Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friendly Fortuna -- Shhh

I have heard all kinds of good things about Friendly Fortuna this week -- little ways that people have been touched and look forward to coming to town.

One of the most interesting was someone I can't mention.  This person told me there is a business where employees like to do business in Fortuna, they look forward to it.  But the company policy is they can't make public statements like that (a rule probably more for negative comments than positive, but it has grown to be both).

Isn't that interesting.  We get to the point (probably from litigation) where we can't tell each other what we like or dislike about being around each other.  It is like middle school, the last person you can tell you like or don't is the person you like or don't.  Don't we learn what makes us friendly or not from honest feedback?  And the strength to take honest criticism from each other has to be a trait of a truly friendly town or church or family that honors the diversity within it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Not Always Friendly, and that's OK

Walked into the doors of the church on Friday to get my 10,000 things done and was immediately aware that my church was not friendly.  I  nearly fell flat with the overpowering smell of varathane (or whatever).  We had redone the floor of the fellowship hall.  So, we invited everyone out of the building for a couple of days- enter at your own peril.

It reminded me that there are valid reasons why we are not friendly sometimes.  Our responsibility at those moments is to warn people, and let them know this is temporary.  "Floor redone.  Place stinks.  Come back on Sunday."  or "I am so busy I can't breath right now.  Call me tomorrow."  "I am totally grumpy today.  But I will need a hug in about an hour."

It is ok to not be friendly sometimes.  But it is friendlier to warn folks and invite them back later.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I can't remember where I heard it.  But, there is some practicing theory about public health.  In order to kill a disease, we don't need to vaccinate everyone (though we probably have to tell everyone we have to vaccinate them to get them to do it).  But depending upon the bug to kill and how it works, we have to deal with a percentage.

I am wondering about friendliness growing in a community with drugs.

I am told that in Arcata, one in eight homes is a drug house.  The percentage (so I am told) is close in Fortuna.  These are homes that are probably closed -- they certainly look closed.  Folks are doing something illegal and they don't want others in.  How many closed homes from drug making, severe alcoholism, family abuse, drug use does it take before it is impossible to actually have a friendly city.  How many times can we say, "I don't want you here" or "Don't look too close" before what we have created is isolation not friendliness.

It is where pleasant smiles and waving at each other lots just isn't enough.  Can a town's economy be based on something illegal and still be friendly?  Or do we build an economy that makes us strangers from one another?  Issues we can't talk about, intimacy that can't develop.

When I came to town as a pastor, I was warned many times to be careful where I went and that there were some places just not to go near -- some places the police were afraid to go.  How can we get over grief if we are afraid to talk about why someone might have really slid off the road, or why their house really burned down?

How many of us does it take working in this industry, on production or consumption, before we inoculate ourself against friendliness and make it impossible to be a hospitable town?