Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giving Up The Way Things Used to Be

Though I can’t see Russia from my house, I can see an ugly old airport hangar at Moffett Field, a Navy base. "Hangar One" as it is called, was built during the Depression—one of the largest unsupported structures in the country, covering eight acres (10 football fields.)

Though it is useless today, Hangar One is the center of a spirited debate. Historians would like to preserve it as a historic landmark: plans that have been put on hold since it was learned the structure is full of toxic chemicals leaking into the wetlands around San Francisco bay. The issue is whether to tear down the hangar and reuse the land, or to clean the toxic waste from the site and refurbish the hangar. Even Lenny Siegel of the Save Hangar One Committee admitted that the hangar may be too unstable to save.

This “save the hangar’ thing seems awfully impractical, if not just bizarre. Why is Hangar One of such historic value? It’s just a big old empty garage. Of course you know I am going to point out a spiritual parallel. Who does not know the struggle of letting go of the past—giving up something that is familiar (a part of us). This is true both psychologically and spiritually. But giving up the old is an essential part of mental and spiritual growth. And when people refuse to give up “the way things used to be” (the “old self”) they become both psychologically and spiritually arrested.

I think holding on to toxic Hangar One is like holding on to what Paul calls the “old self.” “Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through... Instead... You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness”
(Eph 4:22-24). In other words, the old 'you' cannot be remodeled. It must be razed! “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).

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