Kind Pastor Roland

Dear Pastor Roland,
When Ted and I were raw from leaving the Seventh-day Adventist church  – when we were trying to figure out what to do with church as we didn’t want to become skeptical about Christians in general, when we were calling churches all over the community trying to think through what to do (irritating many pastors with our theological questions) trying to find a group of believers pastored by someone who understood concepts of the new covenant, with all our questions…
You were the exception
You were respectful
You took the time to listen before you talked
Not listening politely, but listening with your person
You knew your Bible
You understood the issues
You were caring
After a lot of thought and prayer, we came to your church. That was 15 years ago. Thank you for helping us stabilize during a really hard time in our lives.  Sitting in church week after week, just raw from the jolt of such a change, your faithfulness at keeping the main things the big deal healed our hearts.  And your jokes, those dry jokes, they helped us heal, too:)
Now you’ve slipped away to Jesus after a long hard fight with cancer. I can only imagine how painful this is for Dottie. For Julie.  For the entire family.
Dottie helped us stabilize too, as she was always the Sunshine in the church lobby that made us feel at home. Julie and Matt helped… just chasing kids, Boeing talk and connecting.  Changing churches is no big deal unless you belong to more than a church – say like growing up Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or Adventist. Then your church is your entire life. And so leaving Adventism was traumatic for us, losing people that were uncles and aunties to our kids, leaving a system we could travel anywhere in the world and belong.  Leaving what we knew and loved.  Thank you, Roland and Dottie, for making a church home for so many, and for us.
We would have never had the courage to follow what we believed and leave a church we didn’t agree with if it hadn’t been for the driving desire that our children be able as adults to worship God authentically, rather than live inside a belief system they could not support Biblically.  As it turns out, our children who made the church change with us – at that time, our 10-year-old son Marty and 8-year-old daughter Maley- are now all grown up and both serving God in their own unique ways.  Baby Henry we brought to Mountainview was same age as your grandson Jaden and they have become lifelong buddies I’m sure (well, one of the many buddies who love mud and bikes and nerf guns and ….). All three of the older kids were baptized in the chilly river surrounded by Mountainview church folks during church campouts. You dedicated our baby Mary – your last baby dedication before you retired.  I remember you made a joke about her trying to beg food off the communion tray during the dedication:)  
Thank you for staying in touch even after you retired.
Thank you for always asking about how things were going.
Thank you for being real.
Thank you for those great accordion songs.
Snohomish is lacking without you.
Heaven is richer for you.
Always Grateful,
Lisa and Family
If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love,
I am nothing.
I Cor 13:2

Talking is Not Unloading.

I was at my little bank today. Just through the doors and up to the counter when the banker who knows me well told me all about people who tell her all about themselves.  She tells me she’d never tell her banker all about her life.  She wonders why people walk in the door and just unload.  I sit there listening to the banker unload about others unloading on her, and I wonder why it strange to unload as the banker was unloading and I was just fine to have her unload the load she’d been handed – burdened by all the many people coming to do their banking with more than banking on their minds.  And as she counts the money, I think how nice it is that she knows me well enough to tell me all this.  And how rare it is to know anyone at all.  I think about the many trips to town, not recognizing a soul, and how special it is to know someone and to be known. 

Why do we call talking dumping, anyway?  I drive east over the mountains to a small town where family live.  People stand on the sidewalk in inclement weather, talking to each other about the weather, just for the sake of talking, and it’s such a friendly interaction, really about nothing at all.  A state or two south where my husband grew up is a lazy town.  Middle of road, often seen, a pickup that has once been heading one direction – comes across a recognizable someone, and they both stop right where they are, pause, windows down, flanneled elbows hanging out the windows, cap tips too, just saying hello, without horns a-honking behind them, there is no hurry.  And I wonder how we’ve lost all of that to education and careers. 

I suppose to get through college a person must be hyper-focused.  Must be headed a direction without delay.  Some people in small towns have attended college. And I wouldn’t say small town folk don’t get things done.  Maybe their timeframe is different from ours.  I haven’t figured it out.  I hope to one day.

In the meantime, my 8 year old is begging me to play a game and I didn’t hear a word she said until she’d said it like 4 times.  Oh dear, off to play a game:)