Friday, May 28, 2010

Time Share in Bethlehem

In 1994, I was teaching on board the USS Inchon when we pulled into Haifa for a lengthy port visit and I managed to go on quite a few bus tours. One of them was to the little town of Bethlehem where, the Bible tells us, Jesus was born. I learned that there are three different churches built at the site: one Catholic, one Eastern Orthodox and one Armenian. (These were built centuries before the Protestant Reformation.) Each of the three are built directly adjoining the reputed site of the nativity and I learned that, while the three churches are separate, they have all agreed to a time share for holding services at the holy site.

While I have, at times, been quite critical of some of the acts of organized religion, I found the fact that, at least in Bethlehem, three different Christian sects managed to agree on access to a holy site quite refreshing.

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