Opinion: Rebuilding Notre Dame

Screenshot 2019-04-17 at 10.34.18 AMHopefully the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral is not news to anyone. I don’t try to cover breaking news and share you heard it hear first stories because many times the first things you hear are wrong. Now that everyone has had a chance to hear and digest the facts, and many people have shared their opinion, I would like to reflect on a few things.

1) I think it’s good that this story matters to people. The people of Paris immediately announced they would rebuild. Salma Hayek and her billionaire husband have famously pledged $113 million toward the restoration effort and that’s just for starters. Media outlets continue to report the story and new developments in the story. Even as the world becomes increasingly secularized, and considering that Europe perhaps France in particular is leading the way, we recognize that a place of faith is important.

2) There are not any trees in France large enough to replace the roof of the cathedral. Looking up toward the ceiling was like looking at a forest. The fact that some of those timbers were 850 years old had a lot to do with the fact the roof went up like a box of matches. The new structure may resemble the design of the original but will likely be made of modern materials. Perhaps wooden veneers could emulate the original appearance while hiding steel and modern building materials underneath.

3) Fun fact: Victor Hugo’s classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame has seen a surge of popularity this week on Amazon France. I don’t even know what to make of that fact but… it is interesting.

4) And now my rant, which is really the point I wanted to make in writing this post. As mentioned, announcements to repair and rebuild were made almost immediately. Every social media post you can find on this story with a comment section has detractors. “There are hungry people in the world right now.” “They’re spending millions of dollars on this building while real people need real help.” My question is What have you done lately to help the poor or feed the hungry? If you have not recently given money or given of your time to feed the hungry, then your criticism is hypocritical. There are always people that begrudge the generosity of others while doing nothing themselves. If all you do is identify the problem, without offering a solution, then you are complaining. The word for that is complaining.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:1-8 ESV via Bible Gateway

When Judas complained about the waste of resources that could have been devoted to the poor, Jesus replied that we always have the poor with us. The fact that other people have donated to other charitable causes has not harmed you or interfered with your personal ministry in any way. If you want to help the poor, go help them. If you want to feed the hungry, go feed them. If you want to complain about the work other people are doing while doing none yourself, shut up.

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Pickle Parable: Extended Metaphor

There is value in using simple images we are familiar with to help us understand more complex concepts. The Bible is rich with such imagery. But sometimes we get carried away and a metaphor can be overextended. At some point every analogy breaks down and it is possible to complicate the issue we started out trying to simplify. I didn’t want to add to the original post but the wife and I had a discussion about the Parable of the Pickle Jar and I submit the following for your consideration. Continue reading

Parable of the Pickle Jar

Screenshot 2019-03-25 at 2.13.26 PMPickle jars can be tough. A new pickle jar can be tough for an adult to open but to a five year old it might as well be impossible. The jars are sealed warm so that as the contents cool the lid caves in just a bit. That way the button “pops” when you open it letting you know the jar has been locked up air tight since it was packed, giving you the piece of mind that the contents have not been tampered with. While I appreciate the safety feature understanding it doesn’t make the lid any easier to open. There’s nothing a kindergartner appreciates more than Mommy or Daddy reaching their arms around and popping loose that impossible lid. Continue reading

To Those of You Outside the United States

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March 11, 2019

I sometimes make reference to things like Daylight Savings Time, the Super Bowl and the fact that for the past five or six months it never quits raining. Most of my readers are in the United States and these cultural references are obvious to them. Since I only write in English that narrows down the number of people in the world that can read it at all. 

Having said that, I realize there are other readers from all over the world on a daily basis. Just like most readers are American it makes sense that Canada and United Kingdom are next in terms of numbers. In other nations around the world there are people who are multilingual, missionaries, American business people and military personnel serving abroad. There are Christians around the world as well, some in places friendly to them and others in the underground church movement. I just want to say that I know you’re out there.  Continue reading

11 Years

This totally snuck up on me:

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I started blogging in 2008. That was before the economic collapse, before the stimulus package, before the election of Barack Obama. That was before our daughter Johannah was born and before Michael Spencer even knew he was sick. There were a few podcasts out there but Facebook hadn’t caught on and there was no Twitter. Social media has changed the nature of blogging and given everyone with internet a voice. Continue reading

Denominationalism

Screenshot 2019-03-06 at 10.41.29 AMIf you don’t know about the recent special session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, the issues at hand nor the potential for that denomination to split, I’m going to assume it’s because you have been trying to avoid hearing about it. I’m not even going into it here. I suspect you either know all you want to and more or you are really trying hard not to find out.

I only bring it up because one of my friends posted a link to Facebook last week and one his friends, that I do not know, went off on a tangent about denominations. He first denounced the Methodist Church for even having a vote on such an issue then denounced all denominations across the board referring to the practice of denominationalism. What does he even mean by that? Continue reading

Facebook Issue Resolved

Good news! Facebook has restored links to The Master’s Table FB page and my personal profile. I was incredibly frustrated but honestly didn’t figure there was anything I could do. Someone, somewhere, looked at the issue again and determined this WordPress blog was not malicious and that I wasn’t spamming my friends. Praise the Lord and thank you Facebook Help team!

Thank you everyone for your patience while I fumed. I will try to make it worth everyone’s while by posting some God honoring, Christ centered blog posts over the weekend.