Starting to Process the Israel Trip

Tonight is the first night where I don’t feel tired – like jetlag tired.  Of course, I didn’t know that I was tired.  It actually feels normal today.

I think I’ve been too tired to process my trip to Israel.  I’ve talked to a few people about it, but I haven’t really thought through the trip much.  I feel like there’s so much, but the experience was so imprinted on my mind that I think I will be processing for a long while – and I don’t think I’ll forget the experience.  It was definitely life-changing and eye opening.

So Jonesy-this is the start of it.

First of all – it’s a far and long trip.  We left on Tuesday at 2pm in LAX and go to our hotel on Thursday at 3am Israel time.  It’s a long flight.

I was told that we hit 38 sites in 5 days.  We had early mornings and late nights.  My mind was full.  My heart was full.  My stomach was full – we had buffets every morning and evening.

Before I got there, I had this interesting interchange with my friend Jonesy.  He lived there before and he’s pretty much genius status.  I asked him if he had any wisdom for someone who was just going to be there for 5 days.  He told me to not worry about trying to step in the same exact place that Jesus walked.  We talked about listening to the land and paying attention to what it had to say.  We talked about how I shouldn’t miss out on the people of the land.  It was great advice.  The land had much to stay.  The people of the land really have a soil to soul connection.  Water is scarce so they know the value of it – something that we take for granted.  For many years, they didn’t have land.  They have it now.  They take care of it.  The land is very important to them, and more than anywhere else in the world, the stories that the land can tell have withstood the test of time.  I would say that even today, the land speaks.

When I first got there, I thought – you don’t have to come here for your experience of the stories of here to be any more real than where you are at right now.  (Did that even make sense?)  No one needs to go to Israel to better understand the stories that they’ve read in the Bible.  No one has to go to Israel to have a better experience of Jesus.  It’s not going to be any more real if you go there.

I did however come to realize at the end of the trip – that you still don’t have to go to Israel to get a better experience of the stories in the Bible and your experience with Jesus – but if you’re going to call yourself a Bible scholar, you have to go.

If you have a friend that has been before – they all will talk about going to the sites and reading the Scriptures – and seeing it in color as opposed to black and white.  No matter what kind of trip they went on – whether it was a bus tour straight to the sites or the hiking up to these spots – the experience ends up being similar.  You pick up insights into the history and geography like you can’t pick up when you are just looking at a book.  Standing at a site – you’re able to point in the right direction.   You know which side the Philistines were on when you’re in the Valley of Elah.  You know just how far the walk was from the Pools of Bethesda is from the temple.  You know just how big a house was in Capernaum – compared to your house at home.

I wouldn’t call myself a Bible Scholar, but going there made me want to read it all again with my new knowledge of the land.  It makes me want to reread the stories and have 3d pictures of what it is that I am reading about.  I know how awesome the battlefield looks from Megiddo.  It gives me a different dimension – and I’m pretty excited to reread all of these stories with new eyes.

For the next few weeks, I will process through my notes and my pictures.  I want to blog about some of what I’ve learned on my trip.  I’ll try to tie it into some identity feature.  I’ll try to keep that in mind as I process.  Please read along if you’d like.  This is not a typical post for me – I try to keep things around 100 or so words.  I don’t think I’ll be able to do that with these particular posts.

I do not claim to have a Bible Scholar identity, but this trip has made me just a little more Israel literate.  A few ideas from this trip that I want to blog about will include:

Not understanding the Church of the Sepulchre

– The Psychology of Chutzpah

– The Identity Formation of Bar Mitzvah

– The Mt of Olives gets Cold

– Bet She’an – Really?

– How Herod Did More to Spread that Gospel than You

– Community: Hebrew Style

What You Learn in the Theatre

– Move a Mountain

– Next Year Jerusalem

– 1.5 Million Children

– Not Quite Dead, but Not Quite Alive

Okay, so we’ll see how many of these posts I will write.  I think I’ll see which post Jonesy is most interested in and that’s the one you’ll get.  In the meantime, check out his blog.

Until then – Shalom!

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