Thursday, January 2, 2014
Off to Israel and Jordan
I'm heading out today for a contextual immersion trip to Israel and Jordan with a large group of students from United. This trip will also be led by Dr. Lisa Hess, Rev. Brian Maguire, and Rabbi Brad Hirschfield. Oh, and my son Luke is going, too. He's eleven. Lucky kid, huh?
I've been to many different places around the globe, but Israel may be the most complex. The group that we work with, the Society for Biblical Studies, does a really good job of introducing travelers to the vast complexity of life in this part of the world. Many Americans think that the conflict in Israel is between Israelis and Palestinians. You have two sides, and the problem is that they cannot reach agreement with one another and remain in a perpetual state of conflict. This view, however, is a vast oversimplification of life in Israel. There are not two "sides" to this issue. Rather, there are a multitude of perspectives, opinions, and agendas that work variously in tension and cooperation with one another. I expect our students will learn a great deal on this trip. I expect that I will, as well.
Life is complex. People are complex. Easy and facile answers often create more problems than they solve. Sometimes problems run so deep that only God can sort them out.
If you're interested in following the progress of our pilgrims, check back on this blog every once and a while.