This year, or this month, or, more likely this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people. – C.S. Lewis
This year, or this month, or, more likely this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people. – C.S. Lewis
Here are some articles that got me thinking and/or taught me something new over the past few weeks. Inclusion does equal a full endorsement of everything in each article. To read the article in its entirety click on the link beneath each excerpt. Anything in bold is an emphasis made by me.
“This excellent and very true point is expressed via a supposed contrast with theology — as though theology was a subject that might somehow be studied or understood without addressing questions like “What else was going on?” or “What changed and what caused that change?”
…A context-less, “ahistorical” approach to theology makes no more sense than an ahistorical approach to history…
Many Christians have gotten the idea into their heads that their eternal salvation — whether they are destined for Heaven or Hell — is dependent on their having the proper ideas about theology. If one believes the wrong doctrine, one may be damned forever. And thus it is unthinkable and terrifying that one’s understanding of theology might be, in any way, contingent on context, or culture, or any other such accident of personal or national history…
We want our theological pronouncements to be the last word — authoritative pronouncements that can be made with utter certainty and clarity. We don’t want anyone to be able to challenge or question our spiritual and moral authority when we speak our One True and Correct Doctrine, thereby establishing ourselves as the ultimate and final authority.
That authority doesn’t sound quite so authoritative if we allow for the way that our theological ideas, whatever they may be, are shaped by history, by culture, by “what else is going on.”
Theology, history, and context by Fred Clark
“If you do decide to make the break, you have to be spiritually ready. You have to know what’s going to happen. You have to count the cost before saying anything. You have to understand that those who stand with scorned and marginalized people will be scorned and marginalized.
You have to realize that whatever abuse you are taking from evangelical authorities is nothing compared to the abuse that LGBTQ people have taken from pastors, teachers, parents, and “Christian friends” every day of their lives.
“…don’t worry about me, or about the rough week Eugene Peterson had. Do worry about those LGBTQ Christian kids who continue to experience stigma, rejection, and even contempt in their own Christian homes, churches and schools. Worry about what the events of last week taught them.”
When the evangelical establishment comes after you by David Gushee
While people bring many unique experiences to this season, Shifting typically includes:
Shifting: When Things Get Rumbly by Kathy Escobar
“I was raised as a devout, conservative Christian with strong Republican values in the South. It’s a place where being different can not only be unforgiving, but unsafe. I was, and am, an active member of our local church. I used to lead a small ministry teaching Bible study, and I didn’t support or condone those living the LGBTQ lifestyle. That was just part of the Christian makeup I’d been brought up to believe. I knew I’d instill those same principles in my children.
But all of my beliefs and convictions were brought into question when, at 18 months old, Kai began exhibiting very strong female characteristics. From the moment my child was born, everything about Kai was geared toward femininity…
As a Christian mother raising a Christian family, it was a very difficult time for me. I wasn’t ready to give in and allow Kai to transition socially — especially at such a young age. My internal struggle beat me up daily. I felt like I couldn’t go against everything I’d been taught to believe, and yet I also couldn’t let Kai live in such obvious agony. I wasn’t ready to face the fact that my one-and-a-half-year-old child was a girl. That battle lasted for a couple years…
Family members were flat-out asking me if this kid was gay. It made me nervous, and I was constantly worried about what people would think of me, of us and of my parenting...
Everything was: “I’m a princess” and “I’m a girl.” Every time she’d say something like that, I’d get down on her level and firmly say, “No, you’re a boy.” It never worked…
While my biggest personal struggle was the choice to let Kai, now 6, transition, my greatest trial as a woman of faith has been the persecution I’ve received from other Christians. Family members, friends and church members have judged our family and ostracized us to the point that we’ve considered moving. I’m so disappointed in the hatred they call “love the sinner, hate the sin.” You cannot have fresh water and salt water from the same spring. But despite the ignorance and hurtful words of others, I choose to arm myself with knowledge. My child is at the highest risk of suicide and/or being murdered in a hate crime…
There’s never been a moment of doubt or regret after making the choice to let Kai transition. I’ve learned too much about identity and faith in loving my beautiful daughter exactly the way she is.”
I Had 4 Boys — Until One of Them Told Me She Was Really a Girl by Kimberly Shappley, as told to Breanne Randall
“Most murders of American women involve domestic violence, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.
The CDC analyzed data from 18 states, finding 10,018 female homicides between 2003 and 2014. Over half ― 55 percent ― of cases where circumstances were known involved domestic violence. In 93 percent of those cases, victims were killed by current or former intimate partners: boyfriends, husbands, and lovers. The other 7 percent of victims were female friends, family members, first responders and bystanders who were killed during a domestic incident.
While the facts seem shocking at face value, they’re not surprising or new.
It is already well-established that women in the U.S. are far more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than by any other group of people. As HuffPost previously reported: It’s not strangers, friends or acquaintances who pose the biggest threat to women’s lives. It’s the men they date and marry…”
Who Is Killing American Women? Their Husbands And Boyfriends, CDC Confirms. By Melissa Jeltsen
“Suicide isn’t cowardly.
It’s not weakness.
It isn’t selfish.
It’s born of a hopelessness that can imagine no other way out.
It is a thick, pitch black haze created by powerful personal demons that prevents you from seeing light.
People like to say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and they’re right—but those standing in the darkest places can’t see that from there.
When someone takes their own life, we can view it as a tragedy for their loved ones, as a reason to mourn their leaving, as a squandering of what that life may have one day become, we can even be really angry at the senselessness of the loss.
But we should never use the moment to insult the dead by trying to shame them after they’re gone…
There but for the grace of God go the critics.
May you always be such strangers to the dark.”
Please Stop Calling Suicide Victims “Selfish” or “Weak” by John Pavlovitz
“Do you see how these lies, sometimes borne out of a desire to protect marriage, actually bring about a low view of marriage? By granting, supporting, and even facilitating a biblical divorce, we take a stand to say that we can forgive without being forced to live with people who have shattered us. This protects marriage by allowing the innocent party to leave a relationship that has been broken. By backing biblical divorce, we protect women whom God loves, showing Christ’s love when spouses have not. This protects marriage by refusing to allow sinners to abuse the institution with impunity. By publicly stating that sexual sin and abuse, not wounded spouses, ends marriages, we hold the marriage bed in honor. This protects marriage by creating a holy fear of violating it. By offering biblical divorce, the church affirms that pornography is depravity, and will not be countenanced by Christ’s church. Naming and disciplining sexual sin as the evil it is and offering divorce to the innocent party makes the value of marriage clear as we refuse to see it damaged, abused, or treated lightly.
Developing and maintaining a high view of marriage does a lot. It protects women and children, often the people most hurt by sexual sin. It keeps us from falling into sin ourselves: the higher our view of marriage, the less likely we will be to dabble in something so devastating. And a high view of marriage honors the One who created it for our good and His glory—the One who promises to judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral.”
A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce by Rebecca VanDoodewaard
Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument; not being founded in reason they cannot be destroyed by logic. – Tryon Edwards
contains language and discussion of rape and abuse
This (misogyny) is something that stood out to me again as I watched and read some things that made me realize how much disrespect and hatred is still directed towards women often in subtle ways. This is done by men and women and can sometimes come from people you would least expect to see or hear it from. (Also just to be clear I am fully aware that men are abused and victimized but that is not the point of this particular post.)
First example: I started watching the Netflix series that was popular a few months back called The Crown. It is about Queen Elizabeth II and the time in her life when she was about to marry and became queen of England. Towards the beginning of the first episode we see her father, who struggles with a stutter, saying a rhyme which includes the word cunt. It is supposed to be a joke but seems unfortunate considering the rest of the time we are to believe that he loves his wife and daughters dearly. Not that men can’t say hurtful things and not still love women but it just struck me that making even that small joke shows how disrespectful even the “good” men can be without even realizing what they are doing.
Second example: This story about a teacher being raped while overseas is prefaced by her stating there were conversations leading up to the assault that indicated one of the men who raped her had little to no respect for women. She states she considered herself a feminist who understood men are solely responsible if they make the choice to abuse a woman. But even the red flags in these seemingly harmless conversations and attitudes were shrugged off by this woman because… well men objectify and look down on women so often its barely worth registering most the time never mind making any kind of deal out of it.
Third example: Another show I started watching goes over the cold case murder of a nun in Maryland back in 1969. Shortly after this woman went missing so did another (not a nun). And people started worrying about who was killing women in the town. And the sad fact is women disappearing and getting murdered these days is yet another part of life in US culture that this barely even phases people anymore.
Many books have been written covering the specific abuse and mistreatment women face simply for being women. Just a couple examples include Half the Sky and Scars Across Humanity. These and many other books I’ve read show the uniquely evil way women are hurt (usually by men) in ways and numbers that aren’t even comparable to men. Some of the many ways women are abused and objectified in generally greater numbers than men include: rape (including pedophilia and used as a tool for war), domestic violence, female genital mutilation, honor killings/rape, death in childbirth, infanticide and gender selective abortions, child marriage, sex trafficking, pornography, stripping, ect. This doesn’t include the “lesser” problems like street harassment or policing what women wear from a hijab to yoga pants and so many other debates that are made around what women can and cannot do simple because they are female. Added to all this are the various ways women are objectified in the media and talked about in ways that are far more superficial than the way men are generally discussed or presented. Also on my way to writing this I came across this article outlining things women in the US couldn’t do as recently as the 1950’s and 60’s. These include things like opening a bank account by themselves and running in the Boston Marathon.
Obviously a single blog post isn’t going to summarize all that is wrong in this world when it comes to the mistreatment of women but I’m spending time writing some of these things all down for the simple reason that some people want to believe that sexism and misogyny are a thing of the past or not as big a deal as they once were. This of course is usually said by men or women who haven’t been hurt by the things I listed above or been significantly confronted with it in their life experiences.
Years of working as a crime victims advocate, teaching girls (taken out of abusive homes and who were at risk of being trafficked by their own families) at a shelter as well as my own personal education about the many issues surrounding gender based violence has made me very angry yet also very tired of people that just don’t seem to care or think misogyny is something worth eradicating or addressing in their own lives.
All this to say that while we can see some progress is being made in better treatment of women there is still so much that goes by unnoticed in the world simply because we don’t even realize its there.
“ In an insane society, surely the sane man must, indeed, appear to be insane”
Here are some things I read over the last couple of weeks that made me think. Inclusion does not equal a full endorsement of everything in each post. To read each post in its entirety click on the title beneath each excerpt.
“But if I’m honest, Donald Trump’s behavior is the public repudiation and total exposure of my own sin. Every time he tweets impulsively, every time he lies, every time he revels in his own grandiosity, he is doing things that I have done and continue to do. So if I respond to Donald Trump’s demise like a Christian, it would be with my own repentance.”
How should Christians respond to the demise of Donald Trump? by Morgan Guyton
“Relief and development work, or “charity” more generally, was condoned only if it was explicitly subservient to the proclamation of the gospel — a means to that end and not something regarded or conducted as an end in itself…
It seems to me that this Great Commission objection has waned in the 21st century. I would count that as a positive development, except that I fear it has simply been replaced by something else that’s even worse… Today they seem to demonstrate that same instinct, but it’s no longer proclamation evangelism that they worry may be undermined — it’s opposition to legal abortion.
It means that white evangelicals may be permitted, conditionally, to consider some other, tangential causes — “creation care,” or “racial reconciliation,” or “human trafficking,” or whatever you like — but only to the extent that these things do not distract from the absolute, paramount duty white evangelicals have to support the election of Republicans to every branch and every level of government in the hopes that they will eventually pack the Supreme Court with enough anti-abortion justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.
That’s a starkly blunt way of putting it, but that is the essence of the objection. All those other causes, you see, may be laudable and commendable in and of themselves, but they’re all also vaguely liberal-seeming. And it’s dangerous to permit ourselves to have too much sympathy for liberal-ish causes because that might undermine our resolve to vote for the kind of anti-liberals we need to support in order to fulfill our paramount obligation of criminalizing abortion…
It seems like the instinctual white evangelical response of “Maybe, but it mustn’t be allowed to distract us from our pre-eminent duty to proclaim the gospel” has largely been replaced with “Maybe, but it mustn’t be allowed to distract us from our pre-eminent duty to be ‘pro-life.’”
Such a monumental shift seems like something worth noticing.
“When I asked her why she became an atheist, she said, “I started reading the Bible.”
We Christians often tell people that if they would only read the Bible, they would come to see that God is real and that He loves them. We hear testimony after testimony about how drug addicts and hookers were considering suicide but somehow got a Bible and started reading it and ended up giving their life to Christ.
I am not in any way denying such accounts or stories.
But I think it is also time to admit that while many people decided to follow Jesus as a result of reading the Bible, there are many others who turned away from God after reading the Bible.
Part of this, I am convinced, is because we Christians have said that the entire Bible is the Word of God, but then we ignore, gloss over, conveniently forget, or are simply dishonest about some of the more troubling portions of Scripture.”
11 Bible Verses That Turn Christians Into Atheists by Jeremy Myers.
“…We’re obviously still battling against several issues today, but seeing the things my mother and grandmother were forced to endure has really opened my eyes. I mean, I always knew things were different back in the day, but I can’t believe how long it took for a wife to not be legally classified as “subordinate” to her husband — much less, how difficult it was for a single gal to get her own bank account and credit card.”
“I taught American history for a while and it often felt as if we were looking at a constant flow of outrageous bigotry by the hands of white American Christians. They held themselves as superior in their entitled sense of manifest destiny, the deep belief that white Christians were sent by God to convert and civilize the “savage” world of the “other.” From the mass genocide of Native Americans, to slavery, to constant restrictions of various groups of immigrants, to turning our backs on the Jewish people fleeing genocide, to turning our backs on the Syrian people fleeing genocide – this Christian nation holds the clear belief that race, nationality, religion, and far more determine how people deserve to be treated – their worthiness of our love. It shouldn’t be surprising that our level of empathy and concern tends to decrease drastically as skin tone darkens..”
The Racist God of America by Sheri Faye Rosendahl
“I have never cared for Kathy Griffin’s comedy. I never thought she was funny. I never thought she was a very good actress. And I wasn’t surprised when she posted photos depicting a simulated beheading of the current president. Frankly it seems in line with her brand of humor. I was shocked to hear all the outrage coming from people who have spent the past eight years bemoaning the idea of political correctness. These people have complained about how no one can take a joke anymore. Well Kathy Griffin is a comedian. She made a joke. It wasn’t funny. It was politically incorrect and offensive, but that’s exactly what a lot of people claim to want…
It is particularly ironic that our current president took time to let us know his feelings were hurt and that his youngest child was upset. Does he imagine that his years-long invective against Obama wasn’t harmful to Sasha and Malia? Do only his children matter?
The same people who are condemning Griffin recently cheered on and elected to Congress a Montana man who physically assaulted a reporter at a campaign rally. These are the same people who do not speak up and condemn the actions and speech of the murderer on the train in Portland. They don’t speak up when someone leaves a noose in the African American exhibit at the Smithsonian. They don’t speak up when someone spray paints racist graffiti on LeBron James’s house or vandalizes yet another Jewish cemetery. And they damn sure didn’t speak up when protestors were burning Obama in effigy after the 2008 election.”
You Said This Was What You Wanted By Tiffany Quay Tyson
It takes two to speak truth – one to speak and another to hear.
– Henry David Thoreau
Here are some things I read this week. Inclusion does not mean I fully endorse everything in each article or the sites they are linked to. You can read each post in its entirety by clicking on the title beneath each excerpt.
“We tend to think that we would have seen what was happening and stopped it…When would we have stopped? When would you have punched a Nazi? When Hitler was making nationalistic speeches? When the government demonized Jews like the far right demonizes Muslims? When the movies and the media put on a propaganda campaign that would have put Milo to shame? When the “lying press” was getting shut down? Would you really have spoken up by the time Auschwitz was set up, 7 years in, after being primed to hate that much? Really? Or would you be like the millions who didn’t even put the pieces together to know their were gas chambers and stop what was going on?
Here’s the deal: We KNOW that the Nazi message is effective. We know it can spread a cancer through our society, that people will latch onto it, that if you start from certain premises it is a logically sound position that is virtually unassailable from the standpoint of pure reason. We know that science cannot defeat it, and can instead enhance it to come up with more effective, crueler methods for the realization of its darkest capaibilities. We know that the humanities cannot defeat it, but that the artists and the writers and the moviemakers and even the philosophers became part of one of the greatest propaganda campaigns of all time.
The only time we stamped out the virus of Nazism wholly and thoroughly, to the point where most today think it an abomination, was through choking the life out of it.
This reality shows me that there may be some places in society where free speech is not an option, where it is intolerable, where the debate ends — where, indeed, if you allow the debate to continue, you will lose, and humanity will lose, to a crueller, harsher view of who we are.”
When to Start Punching: Notes on Defending Social Justice by Martin Hughes
“Johnson, the former 11-year-old unwitting bride who is now fighting for Florida to set a minimum marriage age (there is none now), says that her family attended a conservative Pentecostal church and that other girls of a similar age periodically also married. Often, she says, this was to hide rapes by church elders…
“It was a terrible life,” Johnson recalls, recounting her years as a child raising children. She missed school and remembers spending her days changing diapers, arguing with her husband and struggling to pay expenses. She ended up with pregnancy after pregnancy — nine children in all — while her husband periodically abandoned her.
“They took the handcuffs from handcuffing him,” she says, referring to the risk he faced of arrest for rape, “to handcuffing me, by marrying me without me knowing what I was doing.”
“You can’t get a job, you can’t get a car, you can’t get a license, you can’t sign a lease,” she adds, “so why allow someone to marry when they’re still so young?”
11 Years Old, a Mom, and Pushed to Marry Her Rapist in Florida by Nicholas Kristof
“The worst part of what happened to this young woman is that she learned about a false Christ – a Jesus who shames sinners, who turns an angry and harsh face on those who confess and repent, who demands his pound of flesh before he offers peace. She was taught that Jesus first ridicules and gleefully watches us weep before he grudgingly offers forgiveness. She was taught that even after she goes through all of that, Jesus is still ashamed to be seen in public with her. She was taught that Jesus was ashamed to be her God, ashamed of her and her baby!”
How Shame Drives Us From Christ by Sam Powell
“You should try reading the Bible and asking God to reveal the truth to you.”—as if these are things I’d never considered…
My reply is always the same: “Reading the Bible and praying over it—is precisely how I became Progressive.”
None of us has the market cornered on the Truth, and we all bring the same things to our study and prayer and to our religion—we bring ourselves. We bring the sum total of the families we’ve lived in and the place we were born and the faith tradition we were raised in. We carry the teachers and pastors and writers who inspired us, the experiences we’ve had, and even our specific personalities. In other words: we all find our way—in the way we find our way.
When another Christian instructs someone else to “read the Bible,” or “take it to prayer,” or to “ask God to reveal the truth to you,” they usually mean, “Do all of these things until you get it right—until you agree with me.” They are assuming their version of study and reflection are more valid than another’s…
Christian, the next time your tempted to flippantly tell someone who doesn’t share your religious convictions or mirror your theology, that they should “try reading the Bible and going to God,” it might be helpful to seek a humility about your own beliefs and a respect of theirs; to entertain the idea that maybe their reading of the Bible and their prayerful life surrounding it—are the very reason they now hold those beliefs…”
“And on top of it all, the ultimate kick in the gut: We wouldn’t even see her alive. I struggled with the idea of Eva’s existence and her humanity all along, whether a terminal diagnosis made her dead already. I clung to knowing her humanity would be validated to me when I saw her as a living, breathing human being. I would hold my daughter and be her daddy. I wanted to watch her die, because that would mean that I got to watch her live. Think about that one for a second. Now it was all gone. I longed for just five minutes with her, heck, five seconds with her. All of that practical stuff about organ donation was irrelevant to me now. I just wanted to hold my baby girl and see her chest move up and down. I just wanted to be her daddy, if only for a few seconds…”
“But if you think Medicaid is evil government bureaucracy and your church could do better, then I’ve got a few questions for you. Have you already met with your pastor to talk about chairing your church’s capital campaign to build a free health clinic? How many doctors, nurses, social workers, and counselors will need to be hired for this health clinic and which church staff do you think can be let go to make this substitution? How many thousands of dollars are you willing to take away from your retirement and/or your kids’ college tuition to pay for this health clinic? How many weekly hours are you planning to volunteer at this health clinic? Have you talked to your boss about the time you would need to take off work in order to take this on?
Ideology is so much easier when you don’t have to deal with the details.”
Is your church going to replace Medicaid? by Morgan Guyton
When this phrase popped into my head I realized this often a reason behind Christians (as well as believers in other religions) doing some pretty terrible things to people. Take this woman who is treating her son as if he is dead (for getting married to another man). But she must behave like this because Jesus says you must love Him more than your family (according to her interpretation of certain verses).
I used to be able to understand where this woman is coming from. We must sometimes make sacrifices for God because we love Him and He loves us. At least that is how the reasoning goes.
But here is the problem. The unspoken threat hovering over all this love is that God will hurt us (if we don’t obey/love Him) and He will certainly hurt those we love if they don’t get their act together in time. Essentially…God’s got a gun to your head.
Don’t waste my time arguing about God’s justice, how offensive our sins are to Him and how anyone who ends up in hell made that choice. Justice isn’t torturing people (not even in this world). No one had a choice about being offensive to God besides the first two people He made. And God was the one who made the choice to make a universe/realms that would include hell knowing He would be sending most of the people He created there. And to top it all off He could only be appeased by the slaughtering of animals culminating in the slaughter of a human being. (I no longer understand why we think other religions/cultures who engaged in human sacrifice were so barbaric). Even the one true God (of Christianity) demands someone’s blood had to be shed in order to be pleased with people again. Even though it was His own Son laying down His life there is no getting around the fact that God still “needed” a human sacrifice in order to give Himself permission to love us. Many Christians basically present God like an abusive spouse rather than a loving parent. (This is a summary of some things I heard and learned growing up in Christian communities. I don’t necessarily hold to all these ideas anymore).
Anyway back on topic…
I also (used to) get the fear part of all this. Though at the time I didn’t realize I was admitting God’s love was too weak and ineffective to fully redeem and restore most if not all the people He made. And unfortunately as history often bears out fear keeps people in line as much if not more so than love.
Another sad aspect to this is the fact that some people would like to believe that God is better than the one we’ve been told exists (This is elaborated on quiet well over at Fred Clark’s blog). We wish we could believe that God loves more than just a select few. We wish someplace like hell didn’t ‘have to’ exist. We wish we had the freedom to just love others without judging and shunning them when necessary. But God does not give us that permission. If we start diverging from the abusive narrative we’ve been given of Him we risk Him pulling the trigger on us. Better safe (with an abuser) than to be one of His victims.
One of the things that got me thinking along these lines comes from a passage from a book I read recently. The book is entitled ‘Scared Selfless’ and is the true story of a woman who was horribly abused by a sadistic pedophile throughout her childhood. She developed multiple personality disorder ( aka dissociative identity disorder). Eventually as an adult she sought therapy, started remembering the terrible things she suffered and went on to get a Ph.D in psychology and to help others who have suffered trauma. Here is one of the parts that stood out to me the most.
“ Any victim who wants to stay alive knows it’s in her best interest to make nice with the sociopath in charge. Ironically, though, the victims decision to placate the perpetrator actually binds her to him more effectively than chains ever could. This is because in order to form a bond that can ensure her safety, the victim must seek out whatever is relatable and human in the abuser while ignoring all that is bad and monstrous. This herculean feat of pretense requires that the victim ignore her true judgements, intuitions, thoughts, and feelings.
This is the essence of brainwashing. Once a victim has made the mental leap to pretend that the monster abusing her is really a decent guy, she is primed to believe just about anything that monster says…
Ultimately, this is the goal of every brainwashing campaign, whether explicitly waged or not: to convince victims that they are powerless and that their only hope for salvation is the guy abusing them. In the victim’s mind, the abuser becomes an all-powerful being, capable of controlling anyone and anything. The victim has no choice but to submit.”
Now interestingly the author rarely mentions God or her relationship to him in her book. What she is describing above is in terms of what her abuser did to her as a child and how she related to him in order to survive. But frankly I can’t see any difference in this description between this child abuser and the way many Christians present and understand God to be.
While I don’t actually believe God has a gun to anybody’s head I am still working on deconstructing some unhealthy ideas and doctrines that have simply become standard orthodoxy in many if not most corners of Christianity. Sometimes I wonder if it should really be this hard to believe in someone/something good. So far all I can say is I believe the truth about Him is far more beautiful and is therefore still worth seeking after.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– St. Augustine