Day 8 (Bethlehem, Alex Awad, Nativity church, Herodian Palace, tunnel, pablo fell in hole)

This day we did so much I could hardly remember it all. We began this day with a trip to Bethlehem to meet the President of Bethlehem Bible College and the writer of one of our required books for a class here. Alex Awad, who is a Palestinian Christian, explained to us a viewpoint of Israel from a historical and theological standpoint that tore my perspectives to pieces. There is no way to explain the theological and historical points thoroughly without taking a couple days to devote towards the explanation. However I can say that I will have to come to a conclusive opinion with research so that when I am back in the states and I have the ability to thoroughly explain what may seem to be an outrageous standpoint. I do believe there may be a possibility in the near future when I meet others with different opinions, my thoughts will once again be challenged and this may happen all over again.

I can say that my respect for this man is very high. He may be one of the most humble people I have ever had the chance to meet. His story of suffering at the hands of Israeli forces is mind blowing. His family has been Christians for generations. He explained how when he goes to the states many people ask him when he converted from Islam. He replies back, “my family has been Christians before Muhammed was born.”

Bethlehem is Palestinian. When I say Palestinian I do mean Arabic. Bethlehem is full of Arabic or Palestinian Christians. The stats are quite surprising. 85% of the population within Bethlehem is Christian. Yes there are more Arabic Christians than Arabic Muslims in Bethlehem.

Here is a picture of the front of the College. Behind this building is a nice modern facility with classrooms, a bookstore, and much more. It was very nice. They have a masters program here for people in ministry. The school is not yet open to international students. Dr. Awad said that they are working towards that goal. It would be very exciting to get my masters in this country. With all of the issues going on I am not sure it would be the most logical idea. Sometimes what God tells us to do is not logical but it must be biblical.

The next stop for us was the Church of the Nativity. This is supposedly the exact location of where Jesus was born. When I see claims such as this one the skeptic in me begins to come out. Even though there is decent proof that this is the actual birthplace of my Lord and Savior I still have my doubts. There are four proofs that one would give for the birth of Jesus at the Church of the Nativity. First, we have the Bible (which in my opinion is not good enough to completely give proof for this location). Second, oral tradition (this is a little bit better to prove their point, but oral tradition can only word so well). Third, we have archeology. Fourth we have the fact that Hadrian built a Pagan Temple on churches site. Romans built Pagan temples on Holy sites to discourage religious people from worshiping. Even though this is a more a influential point, it is still not enough concise enough.

In all honesty I did not enjoy the Church of the Nativity. I walked in and 3 churches were splitting ownership. The place was riddled with gorgeous stuff like chandeliers, beautiful paintings, exquisite cloth and much more. There were many people in the Church lighting candles and praying. I almost felt as if these people were worshiping the location and not the one supposedly born there.

Our next stop was to explore Herodian’s summer palace. It was pretty cool but not very significant. We got to check out how Herod lived and the story behind the Palace. I did appreciate the exploring I was able to participate in.

Then we moved on to another site. I really do not remember the significance of this site. All I can remember is the Caves we crawled in and the cistern Pablo fell into. Those two events have clouded my memory of anything significant. I believe it had something to do with Ruth and Boaz.

That is what I remember.

This was a very good day. This was the most informative day due to the visit to Bethlehem Bible College and hearing Alex Awad speak. A very mind altering day.

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