A few more photos of my trip to Israel.
It was Sukkot the first week I was there. This is the Feast of the Tabernacles. It comes five days after Yom Kippur and families live in booths for a week commemorating the miraculous protection God provided the Israelites after their exodus from Egypt. These tents or booths were everywhere.
Our first day we stayed in Tel Aviv and traveled to the ancient site of Caesarea on the Mediterranean where Herod the Great made a palace, an amphitheater, and a hippodrome. Below is a remnant of the palace Herod made. It is the forum where St. Paul presented his case before Felix the Procurator (Acts 25).
More photos next week!
The Amazing Faith of Texas: Common Ground on Higher Ground by Roy Spence
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I will start off by saying that the photographs are superb. I love architecture and especially architecture of places of worship. Worship is an integral part of a majority of the world's population in some form or other and I think it strange how little attention is paid to it in the public venue. This book is filled with all sorts of worship buildings, mostly Christian, it is, after all Texas: country churches, large city groups...traditional, historical, modern...all of them lovely in their own right.
The book also has testimonies of individuals of different faiths and what their faith means to them. And this is where I complain.
On the one hand, the testimonies are from Christians, with a number of Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, and various other beliefs I would catalog as vaguely "spiritual".
But it would be more accurate to write all the above mentioned religions with quotations marks, because every last one of them failed to define what made their beliefs unique.
I believe the author carefully selected his interviewees so as to have them say more or less the same thing, i.e. "Their faith helps them be a good person and contributes to peace on earth."
It's strange to me how most of them talk about their faith in God or Jesus Christ primarily as an impersonal force to help them. The central focus is not God and His glory, but mankind's improvement. Every statement was some kind of general "I'm a better person because of my faith", which, on the surface sounds nice, if not a bit treacly, while avoiding the more substantial points of human nature.
I looked up the residences of the people interviewed and it appears the author carefully selected who he interviewed as well. Most of them are from the Austin area, which, if you know Austin as I know Austin, says so much. It's a huge drug, hippy culture that loves to pontificate on happy notions of world peace and "inclusion" and "acceptance", when what they really mean is let's feel good about ourselves and get high.
And that sums this book up. If you want to close your eyes and tell yourself "all roads lead to the same goal" while ignoring the fundamental differences of each faith, which is another way of demeaning people's personal beliefs, you'll love the oozy nebulous testimonies in this book
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