Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Interfaith tourists talk Armageddon, get N.C. shout-out from Muslim teacher

Hailing from a country that's not even 300 years old, Charlotte's interfaith travelers in Israel this week have had a hard time wrapping their heads around just how old parts of the country are.

Take Megiddo, site of a national park with ancient remnants of palaces, stables, gates, and altars dating back 5,000 or more years. On Tuesday, these members of Temple Beth El and Myers Park Baptist even descended 180 steps to reach an underground water tunnel from 4000 B.C.

 Israeli tour guide Doron Harel wanted to show how many different empires have seized this one-time "city of chariots" in the heart of Galilee over the years. So he asked the Charlotteans to temporarily donate their hats and then piled them -- like so many layers of civilizations -- atop the head of Mary Rothkopf, a member of Temple Beth El. The Canaanites, Israelites, Syrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine Christians, Persians, Muslims. "That's just for the last 3,000 years," Harel said. "I'm not talking 6,000 years."

Atop the excavated Megiddo fortress, the Jewish-Christian group could also look down on the lush expansive valley destined to be the site of Armageddon -- that Apocalyptic battle between Good and Evil. At least that's how some interpret the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.

The Rev. Steve Shoemaker, the outgoing pastor of Myers Park Baptist, wasn't buying that scenario, telling the group of 46 that the Book of Revelation has been distorted by some who have literalized and militarized it. Still, he had to admit that he could see why "the ancient imagination saw this as a site for great battle...On this great plain, you can imagine all the great armies of the ancient world sooner or later battled here."

One last highlight from the stop in Megiddo: A Muslim teacher's shout-out to the Tar Heel State. As the Charlotte group explored the ancient stones, they suddenly heard, amid a rush of shouted Arabic, the words "North Carolina!"

Turns out the teacher, lecturing nearby to his 8th grade students -- from the village of Hura in the Negev Desert -- wanted to acknowledge the Charlotte group by reminding his class that he had taught them about the Wright Brothers, whose historic ascent in Kitty Hawk made N.C. first in flight.

According to a later report from one Charlotte pilgrim, a Muslim student seconded the hat-tip to North Carolina by pretending to shoot a basketball Michael Jordan-style.

-- Tim Funk


Anonymous said...

Yeah, what did those ancient Middle Easterners know about the Bible?

Silly people never travelled across the globe, so of course they would think Armageddon was gonna happen right in their back yards.

Just like they thought Hell was he local garbage dump.

It takes smart, modern, AMERICAN Christians to REALLY understand what the Bible is all about.

Because we've just learned so much more about what happened back then over the last few thousand years.

Things they never thought about.

Glad the Good Pastor is there to straighten everyone out.

Anonymous said...

So are y'all going to see the encroaching settlements in the West Bank and the apartheid there and in Gaza? That stuff is pretty holy!

Anonymous said...

Did you know there is a HUGE under ground hospital right there in front of you at Armageddon. The Jews build it....kinda makes you wonder why there Mr. Shoemaker...ya dope. This from an article
This week Israel is dedicating its underground medical facility in Haifa that I call the Armageddon hospital. Located at the end of the plain of Megiddo where the battle of Armageddon will begin, the new medical center will accommodate 2,000 patients at one time. How far are we from Armageddon?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:10.

Are you talking about Ramjam?

I don't think it's that close.

Haifa is about 20 miles from Megiddo.

But please give more info if you have it.

Anonymous said...

"Hailing from a country that's not even 300 years old, Charlotte's interfaith travelers in Israel this week have had a hard time wrapping their heads around..."

Tim, how many more cliches and buzzwords can you pack in one story? "Hailing from," "wrapping their heads around," "shout out," "not buying it.."

Did you write this, or cut and paste from The Great American Dictionary of the Trite and Overused?

Anonymous said...