Lese Majesty Notre Dame Cathedral

notre dame
(Photo credit LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)

     This is the image that blazed across our local newspaper in Colorado Springs this morning. Like many of us, it pierced my heart. I’m not that much a religious person, but I am a genuine Christian, one who doesn’t strap his faith onto the rest of his life; rather one who integrates his faith into everything he does.

     What struck me about this picture, being part art historian, is the juxtaposition of the alter, the cross, the statue of Mary holding her son Jesus, with the total devastation that lay at their feet. What a depiction of our present world’s quandary.

     Within less than 3 days of this tragedy, almost one billion dollars has been raised to rebuild this Parisian landmark. Pledges have poured in from across the world, from small churches in Arkansas, to major European conglomerates, to individuals, to tycoons, to common folk.  This incredible generosity bespeaks of the love and honor that people held for this global landmark— this personification of Paris. As one Parisian said,

 “Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations.” [https://wnep.com/2019/04/15/first-photos-show-damage-inside-notre-dame-cathedral/]

May God bless all those who are contributing to the restoration of this majestic icon of Western Civilization!

     But what of the ruble that lay at the foot of the cross, at the feet of Jesus? These are the 850 year old oak beams that held the roof of the cathedral, now devastated and burned. What can replace them? Surely not more oak beams. But what?

     In so many ways this is an image of our postChristian world. A billion dollars will easily repair the cathedral, but what of the lives of people who have lost faith in their church, in their personal relationship and trust in God? What of them? What will become of them? A billion dollars doesn’t come near to rebuilding or restoring, their faith.

     I put it to you that genuine Christians around the world have a responsibility to reexamine their faith in the God of the universe who has created and who will restore all things to an greater glory, even greater than this glorious Notre Dame. We have the responsibility to repair and rebuild the faith of so many who have lost faith in Christ in these pluralistic and often convoluted times.

     So as we contribute to repairing this magnificent cathedral, may we also spend some time, and money, rebuilding others’ lives, to honor God, in Christ Jesus. May this tragedy remind us again of our mission to bring this broken, charred world to the offer of a new life in the Lord who sustains it all— Jesus Christ!

A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so everyone would have life, and have it fully.
[John 10:10 CEV]



collateral damage

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, refugee, war, damage, collateralOne of the givens of war is collateral damagethe incidental destruction of property and human life not intended as part of a tactical military maneuver; also known as- the casualties of war. Each side in the conflict will report and dramatize the extent of collateral damage inflicted by the other side as if the intended targets were indeed the innocents. The propaganda and misinformation war waged alongside of the military conflict will always seek to claim moral justification for its retaliation by producing the most graphic images. The truth is
that too many innocent people are used as military shields, as propaganda tools, and, sadly, as actual targets. IF they have any military value whatsoever, they are expendable. Casualties of war.

Similarly, some of us have no idea of the collateral damage we leave in our wake. Some, to be sure, are glibly blind to the havoc they cause. They are simply stupid people who need to be confronted with their stupidity. It is those who have no issue with littering casualties along the way as long as they can achieve their personal goals that are at issue here. Why is it that some of us believe we have the right to use others, to step on them to climb one more rung up the ladder, to wound them deeply, and then to dispose of them as little more than rotting rubbish!?! And then they continue their climb up the ladder, suffering no moral or ethical pangs in what they have done.

Common decency and courtesy would seem to dictate that a simple apology containing some degree of civil or humane restitution would be in order. Yet if it remains with the abuser to put forth the contrition, to take the lower place, you may well have to provide your own snowballs in hell. Thus, just or not, it will most probably fall to you to take the lower place, and accordingly to rise to the level of bringing some reconciliation to the situation— even though you remain the collaterally damaged and discarded one   . Ever heard this adage?

If you place yourself on top, there’s only one direction you can go.

If you place yourself on the bottom, there’s only one direction you can go.

            Never, ever be the one who inflicts collateral damage on others!


Have a nice week,