“Cathedrals are a fist of faith in fear.”
Len Sweet talks about a small cathedral in eastern Washington state. A man Dr. a. Caleb White has been creating something organic and new out there. One of the beautiful aesthetics of the structure is that they intentionally make their doors that open out rather than in.
He integrates the indoor and outdoors. He brings a garden indoors. But it’s the image of a missional church who’s doors can open outwards, rather than attracting people in.
The beautiful thing about cathedrals is that they point heavenwards so that our attention becomes distractive from the self to the divine. It’s a beautiful thing.
As I re-engage Christians, I will be taking note of their architecture. Doug Pagitt told me to read a book years ago called “When Church Became Theater.” It is an architectural book that studies the morphing of worship space. The author makes a remarkable proclamation in it, she says “everything inside your worship space says something about your theology.”
It is rather telling to look around a gathering space a think of what that means about their image of God. Sitting at Mars Hill in Grandville says something different than sitting in a living room with Enoch’s Path. Not that one is more “correct” or whatever, just different. Mars’ shed is a box of a room that once housed a JC Penny (I believe) and has been painted white. In the center, they have a squared off circle with screens facing outwards at the roof. The worship band faces in rather than outward. There are twelve sections which represent the twelve tribes of Judah. Then, on each door frame is a Mezzuzah. It all says something about who they are, how they think of God and who they are becoming.
Similarly, at Enoch’s Path gatherings, you will find typical furniture, living space. Not much different from any other home…yet, that’s the point. At our gatherings, the focal point isn’t aesthetic, it is our life’s together that matters. That says something of our view (s) of God.
Next time you gather w/ other people of faith look around and ponder the theology of what you see. Do you see icons, crosses, paintings, sofa’s, coffee, holy water, incense, bands, organs, choirs, high back chairs, pews, pulpits (and the size and position of them).
Then, I’d invite you to begin to see the world around you as your cathedral. Begin to take account of what the world around you says about God. The buildings, the businesses, the people, the clothing, the music, the trees, sky, clouds…
It’s amazing what you notice when you take time to look around.