Tuesday, September 18, 2007

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Headed Home

Waiting for my 5 am flight. Kris will take a later flight and get's to sleep some. I've been here since 11 pm. Leaving in three hours for the long trek home. We had a great visit with some friends in Haifa. Looking forward to being home. Later, Jay

Crossing Back to Israel

Kris and I are crossing back to Israel now...then on to Haifa. We drove a different way to the crossing this morning. Great time with Ben and Heather and family in Jordan. They are an amazing family. It's amazing how all of us are growing in justice concerns.
Last night something weird happened. As we were leaving the restaurant we we were entreated to buy some kind of trinket from a woman and her three children. She said she was homeless. But the funny thing is that she was American, had no accent and was a little retarded, I think. She said she was trying to get to New York and was selling these trinkets to raise money. The three kids were well dressed and happy and watching us interact. I gave her 20.00 and left, but couldn't help thinking abt her. Who was she? How could she be homeless in Amman? Were the boys angels watching over her? Weird.
Headed to Haifa. Jay
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How do you explain today?

It's 12 and we just got back to the room and I can't begin to summarize the range of conversations we had today nor the Jordanians we interacted with. Here is a sample; Jesus in Islam, Mohammed's sex life, the Palistinian question, the tribal competiton in Jordan, America's misunderstanding of the Middle East, bedouian honor killings, revenge cultures, Iranian threats to the ME, the future of Iraq, how can this American women be homeless in Amman wiith 3 children, etc etc. The Jordanians included professors, pastors, Air Force officers, bedouian tribal leaders, NGO leaders, etc. It was a very interesting day trying to solve the problems of the ME. We go to sleep with the sense that only Jesus can win the day.
We leave early in the morning for the border...then to Haifa for some more interviews...then to Tel Aviv for a. Short night. I have to be at the airport at 3 am. Kris goes later. Jay
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I love Amman

I've been to Starbucks twice today--one was the biggest, most beautiful Starbucks I've ever seen. The other was in Mecca Mall. I'm serious, I went on pilgrimage to Mecca today and had a no foam latte. Jay
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Amazing Stories

We visited with several key Xian ldrs today and heard story after story of the things God is doing in this country, under the radar, to bring the Kingdom here. People who trust the Lord here run the risk of rejection even death at times.
Discipleship os no easy path here; one must choose to lay it all down to follow Him.
We've got more apts this afternoon, working on Kris' research, etc. Tomorrow will be a long day getting to the border, on to Haifa for mtgs, then on to Tel Avito find a hotel. It will be a short night--have to be a the airport at 3 am. Kris gets to sleep in some that morning, but gets stuck in Newark overnight.
Later
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A nite with friends

Spent a lovely night with Ben and Heather and family -- we wrestled with what it means to be a Christfollower in difficult times and places. I love hearing how God has so expanded their heart for the world. Meeting little Biriuk--their adopted son from Ethiopia--was a hoot. What a cutie.
Kris meanwhile was kidnapped by Nadal, a Jordanian friend. Apparently, they saw the highlights of the city, got caught up on life and family. Jordanians have this wonderful but different sense of gracious hospitality.
We're meeting lots of friends of the Jonssons tomorrow.
I'm running out of clean shirts -- the heat, the walking, the dripping falafals have pushed me thru my whole wardrobe. I need to learn how to pack and dress--if I'm going to travel like this a lot. Shorts are not big in Arab countries or in Africa. Do they need missionaries in Hawaii?
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Some Shots of Kris--for Ronna and Kids



The Jordan Crossing

Getting across the Jordan River was harder than when God stopped up the river to let the children of Israel pass. We tried to cross at the Allenby Bridge but they said "no cross here, good bye, thank you, see you later." Apparently, you can only cross 100 kilometers northy near Bet Shean. Ben was waiting just across the Jordan waiting for us--but we couldn't get to him. So off both of us went north til we.could cross near Bet Shean--which in and of itself was a model in state burreaucratic inefficiency. I loved it.
We're with Ben and Jonas and Shae and headed to Ailjun--these kids are amazing, riding in the hot sun, waiting at border crossings, eating falafas and melted chocolate eggs.
More later, jay

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Jerusalem-a city of hills

As the mts surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people--Psm 125:2
It's 3 pm in Jerusalem...kris and I are trying to recovery for our walk up, down, around, and thru the mts of Jerusalem. We've been to Golgatha, the wailing wall, the Temple Mount, thru the Kidron Valley, up Mt of Olives, back down the Kidron up to the City of David, down to the Hinnom Valley and up to Mt Zion and back down to the old city and up to the Norte Dame Center. We're sipping a cappocino, with our feet up to reduce the swelling. We feel like a couple of old ladies. But we confident, having seen Galilee, the Jordan Valley, and the Judean wilderness and now the mts of Jerusalem that Jesus and the boys were in great shape. I'm convinced that discipleship happened on the road. Jesus seemed to be constantly moving thruout his ministry.
Jerusalem is a mix of cultures, every flavor of faith has laid some claim to this city. Besides American and Western European groups, we've pushed and jostled our way thru the narrow streets with Armenians, eastern europeans of all types, Koreans, Japanese, Indians, several large tour groups from Africa, etc etc. The area in front of the Wailing Wall was especially alive today, the shophar horns blasting away celebrating someone's bar mitzvah, the women yelling some kind of trilling sound as rabbi's held up copies of the torah, up on the Temple Mt the Muslim calls to prayers sounded thru cheap speaker systems, tourists from Kansas yelling at each other to hurry on thru the crowd. Though it sounded like chaos, it was some how alive. Kris turned to me and said "Man, I love this."
We got up onto the Temple Mt but they wouldn't let us in the Dome of the Rock. I really wanted to get Kris in there. Bummer. Anyway, the view was beautiful from up there looking over to the Mt of Olives. In some ways up there, you feel like you are at the center of the world.
From there we walked up up up to the Mt of Olives, from where Jesus ascended into heaven. After walking down the Kidron and up up to the Mt of Olives, I was ready to be translated somewhere. But no, iwe had to walk back down and the up to the city of David, and the down to the Hinnom valley. I wanted to show Kris where the altar to Molech was, where the waste from Jerusalem was burnt, where Judas committed suicide, where the term Gehenna or hell came from--all in all a very pleasant place.
Fortunately, we made it out of hell and up to Mt Zion where Sammy gave us a tour and couldn't be escaped from.
I need another cappacino.
Later, Jay
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Blessed by the Rabbi

Kris and I are enjoying a cool one on Mt Zion. We're hoping to escape Sammy, our uninvited tour guide. But I think he is lurking outside hoping for a tip. Earlier today, at the wailing wall, Kris and unknowingly purchased a blessing from some poor rabbi with a large family. After you've been blessed with health and long life in the shadow of Herodian temple stones by a poor rabbi it hard not to spot the guy a $20 bill. I didn't have have shekels, so I asked him if he took dollars. No problem, said the now richer rabbi.
More later--we'll see if we escape Sammy.
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Father Kelly

One last thing to close out our Sunday. As we chked into the Norte Dame, Father Kelly introduced himself and invited us to join him and a group on the top of the hotel for a view of the Jeruslem lights. We just got from his tour--pointing out the locations of Christ's passion. Using various church and mosque towers as references, he described the various locations in the old city and over on the mount of olives, etc. Curiously, all the mosques have green lights on them because Mohammed was irish. Well, at least that's what Father Kelly said.
Happy mothers day everybody.
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6 pm in St Anne's

Kris and I are sitting in a concert by the Jerusalem Oratory Chamber choir under the direction of Ronen Borshesky. With a name like that you have got to be great in music....but with a name like Lorenzen you probably wouldn't be. Bauman seems to be a bit more attentive and appreciative. Actually, St Annes is one of my favorite places in Jerusalem, just inside the Sheep Gatea where the ruins of the pool of bethesida are. Here Jesus cured the paralytic--see John 5. I learned today that folks like the paralytic were excluded from the temple area and had to gather here outside in hopes of healing. Isn't it just like Jesus to be out here with the excluded and be healing them.
Anyway, the acoustics here in st annes are unmatched and that's why we are here. We are also here bec we needed some uplift after our visit to the Holocaust Museum today. Hearing O Magnum Mysterium by Francis Poulenc helps us get some perspective after seeing the depths of evil that we are all capable of.
We started this morning watching the sun rise over the Dead Sea and then I made Kris swim in the slimy, oily, salty sea. He's still itching and burning in places--even after a swim in the Kibbutz Pool to wash off the grimy grime.
We took a chance and ate in an arab steetside cafe...some friendly Christian monk or father or something recommended it to us. Actually, it was excellent.
We'ce got our car parked somewhere and need to move it to the hotel as soon as Ronen is done here.
From st annes, Jerusalem--shalom.
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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ein Gedi 2

Kris and I have enjoyed our stays in these Kibbutz'si--partly bec of all the fresh vegetables grown in their surrounding fields. Fresh and flavorful without the perservatives of most of our supermarket foods. I've discovered a new found interest in the provenance of the food I'm eating. I want the food grown near to where I live--for some reason. Anyway, this is a culinary adventure here in Israel.
This morning we stopped at Bet Shean--where the bodies of Saul and Jonathan were hung on the walls by the Phillistines. The men of jabesh gilead snuck up and won great fame for taking the disgraced bodies down from the wall and burying them properly.
We also stopped by Qumran enroute and decided that the essenes were a bit weird.
Tomorrow after a float in the Dead Sea, we'll head to Jerusalem.
Well, we're stuffed from dinner and may just hit the rack.
Jay and kris

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Ein Gedi

Kris and I are seated by the Kibbutz pool overlooking the Dead Sea. A huge rainstorm threatens to chase us inside. But the storm is slow moving--apparently a flash flood closed the road just north of here. We passed that section within an hour of when it closed as we made our way to Masada. We both decided to climb to the top of Masada rather than ride the gandola. We understand now why the Romans forced slave labor to build a ramp to the top. The snake path up was brutal, though coming down hurt the legs and knees more. Kris kindly complained some to make this old man and his knees feel better. We celebrated our ascent and descent with a huge freshly squeezed orange juice--the best I've ever tasted.
This kibbutz is a hoot--botanical guarden built in the desert heat, a massive pool, overlooking the Dead Sea.
This morning we both enjoyed a long quiet time on the beach, watching the sun rise, casting its first rays on Tiberius across the sea. I read from jn 21 and could almost see Peter and boys fishing, while Jesus prepared bkfast on the beach. It was a tough bkfast talk for Peter as Jesus asks him over and over "do you love me?". I felt Jesus asking me the same thing, wondering if in my mature years I would let him lead me. Africa?
Since that conversation was tough, I decided to take some pictures of Kris reading his bible on the beach. I told him that I was part of the Christian paparazi, taking pictures of really spiritual guys. Oops they are closing the pool...more adventures later. Jay
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Friday, May 11, 2007

The Sabbath

The Jewish Sabbath began abt an hour ago. The resort keeps things going for the tourists. We're abt to give in to jetlag and go to bed.
Today was good--seemly more mellow than yesterday. We started the day in capernaum, Jesus' hqtrs for most of his ministry. It has apartially rebuilt synagoge, acorss the strret from which stands the stone walls of wha( was said to be Peter's house. Got some good pics of Kris reading his bible in the synagogue, where it was said that Jesus taught with authority, not like the scribes.
From there we drove north to Tel Dan, missing our turn and almost ending up iin Lebanon. Fortunately, the Isra2lis have huge border crossing barricades which told us "you are lost, not smart Americans, go back, etc".
We finally found Dan, the platform where Jeraboam place the golden calf, and most intriguing of all, the springs flowing out of Dan to form the Jordan River. Nearby is ceasarea phillpl or the temple to Pan area. Appa3ently, pointing out the pagan gods to his disciples, jesus ask the. "who do you think I am?". Peter got it right when he answered, "you are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
From there, we drove home along the golan heights, amazed by all the shelled out, bullet ridden buildings along the way. There had been a fight there.
Anyway, we made it home--fought off jetlag til this momen. Zzz
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Morning in Galilee

One of the blessings of jet lag is that you wake up early in the morning. I got up at 5:30 this morning and Kris was already gone--no doubt sitting on the beach with his bible. I grab some instant coffee and had some time here on our little porch overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It's 7 am now and Kris is still gone. We're in no hurry; this is feeling more and more like a vacation.
Across the lake, Tiberias has begun to awaken. Just north of it is capernaum, Jesus' base of operations and our first destination this morning.
Kris just got back and speculated that the reason Jesus rose before dawn was because he was jetlagged his whole life. It is a long way from eternity to earth--so that makes sense. Anyway, we both hope the ease of this morning's morning continues.
We are chging our schedule for Jordan--going now at the end of the trip. We're anxious to see Ben and Heather and kids.
Jay
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Kris arrives--8 hrs late

Hi, had trouble with my connection so wasn't able to report yesterday -- even though Kris was delayed 8 hours and I could have written a novel with the thumbs of mine during the long airport wait. Kris got in at 1230 and we made it to our hotel in Netanya by 2 pm--north of Tel Aviv.
Today, we stood where Herod made his speech in Ceasarea, failled to give glory to God, and was eaten by worms. Acts 12. Kris and I have been trying not to brag to each other abt anything--just in case the worms are looking for a new host. Kris did pass his PhD orals though -- praise the Lord and glory to God alone, amen, hallelujah--says Kris.
From Ceasarea, we went to Mergido and looked at the ancient stables of Solomon and Ahab there--kings of Israel had been told not to collect horses, but trust the Lord. Neither did well at the latter. From Mergido, you can see the Kishon River in the Valley of Jezreel and across the vally is Mt Tabor. The Israelites under Deborah -- Judges 4-5--charged down from Mt Tabor and destroyed the Canaanites and their horse drawn chariots bec. God sent a huge rainstorm amd the chariots couldn't move in the mud. The horses' hoofs beat loudly, galloping wildly, going mad in the mud of the Kishon--says Deborah. Kris and I decided we'd never collect horses, complain abt the rain, and that we would always listen to our wives.
From Mergiddo, we drove to the old Crusaders city of Akko--which had been overthrown several times by the Muslim hordes. Napolean himself had been defeated by the Islamic forces there. Akko was not a happy place for Christians so we left there quickly, happy that no one broke into our car as we wandered thru their rather bizarre bazaar.
we made it to the Mt of Beattitudes right before it closed. We got abt 15 minutes to wander around a lovely church there overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It was beautiful that we grabbed our Bibles, bought a cup of coffee, and sat down to read Matthew 5-7. Just as we got started, the guard came and told we we needed to leave. I was going to complain loudly, but unfortunately I had just read--Blessed are the peacemakers. Following Jesus can be hard sometimes.
Made it to Ein Gev--no reservation, but a room had cancelled five minutes bef we arrived...so we got. The guy said it was perfect timing. Praise the Lord and the quard at the Mt of beattitudes.
Anyway, my thumb is tired. Happy Birthday to Haidyn Grace Lorenzen--praying for you tonite--may you be like Deborah of old. Kris is already asleep...but he sent his love to all. Jay and Kris in Israel.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Book Angel

I safely arrived in Boston--spent the 4 hour flight reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was not one of the books I packed. While in the Denver AP bookstore, just glancing at a shelf of books, I was accosted by a complete stranger who said I had to read McCarthy's book. She said her bookstore owner claimed that it was the best book he had ever read. Not sure whether she was a store plant or a biblio-angel. I opted for the latter. As I sat down to read in the airplane, my neighbor across the aisle bent over and said he read the book three months ago and can't stoip thinking about it. The biblio-angels are out. I'm abt half way thru and they may be right. It's the story of a father's love for his son after some apocalypse... Here's one line: Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling thru the ash, each the other's entire world.

Or: It's snowing ... A single gray flake sifting down. He caught it in his hand and watched it expire there like the last host of christendom.

Got to go---I'm halfway thru and I've got two hrs til the flight to Zurich. I want to finish the book before I leave here. I want to stop by the Hudson News booksellers here and try to raise up another book-angel. Some have the luck of the Irish; I've got the luck of the library.

Kris is in Newark or somewhere. Lord willing, we will meet in Israel on Wednesday afternoon. Hope I remember to chg planes in Zurich.

Enroute to the land of the book of books, jay
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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Departing Tuesday, 8 May

Hi, Kris and I head out on Tuesday. Celebrating the completion of his PhD orals, Kris wants to see Israel. I love Israel and need a break. So why not? I've got planned several walks along the Mediterrean, the Sea of Galiliee and the Dead Sea. Kris is open to seeing everything. So here we go. We'll try and post here via email. Leaving the computer at home, so no pics.