Architecture and Being Church

Over a year ago I posted some reflections on the analogy of suburban planning and church community (and short follow-up here). I was reminded of this today when I read a very nice post on the Church and Postmodern Culture blog comparing mega-churches and the architecture of the Getty Museum.

There is a well-known evangelical way of doing church that is nicely exemplified in the hotly debated virtues or lack thereof of the typical mega-church (or in smaller churches that emulate them). Its like a shiny, well oiled machine that runs so smoothly that its members just continue to desire joyfully to do all the necessary work to keep the heavy and complicated machine running just as smoothly as it “always has.” After all, the point of a nicely humming machine is to attract “other” now-greatly-blessed people to come over and take a look at your shiny red car, right? Off, then, into the great frontiers…err, wheat fields…of God’s labour! Corresponding to the peacefully running well-oiled pretty and shiny machine of the mega-church is The Getty Center in Los Angeles, CA, by American (of course) architect Richard Meir. Like the shiny mega-church, it photographs really well; however the photographs are often merely graphic and actually mean next to nothing (and often have no relationship to the ground).

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