The Peoples Next Door Posts

I have been thinking about monks a lot lately. Not the “blaze orange wearing, nun-chuck carrying” kind. Instead, I am talking about the “crawl off into a cave with their Septuagint” type.

One of our stops on the tour de force through Turkey was Kapadokya, or ancient Cappadocia. Admittedly, this area is one of the strangest landscapes I have ever visited and boasts terribly unique landforms. It has an arid climate and would probably be classified as a desert region. The region is pocked with valleys, and each valley is littered with dozens of large rock towers shooting up into the air. The resulting impression is a desert valley full of rock trees.

What is even more intriguing is the ancient use of this remarkable landscape. The cliff walls and even the rock towers themselves were carved out and fashioned into dwellings places. High rock cliffs full of little, black windows fill the eyesight. In these caves, much of Christianity’s early monastic tradition was conceived. Small stone doorways lead into vast cathedral caverns, covered floor to ceiling with Byzantine-era religious frescos. Read More Why I am not a monk

Discipleship from Africa

It appears that life is fashioned in such a way as to provide us with those little moments which necessitate being retold. Furthermore, any preacher or teacher will understand the great desire to take these little jewels once given and turn them into some rich illustration that produces a poignant response and the clear understanding of some deep spiritual truth inside the hearer. Hence, sermon fodder is born.

I had just such an incident on vacation. Read More Sermon Fodder – Turkish Baths

from Africa Funny posts

Ephesus was kind of a big deal. Think of it as the “New York” of ancient Asia Minor. With a population of 400,000 people during the first century AD, it was the second largest city in the world after Rome. It was the political and economic center, not to mention the major port, for all of Roman Asia. The city was home to the second largest library on its side of the Mediterranean (after Pergamum), the largest theater anywhere in Asia Minor (holding upwards of 44,000 spectators), and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (the great temple to Artemis). Needless to say, when the emperor came to visit the area, Ephesus is where he parked his boat. Read More Ephesus: Causing ripples

Discipleship from Africa from the Word