Here’s a post with no answer. I was browsing through a list posted by Andy at Think Christian, and he linked to Neatorama’s post, 10 Divinely Designed Churches. This stirred up a question building in my mind for quite some time.
At last year’s Catalyst Conference, Donald Miller talked about church design then and now. He discussed the differences in the geometry and architecture of Renaissance churches compared with contemporary churches. Essentially, with an illiterate society, churches had to present God through symmetry and beauty of design, and with our modern, corporate society, churches tend to look like businesses.
This is the question I still wrestle with: What should a church look like? Should churches spend millions of dollars building monumental works of art to God? Should churches build hideous boxes with gray folding chairs to save maximum money to give maximum money?
The Crystal Cathedral, which is on the list linked above, is obviously a specimen in incredible architecture. It is also incredibly effective. Mars Hill Bible Church, on the other hand, is the definition of bland. It, too, is incredibly effective.
Sometimes I long for the beauty and majesty of Rome, but maybe that’s what heaven is for. Other times I lament the seemingly infinite over-spending of gaudy cathedrals, but maybe I’m being too idealistic.
What do you think? Do church buildings suck? Is there even an answer to these questions? Maybe each community has a different perfect church. I don’t have the answers, but I hope we’re asking the right questions.