Sunday, June 7, 2009

Prague

The Czech Republic and the outskirts of Prague is kind of a mess. Well, I suppose they were communist until just a few years ago, so I’ll cut the country a little slack. However, when you cross the river into the centre of Prague, everything changes. Prague is an amazing city. Gigantic, elaborate churches, more uneven and beautiful cobblestone, and architecture that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale are one of the things that make Prague so fantastic.

I didn’t really have much of a drive to see much of Prague, and really wouldn’t want to stay there for more than a few days, but I’m really glad that I went. Just like The Mall of America, Prague is kind of the Mall of Europe. Downtown was mostly stores, restaurants, and dance clubs. But man, it was beautiful.

It’s so difficult to explain how beautiful and interesting Prague is, so I’m going to put a bunch of pictures from a tour that I took through the city and a boat tour we went on to just show you who cool it is. 









Being in the country of Czech was really interesting because of the lack of English. First of all, Czech is a really strange language that seems just unintelligible to me—there was nothing that sounded anything like an English word.  Also, while I was walking downtown I heard German, Japanese, Spanish, and I heard accents from Great Britain, Scotland, and Australia. The people of Prague realize that most of the people in the city are tourists, and that’s obvious because there is at least one annoying souvenir shop on each street.

I didn’t necessarily want to shop in Prague because I don’t have a lot of money to spend (even though I did pick something nice up for my girlfriend…it’s a secret), so the only things that I bought were a disappointing cone of gelato, a delicious Czech meal with friends, and tickets to a rather large Salvador Dali exhibition.

The Dali exhibition was amazing. Not only was the art amazing, but it also was in a building in the main square of Prague. And the windows were open to the city. So I looked at art, and then Prague, and then art, and then Prague. It was wonderful. And worth 90 Crauns.

(Don’t worry…that’s only five bucks in American money.)

I also went to a restaurant in the main town square for a nice Czech lunch. The desert was some sort of hollow cinnamon pastry with nuts. Yums. 



I've found that my new photo obsession is of street performers and old European people. Check out my new muses...




The choir sang at St. Nicholas church in downtown Prague, which was massive and completely overwhelming. I’m not sure if the pictures do it justice; I’ll try to make sure that there are antlike people by the door so you can see how big it really was (look at the first picture). The inside was filled with splendor like I had never seen before. It wasn’t necessarily big on the inside; actually it was quite crowded because of all the elaborate decorations.

This is the time when I kind of had a realization about European Christianity: a lot of Europe’s view of who Jesus is  and what following Christ is is quite warped. Relevant ministry—even Protestant ministry is very uncommon here. Less than 20% of Europe’s population is Christian, and over 40% is Atheistic. Many people would think that Europe is very spiritual because it has a plethora of beautiful churches.

But here’s the deal: they’re all empty.

The churches are more crowded during tour days than it is on Sunday mornings.

The main view of Jesus is of the royal paintings and sculptures that adorn the majestic churches. Jesus as the simple, loving full-human yet full-God is replaced by stone Jesuses and gold ones, which is understandably what they’re turned off by. How can you worship something so cold?

I’ll talk more about this subject as I learn more. My bottom line is, I’m feeling a strong pull for ministry in Europe. But it’s going to take patience and a lot of grace. Europe is an amazing place; just imagine how amazing it would be when it is invaded by the Spirit of God!

I’ll talk more about this later.

Anyway, Prague was amazing. Today, June 6th, we are driving to Salzburg and I’m looking out the window, seeing the Alps in the distance.  Can’t wait to write about this one.

In Christ Alone (instead of stone)

Brian 

13 comments:

  1. your mother is showing us how to blog. Love ya Grandma and Grandpa

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  2. Is that bacon and cheese on a potato, even Europeans know that lovely combination.

    It looks like the guy in the third picture was not ready to have his photo taken.

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  3. Excellent blog again, Brian!

    One question:
    Why do they put cherry tomatoes instead of money in the street musicians guitar case?

    AND LOOK!!! Even dogs are street musicians! (notice the adorable puppies with the 3 guys in white hats.)

    Are you saying that a ministry in Europe may be a permanent thing for you? (if it is....buy that little white/blue house in Wyk Au Fur and we'll come and live with you...and don't forget to get 3 sheep for Lindsay.)

    It really does surprise me that it's not a more faithful/spiritual continent! I really thought it would be steeped in Christian tradition!

    Love you!
    Mom

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  4. Prague reminds me of a James Bond movie, especially the arched bridge. Yep, the church DOES look bigger than the Basilica in Mpls. I wonder why the churches are empty, too. Could be that decades of communism forced God from the people. If memory serves, communists weren't too keen on "freedom of religion." Same with Germany when under Hitler. Cool photos again. I agree with Chris, the dude didn't seem to happy. Maybe that was what he was saying, "duuuude!" Can't wait to hear/see Austria. Love you, Dad.

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  5. hey, this is christie on my mom's computer again ^_^

    i LOVE the pretty architecture!! can't get enough of those pictures! (especially the ones of brian AND pretty architecture, hahahha)
    hey brian, do you actually read these comments?

    ooh and salvador dali is fun, that would be a cool exhibit.

    i love the characters you see on the streets! street performers and old people are always interesting. i saw the monkey picture on my phone at first so i was trying to figure out if it was real or not. Then i saw it on the computer... and it was obvious.
    hahah i've also always wanted to try walking with some of those tall wooden legs.

    good luck on your last concert tomorrow!! oh wait, today! it is 7 am where you are :)

    love you!

    christie

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  6. ***Comments on Pictures***
    --Pic 1—This reminds me of the clock tower-thing in Boston!!! The name is escaping me… fun fun fun!
    --Pic 3—BaahahaHA! What the heck were you doing while you were taking the picture that made the man with the beard and the woman with him walking by look at you that way?! = D Also the guy in the bench in front of you looks like he missing his head… usually not a good thing, but perhaps it’s okay in Prague…
    --Pic 5—Wow… this church is intense… I have to say the gothic style kind of creeps me out, but it looks really cool! I sincerely hope its haunted, I don’t know, I just think that would be a really lovely home for a ghost.
    --Pic 6—Pretty pretty! Look how teeny-tiny the people look on top!
    --Pic 8—Great picture! Where were you when you took this? You weren’t climbing on construction equipment again were you?!?
    --Pic 9—This picture reminds me of Disney world, a sea of people, a perfectly lit castle. Did the castle change colors like Cinderella’s?
    --Pic 10—Thank you Vana White, where’s your floor length evening gown? You sir look like a blueberry! Do they make you wear that lovely jacket or do you just love it that much? ; ) I’m just giving you a hard time for once…
    --Pic 16 YUM!!! Can you send your leftovers back to Minneapolis for me?—Pic 17--How long did you have to fake taking a bite before the picture was taken? Did any European bugs fly into your mouth???
    ***Other Comments***
    --Thank you for posting more pictures!!! I’m happy to see that my begging on skype worked! Haha! And I love that you compared Prague to the Sprawl of America! = D
    --I dig your photo obsession of street performers! I didn’t comment on the pictures because there is just too much so say and my posts are long enough already, but keep it up!

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  7. I also love looking at the pictures of the random people in the square and on the street.
    Christie, the tall wooden legs are called stilts!

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  8. I also had to take a second look at the organ grinder guy, to see if that was a real monkey.

    Look they are all selling CD's, Kent you're missing a good marketing oportunity here with the boy:o)

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  9. MY ANSWERS: to your wonderful questions.

    oh, haha...i never really understood that. the street performers with the tomatoes weren't asking for anything; they were just giving out cherry tomatoes. it was so weird.

    ministry in europe would be incredibly challenging, but it's something definitely for me to think about. but i'm not going without taking most of you with me. :) (haha, don't hold me to that...)

    hahah, i didn't notice that guy until you pointed it out. that was just a random picture! now i like it even more, though!!

    no, linds, i wasn't climbing construction equipment in prague. it was just a lookout point on top of a hill. :)

    yeah, the street performers were the craziest in prague. it seemed like everyone had something to say, whether it be "let's stick to our cultural roots," "i need money," or "i'm bohemian, dammit!" it was all there, and wonderful to see. it was very interesting.

    thanks, all, for your comments. :)

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  10. Looks like a good time...but we all are waiting to hear more!

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  11. Chris is teaching me how to blog.

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  12. Looks like a blast! So glad you have this opportunity. Love ya, Julie

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