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Seafaring isn't for the faint of heart. It wasn't for the Apostle Paul in the first century A.D.---shipwrecked, imprisoned, and often a stranger in foreign lands.
And it turned out to be a heart-stopping task some two thousand years later, when a religion professor and his wife undertook a 14-month journey by sailboat! They stopped in eight countries, visiting every site where Paul stopped on his tumultuous missionary journeys.
SailingActs traces this 21st-century voyage from Volos, Greece, to Rome, Italy, by car, by foot, by motorized scooter, but mostly on a 33-foot boat, logging more than 3600 nautical miles over two sailing seasons.
"Explorers are easy to admire or despise, but very difficult to understand without going on the trip," writes Stutzman. "To really appreciate the experiences, the drama, and development of Paul the explorer, you need to sail with him."
So begins SailingActs, inviting readers to come on board. Stutzman draws thoughtful comparisons from his own travel mishaps and adventures to the ones Paul experienced on his journeys. This book is in the tradition of Bruce Feiler's Walking the Bible.
Stutzman's knowledge of the socio-political setting in the first-century Roman empire provides an informative backdrop to understanding Paul and reading his epistles in a new light.
The book includes dozens of photos, maps showing the couple's travel routes, a list of all the repairs and replacements Stutzman made to the aging boat which he bought sight-unseen, and an itinerary of places they visited.
Linford Stutzman is an Associate Professor of Culture and Mission in the Bible and Religion Department at Eastern Mennonite University. Stutzman also teaches seminary courses and is the director of the John Coffman Center for Evangelism and Church Planting. He and his wife, Janet, a Development officer at the school, are frequent leaders of undergraduate cross-cultural trips to the Middle East. In May 2004 the couple embarked on a Mediterranean sail that would retrace the Apostle Paul's route and last until August 2005.
Number of Pages: 300
Vendor: Good Book/Skyhorse Publishing
Publication Date: 2006
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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Linford Stutzman was born in the logging community of Cascadia, Oregon. He learned many of his carpentry and mechanical skills by working alongside his father who was a farmer, logger, and pastor of the community church. Linford’s teenage years were spent in the remote interior of British Columbia, Canada. There he worked for the Canadian forestry service, fisheries, at a hunting lodge, and in mining exploration. Linford and his wife Janet have lived in Jerusalem, Israel; Munich, Germany; and in Perth, Australia. They have two grown sons, David and Jonathan. Linford holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America, a master’s degree in Religion from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in Bible from Eastern Mennonite University. Since 1993 he has been teaching courses in religion, culture, and mission at Eastern Mennonite University. Together, Linford and Janet have led Eastern Mennonite University’s cross-cultural study semester to the Middle East numerous times, as well as summer-study programs to Albania, Lithuania, Greece, and Turkey. In the summers, they continue to explore the Mediterranean aboard SailingActs.
Author: Linford Stutzman
Located in: Harrisonburg, VA
Submitted: January 04, 2007
Tell us a little about yourself. I was born and raised in the logging community of Cascadia, Oregon and learned basic skills from my logger/farmer/pastor father. My wife and I have traveled together since before we married- backpacking in Europe, working on a kibbutz in Israel, and serving for a number of years in church work in Munich, Germany and Perth, Australia. In Perth we witnessed the America's Cup finals (January, 1987) and were bitten by the sailing bug, bought a small day sailer, and learned to sail. Returning to the USA in 1991, I began a Ph.D. program at the Catholic University of America in Religion and Culture and began teaching at Eastern Mennonite University. We sailed the Chesapeake on our 16 foot Compac Yacht during the summers. 13 years later, my wife resigned her job and we spent 15 months in the Mediterranean, following Paul on "SailingActs" for a sabbatical. When the sabbatical ended in August of 2005, we decided to keep "SailingActs" in the Mediterranean and return in the summers to explore the sites of Paul's journeys.
What was your motivation behind this project? It is difficult to ignore the Apostle Paul and easy to misunderstand him. It seems that everyone who knows something about the Apostle Paul, either applaudes or dismisses his achievements. A tremendous amount of research has been done on Paul's extensive writing, but relatively little on his life and actions. I wanted to try to learn more about Paul by experiencing the some of the travel conditions of the first century, viewing the remains of the Roman Empire from the Mediterranean Sea, and listening to perspectives of the people of Greece, Malta, Turkey, Israel, regions of the world that are still affected by the message Paul proclaimed.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? I wrote "SailingActs" as a "biblical travel adventure" that would introduce readers to a side of Paul that is often neglected or ignored - Paul the sailor, explorer of the Roman Empire, and experimenter with the Gospel. I hope that readers, no matter what they think about Paul's writings, will gain an appreciation of Paul, as they travel the incredible journey of change with him, and recognize his cross-cultural skills, communicative genius, dramatic achievements, and glaring human limitations.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I love all kinds of travel adventure stories, especially those that connect with history, the Bible, exploration, and mission. At about age five, I was intrigued by the maps in the back of my mother's Bible, especially the colorful lines marking the routes of Paul's journeys. Later, the writings of H.V Morton (In the Steps of St. Paul), Bruce Feiler (Walking the Bible), William Ramsey (St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen) and others inspired me to dream about, plan for, and eventually sail the routes of Paul, visiting all of the harbors and cities mentioned in the Book of Acts connected with Paul.