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Friday, September 26, 2008

Abandoned Beauty

Found some amazing photographs of beautiful abandoned places and buildings. One that caught my eye was this one to the left. It's a beautiful shot of an abandoned church in Gary, In. Here is a synopsis of it's history:

"At its peak this once-magnificent church in Gary, Indiana had 3,000 congregation members. But like so many places in Gary it fell into disrepair as industry money dwindled in the region and social changes occurred. It was initially readopted by another congregation, then partially occupied by businesses, then finally abandoned and eventually burned."

What a sad story. But as I thought about it, this picture goes deeper as a metaphor for thousands of other churches in America: beautiful buildings and beautiful people who have abandoned the Churches mission and kingdom calling and become dead. However, we dress up these dead people and places with fancy buildings, slick programs, contemporary services, the right close, right friends, and right cliches all the while neglecting spiritually lost people, emotionally hurting people, and physically poor people around us.

But I can't leave it at that. It goes deeper. I know for me personally there are times when I dress up the recesses of my soul that I have abandoned with denial (I'm OK), distractions (I'll get to that later), or image management (people will ultimately measure me by what I do, who my friends are, and how much money/what kind stuff I have). I do this to give the impression that either I've got it all together or everything is going to be fine.

I'm so amazed and humbled that even though the Church may abandoned its Jesus creed or I may ignore the decay and destruction in my own life, God will never leave me or forsake me. He fights to keep the faith in me. I want to fight that fight with Him. I long to see the places in my soul and life permanently and authentically beautified and not temporarily doctored to appear pretty for those passing by.

(bu to Hemmy)

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