Maps. More maps. The summer term of my last year of my M.Div. in Seminary included the course, Biblical Backgrounds. Looking back it may have been better to take that course over a normal fall or spring semester. Compressing all the material covered into a few short weeks was grueling. Today much of the same material may be found in resources from Bible Dictionaries to commentaries.
Growing up my pastor led frequent trips to Isreal, often referred to as the Holy Land. Upon his return, he would provide slide shows for the congregation. Rather than a, “Look where I went!” display, Brother Justice helped connect scenery in the slides with the people and stories we heard him explain in his sermons and bible studies. Bethlehem. Jerusalem. Mount Olivet. Sea of Galilee. You get the idea.
On the podcast today, my friend Alan Cross suggests that future seminary degree programs might better equip teachers and pastors if a tour of Israel, what was once called a trip to the Holy Land, was part of the curriculum. He has a good point.
Alan’s suggestion called to mind m first trip outside the United States. After landing in Hong Kong and taking a bus from the plane to the terminal where we were greeted by a uniformed soldier clearly meant I was not in Oklahoma anymore. Up to that point, I could only imagine Hong Kong in maps and photographs. The distance provided space for my imagination. Once I was in Hong Kong what I had only seen on maps or in photographs came alive. It was a difference in proximity.
Listen in as Alan and I talk about his trip and what proximity means when in a place that has shown up in his sermons and bible teaching.
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