What do we value?

A boarded-up former Denny's restaurant in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood has been designated as a landmark because of its link to the Space Needle.I came across this article today: Former Denny's declared landmark – USATODAY.com

Basically there is a building in Seattle that is being protected from demolition because a local preservation organization fought to have declared a local landmark… and succeeded. It turns out that the architecture of the building is in the "Googie" style, which is the same style as the famous Seattle Space Needle (and every Stuckey's at highway exits across North America). The building is in pretty bad shape and the landmark status doesn't require the owner to restore the building so he plans to let it remain in disrepair. His plan, until meeting this recent roadblock was to demolish the building and build condos. "'We've heard the arguments before from people saying it's ugly, it's
this, it's that,' says Eugenia Woo, a preservation consultant who
worked to save the Denny's. 'We're not just looking at high-style
buildings or buildings for the rich and famous as buildings that should
be preserved. Seattle was a working-class city, and Ballard's history
comes from that.'"

This whole thing got me thinking a lot about the things to which attribute value. Obviously, some people really care about things like a dilapidated Denny's enough to halt "progress" (I'm not sure if building condos really counts as progress…but whatever.) Or maybe they don't care and it's just a ploy to prevent the condos from being built. Whatever the case, I wonder what we cling to as the Church that might better serve the kingdom if it was knocked down to make room for something new. I hesitantly type those words because I certainly do not want to promote simply scrapping what appears to be old for the sake of whatever new trend might be gaining momentum. I am really trying to consider this with consideration for the Kingdom. For the folks that fought to save this Denny's, its style is symbolic of what they value…the historic working-class nature of that particular community. They are not willing to part with that as a piece of their identity. As the Church, what are we not willing to part with? What defines us to the point that we cannot imagine ourselves as the Church apart from it? In theory its pretty easy to set aside most things and claim that we will follow however Jesus leads. In reality, however, there are local churches all around us that are stuck partially because their identity is wrapped up in something that is no longer life giving. Do we define ourselves by our buildings or our programs or our theology? What are some other things that impede progress? Are we even to be concerned with progress? What is it that we should rightfully stand in front of the wrecking ball for, and what is it that we are doing so that doesn't really matter in the long run?

2 thoughts on “What do we value?

  1. OMG, that’s my Denny’s! I used to live down the road from there and it was a frequent late-night haunt by me and my housemates.

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