God’s house?

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  • Chapel of Notre Dame de Pilar
  • At the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, a woman kneels in front of a statue of Mary and the baby Jesus. She kisses rosary beads and crosses herself several times as she prays.

    I’m not at this cathedral to meet or message the almighty. I’m a tourist here, wandering among the clustered columns, sculptures, and stained glass windows to marvel at the mythology and magnificence of mankind’s fixation on faith. The ornate beauty of this vast gothic structure is magnificent, but beyond that I am unmoved.

    Whenever I walk into a place like this, steeped in religious tradition and rituals, I wonder what Jesus himself would make of all this. He may be God to those who believe that, but from the little I know about his life, he had seemingly little to do with places like this.

    According to the Bible, Jesus went out into the world and spoke with fishermen, hookers, and the everyday people on the street. I’m no expert, but I don’t think he went to church that often, and one of the few times that he did was when he flipped over tables and caused chaos!

    Jesus was controversial and outspoken. He wasn’t religious, and because of this he was very unpopular with the church leaders of the day. It seems to me that today Jesus wouldn’t receive a warm welcome by any of the religious organisations that were ostensibly built in his honour.

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