ok, i've been getting requests to hurry up with the "how was it" post. here you go.
It was great.
Sunny. hot. a lot of walking and climbing. intense. lots of learning. more roman columns than you've ever seen (unless you happen to have been there, in which case, approximately exactly the number of roman columns you have previously seen. probably more than in rome.). great times walking with Paul and Moses and Jesus, etc. except on water. none of us had the guts to test out the "walking on the Sea of Galilee" option--we stayed in the boat. lots of great people. lots of cool places. lots of hummus. lots of craving pizza and Dr. Pepper. lots of horrific things to see, like the Wall in Palestine, the state of Bethlehem, the bulldozing of olive trees, etc. lots of great things, like children playing in Damascus, people visiting churches, the 6th-century (never destroyed!) church of the nativity, the Palestinian Christians who were so happy to see us that they opened not one but two shops for us in Bethlehem, etc. Also cool: the Parthenon. just saying.
Anyway, it was an amazing trip. I learned a lot of history and met a lot of really great people. Made some good friends. Learned a lot about myself. Had some "holy thrills" like singing in an acoustically perfect church, looking at the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo, worshipping on the Mt. of Beatitudes, etc. I came home tan and fit, and with a great sense of the people. It seems that the Arab countries are hopeful. Unfortunately, Israel/Palestine doesn't have much hope. In fact, I came home feeling rather like many of the people I talked to there, who are quite hopeless about the situation and don't see how there can be peace in their lifetime. As Shirley Guthrie says in Christian Doctrine, however, our only hope is in God, not in ourselves. So there you go.
I'll be posting my paper here shortly. It's five pages, single-spaced, in Word. I'll put it up a section at a time. Enjoy. Also, I'm putting a link over there <--- on the left to My Yahoo Photos. 287 photos of the trip. Enjoy!