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The Cathedral of the Crazy

La Catedral del Loco. The church of the crazy.

The cathedral is in a small village near Madrid, Spain. The loco is Justo Gallego Martinez. He’s a 92-year-old laborer who, for the past 57 years, has been building his own homemade cathedral.

This is no rickety, backyard shelter. Don Justo’s cathedral encloses 86,000 square feet, its main building running 164 feet long. It is an impressive structure.

So, why the “loco” label? He prefers to call it the Cathedral of Faith. Well, no one asked him to build it. He has no written plans, and only recently has an architect been involved. It’s just Don Justo, using money from land he sold off, working 10 hours each day, beginning at 6 a.m. There are also no definite plans for the building’s use once it’s completed. The Catholic church has never recognized the project and has no plans to use it, having an existing cathedral just 6 miles away.

Yet, Justo remains convinced the church will accept his gift and put it to use. “Everything I do is for the church,” he explains simply. And, so he builds while others scoff.

Crazy, right? But don’t you find his undying devotion admirable? There is something irresistible about someone so passionately committed to a cause, especially one born of his faith.

Don Justo makes we wonder, “What am I doing with my life?” At the end of my days, will anyone be able to point to some product of my faith and say, “Look what he built?”

Oh, I’m not interested in constructing a building. God isn’t either. He calls us instead to build his “household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).

It is not brick and mortar that impress God, but commitment and devotion. He recognizes as heroes those who demonstrate, not extraordinary talent, but unusual dedication – those who were “crazy” for his cause.

There was Noah spending 120 years building a boat on dry land. Abraham leaving home not knowing where he was going. Moses, an 80-year-old shepherd, returning to defy mighty Pharaoh. Joshua attacking Jericho without weapons. Early Christians selling land to finance the church, some being thrown out of their families for being in God’s family, and some dying for their faith.

Some would call that the church of the crazy. God calls it “mine”.


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