NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday April 19th 2018

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Messiah Before Profit

By Peter Molenaar

Faithful readers of the Alley will recall two pages from last month’s issue, devoted to the conversation surrounding the fate of Messiah Lutheran Church. As things stand, Messiah will be marketed, starting at the rumored price of $800,000. Any takers other than the adjacent corporate interest which intends to demolish it?

Hey, when inside these historic sanctuaries, I feel the presence of my Swedish ancestors. However, the question is way deeper than my self-centered concern.

Check it out:

“Messiah Lutheran’s interior presents… lavish use of wood, with pointed arches emblematic of the English Gothic style, carved wood paneling, and the intricate stained glass window above and behind the altar lends the interior a graceful ambience… perhaps the most splendid interior architectural feature is the system of wood hammer beam trusses, each characterized by a series of sizable vertical members with lathe-turned bases.”

(Sight-seers should trek to 2501 Columbus Avenue for a glimpse before its gone.)

Question: Would you slash the Mona Lisa’s face?

Yet, the good pastor, who would sell our heritage, has invoked words from the prophet Isaiah:

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider things of old. Behold I am about to do something new.”

Oh irony… Isaiah’s words, progressive in their day, are now some 2,900 years old. More relevant would be V. Lenin’s advice to the modern world. I paraphrase:

Even as we promote in the cultural sphere that which liberates humanity, we must preserve from the past all which continues to enrich us.

Curiously, “Isaiah” is now the name-sake of a splendid coalition of churches. Our contemporary Isaiah intends to confront and diminish the power of Corporate America, in the spirt of an activist-rebel named Jesus.

So it seems, in addition to the old slogan “People Before Profits” and the more recent “People and Planet Before Profits,” we might well add the slogan:

MESSIAH BEFORE PROFIT

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