We saw this church in Victoria, B.C. and it truly was amazing (and I believe God-centered and glorifying in its design). It’s a pity that churches are often just like business offices or other “ordinary” places. I guess some would disagree but I think that a return to “great” architecture in church buildings is a wonderful thing. The UMC and some other denominations seems to have gone through a period of uglification in their architecture — somehow trying to modernize or reinvent something that wasn’t in need of an update. People in general seem to be less willing to spend the big bucks on churches than on other things like the poor and the needy. I know other issues can’t be ignored, but worshiping God in a place like this seems to really help put things in perspective. Just like the robe, the solemnity of the service, and the order of the liturgy, the architecture seems to be a huge aid in the worship. I’m sure like all things in the Christian life and even those things in worship, it can become an idol but I have a hard time believing it’s wasted money or effort. The Temple was a truly glorious place; a feeble attempt at showing the glory that will be revealed in heaven, but a worthy attempt. As Christians we carry out the creation mandate to bring order out of chaos in the world. A building like this that’s built not to commemorate its long-standing members, nor to enshrine saints, but to stand as a place of worship — a place set apart.
I know it’s far, far away for our small group (and even a large and prosperous church like the above took over 100 years to get where they are), but I look forward to the beginning of such an effort.
Update: Regarding Dave’s comment — I wasn’t very specific about what “like this” I think is good… I think it’s architecture that reflects attributes of God and his nature. So yeah — creative is a good thing but I think that awesome and majestic is important too… Obviously some of these characteristics are a little subjective. I hadn’t really thought of it so much but Dave mentions the re-using and revitalizing of buildings; this seems perfectly to reflect the transformative power of God’s Kingdom. Thanks Dave. 🙂