Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pompeii, Italy

The last two days I have been hanging out in Pompeii. The first thing I want to say about the ruins, is that they are much larger than I expected. As a kid I was always somewhat fascinated by the whole Mt. Vesuvius explosion and the idea of peoples' lives being frozen in their death. The actual ruins are larger than the current city of Pompeii, which is unfortunately a metropolis of the nearby Naples (a horribly dirty city, don't go visit).

Literally, the last two days all I have done is eat and walk through the uncovered ruins of old Pompeii. I have been blessed to have walked and talked to many important people involved in the excavation. I have got personal tours and been able to see artifacts that aren't available to the public. The people of Pompeii were, of course, under the rule of the Roman empire during its life before death by explosion. It is unbelievable to see the attention to detail found within the 2,000 year old city. From art (mostly frescoes, architecture, and some sculptures), the organization of the city (places of worship to multiple gods, restaurants, brothels, baths, government, everything had its place), and technologies (marble, engineering, and aqueducts). If you ever get the chance to visit, I would highly recommend it. Tomorrow I take to the the climbing of the murderer, Mt. Vesuvius, and then head to Rome to finish my brief trip to Italia. Throughout this crazy trip, which started out a mess and will hopefully end beautifully, I have been keeping one Bible verse in mind.

Hebrews 13:6
So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my Shepard; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Check my facebook soon for pictures, too many to try to choose one to post.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Learn Yourself

I was listening to one of my favorite songs by the band The Beautiful Girls in the car a couple weeks ago after church. I really love the lyrics of some verses in the song Learn Yourself. They are as follows.

"Just like the holy scripture talks, of a road to redemption in amongst the thorns. The path is beset by ego and greed, and if we don't see then we won't ever be free."

"Along the path we walk we've only got to find. Along the path we walk we've only got to find. Along the path we walk we've only got to find. Our own heart own mind, our own heart own mind Our own heart own mind, our own heart own mind."

The verse reminds me of a lot of things. The first thing that comes to mind is Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV). Along with other verses that can be found that have the same kinda idea.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

I also thought of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I'm not going to add the whole poem to the blog but I encourage you to sit down with the poem that we have all read at some point or another in our life and analyze it after reading the verses from Matthew. I feel as if the whole premise of the song, Matthew, and the poem is to find that freedom that brings us peace. But how do you find freedom with the ways of the world and the challenges and decisions in requires. I have personally tried not to think of my decisions as taking one path or another, or doing the right thing or the wrong (because that can be complicated and difficult in many cases). Instead I try to answer whether the decision I am about to make will lead me closer to God (a much simpler questions that I usually have no trouble answering)? Kinda strange to get that from song lyrics, a poem, and some Bible verses, but it shows me the importance of reflection, studying, and prayer in the grand process of 'learning yourself.'

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Love > Knowledge

I have been studying the book of Ephesians through church the past couple of weeks. Most recently, the third chapter. I noticed that this passage kinda fits well with things I have been thinking about of late:

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
-Ephesians 3:17-19

This scripture has become very valuable to me because I have been spending so much time studying lately. It just seems like my school work never ends. Always another test to study for, a reflection to write, or a lesson plan to create. This has caused a lot of stress in my life but has also been filling me up with tons of knowledge. Like I have mentioned in previous posts I feel called into the study of these things that are fascinating to me, but where do I draw the line between my studies and relationships with others. Because like it says in Ephesians, "the love of Christ surpasses knowledge." So no matter how much I learn or how much time I put into studying, all of that is really nothing compared to what I have in Christ. And what I have in Christ is useless unless I use share it with others around me. Elementary I suppose, but something I lose sight of on a frequent basis.