Reason #2 – Pilgrimage

The great tradition of taking a pilgrimage to learn and love a new people, has all but been lost in the Western world. All cultures and all religions have had this as an integral part of their lives. Ted and I were pilgrims. We were learners. We actually listened far more than we spoke. I was seeing the Middle East as if for the first time, through his eyes and ears.

It changes everything when you place yourself in a posture of learning rather than teaching. What if these “bad guys” we were meeting weren’t just simple thugs? What if they had some good points? Or not…? Or….well, who knows. But we won’t know if we don’t want to learn.

One of Jesus’ common intros into a new thought was “To him who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus never assumed people really wanted to hear. They often don’t. But for the ones with ears to hear something new, fresh, life-giving – then they can hear. But he won’t force us to hear. We have to want it…  And I’d say that was one of the richest things of the trip – we heard the people. Really heard them. All sides.  And through them, we often heard God!


  1. robert gerwig says:

    is it possible that many of us are too comfotable to learn? the saying – “ignorance is bliss” – implies a complacent heart. may God give us a heart to listen (to love) our neighbors and our “enemies” as He did. fear, complacency, pride, and cold hearts are tools of the adversary to keep us at home in the “lazy boy.”

  2. Susanne says:

    Great post and I loved Robert’s comment. Lots of truth there!

  3. Mike Todd says:

    Great thoughts Carl. I loved the book, but beyond that this idea of Pilgrimage articulates so well one of the reasons I travel. If we could realign the idea of “short term missions trips” around this notion of pilgrimage the world would be a better place.