In the Steps of St. Paul
Posted May 11, 2015on:
Rita and I had the pleasure of traveling to Greece (and a bit of Turkey) this spring. We were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. . . about five years late. Two new grandchildren kept changing our plans!
We traveled with 25 California Central Coast Lutherans and eleven Tennessee United Methodists. The eleven day trip – half bus and half cruise – was organized through E.O. – Educational Opportunities, a non-profit organization. Several leaders, mostly pastors, recruited participants. Russ Gordon was bus captain. Carl and Susan Nielsen were trip hosts. Carl is a also an energetic professional photographer and videographer who captures the sites for E.O.
We visited the sites where St. Paul planted early Christian churches, and for whom epistles in the New Testament are named – Thessaloniki, Philippi, Corinth, Ephesus. (Ten couples renewed their wedding vows in Corinth. Remember the love poem in I Cor. 13?) We also visited the extraordinary monasteries/nunneries perched atop monoliths at Meteora, and the Coliseum and Parthenon in Athens.
Yes, such a trip does put St. Paul’s work in context. Most of the sites are larger and more sophisticated than I had imagined. Despite its economic woes, Greece continues to maintain wonderful museums and to restore historic ruins.
Interesting contrast. The merchants in Greece were friendly but reserved. In Turkey they were aggressive.
A main incentive of such a tour for Simple Livers is the Life Standard “Learn from the World Community.” Common ways to learn are through Fair Trade, food and music. The five Life Standards of Living More with Less sometimes require trade-offs. Such a trip rubs up against “Cherish the Natural Order,” because they tend to be environmentally stressful, and against “Do Justice!” because cruise lines are notoriously unfair to cruise workers. The cruises are also inherently wasteful, most noticeably food and consumables.
Rita plans to offer a program this fall to church groups based on the tour. She’s writing her daily journal and processing my photos now. If/when it’s uploaded to the internet, I’ll post a link.
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IMAGE: Jerry & Rita Iversen in Greece with mountains, restored ruins and baklava
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