Wales is a country – an independent jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. The Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea wash its Western border, with England as it’s neighbor to the East. No. 4 Cefn, Gethynog, Talybont on Usk, Brecon, Powys, Wales. This was the address of friends I had come to visit. Having driven from London that morning and crossed the wide channel at Bristol, I followed signs for the town of Brecon. With each mile I was weaving my way deeper into the heart of an ancient land. “Ancient,” is a flexible word. Some places were the location of significant historical events – ancient history. Wales has a history so ancient that it has outstripped our ability to remember. The roads I drove and towns I passed through were rooted in this prehistory. In spite of mankind’s inability to preserve a record, there is a memory in the land that still speaks – still influences the land and Welshmen of today. Continue Reading
The following is a letter I needed to write to friends after an unsettling conversation. It is timely – in that it refers to Tuesdays elections. I hope some find it helpful if they are faced with the sorts of difficulties it addresses – questions and discomfort that come up when we find ourselves disagreeing with friends. Those times when we feel required to choose between people and ideas – between friends and our political heroes. Continue Reading
It was late afternoon, daylight was fading and lights that illuminated Jerusalem’s Western or Wailing Wall had already been turned on. The Western Wall is a one hundred eighty seven foot, exposed section of ancient wall situated on the Western flank of the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount – site of three temples – the first, built by Jewish King Solomon. The second by the Roman appointee, Herod. And a third temple, thus far existing only in the minds of Jews, Christians – Muslims too – but not with hopeful expectations and all because of words in a book long respected as Holy – it’s inspiration said to be none less than G-d.
Walking here from the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, Jane and I had descended a long series of stairs, passing through a security check point as we reached the plaza below. The plaza, a stone paved expanse built to accommodate crowds exceeding one hundred thousand – the immense crowds that gather on holidays – holy days. It stretches out and away from the Wall at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. At its North West corner a waist level wall of stone blocks bisects the side of the plaza directly in front of the Wailing Wall, forming a retainer where the plaza drops two meters to a floor of white marble. Marble stretches the full length and at least a hundred feet back from the Wailing Wall, The low retainer is capped with an angle cut, stone lip, making it comfortable to lean against as many do, content just to look at the ancient, massive Wall and watch the varieties of activity it generates. Continue Reading
The Same Four men… a Greek Orthodox priest, two Jewish guys who had been with the Rabbi’s group on the prayer floor, and the forth, a tall American who always wore a vest and tan fedora. Following events on the evening of Yom Kippur, (See Ch. 1), we met these men – continued to meet them – separately and only in passing. Continue Reading
Glorian Bonnette and I had met at a meeting where she was speaking, a meeting sponsored by a mutual friend – an evangelist with a reputation for giving accurate prophetic readings. Glorian did the prophetic thing too, so after listening to her stories of miraculous encounters I asked her for a “read.” Short story made shorter – I was intrigued enough with what she said that by the end of the afternoon I had offered to travel as a member of her ministry group. Injury and age had combined making travel and the heavy lifting required to stage meetings painful. It was clear that she needed more help.
And so began a four month odyssey in South East Asia. Singapore, which would be “home base,” is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From this comfortable oasis we traveled to cities and remote villages in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Glorian was not a typical missionary – actually more of an evangelist. The people who came to her meetings were looking for a message from God. To Glorian’s credit she came to give – not to get. Good thing, because by appearance, certainly by comparison, most who attended, were extremely poor. Continue Reading
Before leaving Singapore on my original return flight ticket I bought another that would get me from the US to Israel. Arriving home, I stayed only long enough wash cloths and re-pack. Flying from the Boise to Chicago, with a night in the air over the Atlantic, put me in Munich by morning of the next day. Changing planes here meant I would be flying the last leg on Lufthansa. Unlike United, Lufthansa, allowed a bare minimum of carry on baggage – insisting that you check anything larger than a wallet before boarding – which meant more hands pawing through my stuff. And even before September 2001, passengers waiting to board flights to Israel were watched by armed guards. Thankfully, no shots were fired and we were soon on our way. Crossing the Alps and Southern Europe the plane banked left once we were out over the Mediterranean routing us straight into Tel Aviv. This near the end of the second leg of a long trip I was anxious to get to a room, shower and sleep. After a short wait at passport control, I retrieved my roll aboard and made my way unchallenged through customs and out into an arrival hall. There I was greeted by expectant faces – all waiting for someone else. Some held one words signs that said things like, Greenburg or Sheraton or UNESCO. They are never for me but I can’t resist looking – as if by chance someone knew I was coming. Apparently no one did. Outside of the terminal the late afternoon sun felt good. A warm breeze tugged at the tops of the palm trees as I stood waiting for the bus that would take me the last thirty miles. Continue Reading
Don’t Let the Desert Eat You!
The Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River which drains it, The Dead Sea and The Red Sea – all lay at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. Defined by an immense fault line, the Rift Valley continues three thousand mile south into Central East Africa, Just ahead of us the fault has split the earth so deeply that we were soon below sea level. Signs along the way mark the descent in 200 meter intervals. The highway twists back and forth in the rocky canyon and occasional flat spot opens to one side or the other. On one of these small deltas a ragged Bedouin tent flapped in the dry wind. A beat up old truck with a water tank mounted on its bed sat in the sun. I could see why they wanted my rental car. Herds of multicolored sheep and goats grazed optimistically in the flinty dirt. Words of a song came to mind, “If you can make it here you can make it anywhere!” Ya, Frank… ever tried it here? Continue Reading
The Dead Sea and desolate mountains rising sharply from its East and West shores. This is an environment as unforgiving as the politics of the people who live here. The only visible water is so salt and mineral saturated that it instantly, painfully attacks the mouth of anyone trying to drink it – a blessing considering that sickness and vomiting would result. People don’t swim there – they float – on their backs. Not knowing better, on a later visit, I dunked my head under the surface and came up with my whole face on fire. Futilely wiping burning, salt slick water from my eyes, I ran near blinded, for relief at one of the fresh water showers dotting a public beach. Lesson learned.
“Don’t let the desert eat you,” – the words I thought I had heard from one of the guards. One step outside the gates of garden-like Kakalya and I was in that desert – nothing but hot sun radiating against rock and barren soil. I’d been warned. Continue Reading
Looking back over previous episodes: Here I was, getting my direction from disembodied voices. Then crossing three continents and as many oceans. Stealing an expensive blanket from some very nice people. I say, “borrowed” But that’s not how it would look if I failed to return it before they saw it missing. Wandering around in a desert. What’s significant about any of this? Where was the big pay off – trans-personal awakening – spiritual transformation? Jerusalem Syndrome manifests more than one plot line. What could I say? I’d had an entertaining adventure but little more. Telling this story has been the easy part – unpacking it – giving readers a valuable, “Take Away,” will be another challenge. Continue Reading
Back down from the mountain and back to life. The next mornings edition of the Jerusalem Post did not carry news of my adventure. No letters ever arrived thanking me for my contribution to peace in the Middle East. I just did a very wild, strange thing and then went back to work. Were there implications – at least something to be learned ? Yes. but they were cumulative and often difficult to recognize until later. Hearing voices and acting on visionary directives – readers ask, when will it all make sense? Actually, invaluable information was being imparted all along the way. We will look at this in more depth in future articles. But first, come with me on a trip to the Scotland. Continue Reading