The Notre Dame Cathedral Burning: Quick Thoughts

What man builds over decades can be destroyed in moments; What God imparts in a moment can last an eternity.

It is the Cross that seals the deal.

When I heard about the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral the other day I was immediately saddened. I am no longer a Catholic-Christian, I am Christian (Non-denominational, reformed) I might add. And though I am no longer Catholic, I still value and respect the immense design and beauty that the Cathedral captures. I do feel many of the early Christians built it as a direct display that points to the beauty of an awesome, awe-inspiring Creator. With that said I will be authentic and reveal that I have much disagreement with many teachings of the Catholic Church. I will also say that never stands in the way of my love for Catholics, including those who know God personally and those who are still lost (in Catholicism) but do not realize it. I had read several articles about the fire and seen several pictures of the aftermath. Here’s one that stuck with me:

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/notre-dame-the-cross-still-stands/132226.htm


(Photo: Reuters)

That image says a lot more than meets the eye. “The Cross Still Stands” would be a beautiful caption. I had prepared to write something amidst the aftermath and amidst the devastating, but later in the day decided not to write about it for the fact that I thought my words might be mistaken. However after reading more on this today I want to speak about it a little bit.

There is an article that was posted on charismamag.com. The article is titled, “What Holy Spirit Told Me About Notre Dame Burning” (Shiflett, 2019). It goes on to speak about what the Author believes the Holy Spirit communicated to her in the aftermath of this burning. Shiflett (2019) says she “Is not trying to make light of it at all or speak disparagingly of the Catholic Church.” It is a terrible thing that happened, regardless of the reason. I’d agree with her there.

She went on to say though that immediately after she sensed the Lord saying, “Look up what the name ‘Notre Dame’ means” (Shiflett, 2019). It literally means “Our Lady,” or specifically “Our Mother,” referencing the Virgin Mary (Shiflett, 2019). Shiflett (2019) goes on to talk about how she sensed the Lord saying that “Though many in the Catholic Church do not hold the view of idolizing Mary, many others do and that many of the teachings of the Catholic church are in error and have much pagan idolatry intertwined with them.” I would not disagree, sadly. When I personally learned what the Bible had to say as a teenager, I was stunned by the simplicity of it. This wasn’t the simple doctrine I learned growing up Catholic. I did not find such simplicity in the Catholic church of my upbringing. I also never found such practices such as the elevation of Mary in the Bible.

Though I and the author hold Mary in high esteem as Bible believing Christians, as Shiflett (2019) states she was an absolutely amazing woman who was the earthly mother of our Lord, there is no evidence she was Jesus’ “heavenly mother”. She was a “favored righteous woman, but that is all” (Shiflett, 2019).

The Author says, “When Mary is exalted to a god-like status, which many Catholics do this time of year, the principality of the “queen of heaven” (Lilith, Ashtoreth, Baal’s consort and so on) is actually the one who is lifted up and worshipped, although most in Catholicism do not realize that” (Shiflett, 2019).

Holy Week is about Jesus, not Mary or anyone else (Shiflett, 2019).

I don’t typically like or value speculations about things after events like the Notre Dame Cathedral burning, but I did feel I wanted to write about this because there is always something spiritual going on. The problem is, many are not aware because the spiritual realm is unseen. Could it be the enemy attacked Paris for a reason? Is it to distract us from something else? Quite possibly.

Is it a coincidence this is happening during Holy Week? I don’t know.

One thing I do know is God loves Christians across all denominations of Christianity. There is beauty in Christianity that crosses denominational lines. When we get to heaven, God will not see us as Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, or Pentecostal. God will see us as children. Might we begin seeing each other that way to, if we have in fact received Jesus as our Lord? It is simple. Man complicates what God has made simple!

I do not like to say that God “caused this” and that because it can be destructive thinking, and in the end it’s just speculation. It may be better stated to ask if God allowed it? And if so might it be to display that God is done with idol “worship?” That He wants the hearts of His people, not relics? This is what the Author is implying. Do you see the beauty amidst the ashes? That the Cross. Still. Stands. And that it is all that really matters.

We so often want something more than Jesus; Jesus is everything. You can’t have more than everything.

Michael Koulianos

Some want “relics,” others want to elevate people to ‘higher ranks’ within Christiantiy (saints); meanwhile the Bible declares that all believers are in fact “saints.”

In Christian denominations outside Catholicism some want “light shows, entertainment, and convenience with Jesus stamped on the whole package.

News flash. Jesus IS the package. Nothing more. Nothing less. Jesus. Is. Everything.

The Cross has the final word.

Alex Oram

April 17, 2019

References

Shiflett, A. (2019, April). What Holy Spirit Told Me About Notre Dame Burning. Charismanews. Retrieved from https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/75983-what-holy-spirit-told-me-about-notre-dame-burning

3 thoughts on “The Notre Dame Cathedral Burning: Quick Thoughts

  1. I was raised Catholic. I don’t consider myself Catholic anymore but have been on a journey to find a place in Christianity. The problems you have with Catholicism, I really don’t have. When I left Catholicism I found plenty of idolatry for figures like John Piper etc.
    I was at Tim Challies’ site. I wonder why some non-Catholic Christians can’t give this whole tragedy just a few more days to settle down before all the gleeful hand rubbing starts about how wrong Catholicism is. One would thing figures like Challies, etc, would have other things to do during the week of Easter

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    1. I welcome your feedback and would like to know what you like about Catholicism and what you don’t so much like? I can see how you might see that for certain figures outside Catholicism, and if that idolatry is overt then perhaps it is the more subtle one? Although many may be overt. For me personally, it’s not gleeful that I write what I do. I’m saddened by the news. I’ve heard of some and even read of some too who do seem to be jumping on the opportunity to knock Catholic Christians, which I absolutely am not in alignment with. And in my writing I thought I made it clear of this. What I am for in Christianity in general is unity across denomination lines for Christ 🙂

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  2. What I don’t like….Christian denominations, including Catholicism, where women have no to little power or voice within the Church tend to be a more fertile ground for women are “less than” messages. My father was raised in a very Old World brand of Catholicism and some of those beliefs affected how my sister and I were raised as well as my female cousins on my dad’s side of the family. Once my daughter was born I gave more thought to those messages, and eventually left. My husband was never Catholic but had agreed that he would attend church with me and that we would raise our children Catholic. We changed our mind. I would say that was my biggest problem. Very short answer for this particular point.

    I attended Catholic schools for 12 years. I went to every Holy Day Mass and had religious education daily or every other day during my Catholic school. This is my own opinion, but unless you are really making an effort to submerge yourself in Catholicism, you really see little of the Mary stuff you are talking about. I myself have no problem with a church being called Notre Dame or any variation thereof, such as St. Mary’s, or Our Lady of this or that.

    My own Catholic experience tended to have a strong focus on Matthew 25:35-45. I feel that should be a central message of Christianity no matter what the denomination. I feel like more conservative types of Christianity including some Catholics are walking away from this message to focus on other things.

    I liked that Catholicism tended to be more predictable between churches. I went to a Christmas Eve service once at my in laws Methodist Church. It bore no resemblance to anything I had ever seen before. It was more light show and entertainment and feeding the ego of the music director. None of the traditional Christmas Eve Scriptures were read, and a much watered down message was presented. Then again I have been to Methodist churches that are nothing like that.

    The Church abuse scandal is terrible. The horror for me was that good men stood by and did nothing….but I see there are similar problems with Protestant denominations.

    I also liked that priests show some reverence for the role by wearing traditional vestments. I don’t believe every church needs to have ministers wearing vestments but I don’t want to see someone in a Mickey Mouse tshirt. When my father in law died I was worried about what the minister would wear…but he wore a suit so that was fine with me. Of course that probably seems like a small matter to some. I realize not every Protestant church features ministers wearing Mickey Mouse tshirts but some do. The Methodist church that we sometimes attend, the ministers usually wear some sort of vestment.

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