Friday, November 27, 2009

The Hajj

Amid Thanksgiving--American-style religion--there was news abroad of the hajj beginning in Mecca.

What is the hajj?

The Hajj consists of a five-day excursion, required by all physically and financially able Muslims, to Mecca and the nearby holy sites of Arafat, Mina, and Muzdalifah. Once there, pilgrims perform a series of rituals to unify themselves with other believers, absolve themselves of their sins and pay tribute to God.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Home Again

After a very roundabout way of returning home from pilgrimage--I stayed in Newark last night longer than I thought I would--I am sitting in the School of the Pilgrim office in a haze, reflecting upon the amazing experience of hiking in the desert on foot, on camel, and in the back of a jeep.


More to come!

Buen Camino!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Living What I Write

So I left NC in a bit of a flurry of business, and now realize I am living what I write: pilgrimage is a way to confront and get out ahead of the religion of rush. I was in the middle of the religion of rush as I begin this pilgrimage to the Negev and Sinai, connecting with the God of the desert, and the wisdom of the desert.

From Jerusalem, Brett

Friday, November 13, 2009

Buen Camino!

This is my last posting before I leave for Egypt.

I leave on Sat., 1:06, flying to Newark, and then flying out of Newark to Tel Aviv at 4.

I'll arrive on Sun. morning at 9.

And then on Monday morning, it is down to Eilat, and then to Taba and the experience of sleeping out in the desert, riding camels, and being on pilgrimage in the Sinai desert.

Prayers are welcome, and I will be taking prayers with me.

Buen Camino!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Dee Family

Found this on the Dee Family, who are travelers, well, almost pilgrims. Go to They are traveling around the world, in their 50s, with their daughter who is 9 years old, living on $25,000 a year. They started in L.A., and are now in Amsterdam, flying one way, one direction around the world.

I found this wonderful quote on their webpage:

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.”


Or this:

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving”


or this:

“Earth's crammed with heaven.”

I found these quotes quite beautiful, and something to think about in re: to pilgrimage. A pilgrim reads the road as a text too, sees heaven crammed into earth, and truly has no fixed plans in getting to the destination.

Click here.



Pouring Rain

It is pouring rain in NC, remnants of tropical storm Ida.

I am thinking of the hot sands of the Sinai where I will be on pilgrimage next week.

I also had a great lunch with my friend Rick Edens who, along with the Board and friends of the School of the Pilgrim, are shaping how to think about the long term strategy of the School of the Pilgrim.

For example: like Earth Watch, which works with service projects around the world for people who want to be on vacation while working for a project benefiting the world like counting sea turtles in Costa Rica, we can offer a service project per pilgrimage, e.g., work in a Palestinian refugee camp ( This will enable people to go on pilgrimage, do a good deed for and with others, and also write this pilgrimage off on their taxes. The hope with the School of the Pilgrim is that we can keep costs down on future pilgrimages so it is affordable to the many, and not just to a few people.

Rick suggested a clergy renewal set of pilgrimages, in which both pastors, priests, and lay leaders go on pilgrimage.



Monday, November 9, 2009

Shoes and more

The Merrell walking/hiking shoes I bought fit my feet better than the Vasque walking/hiking shoes that I've walked in for several pilgrimages. I've also bought a flash light with a strap around my head, and I believe have everything else that is needed.

I am ready to hang out in the desert, to sleep long hours under the stars, to see sites that I'vve not seen before.

The pilgrimage at home continues to be a challenge as well: trying to finish some parts of a new book "Beyond Accessibility," and the proposal for "Divinity." And I continue to find out interest in the School of the Pilgrim with artists I visited this past weekend.

Salaam and shalom,


Friday, November 6, 2009


Bought a pair of Merrell walking shoes after the pilgrimage to Chimayo last Nue, and I finally took them out of the box, and I walked in them today. After walking in the other pair of shoes that gave me bad blisters, I knew I had to walk in these new shoes.

Glad to report that I think they are going to do the trick!

A week until I leave for Israel and Egypt.

Salaam and Shalom,


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaching the Old Testament at Durham Technical Community College

I am back in the classroom...sort of.

I'll be teaching an on-line course on the Old Testament at Durham Technical Community College during the Spring of 2010.

It will have a decidedly pilgrimage tone and theme to it.



Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Hallow's Eve and All Saints Day: A 24-hour Pilgrimage

I noticed that in the hymn "For All the Saints" there is much about pilgrimage that is being sung:

For the apostles' glorious company,
who bearing forth the cross o'er land and sea,
shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the apostles' glorious company,
who bearing forth the cross o'er land and sea,
shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

What is amazing in this twenty-four hour period, from All Hallow's Eve to All Saints' Day, is that we recognize that the life we live today, and the life that is to come, is part of the pilgrimage of life.

And tomorrow: All Souls' Day