I'm sitting in one of the comfortable chairs at Panera, looking across a busy Highway 6 at workers making way for the new Providence Hospital and other assorted commercial edifices. My mind is brought back to this post from July of '05. And so it is happening that there is no longer tall grass in the field, but rather dirt, an incomplete paved road, and trucks moving from one end of the site to the other.
Yesterday the plans for the new Cowboys Stadium to be built in Arlington and ready for play by the '09 season were unveiled at the Arlington Convention Center. The yet-to-be-named stadium will be a stunning architectural innovation while still keeping as a centerpiece the iconic symbol of America's Team-- the hole in the roof. Oh, and as befitting any Jerry Jones production, it will also be very expensive. A billion dollars, to be exact.
There's a fascinating story , of somewhat biblical proportions, in this morning's Washington Post about tension in the Billy Graham family concerning the resting place of America's Preacher and Ruth, his wife. The heir to Graham's organization, Franklin, is planning a theme-park style memorial leading to Billy and Ruth's final resting place. Kind of a Romans Road Dollywood, if you will. Ruth, however, seems insistent that this not happen and that they are, instead, both buried in a more humble setting in the North Carolina hills. The battle seems to be between Ned, the youngest son who sides with his mother, and Franklin, who seems to be garnering silent support from the other siblings, whose ministries receive financial support from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which is run by Franklin. To add intrigue to the story, one of the players is none other than crime writing phenomenon Patricia Cornwell. You can't make this stuff up.
If I learned anything during my seminary career (which lasted a semester,) it was that place not only matters, but volumes are spoken about the character and identity of people, simply by where they choose to be. My opinion is that the Dallas Cowboys belong in a place that only Jerry Jones, in his financial brilliance (evil greed, perhaps?) can provide. It should be shiny and glossy and Texas-big, and it absolutely must have a hole-in-the roof, even if it is a retractable one.
At the risk of inappropriately placing myself in the middle of a family squabble, I think Billy and Ruth Graham's final resting place should reflect the simple faith in which they have modeled to the world over the years.
And, above all, as we are in the middle of Advent, we should take note of the place in which God chose to enter our neighborhood. I wonder how the health and wealth preachers get around a King sleeping in a feeding trough. I also wonder if when we get to heaven our mansions of glory will be a barn and the gold will really be hay. If it was good enough for Jesus, shouldn't it be good enough for us?
So we build and tear down and say this is where we should be. And where we are says this is who we are.
So who are you?