Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Visit to the Oriental Institute

I joined the Naphtali tribe (my bus mates from the Israel tour) for lunch today at Manny's Deli and then a tour of the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago. I hadn't heard of this museum before. We saw artifacts from some of the archeological digs that we visited in Israel as well as from Persia, Babylon and Ninevah.

I have been struck lately by how much there is to learn through history and archeology about the contexts of the stories of Scripture and how little I know about those fields of study. It seems so much of the teaching of the church and Christian institutions has been about privatized faith, me and Jesus, my personal walk with God, etc., that we have missed a whole lot of other information that would give us knowledge about God and help us to be able to have meaningful conversations with people at whatever place they are in their journey toward God.

In DC, a Catholic woman I met commented that her niece and her husband had gotten so into evangelical Christianity that they could no longer talk to the rest of the family. They had nothing to say. It seems we tend to develop insider cliches and a club language that isolates us from others, when there is so much in nature and history that points to God.

Rob Bell made the observation that all of life is sacred and masterfully described the mystery of creation and nature. Bob Dylan sang, we've "gotta serve somebody". Obery Hendricks urged us at Pentecost 2006, to "treat the needs of people as sacred."

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