Reaction Of The Rich To The Notre Dame Fire Teaches Us A Lot About The World We Live In

Here’s a perspective you are not likely to find most places, and it illuminates so much. Like opening your eyes.

Look Up

Source: Reaction of the rich to the Notre Dame fire teaches us a lot about the world we live in published on JOE. The complete article and all pictures belong to JOE.

Reaction of the rich to the Notre Dame fire teaches us a lot about the world we live in

This week, the world’s eyes turned to Paris as Notre Dame cathedral burned.

It was clear within minutes that complications due to the building’s age and density of heavy timber would severely hinder attempts to put out the fire. Still, it was shocking to see that iconic spire come down, succumbing to the fire as easily as a matchstick house.

Indeed, watching this ancient temple engulfed in smoke and heat was a frightening reminder there are many forces out there that render us powerless to save something dear to us.

People worldwide have meaningful connections to Paris. It is the most-visited city in the world. As such, people have memories of Notre Dame, memories that were…

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Your Story Becomes Our Story

I give a lot of thought to all the many things wrong with the book, When Helping Hurts, by Corbett and Fikkert, and there are many.  That book is so damaging on so many levels, and I see deeper into that every time I give it thought.  After re-reading it two times again in recent weeks, as part of my research into a much bigger, forthcoming project, I am amazed at how my church doesn’t react against it.  Point being: it is fresh on my mind again, and I am more stirred up by it than ever.

However, though my thoughts today are formed in part by reaction to that book, that is not actually what I want to talk about.  I bring it up merely to lay down this marker: Seeking salvation in banks, low interest loans, and business principles (no matter how baptized you get them) is just not the healing touch of Jesus.  It’s actually like the sterile gloves your healthcare provider puts on before touching you in an effort not to get your germs.  There is only so deep your doctor wants to get into your story, and your illness is not something she wants to share.

Fair enough, doc.  I don’t blame you.  But then my doctor is not confused about the difference between his healing touch and that of Jesus.  Jesus heals in ways they don’t teach in medical school, and not only that, but he actually touches the leper (Matt. 8:3) and spits on a blind man’s eyes (Mark 7:33) all of it as part of his healing touch.  Jesus took our germs and our sins on himself (1 Pet. 2:24) when he died giving us salvation.  And your story and mine became his, as his story became ours.

I have these homeless children living with me in the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners.  Most of them come/have come at a very early age – usually within days of birth.  Yet it takes years, usually, before we know the disposition of their case.  Sometimes they go “home”.  But by that time, “home” is here.  Even when it’s the good and right decision, by that time there is pain in the healing.

We share a lot of germs!  (Believe me!  Toddlers ooze a lot of snot and other things, and we use a lot of cleaning solution trying to manage it all.)

As I hear it from the professionals, and from coursework in Sociology, in our culture (I am guessing others too) when you make eye-contact with strangers, it signals involvement.  But in our culture, we prefer anonymity, the autonomy, independence and individuality.  All of that is breached with eye-contact, and it becomes hard to rid the human bond already starting to form once shell is breached.

Much better to send a bum to a homeless shelter than to take him home with you.  You will never get rid of him if you do that.  Much better to purchase him a sandwich so you can feel good that the money was used for food than to actually share the meal with that bag lady.  Even my grandmother knew this stuff, but now we have books, coffee shops, and whole parachurch industries relieving us of this burden and providing excuse for not getting involved.

But when it comes to children, you just can’t do that.  If you look into their eyes, you are hooked, and you know it.  Thus you try not to for all you are worth.  If you look, this is going to change things.  Your life will no longer be your own.  Your story will now be OUR story.  And who knows who is writing that???

I have these kids.  This home is bursting at the seams, and I am the door keeper at the House of God.  And there is another one knocking.  Damaged, deeply.  I am not at liberty to tell the details, nor should I.  But like all the others with very rare exception, if I did tell you, you would be shocked.  And this one knocking now threatens to make his story OUR story too.  And who knows who is writing it?

But as the Good Book warns us, the door keeper is supposed to keep alert.  We do not know the day or hour when the Master returns.  May I be found alert and ready.  May I be found feeding the sheep when the Master arrives.  May I definitely not be found causing one of these little ones to stumble, but rather helping to form Jesus in the lives around me.  May His story become our story, and may our story become OUR story.

We don’t want plastic gloves for this!  Not when you really think about it.

 

 

Think about it….

I’m Back!

Computer issues had me suddenly absent for more than 3 1/2 months, but I believe they are resolved now.

I don’t know if you missed me, but I miss some of you.  Actually, I have been gone so long that I am used to not blogging now.  Perhaps its a good time to make a number of changes.  But I miss the sharing of many conversations here, and I hope to restore some of the virtual friendships I have developed over the years.

Anyway, I’m back.  And that’s the point of this post.

Thanx to Tom for his guidance during this hiatus.

And Thanx to God, I have a new computer.

Let’s talk!

Will resume blogging soon.

’tis The Season (again)

A Fat Beggars’ Christmas tradition… Here is the annual re-post offered yet again this Christmas Eve. Yet I pray it be unnecessary and irrelevant next year…

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

(The following is the Fat Beggars traditional Christmas Eve post.  May it prompt readers to open their homes tonight.)

It’s Christmas eve now.  A night filled with expectation.  Expectation of God.  Expectation of LOVE.  The candles lit, the stockings hung, the Christ-child is in his manger, and all through the house… not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.

This is Christmas – ground zero.

Camp Jesus: Ground Zero

Camp Jesus: Ground Zero

And my heart hurts for anyone who does not have a home to be in tonight.  For anyone who is not with their family.

Snapshot 7 April 30 Joe n Missy at Whataburger Snapshot 5 Calendar attempt Mike fixing tent poles after storm wind Snapshot 4 Calendar attempt Snapshot 9 Calendar attempt

I really want you here with me, celebrating.  We have a fire.  We have some hot chocolate.  There is room for one more.

It might be meager, but if you ain’t too proud, you can fit in here.

I am thinking of you just now, as the flames burn low and…

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Voices behind Bathroom Walls

Being unable to produce my own posts, it occurs to me that I can reblog Tom and keep a toehold in the blog-O-sphere.
Thx for your patience during these technical difficulties.

Hard Times Ministries

Have you ever noticed the attention placed on messages scribbled on bathroom walls? Today even, here locally in Jacksonville, we have schools on lock-down and a red alert activated due to a bomb threat read off one of the bathrooms at a urban middle school.

With the alert comes shakedowns, metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs, many police,FBI, and it seems like the : Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force and Swiss Border Patrol along with the Japanese Navy.

And of course, I exaggerate, but the point I am making here is that the danger and event is important, so thus, we pay attention to it.

Yet, as important as a bomb threat is to us, even more importantly is the Kingdom of God.

Imagine if we were to grant importance to Jesus the same as we do to earthy matters? Yes, I state that Jesus is more important to…

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If You Were The Carpenter

I got into a curious conversation recently that keeps my imagination humming.

It almost seemed too trivial at first.  I almost didn’t take it serious.  I guess you could say it was beneath my contempt.  After all, I don’t come to Jesus looking for what YOU think.

Okay, let me unpack that statement.  I am sure it doesn’t make sense yet.

I don’t get invited to too many Bible studies anymore.  So maybe this is just a trend whose time has come and gone, but perhaps you know the experience yourself.

Often a deacon or Sunday school teacher charged with leading a class winds up turning the session into a “discussion” of a text.  (So far, so good.)  But the “discussion” boils down to a few people talking about “what the text means to me”.

I don’t mean to suggest that is a bad thing.  But it’s not, really, a goal.  It’s not the end game.  It’s not the point.  I mean it’s a good start (not a necessary one, but a good one).  You read a text, and part of absorbing it is reflecting on what it means, and your own opinions and ideas are the first stop in that process.

But really, we want to know what IT means.  What did this text mean to the person/people who wrote it?

I am thankful to have the text translated into English, even thankful there are various versions of it in English, but those who wrote it, who were inspired by God to offer it, did not write in English, not even Old English.  They were not Americans, and thus not part of this culture, not expressing the message in American idioms and so forth.  There was an original context, and getting to the meaning of a text means getting familiar with it, as best we can, rather than settling for “what it means to me” or to Mrs. Wilson, or to Mr. Johnson.

So often we treat the Bible like its our slave, and read a passage completely out of context, ask what it means to us, and settle for what ever FEELING it gives to us or to someone brave enough to speak up in the “discussion”.

Like, I said, I see that as a good start, but not a good finish.  We have tools, experts to consult, and deeper meditative reflection at our disposal than Mrs. Wilson’s opinion.  And even if some texts always remain mysterious to us, we can treat them with more respect than that.  (But let me hasten to add this caveat: In our day-n-time, it is fashionable not to even open a Bible anymore in some circles, and I want to commend anyone who at least does that much!)

And so when I got into this conversation recently, it sounded like this kind of exercise in futility to me – at first.  But we weren’t talking about Bible study – per se.  On the contrary, we were talking about Christian IMAGINATION.  Engagement with the heart.  And here was the suggestion:

Imagine, for a moment, that you are the CARPENTER with a limitless budget.  Even with NO SKILLS in the trade, artistic or scientific, take a blank sheet of paper and a pencil and sketch a floor plan for a church BUILDING you think would honor Jesus.  I mean, just start from scratch, using only what you know and think about church and Jesus and the world he comes into and dies for as a demonstrations of his LOVE.

Like I said, at first, it seemed too trivial to me.  Why would I care what a bum would draw?  Why would you care what Mr. Johnson would draw?  And for that matter, to my knowledge, no one has ever tried this exercise before, and the church has rocked along for 2000 years without it.

Right?

Wrong.

No.  Somebody did this.  Almost certainly skilled professionals.  And every single “church” building you ever entered (almost without exception) is the finished product of someone else’s imagination about what that should look, feel, and function like.  Often with millions of dollars devoted to it.

And yet, it’s not been questioned.  Just accepted.  And the cultural artifact we call “church buildings” guide our Christian imaginations – sometimes setting them free, but sometimes limiting them in ways we NEVER notice.

Would this get us to the bottom of anything?

No.  This exercise is not a goal in itself.  But it is a good start.  One I would like to invite you to engage in for once in your life.  And once you do, describe it, and tell why you would build it this way or that.  And don’t forget, there is no budget to limit your imagination.

My Idea of Church Must Just Be Radically Different

Lubbock got hit with almost a foot of snow in one morning!  It is such a rare level of snow storm for us here, to be sure.  However, it’s managed NOT to be utterly paralyzing like you might think.  Dangerous, yes, but not epic.

The roads were surprisingly passable yesterday.  But they remained wet and then froze in the deep freeze last night.  So, traffic this morning… beware…  Right?

Right.

So… many churches all over Lubbock either canceled or delayed services today.

Makes sense…. Right?

Yes.

Sorta.

I mean, the hospital didn’t close.  The fire department is still keeping us safe.  The police are out there watching over us.  They didn’t cancel or delay at all.

I am wondering about the church…

Do we need to gather for worship at times like this?  It seems a bit nuts, no?

Well, it wasn’t nuts for my wife, the nurse, to get up and out at 6:30 this morning and answer the call to be at work tending to sick babies.  And I recall a few years ago when we had a massive snow that actually did paralyze us and that the Sheriff’s office called in all hands, and the jail staff worked round the clock for 3 days and nights!

We saw this storm coming, this week.  We could have prepared.

I wonder why my church didn’t hit the stores and stock up on groceries, round up all the needy and poor people of our community, and take them in 2 days ago for a 72 hour worship service!  Why is it that people who said YES to Jesus and to picking up our crosses and follow him don’t see this?

I guess I just really must see church very differently from all the others.

Snowed IN

So glad we have an IN to be snowed in to…

As usual, my thoughts and prayers are with those who find no room at the inn (or at the church) this time of year.  But even though the scale of the wallop is a bit of a surprise, the fact that we got it is not.  I expect our million dollar street ministries are taking people in their facilities just now.  I certainly hope so.

Actually, I don’t, at the moment, really know.  But I believe they do take care of folks under these conditions for emergency services.

As for this house, since I am kicked out of the charity services across town, we have 3 little toddlers taking refuge with us in the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners.  They have never seen snow before, and, praise God, they have this warm HOME to be in while we venture out to have a little fun before returning for hot chocolate and indoor fun.

IT’S A SNOW DAY!!!  in Lubbock, Texas today.