Monday, 14 April 2008

The unchurched the beautiful and the ugly

I was listening to Drew Marianai on my MP3 player this morning. (Relevant Radio). He said researchers have discovered to their surprise (what planet do these researchers live on?) that unchurched people preferred beautiful, traditional churches to the the modern utilitarian ones.

To quote my 14yr old daughter, "Well duh!"

When we are seeking God, surely we use our senses; sight, hearing, smell, etc. We want to see true beauty so we can try and see a little of God. Why on earth do people think anyone is going to find God in a box?
The church on the left was photographed by UKOK-and is lovely. Those who build it made a genuine effort for the glory of a God they obviously love.
An ugly box church surely also says how those who built it feel about God.

When I invite someone into my home I try and make the place look cosy and welcoming. We clear away the clutter of homeschool and kids (well we try) and get the fire lit (in winter). No one wants to come into a home that is as cold and clinical as an operating theatre do they? What makes those who commission and build ugly utilitarian churches think anyone will find them attractive places to find and worship God?
Perhaps they don't think God is there-if the building is just a warehouse for the hopeless on a Sunday morning well a box will do. If it's just a meeting place for a few songs and a sermon before the REAL deal of coffee and cakes over a good social, then a box will do.
But many of these hideous churches actually cost a huge amount of money. I don't get it.
Peter Kreeft on his website has an downloadable lecture on beauty. ALL architects should be made to listen to it.
we need to remember the Temple of Jerusalem was a stunningly beautiful and magnificent building, stars across the ceiling a garden of Paradise around the walls an embroidered into the great curtain over the Holy of Holies. Gold was everywhere.
Mother Angelica understands this and the church she build for the Love of Her Life shows her great love and Who she knows should be given the very best we have.
The first act of worship recorded is that of Cain and Abel. The brother who gave God the very best he had was acceptable.
Our churches are part of how we evangelise. They need to stand out as holy places so that those who are seeking will find. AND they need to be open.


Ma Beck said...

Right on.

(Also, I found it hysterical that they revealed that the "unchurched" like pretty churches. As opposed to us churched, ya know. The uglier the better. Nooooo, make it uglier! I can't stand this beauty!)


Adrienne said...

Yes, yes, yes!

Joe said...

The Rule of St Benedict is very clear that the oratory in a monastery is to be used just for the Liturgy and private prayer - and for nothing else. A chapter room can be used for what we might call "meetings". I think this offers an interesting insight into your observation about our church buildings being part of how we evangelise.

Marie said...

I have to admit I love the old Cathedrals I dont like this modern stuff where one has to search for the Tabernacle.

I went to one modern Church and had NO idea where to Genuflect as the Tabernacle was hidden behind some kind of metal pillar.How absurd!

Interesting Post Thankyou WhiteStoneNameSeeker:)

Peace to you:)