First Day: Israel

22 05 2012

Just a brief post to say we have arrived in Israel.  Travel today is incredible.  Leaving Philadelphia for Tel Aviv, it only took ten hours and fifteen minutes to arrive.  Amazing.

We are spending the first night in Netanya which is located along the Mediterranean coast just north of Tel Aviv.  Tomorrow is the first full day of seeing some of the significant sites associated with both the New Testament and Hebrew Scriptures.

The Mediterranean Sea is perhaps one of the overlooked features that shaped this area.  Travel by sea was much like travel for air for us.  It cut travel time in the ancient world by more than half.  A great website that helps compute distance, time, and cost for travel in the ancient world is ORBIS

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To Israel

19 05 2012

On Monday, May 21,  I will leave with thirty-seven folks for a study tour/pilgrimage to Israel.   This ten-day journey is sponsored by two theological institutions:  Central Baptist Theological Seminary and St. Paul School of Theology.  My good friend Mike Graves, the William K. McElvaney Professor of Preaching, is the other co-host on this trip.  I will attempt periodically to provide some commentary on the biblical sites, geography, and general experiences that occur on this trip.  I have not been to Israel for awhile; so I am curious about what has changed and what remains the same.

Being in a land that is fraught with meaning is a difficult experience to describe.  N. T. Wright in his book The Way of the Lord captures a sense of the experience when he writes, ” . . . when God is known, sought and wrestled with in a place, a memory of that remains, which those who know and love God can pick up” (p. 5).  I am hopefully that all of those on this trip will sense those memories that still remain in the land called holy.

An aside:  One of the differences I have noticed in packing this time versus the last time I traveled to Israel is the number of electrical cords:  five separate cords (shaver, Nook, netbook, camera, iPhone).