The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Türkiye...my newfound love.

I couldn't blog while I was in Türkiye with any sort of regularity, but I journaled every day. I just want to put one journal up here, because I think it encompasses the feelings for the trip as a whole.

May 26, 2009

Entering the courtyard of the Blue Mosque brought the first tears of the trip. We walked through an arch with a green and gold Arabic inscription into an immense courtyard with ablution fountains and endless archways. It was the first moment where I felt we were witnessing something remarkable. We stood around and took obligatory photographs, marveling at the enormity and beauty. We were in for a treat, however. Upon entering, lights sparkled from wrought iron chandeliers and drew our eyes upward to the massive dome of the Mosque. Thousands of tiles line the domes and the walls of the building. This is where the rest of the world discovered the color turquoise. There was a section of the back reserved for women, and Dr. Fogg gave us a quick lesson on mosque etiquette and Islam for women.

The Aya Sofya was such an amazing blend of Christianity and Islam. I wish that it could be a union of the faiths. It is very odd, but very inspiring to see the Greek, Christian murals and golden mosaics on the walls next to the giant Arabic calligraphy in the stained glass windows. I know that it has never been intentionally used for corporate worship, but it is nice to dream.

Being in the Blue Mosque drew many memories for me of entering St. Peter's Basilica in Roma in 2004. It is because of the feelings that I get from these spaces that I know there is a point to faith in God. People spent their lives working on these buildings in order to glorify their creator. Every tile and every square inch of marble was placed there by the hands of the faithful. it does not matter that one is for the Christian God and the other for Allah. The devotion is the same.

<3 Andrew Peterson

How can I keep from singing?