Walking around Paris part 1

Having spent a number of hours sitting on a plane (sitting still for a while isnt something i find easy lol) i chose to spend the last couple of days walking.

The studio i am in (in Montmartre) is right behind the Basilique de Sacre-Coeur. A catholic church on top of a hill. Now, for those of you that don’t like steps…you may want to drive to the top. Otherwise you will be walking up a fair number of steps to get to the church and see the view. The view is fantastic, right across Paris. I’d recommend you do it on a clear day so that your view isn’t blocked by smog etc. you can just see the Eiffel tower (and i mean ‘just’ ie only the top of it is visible above a house).

If you walk around to the left of the church and take the lane on the left, you will end up in Montmartre’s artist square. A square which is full of artists ready to draw a portrait of you (a variety of styles are available from a sketch of you, to a cartoon). This square is surrounded by coffee shops, so if you decide against immortalising yourself in a picture, you can watch others doing it 😉 There are also many lanes and alleyways to wander down, so if you aren’t good at getting your bearings (like me) make sure you have your phone with you so that you can use your map app to find your way home. I didn’t have a French SIM yet, so kept a note of which buildings i had to turn at to find my way back to the studio.

Yesterday i bought a Lebara Sim, bought it for 9€ (which gave me 7€ credit) and added 10€ to it so that i could upgrade to the 3G data package. This will give me plenty of data to use maps, internet etc. i also use an app called Line (free phone calls anywhere in the world and free txt). This is a great way to keep in contact with family and loved ones.

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Reflections on ministry #1: Behind the curtain

Many of us serving God, in churches, have experienced the ups and downs in ministry. We expected it to be a hard road…a suffering road, but seminary never really prepares you for the trials you and your family will face. It never trains you in how to handle the politics and sinful behaviour often found in churches. It is a poor reflection on us, as a church, that we behave no better than any secular organisations do towards leadership. To the public view, all is well, but behind the scenes there is back stabbing, politicking, gossip, power struggles etc. All this, even in small country churches. Most wouldn’t be aware of it because many ministers put on a good public face, the ‘public smile’.

I went through seminary with 50+ other people, and knew many in years ahead of me or behind. Sadly, I have seen many either walk away from the ministry, or have their marriage/family destroyed by the stress caused, by others, against them, and i have seen many ministers have a break down or burn out. This has to stop, we are losing too many godly people from ministry. It is time we start talking publicly about the struggles faced ‘behind the curtain’ of public appearance and work out a way to help our ministers and their families…keep them in ministry for the long haul. This will be the aim of my ‘behind the curtain’ blogs…to bring out into the light the things many have kept hidden.

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