I haven’t traveled much. Not that I wouldn’t love to. My list of out of state and country excursions is a very short list. States visited: 12, Countries:3. First on my list of places I’d like to go: Israel. Everyone I talk who has traveled there says you’ll never read the Bible the same again after you go. You can read about places and people but it’s just not the same as being there.
I’m a big fan of Dennis Prager (a committed Jew who has a syndicated radio program and author). He just visited his 100th country and has been to most of them twice! He wrote an article regarding the benefits of world travel. I love what he points out about the bubble (insulated from others world-views) that 99% of us grow up in.
“Nearly everyone grows up insular. The problem is that vast numbers of people never leave the cloistered world of their childhood. This is as true for those who grow up in Manhattan as those who grow up in Fargo or Tokyo. And as for college, there are few places as insular and cloistered as the university.
Insularity is bad because at the very least, it prevents questioning oneself and thinking through important ideas and convictions. And at worst, it facilitates the groupthink that allows for most great evils. Though one can hold on to insular and bad ideas even after interacting with others, it is much harder to do so, especially when one interacts on the others’…”*
I used to read books that primarily articulated points of view that I agreed with. It’s a good thing to do. You will become more confident and articulate in what you believe by doing so. But unless you allow your core views to be challenge from time to time you run the risk of having shallow, unexplored core beliefs. Another critical factor in reading and listening to others outside your comfort zone is the ability to see other perspectives on life that are invaluable to help you understand other people better.
Many people have pointed out the beauty of the Apostle Paul’s work in Athens (Acts 17). Although he was Jewish and an expert in Jewish law and tradition, he was also fluent in Greek culture. It allowed him to have a hearing with the most influential people in Athens.
Most of us don’t have the means to travel the world. Perhaps the next best option is to read. And as you read, don’t just absorb the information but wrestle with it, ask questions, think of the implications and talk to others about what your learning.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
In what areas of your life are you guilty of “group-thinking”?