Sunday, July 12, 2009
Brian: Hello everyone! We are in Istanbul staying at the Big Apple Hostel. It is surprisingly nice. Traveling has made me very tired. So far we have had two 24 hour days. One flying across the Atlantic and the other driving to Istanbul from Sophia. It has been a little weird going from Bulgarian culture to Turkish culture in less then one week but seeing Hagia Sophia today made it all worth it. I was fascinated by the history that was represented by Hagia Sophia. I am a history nerd, what can I say. We also went across the street and visited the Blue Mosque. It was quite a difference! We went from a musium to a place of worship. One we had to pay money, the other, take off our shoes. I definatly learned the true meaning of the word decieved after leaving the mosque. The inside of the mosque was quite an exerience. First when we entered there was a line of seats where water faucets cleaned the feet and hands of those who wanted to enter. We of course did not use them. The courtyard was very busy with people walking about, and talking about various things, most of which, actually all of which I did not understand. It is incredible how much I can understand by simple opening my eyes and reading body language. Most people reviel what they are trying to say with their body language. Is there some statistic about 90% of communication being non verbal? Any way, Howard took a picture of a Turkish man playing with what looked like his grandaughter. The man was ammused that somebody was interested enough to take a picture of him. We then waited in a line to put our shoes into little bags. Shoes are not allowed to be worn in the mosque as a sign of respect for holy ground. A nice symbolic gesture. As we went in the smell of dirty feet hits me like a wall. The red carpet seems very inviting. All around us are people taking or praying. The visiters to the mosque are obvious. Everything in the mosque is geometric and pleasing to look at, and I get a strange pleasent feeling about the whole thing. Thats when it hit me that all these people are being decieved and it broke my heart. How appealing these old building are to humans! I am reminded of what Jesus said to the woman at the well. What a gift I have in the Holy Spirit, to have God with me. It seems like if that mosque or really any church like Hagia Sophia were the extent of my relationship with God, I would love the building more then the one who the building was for. But what does God really want, the kind gesture of a phenomenal piece of architecture, or a humble heart? How easily we are decieved.