Of Father's Day and Foundations
by Tom Goodman
June 11, 2014
Here's a parable for our times: Half of the town of Kiruna, Sweden, is being moved two miles from its current site at a cost of $4 billion. Decades of iron ore mining has slowly eroded the foundations of the town built above the world's
largest underground mine.
It's an expensive lesson: Lose the foundation, lose your way of life.
Across the next 40 to 50 years, some buildings will be torn down and rebuilt. Others will be taken down piece by piece and reassembled in their new locale, including a historic wooden church. The church was once voted Sweden's most
beautiful building, but the ground it was built upon is giving way, so it won't last.
Some remain uncertain that the new location will be any more secure than the sagging earth they're leaving. For the relocation, the state-run mine has chosen a spot where they have deposited waste rock from the mining process.
Nevertheless, most accept the move as inevitable. "The people in Kiruna have known since 100 years ago they were living on iron ore," said Vice Mayor Hans Swedell. "They knew that sometime they would have to move."
As I said: A parable for our times.
A little apathy in our civic duties, chronic laziness in our parenting, a few bad decisions in our business, a few compromises in our church -- like the tap, tap, tap of a miner's pick, these things can slowly chip away at the foundations. The
consequences aren't immediate, but over time we find we've jeopardized the life we hoped to build.
It's a good reminder for dads as we approach Father's Day. Spiritual leaders have to pay attention to the foundation on which they build their homes. But it's a good reminder for all of us who want to build something that lasts.
In Isaiah 58:12, the prophet looked hopefully for people who would "rebuild the ancient ruins" and "raise up the age-old foundations." Let's be the fulfillment of that prophecy in our own families, churches, community, and nation.
What can you do today to tend the convictions and habits that uphold the things important to you?
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