Tony Cartledge’s Blog

Things I learned in Switzerland

The Baptist World Alliance held its Annual Gathering in Zurich this year, providing an ideal opportunity to explore that old city between meetings -- and to enjoy some vacation time in Interlaken the following week. Here are a few things I learned. The Swiss are...

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BWA finds fellowship in Zurich

The Baptist World Alliance wrapped up its Annual Gathering on Friday after meeting in Zurich, Switzerland July 2-6. Three hundred and twenty  Baptists from 46 countries gathered for the annual time of fellowship, worship, commission meetings (16 of them, with 60...

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Up to our ears — in dirt

Today the Jezreel dig team traveling through Campbell University Divinity School and Nurturing Faith Experiences finished our last day of serious digging: tomorrow involves lots of brushing, cleaning, photographs, and odd jobs. The crew has been faithful and fabulous,...

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Dig these stories … Part Four

Here's another in our series of reflections from participants in the Jezreel Expedition  archaeological dig traveling with Campbell University Divinity School / Nurturing Faith Experiences. Dale Belvin is a 2009 graduate of CUDS. For the past seven years, he has been...

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Dig these stories … Part Three

Participants on the Campbell University Divinity School/Nurturing Faith Experiences Jezreel Dig team have much to share about their thoughts and experiences. My two previous posts included thoughts from six participants: here are three more who benefitted in some way...

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Dig these stories … part two

Participants on the Campbell University Divinity School/Nurturing Faith Experiences Jezreel Dig team have much to share about their thoughts and experiences, and I'm posting a few along the way. All students received scholarship help from the Snellings Fund. Several...

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Dig these stories …

Readers hear enough of me ... I've asked participants on the Campbell University Divinity School/Nurturing Faith Experiences Jezreel Dig team to share some of their thoughts and experiences, and will be posting a few each day for the next several days. All students...

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Getting down and dirty …

Archaeology lovers who have joined the Jezreel Expedition archaeological dig for the next two weeks started getting down and dirty on Monday and Tuesday. Monday began before sunup with an orientation walk from Jezreel's upper tel to the lower tel, with interpretive...

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By sea and river and hills …

Thirteen travelers associated with Nurturing Faith Experiences and Campbell University Divinity School made their way from Jerusalem to Jezreel by a circuitous route on Sunday. We began the day by driving from Jerusalem down the Jericho Road to Qumran, where the Dead...

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The adventure begins . . .

Adventures come in many forms. For an intrepid group of travelers with Campbell University Divinity School and Nurturing Faith Experiences, adventure these next two weeks comes in the form of a trip to Israel, where we're spending the better part of three days on a...

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Oh, wait …

I was sitting in a second-floor conference room overlooking a nicely landscaped office park when I saw the saddest looking man I'd come across in awhile. In a pool of shade beneath a small tree, a youngish man was sitting cross-legged, his head in his hands, his long...

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Don’t disrespect the donkey

Donkeys get little respect in this world, but ancient civilizations depended heavily on the stubby beasts of burden. The earliest evidence of horses being used in the ancient Near East is from around 2000 BCE, in tombs where horses were buried along with chariots,...

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Fast food and making change

Maybe it's a sign of age, but I cannot bring myself to make small purchases with a credit or debit card when cash money is still available. I know that there are many people who carry no cash at all, and pay for everything from coffee to clothes with a debit or credit...

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Isaiah’s signature? For real?

Has a lump of clay bearing the prophet Isaiah's personal seal been discovered in Jerusalem? Maybe, maybe not. Archaeologist Eilat Mazar, in a Biblical Archaeology Review tribute article to retiring editor Hershel Shanks, recently described a clay bullae found in the...

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Last call!

I know you're out there, and you know who you are: someone who has always wanted to spend a couple of weeks on an archaeological expedition, to get down in the dirt and dig up amazing things from the soil of ancient Israel. Nurturing Faith Experiences and Campbell...

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Take care with camel lips

If you've ever been around camels, you can't help but notice that they have large lips, but you don't generally get too close to them, as they have been known to bite and spit -- and camel breath, well, enough said. Camels are a big deal in Saudi Arabia, and not just...

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No, it’s not the end.

To my friends around the world: Yes, America appears to have gone off the deep end wearing lead boots. No, we are not going to drown, despite the rising waters of bigotry and greed. Yes, evidence continues to mount that we have made a terrible mistake. Somehow, this...

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Does history matter?

One of the more interesting books I picked up at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting is a new one by Richard Elliott Friedman, a professor of Jewish studies and Hebrew Bible at the University of Georgia. Friedman does the best job of anyone I know in explaining...

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A real horse town

Sunday at the annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting as a day of learning on many counts. If you're curious about things biblical and archaeological, keep reading ... Rather than reviewing all of the (sometimes) fascinating sessions I attended and boring...

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What you don’t know …

An old saying claims "What you don't know can't hurt you," which is manifestly false, as anyone who's stepped in a hole they didn't know was there can attest. What you don't know can also slow you down and generally wreck your plans. Case in point: I arrived in Boston...

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Rev it up, Rev …

Day in and day out, I putter in my Prius like geezer, trying to break the 70 miles per gallon barrier. Every now and then, though, a man needs to be near some real horsepower. Welcome to truck racing. Thanks to my friend David Daly, I recently spent a day at the...

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Bye bye, ties

Fall reading days offer professor types an opportunity to change gears for a bit. This year I've benefitted from a retreat with my support group of brothers in ministry that has been going on for 29 years, a day of hiking with my lovely wife, and a few more days to...

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Diggin’ it — for real

Have you ever wished that, just once, you could participate in a real live archaeological dig in Israel? Here's your chance! Nurturing Faith Experiences, in partnership with Campbell University Divinity School, has arranged for a limited number of participants to join...

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Sermon stealing

The topic of pulpit plagiarism has been in the news since pastor Bill Shillady sought to capitalize on a series of devotions he sent Hillary Clinton during her ill-fated presidential campaign by publishing them as Strong for a Moment Like This. After the book came...

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Not so fast

One frustrating aspect of archaeology is that it takes time: no matter how large the team, you can't descend on a promising tel and uncover all of its secrets in one season -- or even in twenty. Archaeology is a meticulous business that requires careful digging and...

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Empowering hatred

On August 11 and 12 hundreds of avowed white supremacists converged on Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting the city's decision to remove a prominent statue of Robert E. Lee in a symbolic step away from celebrating the Confederacy's failed attempt to preserve chattel...

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Now, that’s evil …

In a very nice cabin set in majestic old forest growth outside of Helen, Ga., Susan I looked forward to several days of hiking on some of the area's charming and challenging trails -- but have been foiled by three straight days of rain. I like hiking, and I like rain,...

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Visiting Vietnam

When the United States instituted a draft lottery during the Vietnam War, my draft number was 19 – which meant I was sure to be drafted if I had not been in college at the time. As it turned out, America’s involvement came to an end just before I graduated in 1973. I...

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Laos Living

Laos is home to much that is beautiful and much that is quaint, but my favorite thing about visiting new countries is seeing how people live. Local guides insist that visitors see things that are unusual or impressive, but the best part is often getting there. We...

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Temple Time

Many countries carry faith-labels. America is called a “Christian” nation, though only a small percentage (including many who wear the label like a flag) take the teachings of Jesus seriously. Israel is officially a Jewish nation, but most of the Jews are secular....

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Virtual Tourism

In the following posts I offer "virtual visitors" a chance to travel along with Susan and me as we visit new places, learn new things, and experience cultures other than our own. I will try to make them more entertaining than Uncle Ed's slides about his trip to the...

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A day in Bangkok

As a sketchy excuse to share some interesting pictures, I offer this bullet-point sketch of our Tuesday in Bangkok at the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering -- and not. 8:15 a.m. -- Breakfast at an impressive buffet inside what is at night a fancy Japanese...

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What did you find?

Talk to anybody about your participation in an archaeological dig, and at least one question is inevitable: "What did you find?" Or, its variation: "Did you find anything good?" No one would dig if they didn't hope to find something, but what archaeologists look for...

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Life on the kibbutz

A highlight of digging with the Jezreel Expedition is the opportunity to spend some time living on a kibbutz. The first kibbutzim (the plural form) were formed in the early 1900s as part of the Zionist movement encouraging Jews to move into Palestine, and the movement...

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Tools of the trade

An archaeological expedition requires a number of things, beginning with a promising site (and permission to dig it), qualified directors, a strong staff, a bevy of volunteers (here known as team members) willing to pay their own way to do hard labor while following...

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Getting oriented

Our first day of participation in the Jezreel Expedition involved no digging, but lots of orientation. The 2017 dig began two weeks ago, and has two weeks to go. The ancient city of Jezreel sits on a high knoll among the foothills of the Gilboa mountain range -- we...

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Get up and go!

As Susan and I have returned from a meaningful tour of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan -- and as we prepare for an upcoming trip back to Israel for a dig, then on to Bangkok for the Baptist World Alliance, then to Laos and Vietnam for fun and cultural enrichment -- I'm...

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Rockin’ in Petra

Some stories are best told in pictures, and this blog will be mostly that – a bunch of pictures from Petra. Travelers with the Campbell University Divinity School/Nurturing Faith Experiences group were given a choice as we explored the Nabatean capital of Petra on...

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No rush, right?

Wednesday began with a lot of “hurry up and wait” for folks traveling with the Campbell University Divinity School/Nurturing Faith Experiences tour group. We left early and headed straight for the border crossing into Jordan near Beth She’an (no photos allowed)....

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You did what?

Travelers with our Campbell University Divinity School/Nurturing Faith Experiences tour group are getting their money’s worth. Our guide told a fellow guide what all we had done today, and he responded: “It takes me three days to do that.” You can believe it. After...

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To sift, or not to sift?

Back in 2011, I had the joy of taking participants on the Campbell University Divinity School's bi-annual trip to Israel and the West Bank to spend a few hours volunteering with the Temple Mount Sifting Project, a salvage operation in which volunteers sift through...

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CBFNC Cliff Notes

"Tweet others as you would like to be tweeted" sparked one of countless smiles shared by participants gathered for the Annual Gathering of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBFNC), meeting at First Baptist Church of Hickory, NC. Associated meetings...

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Eats and treats

Can anything you do at church be more fun than combining a mission project to feed others with barbecue to feed the volunteers? I was proud of my home church -- Woodhaven Baptist in Cary/Apex -- and lucky enough to be in town this weekend when those two opportunities...

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Long before Adam …

It's the time of the year -- especially in an inordinately warm winter year -- when folks start putting out fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicides to suppress the growth of weeds in their lawns, gardens, or fields. It turns out that weeds have been a problem for a...

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Diggin’ the art

Here's a Valentine's Day gift for art and history lovers everywhere: the Metropolitan Museum of Art has made high-resolution digital images of more than 375,000 of its artworks, sculptures, and historical objects available to anyone who wants them. Visitors to the met...

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Alternative faces

I continue to struggle with what to say these days: with so many bad choices, hurtful orders, and childish displays coming from the White House, it seems irresponsible not to comment on them -- but many others more qualified than I are providing cogent commentary. At...

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Pressing on …

The paucity of posts I've generated in the past few months reminds me of how hard it's been for me to generate blogs lately. I could claim a lack of time, but I've always had to squeeze blog-writing into what are typically very busy days. I could claim a lack of...

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All over the map

Attending a meeting of SBL/AAR (the Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion) is not unlike strolling along San Antonio's famed Riverwalk: options abound, and all of them interesting, at least to people of a certain bent. The Alamo is just around...

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YouTube to the rescue

I am not a mechanic, and never wanted to be. There were years when I used to change the oil and do basic tuneups on my cars, but that was back when engines were less sophisticated and more accessible to non-professionals. I was also a poor young preacher at the time,...

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Infrequent urbanite

I'm a country boy turned small town guy turned suburbanite for the past 28 years, and I'm fortunate enough to get to visit some nice cities on occasion. I live just outside of Raleigh -- recently named the best city in the Southeast -- and I enjoy spending time...

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Triple dipping

Smart phone apps can be a boon or a boondoggle, depending on whether they promote productivity (thereby saving time), or goofing off (thereby wasting the same). I don't want to suggest that game playing can never be worthwhile, but anyone who has dabbled in addictive...

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Big money?

There must be big money in medigap insurance. Apparently some government records that include birthdays are open to the public and regularly mined by companies hoping to profit from the information. I don't know whether information brokers glean and sell such...

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Playing catch-up

Blogging about a trip that's more fun than work feels a bit self-serving, or like bragging, but I figure some folks might enjoy the pictures and a reflection here and there, so I press on. It's easier to read than current politics, at least. Since wifi is not always...

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Who owns the land?

Canadian Baptists hosted participants in the Baptist World Alliance's Annual Gathering on July 5. The evening was billed as a celebration with Canadian Baptists, and it was that. The evening was chilly, but we began with an outdoor picnic featuring "Canadian...

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Welcome to Vancouver

A scattering of global Baptists have gathered this week in Vancouver for the Baptist World Alliance's Annual Gathering. From Europe and Africa they have come, from Asia and Australia, from South America, Latin America, North America, and Canada we have gathered to...

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Beauty and the beast

Long drives are not necessarily conducive to a good vacation, unless the drive is the point, in which case it can be amazing. Susan and I set out last week to spend several days driving the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway from where it begins (or ends, at milepost...

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The last days …

All good things must come to an end, at least on this world, and study tours are no exception. Though travelers in Greece with Campbell University Divinity School and Nurturing Faith Experiences learned much and grew close during our time together, most were ready for...

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Virtual Greece

Welcome, real friends and virtual travelers, to a study tour of Greece with a brief side trip to Ephesus, in Turkey. Twenty-five adventurous souls traveling with Campbell University Divinity School and Nurturing Faith Experiences embarked on Sunday, May 15, arriving...

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Rules of the race

In the few weeks surrounding the Kentucky Derby, when national attention turns ever-so-briefly to horse racing and wearing pretentious hats becomes cool, it's good to know that some ancient sponsors of the sport were actually good sports. Horse racing was so popular...

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Of prophets, and fools

Prophetic words are needed, but not always welcome, especially when the prophets are among us, or when their words hit too close to home. It was Jesus who said “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown" (Luke 4:24, compare Mark 6:4 and Mat....

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Underlooking …

A weekend in the mountains is almost always good for the soul, especially when one is healthy enough -- and the weather is nice enough -- for hiking random trails, especially those that aren't so well known. While mountain trails often open up to impressive vistas,...

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A formidable woman

Her material legacy is small -- an oval-shaped semi-precious stone less than an inch across, engraved with 12 ancient Hebrew letters -- but it speaks volumes. It speaks so loudly because the 12 letters -- written backwards so they would make a positive imprint when...

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BWA seeking harmony

FALLS CHURCH, VA – Both good news and troublesome tensions were in the air as members of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Executive Committee gathered for their annual spring meeting in Falls Church March 6-9. In his annual report to the committee, General Secretary...

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For the birds

The news doesn't seem to get any better lately: recent numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that women ministers make, on average, 76 cents for every dollar male ministers make for comparable work. That's even worse than the 83 cents to the dollar...

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Free at last …

  I sat down to write a blog today and realized it has been more than three weeks since the last one -- not a good record if you want to keep an audience. It's been a hairy time of the year, with Thanksgiving travels followed by books to proofread, lengthy student...

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Positivity

I always enjoy attending the annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting (this year in Atlanta), but when days are long and folks get tired, it's easy to become a bit ill. I'm not ordinarily a cantankerous person, but sometimes fall victim to grousing over things...

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Mind-stretching

I figure it's always helpful to hang out with people who know more than me, and the annual American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature meeting gives me a chance to be a small shell floating around in a sea of smartness. The smartness is often highly...

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Got your passport?

Haven't you always wanted to see the majestic Parthenon, walk the impressive streets of Ephesus, or sail the Mediterranean? If you're ready, your time has arrived. Our next Nurturing Faith Experience, in collaboration with Campbell University Divinity School, will be...

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Readers, and not …

As a person who has loved reading from the time I could sound out "See Spot run," I found a recent Barna survey on adult reading habits to be, well, worth reading. In a digital world where countless items are posted online every day, it's good to know that some people...

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Progress

Recovering from any sort of surgery is a process. I've now had four of them, all involving moving parts: there's something artificial now in both shoulders and both hips. I'm hoping the knees still have some good tread left on them. Replacement of my right hip didn't...

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Simple pleasures

If I had a dream place to get away from time to time, it would look like this: a small mountain cabin, a rustic porch, a cascading stream with a wooded slope beyond and no other houses in view. It's a place for listening to crickets and birds adding their songs to the...

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Deer, deer …

Given that we were gone for a month this summer, I didn't really expect a lot from the tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash we planted in April. The squash plants bombed on their own, though I suspect a vole had something to do with it. Tomatoes and bell peppers usually...

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Ouch, in spades

So, why did my lovely wife buy me a mini-beach ball featuring characters from "Frozen," the Disney movie? The decoration is extraneous: we squeezed most of the air from the ball in hopes of making a sort of cushiony donut for my right hip joint, which has kicked the...

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Car key comfort

Travel can be a wonderful thing, especially opportunities to go overseas and experience different cultures, taste new foods, and see new sights. Downsides are part of the deal, of course. Sometimes the new foods don't agree with you, or the beds are not comfortable --...

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The door to liberty

Jesus Christ is the door to liberty, said Dimitrina Oprenova, who preached the Thursday evening sermon for the BWA Congress in Durban, South Africa. The theme for the Congress is “Jesus Christ: the Door.” Wednesday night’s program focused on Jesus as the door to...

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Good Hope

After three adventurous but very tiring weeks digging with the Fourth Expedition to Lachish, and a hard day and a half of travel to South Africa, Susan and I were due a little R & R before heading to Durban for the Baptist World Congress, so we had planned to take a...

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Articulating rocks

Normally, when I think of articulation, it relates to speech. Some people are more articulate than others, better able to speak clearly and descriptively. The word can also apply to other fields in which the issue is creating a better definition, and that's what we...

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Where’s Waldo?

As I noted in a previous blog, the task of sifting on an archaeological dig can be tiresome and filthy work, but also rewarding: it's like playing the children's book game "Where's Waldo?" Yesterday I didn't find Waldo, but I did find Baal -- or a probable...

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The real dirt …

The real dirt on sifting is that the dirt is on you. The glamor side of a dig is the digging: after someone else has conceived the plan, designed the dig, surveyed the squares, lined them with sandbags, and worked through the topsoil, the fun begins. Using a variety...

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Necessities

A few miscellaneous thoughts as we depart from a refreshing weekend at the terrific Ramat Rachel Hotel in Jerusalem, and returning to the Fourth Expedition to Lachish. Yesterday was the fourth of July, but we had to be reminded of it. One loses track of time on a dig,...

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The dawn patrol

Life on an archaeological expedition feels a bit like being in the army, with a regimented schedule that brings order to the day and makes sure everything gets done. In Israel, the weekend is Friday and Saturday, since Shabbat (the Sabbath) goes from sundown Friday...

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Sore is fun …

Many years ago, I played high school football. I will never forget what the beginning of summer practice felt like: two-a-day workouts in steamy heat, pushing ourselves as hard as we could. For at least a week, we’d be sore all over from the unaccustomed strain on our...

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Hands in the dirt

The military talks about boots on the ground. Archaeologists talk about hands in the dirt. Today we are archaeologists, of a sort, as Susan and I joined the Fourth Expedition to Lachish, directed by Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University along with Michael Hasel and...

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It’s about time

Lawmakers across the southeast are scrambling to remove the Confederate battle flag from capitol grounds and automobile tags, all motivated by a bigoted young white man's hateful murders of nine black persons who had met to study the Bible and pray at Charleston's...

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