Okay, so I suffer from two prominent writing maladies – 1) I am not a writer; and, 2) if I was or had a scintilla of writing ability it has completely shut down at the moment…to which I must conclude I have the non-writer’s version of “writers-block”. The following is a reprint…still applicable best I can figure 🙂
So I’ve recently had the privilege to visit some amazing places that were filled with beautiful, massive structures commonly referred to as cathedrals. I am constantly floored at what an undertaking it would have been to build them in the time periods that most of them were constructed – even with cheaper materials and cheap or even free labor…incredible. There are over 3,000 of these that have ties to Roman Catholicism – this doesn’t include the other denominations that have built cathedrals, co-cathedrals, other similarly massive buildings intended on being used for worship…presumably.
I’m taking all this in and all that keeps running through my head is that these buildings have all been erected to honor a Guy Who said “I don’t dwell in temples made of stone but in the hearts of men.” (Acts 17:24; 1Cor. 3:16) Hmmmph. Okay…I’m confused(???). Being honest – how’d such a trend take off the way it did? Was it because the Jews had the two Temples? More efficient to serve a larger population? I just simply don’t know.
What I’ve come to make peace with is the idea that God understands the motive of the workmen that constructed these…he knows why they built them and for Whom…or whom. There in lies the rub. It will always come back around to our hearts and our “heart attitude”. Do we build these massive structures, sprawling campuses for the right reasons, with the right motivations so that The One that is worthy of the attention and spotlight is getting it? Or, do we do it to say “Hey! Look at what we did…for us.”
I know that there have been countless craftsmen down through the centuries that have labored for the Glory of God to be brightly displayed – that’s wonderful. It is sad that from my experience many of these cathedrals are now barely more than just a museum with Christianity fading into the history of places like Europe. We’re doing a similar thing here in the west…we develop these huge campuses dovetailed with a strategy that if we continue to make space for people, more and more of them can come…but do they? And if they are coming – to what end is their experience? I personally think this model has failed more than it has succeeded and again drives me to conclude – sharing this position with David Platt…
“Making disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching people the Word of Christ and then enabling them to do the same thing in other people’s lives – this is the plan God has for each of us to impact nations for the glory of Christ. The plan seems so counterintuitive to our way of thinking. In a culture where bigger is always better and flashy is always more effective, Jesus beckons each of us to plainly, humbly, and quietly focus our lives on people. The reality is, you can’t share life like this with masses and multitudes. Jesus didn’t. He spent three years with twelve guys. If the Son of God thought it necessary to focus his life on a small group of men, we are fooling ourselves to think we can mass-produce disciples today. God’s design for taking the gospel to the world is a slow, intentional, simple process that involves every one of his people sacrificing every facet of their lives to multiply the life of Christ in others.”
I do believe that God has something to say to us for spending the resources we do on things that have absolutely no connection to building His Kingdom – and yes, I am guilty of this. Recently heard this referred to as a “blind spot” and we all have them. However, I don’t believe God wants us to just roll over with an attitude of “I just can’t help it.” I believe that He wants us to want what He wants…to recognize the needs around us (which includes the rest of the planet) and to pray for His help, direction, and leading in seeing them met.
GBU – 1 Samuel 16:7