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.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Gospel of Self

Screenshot 2018-03-08 at 10.42.51 AMThe Gospel of Self, How Jesus Joined the GOP is written by Terry Heaton and details his role at CBN and The 700 Club. Before we used terms like fake news and every single person had a voice via social media, the Christian Broadcast Network entered a new frontier of sorts by not only reporting the news but by shaping the way people thought. CBN in general, and Pat Robertson’s 700 Club in particular, played a profound role in shifting the Republican Party to the right back in the 1980’s. While Robertson was in front of the camera Terry Heaton was behind the scenes and very much involved in making the things Robertson talked about a reality. Heaton believes today’s Christian Right is the end result of work they did together back then. Continue reading

Vengeance is Not Ours

Screenshot 2016-06-15 at 11.06.17 AMOur collective attention has been focused on Orlando since Sunday. Every angle of that story, from terrorism to gun control, has been covered. Stories with that much media attention I usually avoid commenting on completely; everything that can be said pretty much has been (whether it should have been or not).

Omar Matten reported posted “All gays must die” before the shooting starting. While Americans debate whether bakers and florists should be closed down for refusing to serve LGBT customers, homosexuality is still punishable by death in Muslim countries. I don’t want this post to disintegrate into a political discussion, but some Christians have questioned the current administration’s support of gay rights and also tolerance of Islam in light of those two things not necessarily being tolerant of each other. I want to remind all Christian believers that vengeance belongs to God. Continue reading

SCOTUS, Where the Rubber Meets the… Playground

 

Screenshot 2016-01-29 at 9.33.33 AM

Baptist Press reports that the Supreme Court will hear an argument in March or April that may set precedents for future church/state decisions. From the article:

Missouri nonprofits can apply to the state for scrap tires to use for rubber playground surfaces. Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which has a daycare called the Learning Center, applied to receive the ground-up tires for its playground. The state ranked the church’s application highly, but refused the grant based on a state constitutional provision that forbids state money going to support churches. About 35 states have similar provisions in their state constitutions.

The implications of the high court’s decision will go far beyond playground equipment. Continue reading Church-state case goes to Supreme Court via bpnews.net.

Age of Disinformation

We live in the Information Age. Pretty much the whole of recorded knowledge from all time is available in a few clicks. Most of us use the technology that makes this feat possible to look at funny cat pictures and argue with total strangers. The proliferation of social media and instant publish platforms means that any one of us can have a global audience, but you need a sensational event to document if you want your Facebook post or Instagram pic to go viral. Case in point: How many have seen this image in the last week which supposedly shows Houston under water?

Screenshot 2015-05-30 at 8.11.23 AM

Continue reading

This is What Happens When You Fight the Culture War

Way back when in 2008 I posted Should Christians Fight the Culture War? Perhaps that’s a good place to start. This is an example of what happens when we do try to wrestle with flesh and blood rather than powers and principalities.

Video via CNN, no explicit language or images

In Warsaw, Ohio a strip club owner staged a protest outside of a local church during service on Sunday morning, complete with topless protesters carrying signs. Apparently New Beginnings Ministries has been protesting outside of the local strip club for years, taking pictures of customers license plates and calling the girls that work there things like tramps and whores. Church Pastor Bill Dunfee says it is the responsibility of the church to spread the Gospel, uplift the name of Jesus and confront evil. The confrontation of evil has resulted in a small crowd of strippers, employees and friends of the Foxhole Club to assembling a protest of their own. Be careful when you fight the culture war, the culture may just fight back. Continue reading

Trying Something New

Screenshot 2014-05-08 at 9.53.33 AMThomas Edison tried everything from wood to cotton fibers while attempting to create the first incandescent bulb. He failed many times before invented the light bulb containing a tungsten filament. He is often quoted as saying “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” The only way to discover new things that do work is to try new things not knowing if they will work or not.

A few days ago I started a new thing at my other blog clarkbunch.wordpress.com. Continue reading