#TravelinTandem Chapter 7: Extra Material

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Destination unknown!

BLOG POSTS that relate to this chapter:

Will the world burn? Or are we headed for restoration or a mix? Some borrowed thoughts from 1 Peter here.

Travel: a metaphor used for life

Our travel dreams are too small. Some thoughts that shaped this chapter.

Odysseus and a government monitoring travel

Travelling to find yourself

Someone who paints a far better, more persuasive picture than I do is Glynn Harrison in his book about sexuality “A better story”.

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The misty scenes remind me of the lack of clarity we sometimes feel in trying to find ourselves.

Tangential thoughts somewhat related to the chapter:

As I recently made a reading list of what books I’d read in the last 7 years, I noticed a distinct lack of eschatology (end times) on it. And by that, I don’t just mean end times debates about what will happen, but heart-warming thinking and meditating upon the new heavens and the new earth. And that’s all the worse for me – I’m missing out. So often I get lost in philosophising over what I don’t know, or getting angry and arguing about what precise end-times view someone holds, instead of marvelling at what is to come. It’s where I’ve found Nancy Guthrie’s latest book “Even better than Eden” to be a wonderful start.

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Father Ted: exemplary of where conservative culture gets confused with Christianity, and we go round telling people to stop doing things without anything positive.

Feedback from readers on the chapter:

Interestingly this chapter contains the most shared quotation so far: that “Christian culture” should not be our goal – making ourselves comfortable in our own societies (pg. 132). Here’s one example of a review that spoke of it. I find it fascinating that this should be something that the generation of travellers would be passionate about. So why do you think that is?

From living amongst them, and from my own heart, it’s obvious that the culture they react against is the over-politicised, right-wing conservatism, that cares a lot for enforcing “moral laws” (think: abortion, drugs, sexuality, gender etc) but are not as evidently mixing and mingling with, and helping those they are perceived to be campaigning against (often they are not campaigning against them at all, but their lack of engagement on the ground makes it appear that way and implicitly speaks volumes).

And whilst the traveller’s critique is often a fair one, I do wonder whether our own travelling culture needs also challenged here – as we sit creating our own conservative culture in hipster coffee shops, lauding our travel stories to each other from craft-brewing pubs, and going out of our way to know everything about what everyone is doing via social media, without engaging with them. The result, is arguably not much different, in terms of engaging meaningfully with people. Perhaps slightly less influence on national laws, and slightly less public square bitterness towards Christendom. But if we can expect that simply by sitting quietly drinking lattes and engaging positively with the world’s best sights, coffee and news headlines, will win the next generation to Christ, we will be sorely disappointed.

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Looking up, a path is always far harder to spot than looking back!

#TravelinTandem Chapter 6: Extra Material

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Just before the arrival of our gunman

BLOG POSTS that relate to this chapter:

Cross centred travel

When intentionality kills the dream

Does living “dead” to self mean Flight-free-travel? I wrote a ‘starter’ about the environment here and would love to have included more on this relevant topic, but for space (and lack of expertise), it was rightly given the axe. I’m not yet convinced that personal responsibility of carbon cutting by not flying, is a significant enough thing to stop me visiting my family, or other gospel callings. You can convince me otherwise – I’m open!

When we miss out on joy

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Enjoying dinner with sublime views

Tangential thoughts somewhat related to the chapter:

One helpful resource that shaped my thinking on this chapter was the Assemblies of God (USA) resource “The LiveDead Journal“. Made by Dick Brogden and team, this helpful devotional journal seeks to shape our hearts into a attitude of worship, even when that is hard. I have copies I’m willing to post to those in UK/Ireland, or for those in America, it’s easily orderable.

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Sunset after the gunman had left

Feedback from readers on the chapter:

“You need to set higher standards of sacrifice Peter. Where you have thrived in your life is sacrificial living but you need to call others explicitly to that. No books are written anymore about sacrifice after your IFES predecessor Howard Guinness wrote his. Why did you not say more about what living dead looks like? You’ve only touched on the basics.” (Reader in Belfast)

The trouble with writing a book about sacrifice on any topic, is that no-one picks up a book on travel, to be told not to travel. Similarly with enjoying any of God’s good gifts to us. But asides from that (which hopefully would not have stopped me), the article I linked to above contains a few reasons I’m nervous about delving far more into what sacrifice should explicitly look like in your life and mine but I might summarise why I didn’t say more in 3 ways:

  1. The Scriptures only say so much. General principles give radical calls to us to sacrifice, but often leave things to be worked out in our own context.
  2. Your life is different to mine – what might be sacrificial to me, may not be anything to someone else. My culture, socio-economic class, language, physical ability, mental capacity and personality will all play into this (though are also often used as excuses to neglect thinking through an area).
  3. We must primarily bathe ourselves in the good news of our Lord Jesus, and who He is – otherwise strict and continual calls for sacrifice will wear us out quickly, point more towards ourselves than to Him, and rob us of a gospel that makes us feel like His yoke is easy and burden is light. The hard thing, is that this “higher life theology” might still be using “Jesus” language.

Someone once said to me, that you can tell what people take away from what you’ve taught, by what (or whether) they pray afterwards. I think that’s been so helpful to me as I’ve led Bible studies and given talks. Similarly, when I get people on both extremes of a spectrum complaining, I realise that I’m probably at a healthy middle-ground, of holding the tensions of scripture (though not always, of course).

My prayer is that at the end of this book (assuming you’re not too overwhelmed by the challenge, to get to the end of the book!), you’ll be overflowing with an awareness of God’s good character in different ways, that will make us all willing to grow in our Christ-like response to Him.

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To jump the gorge or not to jump?  I said not!

#TravelinTandem Chapter 5: Extra Material

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On a paradise beach with a friend

BLOG POSTS that relate to this chapter:

For those who are keen on travel being mission-centred, I’ve written a 5 part series of posts here, of which many have been reading and responding to recently. I warn you, they go slightly deeper than most, and may take a few minutes to read, particularly when you see the Venn diagram!

Travel in the New Testament (some of the loose thoughts that the book derived from):

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Roman roads….when in Rome

Tangential thoughts somewhat related to the chapter:

I mention “Identification, Persuasion and Invitation” in the chapter, and here are some resources that further expand on that. Well worth listening to over the next while – these principles have shaped me enormously in life.

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Free lunch time talks in the university put on by the Christian Union, trying to identify, persuade and invite people to believe in good news.

Feedback from readers on the chapter:

Amidst many positive things that you’ve said, your questions mean I must admit that I haven’t been to Vanuatu. Nor a few other places in the book (I tell stories of the friends I mention). Perhaps editing may make it seem like I was in all these places, but for the sake of clarity, I should say this now – not that it affects anything in the book! This chapter originally started with a story of my sister and her husband (from Vanuatu) but was later removed to make the chapter more digestible.

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Miles from “normal” civilisation.  Who will reach the nomadic people here?

#TravelinTandem Chapter 4: Extra Material

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Exploring Arabian deserts

BLOG POSTS that relate to this chapter:

Travel in the Old Testament

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Treading arid gorges in intense heat.

Tangential thoughts somewhat related to the chapter:

Does travel restore our faith in humanity?

Home: a topic that so much more could be said about, albeit a sub-theme of the chapter’s main aim of taking us through the Old Testament. Here’s one way a university in England got people engaging on the topic with talks and free lunches on the theme all week (see video below), but I’d love to hear your thoughts on “home” too:

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Just like the many visitors  to Solomon, the nations come to our doorstep.  Pictured here, the local International Student Cafe.

Feedback from readers on the chapter:

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CouchSurfing, Arab-style!

#TravelinTandem Chapter 3: Extra Material

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One of the souks, where we started off

BLOG POSTS that relate to this chapter:

A book review of Ministering in Shame/Hono(u)r Cultures which delves deeper into some of the issues I’d raised.

The potential consequences of getting shame/honour culture wrong: martyrdom.  And then some feedback from those far wiser than I.

God’s Big Picture is one classic that I recommend everyone reads at some point.  But for those of you who aren’t readers, here’s it on video.

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Souks are more relaxing for some than others!

Tangential thoughts somewhat related to the chapter:

Top tips for a day in the souks

More material about souks and culture

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Trying to ascertain what goods are genuine local ware, and what are imported or replica kit, is hard at times!

Feedback from readers on the chapter:

“For this chapter alone, the book is worth it to even the most experienced Christian or cross-cultural worker.  The implications of this chapter are so profound, I’ve to go away and think more about it all, and how it affects my life, nevermind those travelling overseas.” 
(A kind, retired, reviewer in Ireland)

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Further along the Arabian window, you see temperature gauges on the street – this wasn’t as high as they went!

#TravelinTandem Chapter 2: Extra Material

[This is extra material to go alongside Chapter 2 to “Travel: in Tandem with God’s Heart” (IVP UK, October 2018).  Video content, photos, questions, blog posts and responses will be continually added over time.]

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The stunning remains of ancient Tunisia that helped me name this blog, but also speak into what the chapter finishes with: beautiful ruins

BLOG POSTS that relate to this chapter:

This one is a link to Dan “The Rebel Cyclist”‘s  blog who shares of his broken moments.  You’ll meet him throughout the book several times – he has an incredible story to tell, I’m sure you’ll agree!

What about when I can’t stomach intentionality in my travels and just need rest, and only rest?  Here’s one for you.

On why travel doesn’t restore my faith in humanity fully.

More on “aljabr” and why “beautiful ruins” have stuck with me so much.

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I did say they were stunning, didn’t I?  Not a tourist in sight.

Tangential thoughts somewhat related to the chapter:

a. Find labelling everything a ruin, too depressing?  Good news.  Christianity is the only worldview who allows you to stare into the blackest of black, and still have great reason to hope.  So please don’t stop looking into the black – it makes His rescue all the more incredibly bright!

b. I mentioned how our own stories can so often dominate the conversations we’re in, or be the things that we choose to define ourselves by. 

That, done for the wrong reason, I said leads to making less of Jesus’ story and more of ourselves.  We invert the “He must become greater, I must become less”.

But what does the opposite look like?  Some will never mention themselves, will shake their head when you compliment them, and will pride themselves in asking amazing questions to open up conversations about others (and they can be good questions).  But this, taken to the extreme is equally problematic.  People know nothing about you as a human, because you’re either always asking questions to get others to talk or telling people about an abstract Jesus, when they really just would be more impressed to see what difference He makes in a real human life.

Chapter 6 will explain more of what living for Jesus’ story really looks like.  But from this chapter, you’ll tell that our silences, our questions, our stories and even our evangelism, all have their “beautiful” side and their “ruin” side to some extent.  But before I’m into another blog post…. 

c. Travel as an educator

The secular mantra is that travel educates.  It’s wonderful because it stops any objective bigotry or thinking we’re better than anyone else.  All humans are wonderful….or so the story goes.  But much as travel can educate, it can also create the most selfish, absorbed people ever, who have no ambition to truly humble themselves and learn.  We’ll meet one of them soon…

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Fun video to go withthe chapter:

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A Roman Colosseum in better shape and with far fewer tourists than the one in Rome – another beautiful ruin in Tunisia

#TravelinTandem Chapter 1: Extra Material

[This is extra material to go alongside Chapter 1 to “Travel: in Tandem with God’s Heart” (IVP UK, October 2018).  Video content, photos, questions, blog posts and responses will be continually added over time.]

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In the light of the Midnight Sun, Tromso, Norway – 21/06/15

BLOG POSTS that relate to this chapter:

On getting distracted with Genesis

On contrasting creation accounts – an Islamic theology of travel

On environment – something that needs far more mention than I could give it in the book, and probably fits in this chapter’s exploration of what it is for a world to be made good by God.  More here.

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What better to do than go hiking and camping 12 hours after we finished our first ever marathon?!

Tangential thoughts somewhat related to the chapter:

On evangelism: We sometimes think creation is good because we get to tell people about our creator.  “Aha!  They’ll never be able to deny him when they see this [insert scene]

But I’m not sure taking the quickest way to sharing of our God is always the best, particular if you have a thinker with you.  Partly because it immediately raises questions of suffering (as soon as they’re with us and see it together), that only written revelation can give a satisfactory response to.  If you’re wanting confrontation, perhaps.  And that’s not always bad.  But 90 times out of a hundred, I prefer to sit with people in their questions, and work together towards a solution, rather than coming with a perceived answer to someone’s non-question.  More on this another time.

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3am in the morning and still bright as daytime!

And your video for the chapter: enjoying life and all the random craic that comes with it…

Follow on episode here

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A rare walk through civilisation

#TravelinTandem Introduction: Extra Material

[This is extra material to go alongside the Introduction to “Travel: in Tandem with God’s Heart” (IVP UK, October 2018).  Video content, photos, questions, blog posts and responses will be continually added over time.  The introductory chapter is short, and so I include a special video with a short lunchtime talk I recently gave at a university.]

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The golden Atlantic shores of Western Morocco where we sat, 4 travellers together.

BLOG POSTS that engage with this chapter:

What Augustine never said

 

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Sunset by the crashing waves

Some tangential thoughts loosely to do with the chapter:

  1. Know any female missionary friends in settings where single females aren’t accepted so much?  Perhaps you could ask them whether they want company on holiday somewhere?  Often it’s the only chance they’ll get.

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One of several dinner-selling friends we made that day

A video made for students wanting to know why they should explore more:

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