Discussing
New Zealand’s cardboard cathedral and building on sand

David Greusel

Jennifer Jansen Perez
March 12, 2013

I'm sure I would have a different reaction if I were an architect, and I am somewhat taken aback by the cost. However, something about a cardboard cathedral seems appropriate to me. All buildings are temporary, this is just more so. I think it could serve as a very tangible reminder to store up our treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys. I think the comparison to the tabernacle is also apt. God never asked for a "permanent" house of worship--that was David's idea--but for a temporary one.

Darryl Tempero
March 14, 2013

Thanks David for your thoughts. As a Minister living in Christchurch for the last 15 years, I just wanted to make a couple of observations. Your words "The new structure, still under construction more than two years out" could be interpreted as it has been under construction for two years, but foundations only started July 2012, and completion isn't too far off (and we now have a whole new world to live and requirements to meet when it comes to building foundations in our city).
I was a little cynical about the many "temporary" shops, cafes, and installations that have popped up around the city - until I actually visited our new inner city "temporary" shopping mall - as an architect you might be interested:http://www.restart.org.nz. I didn't consider the emotional impact on being in something new and fresh in the midst of destruction and chaos. It gave hope to us as locals, and showed that maybe there is a future in our city (the central CBD is still closed, the the new Cathedral is on the fringe of the closed off area). While economic issues must be considered, the bigger picture of what impact temporary (and faster) rebuilds have on the optimism and emotional/spiritual well being of the community post disaster needs to be factored in. The benefit to our recovery is hard to measure.

David Greusel
March 14, 2013

Jennifer, Thanks for your comment. You seem to be thinking along the lines of a lot of evangelicals that nothing on this earth matters except perhaps the condition of one's soul. May I suggest that this view, though widespread, is not Scriptural? I believe that God does indeed care a great deal about our world, what He made and what we make of it. Hope you'll consider that...

David Greusel
March 14, 2013

Darryl,
Thanks for commenting, and please accept my sympathy for what your city has been through. I in no way wish to minimize the suffering this earthquake no doubt caused. Nor do I have a beef, really, with temporary structures, as God really can be worshiped in tents. My issue in this case is the enormous cost of this structure, it's faux-temporary glorification of cardboard (with wooden beams hidden inside), and the fact that two years after the earthquake, it's still not done. All three facts seem to me to suggest a temporary structure gone off the rails. But I appreciate very much your viewpoint about the hopefulness of the temporary retail center. Blessings.

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