The Fauzi Azar Inn, Nazareth

This was where we stayed when we were in Nazareth.

The Fauzi Azar Inn is a great place tucked away in the old city of Nazareth.


Meeting Hangover

Big meeting hangover today.

Last night was our All Boards meeting when we all meet, so that we don't have to meet three or four times in the month.

A great idea, it's just very hard, good work that we do. Intense work. Brain dead work after we are done.

We are in the process of walking the congregation through a discernment process to see if we want to or need to build a new building. And boy that is an intense journey.

The process has been good so far, but we want it to continue to be good, so we agonize and pray over a good process.

Seems we only have this conversation every 50 plus years, so really we are on new ground with it.

But man does my head hurt this morning.

Off to ministerial meeting.

Robin Williams, is dead.

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — He was the funniest guy in the room, something that made it all the harder for friends and fans to accept that beneath that reservoir of frenetic energy and seemingly endless good humor resided demons so dark they could push Robin Williams to suicide. It was no secret that the Oscar-winning actor had suffered for years from periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression — he made reference to it himself in his comedy routines. But word that he had killed himself Monday at his San Francisco Bay Area home left both friends in the Hollywood community and neighbors in the quiet neighborhood of Tiburon that he called home equally stunned and grief-stricken. “It was so sudden and he was such a great guy and it’s such a loss to the whole community,” said Daniel Jennings who lived across the street from Williams in the quiet neighborhood where the actor was often seen riding his bike and stopping to talk to neighbors. One thing he never did, residents said, was act like a celebrity. “He was really nice to all the neighbors,” Daniels said. “Really appreciated his kindness.”

The surprise news came out yesterday that one of America's better actors had taken his own life. Many who knew him in the roles he played or by the shows he appeared on, were caught by surprise. Why would such a talented and gifted individual do that?

Why indeed, is what the world asks.

We hear and discover that life wasn't that simple for the artist. Struggles with addictions and depression left him vulnerable. Tiredness with it all wore him out. Until yesterday when he had had enough it seems.

With people who are public individuals we think we know them through TV or movies or music. Even on a lesser platform, we think we know people through their writings, blogs, and photos. Similarly when it's our neighbour who takes their life we realize that we really didn't know them, or their struggle. The truth is that we never really knew them. We didn't know their struggles or pain.

It might be impossible to know distant public figures, but it's not impossible to know your neighbour. It seems as though Robin Williams was a good neighbour, but was he known, really?

Maybe his death should be a motivation for us to really know the few people around us. Maybe we should look up from our phones, and take time and the interest to really know the people around us. To choose to care and love them. To get to know them, really.

Maybe then this great loss can bring some life to us and to this increasingly fragmented world in which we live.

A day for the ages

When we first were thinking about moving to this field we were told that rarely was there any wind here. Well it seems that's been changing lately a good deal and today nearly blew us away.

With a wind warning out and gusts in the 50+ kms, the rain was running sideways.
The garden pretty much got mowed over, the yard light on the church blew off and missed me, and our 55 ft Internet tower buried in dirt and mounted to the wall, moved 8-10 inches at the base.
Got a little scary around here.

Tonight it's still raining, but it doesn't look like it was such a crazy day out there.
Acting like nothing happened.

Windy Day

Called to Pastor?

Before a pastor can help a church he must become a student of it.
He must learn her ways and her motions, her strengths and weaknesses.
He need discover what gifts she carries in her body, and what her core strengths are, and in knowing this he will also have an idea of her weaknesses for they are often the very same things.

He looks at her foibles and doesn't ignore them or pretend they aren't there, but faces them with honesty and love.

He needs to study and become an expert at her ways, looking at her, listening to her, praying for her and listening for the soft sounds of the Holy Spirit who is at work in her.

If he comes first to listen, and if he comes as a servant to God to discern rather than to dictate, if he comes to love and to give, then perhaps he will be offered the vulnerable place of authority and work hand in hand with the Father, gently directing her in the ways God has for her.

This is not a work for the faint of heart, but it is a good work for those who are called by God to do it. So be brave and very courageous, and serve well.

-Randall Friesen, in the shower, to no one in particular.

*by "he" I could of course mean a she, depending upon the local context. And by "she" here I mean the church as the Bride of Christ.