About This Blog and Its Author

My name is Emmie Arnold. I’m a divinity student at Princeton Theological Seminary, hoping to become a hospital chaplain at the end of that journey. God has put in my heart a great love of people, stories, and adventures.


This blog is a space for my reflections before, during, and after a trip that I took with 15 others to the [Holy] Land (Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories) in January 2017. I share because I had the privilege of a lifetime in going and having the opportunity to learn, see, and feel more than I ever thought possible in two-and-a-half weeks, and I believe God has called me to tell the stories of people you may never meet, narratives you may never hear firsthand, a Land you may never go to, and chances you may never have.

This blog got its name from the living contradictions that make the Land what it is: Authenticity and inauthenticity; loss and permanence; religiosity and atheism; concealment and revelation; tawdriness and transcendence; forgetting and memorializing; crisis of faith and crisis of belief; lamenting loss and celebrating continuity; politics and piety; and overwhelming and underwhelming sights, sounds, and feelings. It’s a place that perfectly symbolizes the best and worst aspects of religion.

These opinions are my own, and I don’t claim to have all of the answers (or even any of them – the truth is that things are simpler when you’re far away, but far more complex up close). I hope you will believe that I represent all narratives fairly, but I will focus the most on narratives that aren’t often shared because they deserve to be lifted up.

May God bless you and keep you. May this blog serve as a way of seeking and achieving deeper understanding of others and the world. May you keep your mind and heart open to becoming pro-all sides, but more importantly, pro-peace. May you seek and work for hope, peace, and justice, wherever you are.