There is nothing like people coming over to stop the procrastination binge.

We (DB and I) are starting our very own small group (church small group – aka Bible study) tonight.  And we are serving dinner.  I do not know how this seemed like a good idea to me – ?? – I don’t cook!  At all!  And because it starts at 7, I can’t rely on DB, either!

So we decided to blatantly copy the burritos that our friends made for us on Sunday night – that way, if we have picky eaters, they can just eat whatever they want, right?  Right.  So I found a good mexican rice recipe (it looks good, at least, and 176 other people thought it was yummy, too) and now I am looking for a black bean recipe.  Anyone?  Ideas?  Our friends put black beans, some water, some red pepper, garlic, onion, and cumin in a pot and simmered it.  We can’t use onions.  So ideas?  Help?

And in a side funny thing, the recipe for the rice (which I will admit is a little over the top, but I love rice, and if this works, I am going to be the happiest person ever) (and if it sucks, I am going to make white rice) – the recipe calls for jalapeños.  Just to reiterate how inept I am, I trucked out to buy said jalapenos in the grocery store yesterday.  Why the heck do they put all of the small greenish produce together?!?  There were jalapenos, some little tomatillo peppers (I have no idea if that’s what they’re called), and a billion other small, green peppery things all together, with only very vague labelling.  How cruel!  So I bought what looked like the picture for jalapenos – the problem being that there were 4 good options that looked like the picture, but they were all distinctly different peppers.  So either we will kill our poor new small group members with spice, or it will turn out okay…chances are, 176 people aren’t wrong, so if the rice sucks, it’s probably due to me (or my addition of fake jalapenos).

Speaking of which, can anyone tell me the difference between green chiles and jalapenos?  They aren’t the same, are they?

This should be interesting, this group.  So far it is not much of a group – we have only one other couple.  (We figure it’s like Field of Dreams – if you build it, they will come.)  The other couple is about as different from us politically as it is possible to be.  You might think this shouldn’t matter, and I am praying that it won’t.  I have a tendency to run my mouth when it is not appropriate….go figure.  I struggle with keeping my mouth shut when people assume things about me:  if they assume my political beliefs from our personal choices, they assume my religion from my last name…I hate assumptions.  It is one of my biggest pet peeves, but it’s to the point where I need to learn that often the assumptions I get worked up about are not worth getting worked up over.  What does it matter if someone thinks I don’t believe in evolution?  What does it matter if someone believes I voted for John McCain?  Or that I’m Republican, simply because I’m Christian?

But it does matter – to me, it really does. I think it matters because one of the things that drives me MOST crazy is the notion that all Christians should be Republican, because I feel a little bit like it is a judgement – if I DIDN’T vote Republican, I am a “bad Christian” – and my concept of “bad Christian” is that no human can judge whether someone is a “good” or “bad” Christian – God, and God alone, that can read people’s hearts.  But then, in a remarkable demonstration of hypocrisy (which upsets me that I am like this, because I really hate hypocrites), I kind of judge Christian Republicans, too.  I take issue with the notions that it is Christian to hate or condemn (as in gay marriage), Christian to support an unjustified war (as in Iraq), Christian to support the life of a very narrow population over a broader population (the unborn over the unborn and born, including mothers and those who are sick and could benefit from stem cell research), Christian to deny support for poor families.

It matters because I have come to see the Republican party as callously playing on the single-issue voters of the Christian right to advance their own, non-Biblical agenda, and it angers me to no end.  Where in the Bible does it say we need a small government?  Nowhere.  I mean, it doesn’t say that the government should necessarily engage in supporting the poor, either (my understanding is that the closest it comes is when Jesus says, “give to God what is God’s, and give to Cesar what is Cesar’s” (Matt. 22:21)- meaning, pay appropriate tithes and appropriate taxes – but the use of those taxes is not necessarily defined.  My personal belief system is that the government should (financially) support life EVERYwhere – but I wouldn’t dispute that it could be argued the other way, either.

What I DO dispute is that the needs of the unborn – even the ones that will never become viable (ie, frozen embryos in fertility clinics) always trump the needs of the born.

I really didn’t mean to write so much.  Let’s hope that by writing that, I will be more likely to have friendly, apolitical conversations with our new friends.  I really want to be friends with them.  Please God, if politics come up in conversation, please help me be a good witness to the way liberal politics can also advance your kingdom.  (Also, please do not cause them to question You because of my cooking.)

Little is getting groomed, which means the cat is exceptionally warm and cuddly.  She is always extremely thrilled when he’s not around.  It’s funny – if she’s nearby when we yell at Little, she’ll join in, hissing and swatting at him to reiterate our points.  They’re like…well, siblings.  Only honestly, I get it that they are animals, and not our actual children. (Really, I do.)

Oh, and my political opinions notwithstanding, a good black bean recipe that is easy would be humongously appreciated!