Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Today we went to the Acropolis.  Every Greek city had an acropolis, but the one in Athens is the most famous.  This is the site of the Parthenon.  At the base of the Acropolis is the Areopagus or Mars Hill from Acts 17:16-34.  This is where The Apostle Paul most likely gave a speech or defense of the message he was preaching.  We also visited the Agora, or market place further down the Acropolis.  It is almost certain that Paul was here and walked among the various shops and colonnades. The top of the Acropolis gave an amazing view of Athens, but no picture really does it justice.   There are hills all around Athens, so the city looks like a basin with houses going up the hills.

The Agora/market place as seen from the top of the Acropolis.

The side of the Parthenon. 

Our professors. Left to Right: Klyne, John, and Max. 
Parthenon in the background.

My homily for the day:
This is a picture of the Temple of Nike – the Greek god of Victory – atop a wall of the Acropolis.  The Parthenon, and the Athenian temple and even the temple of Nike were homes for the god who lived there.  The god of the temple was made of marble and usually wrapped in gold, or silver.  But, those who came to visit the site and worship at the site were not permitted to enter the temple – only the priest of that particular god.  The temple was for the god, and there were many different gods and many different temples on the Acropolis alone.

Just down the hill from the Acropolis is the Areopagus, a large rock with no buildings on it.   

This plaque mounted on the rock shows the Greek text of Acts 17:22-31.  The story in Acts records that Paul was sharing the gospel in the market place of Athens, and some were intrigued and some took offense.  They asked that he tell them more at the Areopagus.  
Once they were there Paul delivered his speech.  In the speech Paul says things like, “The God who made the world and everything in it…does not live in temples made by human hands…we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals…he has fixed a day when he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 

 Now imagine that Paul is either facing or has his back to the Acropolis, so that he and his hearers can see this…

Now imagine how those words must have sounded in this context to folks who were quite used to gods living in temples while the worshippers are kept on the outside.  It would have been foreign, or offensive – or maybe just plain crazy.  Imagine how a god lacking a temple and dying for them would have sounded.  And imagine how strange Christians must have seemed since they lacked priests, a temple, and sacrifices: all common features of all other religious practice.  For me, it was amazing to place this speech in context, and imagine how the context moved Paul to take the homiletical approach he did. 
But it makes me think,
What bastion of culture and value would be in the background if Paul spoke to us today?  
What assumptions about life and worldview might the gospel poke and prod at in our day? 

I love this picture. It is the concluding line of Paul’s speech.
“anasthsas auton ek nekron” = “[God] raised him from [the] dead ones.”

On a lighter note…

Yes, this is a 4th Century BC kiddie chair and potty seat.  Necessity is the mother of invention.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Church and Lots of Marble Statues

Today we went to a Greek Free Church, and the National Museum.

With Denise Johnson in front of the church.

The Greek Free Church is distinguished form the State Church: Greek Orthodox.  As Klyne says, “To be Greek, is to be Greek Orthodox,” so those in  the Free Church here get some flack from time to time.  This response is the same as the Mission Covenant Church’s history in Scandinavia, and elsewhere.  The service was lackluster.  It was a one man show, and the congregation mostly “showed up.” 

But we did sing “His Name is Wonderful” in Greek, and most of us were able to put our NT Greek into practice, but I could not parse on the fly. 

After Church we ate in the plaza of the National Museum.

I took many pictures of artifacts.  They mean a lot when you see them in person, but pictures are not as valuable, so I will spare you but these three below.

This is a wall decoration from the early 1st Century AD.  

Please read the caption that corresponds to the relief.

When I first saw it I thought of the contrast of the satyr stooping at the god Dionysos’ feet to untie his sandals as compared to the image in John 13, of Jesus (whom I believe to be God incarnate) washing the feet of his disciples. 
One god demands that we untie his sandals, and the Other washes his disciple’s feet. 
But we must hold this in tension with the words of John the Baptist in Mark 1:7, “The one who is more powerful than me is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.”  Or again in John 12:1-8 where Mary pours perfume on Jesus’ stinky feet, and wiped them with her hair. 
This God is both humble and worthy of humble adoration. 
Perhaps it is because of this divine humility that God is worthy of humble adoration.  I know one thing, Jesus was explicit in his teaching that we humble ourselves before others as he did: “So if I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). 

This one is for my mother-in law Jan (and other hokey players).  This is from 510-500 BC.  Even though they are playing field hockey, you get the sense that humans have been playing games for a long time. 

This one made me think of  Jenny.  
This is a Tritoness, a sea goddess.  You cannot see it well, but she has two mermaid-like tentacles reaching toward her head.

Note the similarity to the Starbuck Logo.

On the steps of the National Museum.

Tomorrow we sit in 5 Lectures on Early Christianity and Graeco/Roman culture.
Hopefully all this study will make the upcoming visits much more valuable.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Arrived in Greece

Kyle, diakonos tou Iesou Chritstou, to pas mou genous en USA.
Kyle, a servant of Jesus Chirst, to all my family in USA.
(I'm a Greek nerd, I know)
We have arrived.  But tonight is just a settle in day.  
These are some random pics to give some context.

As a Greek Nerd I was thrilled to see that I could read the Greek right off the plane. 
Exhodos = Exit (Trust me)

We are staying at the Greek Bible College.

 My Dorm room.  We share a tiny bathroom.

 But we do have a tiny balcony as well.  The view is not great.  
But the campus is cool.

"Meh Patate to Graziai" = "Do not step on the grass"

Walking down a busy Greek Street.  There are many abandoned store fronts.  You may have heard about the Greek Economy crumbling last year.  Well, it shows.
But this solar store panel is where Paul gave his famous "To an unknown god" speech (Acts 17).
Just Kidding.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Daddy Bird Goes to Greece

Hi all,  I, Kyle, will be taking over this blog for a brief stretch.  I will be traveling to Greece on a Early Christianity Seminar Trip and this is the best way to give some updates from across the Pond.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Evelyn is One Month

Evelyn Jane turned one month on July 19. Her weight got all the way up to 8 lbs. 2 oz! And she grew two inches! She is long and skinny, much like the other two in my family.

She is  such a good baby- a good sleeper, a good eater, goes along with us wherever we go very easily. We are so thankful for two beautiful, fun girls!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

At Home

We were discharged from the hospital on Thursday afternoon. We stopped by my sister's apartment to pick up Charlotte and headed home. The two girls took an instant liking to each other, although it has taken Charlotte a while to understand that Evelyn doesn't really "play."

I was awakened this morning by this crazy girl being flown around my bedroom by her father in a makeshift superhero costume.


Mecher girls.

Evie has finally been awake for substantial parts of today and we're getting to see a little bit more personality.