platter?

I think that the short book of Micah, the life of the Apostle Paul, the prophet Isaiah, and the life changing message of who Jesus both said and was during his physicality leaves us with little doubt about what we are to be about and limitless questions about how it must play out in our lives.

What is justice?

It is that which is right. It is the foundation of human dignity. It is the mediator that brings uneven players back onto equal footing. It is so many good things and yet lacks many things that my humanity desires.

I want justice to be easy.
I want justice to be safe.
I want justice to be widespread, my first response, missed in its absence, accessible to everyone, inexpensive, prevalent, quick to be realized, the basis of each system I operate in whether it be family, employment, church, society, the world as a whole. I want justice and I am not unique in that desire.

What will make us different in life will not be our desire for justice. I believe that God imprinted us all with a desire for justice when we were uniquely designed. We become different when we act justly. We stand out when our pursuit for right is laden with mercy in a screwed up world. We will not be without hope in a losing battle when we learn to do all of these things as we walk humbly in the presence of our almighty Creator.

Why Belfast? Good question.
Why justice? You tell me...

Sunday, July 12, 2009