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>> 1 Introduction Dale and I are waiting for the quiche to cool. It’s her culinary specialty, brags her husband Glen laughingly. In front of me is a display on a shelf near the stove: small olive wood carvings, a miniature jug of water, a set of glass salt and pepper shakers filled with more water and sand—Holy Land souvenirs from Dale’s recent trip. She turns on the CD of Christian hymns and Israeli-style melodies that she bought after their guide played it on the bus. Music fills the small bungalow and the two dogs start barking. Though normally subdued, Dale speaks excitedly for a moment, “The dogs love it and so does Glen. I play it all the time in the car and close my eyes and you feel—you’re there.” Dale is sixty-four years old and has been an evangelical Christian for more than thirty years.1 She was born the youngest of seven children in a poor Franco-American family in upstate New York. They were devoutly Catholic, but as Dale recalls it now, she always felt out of place. “I hated shrines. It was just—I always felt that we weren’t praying to the right thing. . . . I was the one who was a rebel. If there was something this way, I had to do it that way. It could never just be the same as they did it.” She married in her early twenties and had two daughters before the marriage fell apart. In the midst of her divorce, a friend invited her to what Dale calls a “Bible-teaching church.” She immediately felt at home; it seemed like God was guiding her to make a change. Years later, Dale met Glen through church and remarried. Today they live in a crowded, homey bungalow in a small town close to Burlington, Vermont, near her two adult daughters and grandchildren . Other than trips to Quebec and one to Mexico, Dale had never left the United States before going to the Holy Land. Nor had she had any inclination to do so. Exotic places don’t interest her and international travel is expensive. But when her pastor organized a group to see 2 > 3 tourism, now the world’s single largest industry, and it is one facet of a multibillion-dollar Christian leisure industry that is today integral to how Americans practice their faith.3 Yet like Dale, prospective pilgrims invariably describe their motivations as rooted in Christian pasts—a historical past when Jesus walked on earth—and a personal past, when they first encountered the biblical stories that mean so much to them today. They undertake the pilgrimage as a self-conscious return to the “source” of their faith, physically and imaginatively. This book takes what might be seen as the contradictory nature of this experience and makes it central: what does it mean to return to the source, to “walk where Jesus walked,” in the context of twenty-firstcentury American Christianity? For pilgrims, the Holy Land trip is an especially rich field of encounter and imaginative production precisely because it is both a return to the past and a projection into the future: it expands their access to the global flows—economic, cultural, touristic , cosmological—that characterize the person they believe they are and can become.4 That it is a trip abroad is therefore by no means incidental . However, underlying my approach is the recognition that the experience of pilgrimage extends before and after the trip itself. It is embedded in pilgrims’ everyday lives. This book’s orientation therefore differs from most other work on modern pilgrimage; it is the first in-depth study of contemporary American Holy Land pilgrimage and, more broadly, the first major study of Christian pilgrimage that tracks how participants prepare for the trip and remember it upon return.5 As a result, this book offers a new perspective on what Holy Land trips mean to the people who undertake them. For tour producers and local actors—Christian ministries, Palestinians, and Israelis—American visitors are crucial because they spend millions of valuable dollars and are citizens of the foreign country most implicated in the regional balance of power. Attuned to these dynamics, scholars have examined how tourism playsaroleinIsraeli-Palestinianpoliticsandhaveanalyzedhowrelations are forged between Israeli tour producers (Jewish guides, the Ministry of Tourism) and Christian tour leaders (evangelical pastors and televangelists ). This body of work offers detailed accounts of evangelical Christian Zionism and the international political alliances...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814738252
Related ISBN
9780814738368
MARC Record
OCLC
879551063
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2014-06-06
Language
English
Open Access
No
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