Author Topic: Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit  (Read 724 times)

James_Gale

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Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit
« on: March 18, 2017, 05:26:36 PM »
I enjoyed Pr. Johnson's reflections on his Holy Land trip.  It all rings true and familiar to me.


I figured I'd toss in a few of my own random reflections, which may be of interest.  Or not.


First, I have driven all over Israel, the West Back, the Golan Heights, and Jordan.  I've walked the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, and Amman at all hours.  I have never felt unsafe.  On the contrary, I generally felt much more safe than I would in some areas of Washington (where I live).


Second, outside the chapel on the Mount of the Beatitudes stands a fountain with a plaque quoting from John, "Let anyone who thirst [sic] come to me and drink . . . ."  Next to the plaque was a handwritten sign warning, "Attention Water Not Potable."  I had to laugh.


Third, after visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, I attached myself to a couple of graduate students who were on break.  One was an American woman of east-Asian descent.  The other was an English man from Manchester, England.  They were planning to walk to the refugee area on the edge of Bethlehem.  The wall runs right along the area.  The painting on the wall was interesting and moving.  As the three of us walked back toward the center of town to catch the bus back to Jerusalem, we were stopped by a couple of Palestinian soldiers/officers.  They were probably not yet 20.  They asked us for our names and where we were from.  The young English man said that his name was Bilal, which also was one of the officer's names.  That officer's name also was Bilal.  He said to the Englishman, "You and I are both the same.  Both Palestinian."  The Englishman insisted that while his parents had been from Palestine, he himself was English, not Palestinian.  He was remarkably insistent.  I still don't know quite what to make of that.  But I found it interesting.


Fourth, Pr. Johnson mentioned a spot on the Golan Heights where you see silhouettes of military men.  I suspect that he was writing of Mt. Bental, which was an important site in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  Just 60 km from Damascus, the view from the top is beautiful.  But gazing across the border into Syria, you can't help but think about what's going on there.  When I visiting in 2013, a group of Palestinian school girls were there.  As I sat looking over the landscape, these girls approached and offered me some of the snacks that they had brought along (mostly cheese wrapped in grape leaves and topped with olive oil).  I said "thank you" in Arabic.  They giggled and asked me questions in English.   


Fifth, in Nazareth, a couple old Palestinian Christians told me that they had long resented the Jews and the Israeli government.  But their perspective has changed as they feel squeezed out by their Muslim neighbors.  We all bring our own preconceptions to these conversations.  But as when traveling through the Balkans or Northern Ireland, I always try to keep my mouth shut and to listen.  Opinions such as this might sound harsh or bigoted.  But they don't arise in isolation.  We humans are tribal to a fault and are always able to find reasons to dislike the people who belong to a different tribe.

John_Hannah

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Re: Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 05:52:01 PM »
 ;D  Respectful and gentle.  Thanks.

Peace, JOHN
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 08:16:14 PM by John_Hannah »
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Matt Hummel

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Re: Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 06:53:30 PM »
;D  Respectful and gentile.  Thanks.

Peace, JOHN

John- was that a deliberate typo? Very droll. ☺
Matt Hummel


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peter_speckhard

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Re: Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 07:09:56 PM »
For a long time I resisted any of those emails from travel companies trying to talk pastors into leading a trip of their parishioners to the Holy Land. It seemed like an abuse of the position-- you get to go free if you talk enough people from the congregation into going with you. But then Don Williams (emeritus from Immanuel-Valpo) who works for EO (Educational Opportunities) organized a trip strictly for LCMS churchworkers and spouses at less than half price. We didn't have to talk anyone into going, it was strictly informational to see if we would like to lead tours later. So I went with the attitude one goes on the free mini-vacation if one promises to sit through the time-share spiel.

The trip completely sold me on the value of leading tours. I've back twice since then. Both times I had very small groups because I still refuse to do any hard selling. I simply announce that I'm going and there will be an informational meeting for anyone who is interested. I plan to keep doing that every three years or so if possible. I simply can't imagine anyone going on one of these trips and coming back wishing they hadn't gone or thinking it was a waste of money.

John_Hannah

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Re: Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 08:16:53 PM »
;D  Respectful and gentile.  Thanks.

Peace, JOHN

John- was that a deliberate typo? Very droll. ☺

Thanks. Corrected now.
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 10:07:20 PM »

Second, outside the chapel on the Mount of the Beatitudes stands a fountain with a plaque quoting from John, "Let anyone who thirst [sic] come to me and drink . . . ."  Next to the plaque was a handwritten sign warning, "Attention Water Not Potable."  I had to laugh.


There's now an actual professionally produced sign. Says "Water not to drink." I took a photo of it.

My other favorite sign, outside several of the churches popular with tourists: "No explaining in the church."
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Dave Likeness

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Re: Pr. Johnson's FL Reflections On Holy Land Visit
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 10:54:06 PM »
We have all probably heard about the parish pastor who was given a one-way trip to the Holy Land.
It is rather an expensive way to get rid of a pastor, but it works wonders for both the parish and pastor