What an audacious title. Friendly Pastor Ted. Is it true? Sometimes. Hopefully most of the time. Oh my! But this uncertainty is the challenge of this blog -- to question the reality of what I think, what we think, and begin really to get more friendly.
Getting ready for the website has been tough, though. Talking to people, I hear a mix. Some love Fortuna. It's the nicest place they've ever been. For others it is a disaster. Some of the most unfriendly people are doggedly sure they are friendly. It is easy to step on toes. And, just like everywhere else, you can't say anything about friendliness without pissing someone off. For a pastor to speak honestly about his or her experience in a town or in a church is troubling, it's political, it crashes through boundaries that it may be important to keep up. What am I getting myself into?
I come from a tradition of a guy who decided he wanted to talk about spirituality with real people instead of "church people". He gathered folks (who mostly didn't go to church) together every week and they talked about their real lives and how their spirits were lifted or brought low in that context. Spiritual growth happened by growing in awareness and honesty. I see the same thing with 12 step programs -- a setting where people probably make the greatest steps toward growth and new life in the world right now.
Okay, so it is hard. I am going to try.