Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Reading Paul’s letter to his mate Titus is quite amusing, purely because Titus was on the island of Crete.

Bali, Crete
So, what might have become of Crete, and its visitors, say, ooh, maybe 2,000 years later?

Steve Goble in Crete, 2003!
As I read this today, inevitably I pictured Crete as it is today, or rather as it was in 2003 and 2004, when I was holidaying and working there.

Natural places like the gorges at Samaria and Imbros probably look much the same now as they did back then. But how much have the buildings, people and culture developed since Titus' time, nearly 2,000 years ago?

Bali, Crete
I think of Crete today, and I think of the grapes, the sand-coloured fish, and the stray kittens.

Cool cats in Crete
Ski resort favoured by 007
I also remember the bullet-riddled signposts, the traffic accidents...

The Highway, man
... the nightclub...

Bali Star Hotel
... the power-cuts...

SSX Mesablanca
... the cave where Zeus was born, and the quaint male chauvinism. (I don't have a picture of that)

And then there's that giant golf-ball by the airport, the 365 annual name-days, the nazi tour-guide, (certainly not risking showing a picture of him) and the shop-assistant who apparently wanted to kidnap Sarah and me for thinking about buying something.

Oh, and I also remember how, right across that island, it was Movember all year round.

Yet predominantly, although when you’re in a foreign non-English speaking country you try to engage with the local culture, to a certain extent you still fall-back on sticking with people from your own.

As a result, when I think of Crete, I really think of all the great English-speaking friends I made there.

It's curious that, in 2003/4, so many Christians went on package-trip Christian holidays to Crete, specifically to escape life and be with God for a couple of weeks.

From my tiny experiences of the place, Crete seemed so stuck in its ways that it was hard to imagine anyone trying to evangelise, and therefore change, it today.

And yet, God still seemed to be silently at large.

In April 2004, on the same day as my blog profile photos were taken, I faced a choice – either stay in Crete, or return to New Zealand. (which I had left only a month earlier) That evening I went down to the Evita Bay, ate a Moro bar from NZ, drank a Frijj drink from the UK, (neither of which were available on the island) prayed, and made my choice, hoping that it was also God's.

Back at the hotel, someone said to me that if I was going back to New Zealand for good reasons, then God would certainly use me there in some way. I wonder whether time has vindicated me?

Today I think I agree with her, inasmuch as I don't think that either choice would have been "wrong."

Very very near my flat in Howick in New Zealand, there was a shop window, inside which was a huge beautiful painting of Crete that I would sometimes stop and look at.

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