25 November 2018

Make Church Architecture Great Again

Mr Holdsworth takes on modern Church architecture. He discusses the Christian philosophy of beauty. As an aside, I totally agree with him. We need to build beautiful, awe inspiring Churches, not the horrible barns that pass for Churches today.

The video finishes with a montage of modernist 'churches' being 'blown up' and replaced with beautiful, purpose designed Churches from the past.

His introduction:

In Christian theology God is described as Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. God is beauty itself. So, if you’re a Christian that says that beauty is in the eye of the beholder then you’re denying that beauty exists apart from you.If beauty is contingent on you and I, then so is God, and therefore God becomes our own creation… which… I don’t think that’s what the Bible says.
So if God is Beauty, then when we encounter beauty, we encounter God. When we gather in worship on Sundays, we are hoping to grow in intimacy with God. Everything about that experience should be designed to help us more deeply experience God in his goodness, truth, and beauty – from the music, to the preaching, to the community, and to the environment.The buildings we design to focus our attention on God should reflect his beauty and not just because it would be nice, but because God can use that as a way to reveal himself to us. Christianity is a sacramental spirituality which means that it embraces the whole of reality both physical and spiritual. It doesn’t reject the physical the way that many pagan or gnostic systems do. God created matter and even became incarnate within matter in order to redeem it and it is through that same incarnation that God continues to animate matter as a conduit of Grace. An appreciation of this understanding should be apparent in the way we design our churches.This is something that for large parts of Christian history we did understand. The Church would commission Christian artists and designers who would allow themselves to be a channel of the Holy Spirit to communicate the beauty of God through their work and in that process, they created some of the most awe inspiring work known to the world.
For reasons that I’m yet to understand, we abandoned that understanding and embraced a new philosophy of design: modernism. Modernism has some pretty nihilistic undercurrents to it. It was a movement underscored by the desire to discard the old traditions of civilization, including religion. It is highly deconstructionist and what better to deconstruct than the old “outdated” framework of western civilization that was built upon a Christian understanding of reality.It’s where we get phrases like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s what has transformed art into something that is confusing, relativistic, self gratifying, and often utilitarian. If modern art had a slogan, it would be, “it’s art, because I say it’s art.” This points back to that belief that we are the masters of beauty and that we define what beauty is. I’m not saying that modern art doesn’t have it’s place, but it definitely doesn’t belong in the spaces we set aside to encounter God and have our hearts, minds, and souls elevated towards him.
So let’s start emphasizing objective beauty as we teach our faith.
Let’s stop hiring architects, designers, and artists formed in a modernist school of thought. Let’s get back to commissioning Christian designers who will be open to allowing the Holy Spirit to create beautiful buildings that people will want to visit whether they are Christian or not for generations to come… instead of these modernist misfortunes that we won’t want to step foot in 30 years after they go out of fashion.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to deletion if they are not germane. I have no problem with a bit of colourful language, but blasphemy or depraved profanity will not be allowed. Attacks on the Catholic Faith will not be tolerated. Comments will be deleted that are republican (Yanks! Note the lower case 'r'!), attacks on the legitimacy of Pope Francis as the Vicar of Christ (I know he's a material heretic and a Protector of Perverts, and I definitely want him gone yesterday! However, he is Pope, and I pray for him every day.), the legitimacy of the House of Windsor or of the claims of the Elder Line of the House of France, or attacks on the legitimacy of any of the currently ruling Houses of Europe.