I have been a pastor for over a decade, and during that time I've planted three new churches, each of which are open, meaningful communities for people who are on the fringes of faith: skeptics, agnostics, cynics, atheists...and Christians who just aren't so sure anymore.
I love what I do, and I love the people with whom I share this journey. Now I'm faced with an opportunity that will deepen my understanding of Jesus' ministry and to tell the stories from the Holy Land in more creative ways. I'll spend time in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Palestinian refugee camps, Nazareth, Megiddo, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Amman (to visit with Jordanian Christians), the Mount of Olives, and other historically sacred places.
The trip is being organized by The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and facilitated by Dr. Peter Miano of the Society for Biblical Studies in Boston. This pilgrimage will provide an overview of the geographical, social, historical, archaeological, and cultural settings of the Bible. We'll learn about Christianity in the Holy Land and the role of the Christian church today.
We'll also gain an understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its impact on neighboring countries, and possibilities for peacemaking.
When I return, I plan to prepare, deliver, and publish a series of talks to be given at my churches, as well as other congregations and interested groups. With creative storytelling and fearless honesty, my talks will focus on the ways young Christians and emerging churches can follow Jesus by pursuing peace and justice in the Holy Land and throughout the world.
- (15 days)