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Bible, Family, Life, Museum of the Bible, Travel, Uncategorized

“Welcome to New York… It’s been waiting for you”

December 22, 2015

I love hearing Taylor Swift welcome me home to NYC every time I land. Maybe someday I’ll even get to meet her. After all, we do live in the same city now – as well as 8.5 million other people (but at least there’s a chance?)

Now that I have lived in Manhattan for a month, here are the top 5 things I have learned about life here:

  1. Sirens are constantly going off.
    • It is surprising how quickly you begin to tune them out.
  2. New Yorkers are actually very nice.
    • In the first few days living in our apartment, we met so many people in our building that were excited for us and sincerely welcoming. It really made a difference and put us at ease.
    • Although New Yorkers can be nice, don’t mess with them if it is rush hour, or in a crowded touristy area.
  3. People sleep on the subway more often than I would expect.
    • In almost every other subway ride, I see a person sleeping. One guy even fell asleep mid-text message. He kept almost dropping his phone as his hand’s grip slowly loosened when he drifted to deeper and deeper sleep. (I was tempted to take his phone and carry on the conversation with whoever he was texting.)
  4. Living near an express subway stop is fantastic.
    • The subway stops every five to ten streets or so, but on the express train it will skip a few stops and only stop every twenty streets or so. Hopping on the express subway and avoiding the local stops = joy. It saves precious time.
  5. Chick-fil-A is a hit.
    • In September we began praying about whether or not to make this move. I felt like we were supposed to move, but I really just wanted a sign to solidify the decision. Not too long after that, we read Chick-fil-A was opening its first store in Manhattan. If that’s not a sign, I do not know what is.
    • As long as I am in a city with a Chick-fil-A, I can survive. We went to their store during our first week here, and it was PACKED. I think they are going to do alright in this city.

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On a more personal note, here is one thing I have learned about myself so far:

I’ve learned to appreciate my relationships and community more. For the first time in my life, I am living in a place where I can count on my two hands the number of people that know my name. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, and never living further than a 45-minute radius from where I was born, I have always been surrounded by family and long-standing friendships. New York is such a different experience since I don’t have quick, easy availability to those friends and family members.

A few highlights of our time in the city so far are definitely our Museum of the Bible (MOTB) events. During our first few weeks, MOTB hosted two events. This provided a great opportunity to introduce the vision of the museum with some wonderful people. Michael and I were also excited about the timing of the events, because it meant we got to meet people, hoping that we could make a few new friends!

As always, the museum events were fabulous. Our events planning team members always do an amazing job at making each event special. Here are a few photos of the evening:

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We also loved going to our new friend Scott Harrison’s event – a charity ball for Charity: Water at the Met. It was spectacular.

http://adammason.com

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One month in, and, New York, you do not disappoint.

It’s a new soundtrack, I can dance to this beat forevermore. The lights are so bright, but they never blind me. (“Welcome to New York” – Taylor Swift, 1989)

-LM

 

Bible, Museum of the Bible, Teaching, The Green Collection, Uncategorized, Work

More Than a Museum: Research

October 6, 2015

Logos Group with Greens square

“What is the best use of our growing collection?” – This was a question for the Green Collection leadership five years ago when we were just a few months into collecting artifacts. More specifically, we were asking, “If we were to begin programs around it, what would be among those with the most significance?”

In my previous post “More than a Museum,” I gave a high-level view of the Museum of the Bible and our four main initiatives. Here, I want to share a more in-depth look at one of those: our research initiatives.

Perhaps these seem like simple questions we were asking with a significant collection already in place when it was just a few thousand items, long before the current count of 40,000 plus items related to the biblical text and its transmission. During this early stage in forming the Green Collection, we realized that our answers could possibly impact lives in the future. When there were only four of us—another curator, two scholars, and me—a dream began to form:

“We could have an important role in helping to train the next generation of biblical text scholars.”

Although we didn’t know this collection’s future, and certainly didn’t fully anticipate the explosive years ahead developing into plans for the Washington, DC, site for the museum, we had glimpses of major things ahead. Throughout those early months, we had the conviction that scholarly research would be an important part of our programs, and the fulcrum of all that was ahead.

This is when conversations about a program called the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI) began. Dr. Jerry Pattengale developed and eventually executed this new research program. Its central idea remains in place: assigning various collection pieces to scholars (all with terminal degrees) and their students for high-level research. A team of over twenty senior and distinguished scholars came to this initiative, and provided assistance in their areas of expertise. These scholars also were the core lecturers among more than 100 videotaped presentations in various cities, with some at the Vatican, Israeli museums, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and in Cuba.

Establishing GSI has been an amazing and fast-paced journey, with the program starting only five years ago with just an idea and a few scholars. Today GSI is a robust network of over 60 scholars and dozens of projects. We have also successfully completed four summer institute conferences, and are looking to expand the program next summer. Publications are in process, students are being mentored, and GSI scholarship opportunities are being highlighted on many participating university campuses. We’ve also made some major discoveries, including the earliest Jewish proto-prayer book and some of the earliest astronomical sketches and texts, and a few of the earliest attestations to biblical passages and classical texts. The GSI program provides a substantial foundation for many of the things we do at Museum of the Bible. For this reason, we will have a research hub in the new DC facility called the Green Scholars Institute.

Of the many projects we have going on in GSI, my favorite is the work on the Codex Climaci Rescriptus (CCR). This is not only a fascinating piece, but I got to be involved (in a small way!) with part of the project early on. CCR is a palimpsest, and I got to take part in imaging the manuscript with multispectral imaging (MSI) a few years ago before the research got underway. In studying this manuscript, one of the incredible discoveries so far has been the identification of some early astronomical drawings. With greater access to the underlying layers of text through MSI, scholars found 1,500-year-old drawings of constellations on this manuscript. Ongoing research is being done on the CCR text at Tyndale House, Cambridge.

CCREdited

The Bible touches millions of people in different ways, and the vast majority of people are not Bible scholars. Against this backdrop, someone might ask, “Why does research matter?” or “Why should Museum of the Bible make scholarship one of its top priorities?” If you don’t consider yourself a scholar, or haven’t spent much or any of your life and money working toward a master’s degree or PhD, you may question why research is such an important part of Museum of the Bible. In an effort to connect the thoughts of the scholars to the public, I conducted an office survey.

I daily rub shoulders with a host of scholars from a wide variety of fields among the staff at our home base in OKC, which has grown to nearly seventy. In addition, we regularly host research teams and visiting scholars. With such access to these brilliant minds, I figured I would informally inquire about their views on biblical research and scholarship. With the help of  our Director of the Green Collection, Dr. David Trobisch, and his efficient summary of the points I found in my survey, here are the common responses.

Three things: Scholars are blind, scholars learn through comparison, and scholars create consensus by communicating with each other.

 

  1. Scholars are blind. We cannot experience past events directly, we have to do so indirectly. Even when we examine evidence, we cannot always see the significance. For example, we don’t understand ancient calendars and ancient currency the way we understand our own. We are like blind men and women stumbling through a forest.
  2. Scholars learn by comparing the unknown with the known. Because we cannot find answers to our questions by looking directly at our object of interest, we compare the new evidence with evidence that we have already placed in a context. We understand by relating the unknown to the known. The better we paint the overall picture, the easier it is for us to understand a new piece of evidence.
  3. Scholars create consensus by communicating with each other. We strive for objectivity by verifying and accepting the experiences of our colleagues as if they are our own. If an experience is not shared, it is irrelevant to the scholarly discourse. This is why publishing is such an essential part of scholarship and science. The German language does not differentiate between scholarship and science: both are called Wissenschaft. The word references a methodological approach to observations and theory: ein Vorgang, der Wissen schafft.

Perhaps there’s nothing earth-shattering here, but this little exercise proved affirming. For these reasons, and more, I am excited about the Green Scholars Initiative. It is important, the program has grown quickly, and it is continuing to develop and grow with Dr. Michael Holmes‘ current leadership.

To keep up with the Green Scholars Initiative, check into our Museum of the Bible newsroom for updated press releases like this exciting announcement: Green Scholars Initiative Honors Young Biblical Scholars. You can also find free lectures on our Museum of the Bible You Tube Channel.

-LM

Bible, Life, Travel

Real Life vs. Social Life: #NoFilter

August 17, 2015

Social Life: We are living it up with amazing coffee and working in Denver!
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Real Life: Why am I making that horrible face? Anything for the artsy social pic.
Real Life

I think social media is really cool. I use it a lot. I think there are many benefits with social media. One thing I think is a downfall with social, though, is the ability for people to show what their life is really like. It is so easy to let your Facebook timeline to present the kind of life you want people to think you have. It is definitely tempting for me to put out the best image about my life and how I want people to see me. It’s human nature. Most of us want others to think well of us, and many of us are afraid of being really known in fear of being found out as uninteresting, broken, imperfect, etc.

I have to say, my feed is often filled with posts about the exciting adventures, cool travels, and the interesting people I get to meet. I am very grateful for the path God has brought me on, and grateful for his grace in my life. Nevertheless, I definitely am showing the highlights. We don’t always post the unappealing or ugly things that happen in our lives. We also don’t (usually) make posts about the average, everyday mundane things going on (unless it’s another picture of my coffee—which you know I love!).

#CoffeeOfLaurensInstagram

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So, I’ll just go ahead and let you know that I am without a doubt imperfect, broken, often uninteresting, and more (or so much less). I am impatient with people when I am in LA traffic. I struggle with feeling entitled when boarding an airplane and I don’t get priority because I’m on an airline that I don’t have status with. I snap at my husband when I am stressed prior to going on stage or TV. I think more about myself than I should and not enough about others. I don’t look put together all of the time as much as I wish I did. And on and on and on.

What I love is the beautiful gift of grace from God that allows me to have peace in the midst of my mess. Anything I’ve done well, I can only credit to my heavenly Father. I am forever grateful that the Bible tells me that I am completely loved by him. This is one of the ways the Bible has impacted me. I love the Bible, and love that for a living I get to invite others to engage with this book.

Grateful,
-LM

Social Life: We are cute sisters bonding over donuts!
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Real Life: Feeling sick after these donuts.
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Bible, Museum of the Bible, The Green Collection, Work

More than a Museum

July 30, 2015

Can you remember what it was like to be at the beginning of a grand adventure, and not even realize it at the time? Maybe you were moving to a new state. Maybe your adventure was getting married. Or maybe you were taking the plunge and starting your own business.

Jumping into a new and unknown path can be exciting. When you having no idea what lies ahead of you, it can also feel daunting.

I embarked on a particular adventure a little over five years ago.

I was fresh out of college, a year into marriage, and eager to join my dad, Steve Green, on the unforeseen adventure of caring for artifacts that my family had started to accumulate. It was my first full-time job since I got my degree in Classics. I had no idea what stepping into this job would entail or what it might become.

If I had known then where we would be now, I may have thought twice before taking the job. Being involved in the process of building an artifact collection and a museum from scratch is a wild ride. A lot of work goes into building a museum. Not only are we building a museum, we are simultaneously building massive projects as essential initiatives of the museum. When I stepped into this new world called Museum of the Bible, we were two employees deep and a couple of thousand artifacts wide. Things have changed dramatically since then.

The collection started with just a few acquisitions in 2009. Within a few years, it became one of the largest in private hands. With the collection, came a path for founding Museum of the Bible.

It is challenging to communicate all that goes on under the umbrella of Museum of the Bible. Here is a quick overview of the four main buckets making up Museum of the Bible.

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  1. The Museum
  • This is a big one. If you have only heard a little bit about Museum of the Bible, then it is probably something involving our Washington, DC, site. In the fall of 2017, Museum of the Bible is opening a permanent museum just two blocks from the National Mall. And this is only two years away, so start planning ahead for your trip to DC because you definitely want to check this out! This museum is going to be top-of-the-line in interaction, technology, and engagement for people with various levels of Bible knowledge and all kinds of interests.

  1. Traveling Exhibits
  • We have a number of traveling exhibits under our belts already, and there are more to come! So far, our domestic exhibit Passages has been to six different cities: Oklahoma City (OK), Charlotte (NC), Atlanta (GA), Colorado Springs (CO), Springfield (MO), and, currently, Santa Clarita (CA). As far as international exhibits go, we have exhibited at the Vatican twice (2012 and 2014), and presented special exhibits in Israel, Cuba, and Argentina. You can follow Museum of the Bible on social media to see where we might go next—there are some awesome possibilities on the docket.

  1. Research
  • Research is integral to who we are and foundational for our work. Through the Green Scholars Initiative, we partner with established scholars, as well as new and upcoming scholars, and provide access to the incredible artifacts in our holdings for ongoing research and scholarship. Research of our artifacts is important because it allows us to understand better the collection, history, and the Bible. It is important for us to see excellent scholarship done with the collection, as well as mentoring young students as developing scholars. We currently doing research on about sixty projects, including studies on our Dead Sea Scroll fragments, the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, papyri, manuscripts, and more.

Education

  1. Education
  • Almost everyone agrees that education is important and beneficial to society. Museum of the Bible is no different, and desires to promote education. The book we display, research, and teach about has been a significant text for millennia. It is important to know this book in order to understand many things, like Western culture. For this reason, and more, we are creating a high school level curriculum about the Bible. This is a high quality, technologically advanced curriculum that is already being used in schools in Israel, and will go to many other countries in the future.

This is just a little glimpse into some of the highlights happening at Museum of the Bible. There are more projects going on that I don’t have time to write about now. If you are interested, you can follow me, or @museumofBible, for updates on these and other projects (including our recently announced archaeological dig!)

Expect to see a series of posts from me sharing more in-depth about these projects, and what excites me most about each one.

Stay tuned,

-LM

Bible, Hobby Lobby, Work

My Reflections on the Supreme Court Ruling

June 30, 2015

SCOTUS

June 30, 2014 changed our nation and my family forever. For me, the week leading up to that day was one of the most anxiety filled weeks I can remember.

 

My family was in a lawsuit against the HHS mandate because of how it would impact our privately owned company, Hobby Lobby. My family waited not so patiently at the end of June for the Supreme Court ruling.

 

Because of the significance of the case, we knew the ruling would likely come at the end of the SCOTUS term. I tried to seem calm, cool, and collected, but my mind wrestled with fear about the possible outcomes of the case. In the midst of this uncertainty, I was afraid, but I knew that I could trust God with the future.

 

Journeying to the Supreme Court to live out our deeply held religious beliefs was never something our family imagined doing. We did not desire the media attention placed upon us. It was discouraging to see the amount of misleading information concerning our case spread, but what made this difficult journey easier for my family was having each other. We were in the prayers of many, and constantly received notes of encouragement and care. It was a blessing to know and to hear about those around the world praying with us. I will never be able to return enough thanks to them.

 

Today is the anniversary of that ruling handed down by SCOTUS. I have been reflecting on our experience, and thought I would share a bit out of my prayer journal from one year ago today.

 

June 30, 2014 I wrote:

“…it still just seems surreal, but I am so grateful for the win! Thank you Jesus! You are good no matter what- whether win or loss- but I am so grateful for the favorable outcome. I want You to be glorified in everything through this. I pray that we would move forward in ways that honor you. God I don’t know what you are going to do with my family or with our company, but we place it in your hands again. And God I pray for love and compassion for those who may not agree with us. Amen.”

 

Looking back over this past year, it seems like this ruling happened so long ago. Time seemed to move slowly in the midst of the storm, but quickly now that we are on the other side. Our family business is one of the things I hold onto as most important to me. Throughout the journey, I had to come to the place where I was willing to open my hands and let go of Hobby Lobby. I had completely surrendered it to God. It is a lesson I will cherish forever. Our family does not own Hobby Lobby. We are only stewards of the things God has given to us.

-L. A. Green McAfee

 

Photos are from Oral Argument day at the Supreme Court (March 25, 2014)

Waiting to go in to the Supreme Court for Oral Argument

Waiting to go in to the Supreme Court for Oral Argument

Walking down the steps after Oral Argument

Walking down the steps after Oral Argument

"We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey" -Barbara Green (Grandma)

“We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey” -Barbara Green (Grandma)

www.hobbylobbycase.com

Bible, Museum of the Bible, School, Teaching, Travel, Uncategorized, Work

A tour of Ramat Gan, Israel

June 8, 2015

Me and Students

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a few schools in the Ramat Gan area of Israel. They have incorporated new Bible Curriculum into the schools, and we got to interact with the students and classes that have been using this material. It was a joy to hear from young people as they shared how this new curriculum was impacting their learning.

This Bible Curriculum incorporates new technology called Augmented Reality. Using Augmented Reality allows the students to digitally bring about another dimension of reality with a tablet as they go through their lesson. For students, adding a technological layer to their text-book is a game changer. It allows them to interact with the text, which in turn can help them learn and remember more.

Student

I got to hear from a high school boy who had been using this material for a few months. He said that using this curriculum with the technology component “provides the opportunity to bond with the Bible.”

Another student said “using the technology helps me better understand the Bible. Today we learned about Joshua, and I learned how it can relate to me today.”

I love seeing students connect and engage with the Bible in a new way through this curriculum and the augmented reality!

If you want to see the curriculum and Augmented Reality in action you can watch a video here. In this video, my husband Michael is showing a group of California students the same material that is being used in Israel.

Bible, Church, Family, Teaching

Life at the Youth Group

April 27, 2014

Today I had the opportunity to speak to the CRBC High School Sunday morning class. Now, if you know me- you might know that I don’t really feel comfortable speaking in front of people. For some reason though, God has recently given me a few opportunities to speak about things that I really care about, so I was reluctantly happy to say yes to this chance to speak about the sanctity of human life.

We looked at the biblical view of life and the pro-life stance. I went over five different passages of scripture, but of course one of the main passages that people think of is from Psalm 139.

Psalm 139:13-15. “13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

I love how clear and beautiful this passage it. God is the author of life, and He knits us together while we are in the womb. He loves and values us, and we should view life in the womb in the same way- valuing it.

Speaking on the Sanctity of Human Life

Speaking on the Sanctity of Human Life

I also went over some scientific facts that help us understand what is going on in the womb. At the time of conception, when we consider that in that moment a unique DNA is created that has never existed and never will exist again, we have to see that this is a unique human life. At two and a half weeks into pregnancy, there is a heartbeat, and at five and a half weeks brain activity can be detected in the baby. By the time the baby is only eight weeks old in the womb, it can suck its thumb, has unique finder prints, and can feel pain. A tiny human life.

I am thankful for the chance to share these truths with this group of high school students at my church this morning. It was not easy, but I believe it is so important. I pray that it showed biblical truth, and emboldens others to take a stand for protecting the unborn. I also pray that as we realize we need to take a stand for life, that we would also step in and provide the love and support that women need when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

(graphics and media from www.onlineforlife.org)

 

Bible, Theology

OneHope Celebration

February 19, 2014

This past week I was in NYC, Colorado Springs, and then finally in the warm sunny weather of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The last stop in Florida was for the OneHope ministry’s annual update and celebration. It was a joy to be there, and hear about the update of global ministry.

OneHope is a ministry close to my family’s heart. We have known the family that started this ministry for over half of my life, and they are wonderful people. OneHope’s goal is to get God’s Word to Every Child in the world. On the last night of the annual celebration, we actually got to watch live through Skype as a missionary in China handed a child the one BILLIONTH gospel Book of Hope. It was amazing. I was so amazed to think that because of one man’s faithfulness to the Lord, Bob Hoskins- who has founded OneHope and is still running the ministry- one billion children and youth of the world have received God’s truth in His Word.

Bob humbly admits that he is not gifted, and that there is nothing “special” about him. He simply gives all the credit to God. (Below is Bob Hoskins speaking at the OneHope Celebration- he is celebrating 70 years of serving in ministry this year)

Bob Hoskins

What could God do with your life if you completely gave it to Him and faithfully followed His call?

I have been asking myself this question, and pray that God guides me to following Him fully and completely. I serve a powerful God and anything is possible with Him.

 

I got to watch live as the one Billionth book of Hope was handed out in China

I got to watch live as the one Billionth book of Hope was handed out in China

She is the recipient of the one billionth Gospel book!

She is the recipient of the one billionth Gospel book!