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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)

TITLE: Orange Judas
By Kate Oliver Webb


I was whipping around the corner (in a hurry, as usual) at the Food Court in the Mall when I ran into Pastor Ben. If I hadn’t been as sure-footed as I am, it would have been literal; I later pictured myself with my face down in his hot dog, getting an Orange Julius shampoo.

I did catch myself in time, though, and because I was in a hurry, I only had time to wave and rush along.

Fifteen minutes later I was waiting at the cashier’s at the Christian bookstore, CD and credit card at the ready, when my mind flashed on the “meeting” with Pastor Ben. It just then registered that the woman he was with was not his wife. Not his wife?!? At the Orange Julius? Well, that’s harmless, I told myself. I’m a natural snoop, and I know that’s one of the spiritual weaknesses that plague my growth in grace.

This time, however, I would not jump to conclusions. A man and a woman sitting at a table outside the Orange Julius at the Food Court does not a scandal make, Lynette. Calm down.

I put the matter out of my mind.

For the next three nights I dreamed of “orange.” Yep, that’s right. Not “Orange Julius;” simply the color Orange. Orange dresses, orange walls, orange hair on a grocery checker, and yes, oranges.

Was this because there really was a problem with Pastor Ben having a snack with a woman not his wife—or was this my usual overactive imagination?

Just before Sunday morning services, I cornered my mom (I hadn’t seen her all week, and discussing something like this over the phone made me nervous). I quickly told her the basics, and said I was sure there was nothing to it, but why the orange dreams?

She was silent for a half-beat, a funny look on her face.

“Lyn, that’s just your subconscious loving the snoop part of you. You know how you like to be in the middle of the action.” Mom wrapped an arm around me and gave me the shoulder hug (we both were laden with Bible, notebook, etc., getting in the way of the full-on mom hug). “If it’s really bothering you….”

“I know: pray about it,” we said together. A peck on the cheek and we waved bye.

A few months later I had occasion to “run into” Pastor Ben again. It wasn’t at the Mall this time; it was at the back of the church. A couple were embracing. It was Pastor Ben—and a woman, not his wife. I couldn’t see who it was, but I saw Pastor Ben’s face, full-on. He caught a glimpse of me, and literally jumped away from the woman, who scuttled past him.

My heart pounding, I whipped around and charged out the side door to the parking lot. I ran to my car, shaking, barely able to see for my tears. I vaguely remember hearing Pastor Ben’s voice behind me: “Lyn? Lyn! Wait up!”

Now, I know most of our churches these days are very touchy-feely, and most of us are pretty free with hugs. But this one said “embrace,” not “hug.”

The shock of this literally wiped away all vestiges of “snoop.” I was overcome with emotions: hurt, distress, outrage, panic. I still wasn’t quite sure…. Yes you are, my heart said.

I waited several days, and prayed like I’d never prayed before. At last, with a peace that “passed understanding,” and a deep love for my Pastor, I went to see the Elders of the Church.

Through tears, I poured out my heart. I told the whole story, feeling that I was betraying my Pastor. An “Orange Judas,” I said, with much more levity than I felt.

The Elders simply looked sad. I thought they would be stunned, appalled, angry—but at last Sam Pedersen thanked me for having the courage to come to them. They admitted they’d known about this problem, and had taken steps to manage it. The next day was Sunday; there would be a special announcement then.

For the first time ever, I sat on the back pew, tears streaming down my face. I realized it was not I who had been the “Orange Judas;” Pastor Ben was.

My conclusion? Pastors are human; my duty was to pray for him. It would take a while for me to really know that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” Even this.

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This article has been read 429 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Barbara Lynn Culler12/01/09
As a beginner writer, I understood the "Allusion" from the start and it was an fun story.

I am wondering, however,the overall feel for the story is light-hearted, yet the subject is very serious. To me,it feels incongruent and out of place. Perhaps you could have made it just a mis-understanding on the MC's part. Could she be his sister-Julia or Judy?

Creative story, and so apt to be true!

Colin Swann12/01/09
Oh dear, these sort of stories about failing pastors disturbs me. Also brings to mind Paul's words to take heed lest we ourselves fall.

Thanks for sharing this difficult subject piece. Colin
Lyn Churchyard12/01/09
Unfortunately, this happens all too often. I understand your reason for writing parts of the story in a lighthearted manner; it would be so easy to be outraged and self-righteous, yet the MC behaved in a Christ-like manner.
larry troxell 12/01/09
i first thought you were using story to teach how the devil creates doubt in our minds when we encounter something that doesn't seem right. however, great story ending, to a horrible situation.
Marita Vandertogt12/01/09
I agree that this is a very serious subject, and the approach seemed a little lighthearted - but overall very well written.
Aaron Morrow12/01/09
First off, outstanding writing and title, great treatment of the topic.
I am challenged by the article for a couple of different reasons (which is not necessarily a bad thing. I love writing that challenges me!)
You gave us a two-for-one, two powerful messages in one article. The constraints of the word count forced a clipped resolution, which left me feeling a little deprived given the extraordinary job you did of setting us up for the climactic resolution, I would have loved to see the 1000-1200 word version of this entry.
I think you did a spectacular job of setting up the message regarding gossip/snoopiness, therefore the quick turn to an equally powerful message regarding appearance of evil and adultery, and the consequent validation of snoopy-ness and gossip created a "net neutral" for me that belied the points of conviction I felt early. You are very successful in delivering a relate-able MC.
The unintended overall result for me was a message that snoopy-ness and gossip of the heart (judging on appearances) is a sin...sometimes...
Nonetheless, I want to reiterate that I LOVED the writing, the details and the humor...the mixed message just ended up leaving me cold rather than convicted. Great writing as always!
Jan Ackerson 12/02/09
I enjoyed the writing, and the voice of the narrator, very much.

I did feel that the circumstances seemed a bit contrived. Would a pastor really like his lover to such a public place as a mall? And what were the circumstances that put the narrator at the back of the church with the two of them?

Superb title, by the way, and lots of very good writing.
Diana Dart 12/02/09
Really good plot-line and an totally likable MC. Maybe a little too many "I"s, especially in the opening paragraphs. Put me in the action instead of telling me about it. Liked the overall attitude and the creative sprinkling of the topic throughout.