Thinking about donating to the restoration of the Notre Dame? Don’t.
My feed has been blowing up with pictures of my friends at the Cathedral Notre Dame. I join yall and the world community in expressing resounding unanimous grief at that wonderful church burning on Monday Apr 15, 2019.
I attended mass in that building back in 2011, and when the choir crescendoed to the climax of the Sanctus, I was a sobbing mess. These old churches were built vertically to be closer to God, but also for the amazing acoustics. To know that people had been sitting in that spot singing the same Sanctus for nearly a millennium brought this grown man to tears.
When I saw the flames on Monday, it evoked all of the feels I had when I was sitting under the roof that was burning.
The roof burned off and unfortunately the organ was damaged. But providence provided many statues to be off site for repair, and thankfully, the structure is fine. Not bad for an 850 year old building.
The Outpouring of love
I was struck at the image of local Parisians kneeling, singing, and weeping while watching the church burn. France is certainly among the most secular societies on Earth, but a diverse group of people gathered, unified by their shared love for that amazing building.
The unification was also online. In the aftermath of the fire €1 billion Euros ($1.13 billion USD) were raised for the reconstruction of the church.
Catholics don’t need that kind of money
Wait wait wait, let’s slow it down a little. A billion Euros?? Not to feed the poor or help the defenseless, but to rebuild a 12th century church? What if that money were used to feed the starving in Yemen? Or reunite families at America’s southern border?
The Cathedral Notre Dame is ultimately a tourist destination, and it is in France’s tourism industry’s interest to rebuild it. It’s estimated that if the pope decided to liquidate just some Catholic real estate that he could put together $600 Billion. Both French tourism and the Catholic Church have much to gain from paying to rebuild the thing themselves
Then it occured to me that the physical building of the Notre Dame burning externally is a perfect metaphor for the US Church (big “C*”) burning from within.
The two Unifiers
Both the Cathedral Notre Dame and our Church are emotional symbols capable of unifying us. The former because it’s old, beautiful, and when a choir sings in it it’s fucking amazing. The latter because it is similarly emotional, and if used correctly can unify us all behind a worthy cause.
The two Fires
Both are on fire. The roof of Notre Dame was put out via firefighters and water, but in our Church the fire rages on, and it burns our core increasing intensity. If this quote doesn’t best summarize the fire in our church, I don’t know what does.
Our misguided response
The response of the US Church to the fire within our ranks is just as misguided as millionaires donating to fix a roof on an old church. Our treasure must go toward welcoming asylum seekers rather than building a wall to keep them out.
The definition of Post Christianity
I identify as “Postchristian” not because I have given up on Christianity, rather, I recognize the still potent potential for the Christian Church to be a powerful unifier just like the Notre Dame. But the church is failing us, its clergy is failing us, we as lay members are failing. I no longer think this iteration of Christianity is capable of fulfilling the call of Christ, thus it’s time to move on “Post” Christiantiy.
To you my readers I beseech you to store up treasures in heaven and donate not to a burnt church or to a wall or to forcing women to have a baby against their will…
The message is Postchristianity is to move beyond the failures of our current church and do the work of Christ post-church. If you are moved either by the Notre Dame burning or our American Church burning please consider giving to the following orgs:
My mate Val is a pastor at Travis Park Church, located next to a bus stop in DT San Antonio where migrants stop en route to their final destinations in the US. This church works to house, supply, and help these folks. I gave and it was easy and fast.
I highly recommend this org Matthew 25, a broad coalition of faith based organizations dedicated to helping “to the plight of immigrants and other vulnerable people”
Thanks for reading y’all. I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Cheers.