Saturday, May 18, 2024

Why build a castle?

Some miles down the road from where I serve there is a castle being built.  It is meant to look like a castle -- at least a fairy tale image of one.  It is not being constructed as a dwelling place or domicile but as a venue.  The people building it are expecting folks to be attracted to the castle when considering where to book wedding receptions, anniversary parties, retirement celebrations, and all the other kinds of things venues book.  Furthermore, they expect to stand out of the crowd of other venues and attract people because it looks like a castle.

Oddly enough, Christians seem to think that if your building looks like a church, it is the kiss of death (or at least being out of step with the times).  How strange it is that people are investing good money into a facility that looks like a modern day version of a medieval castle because they think it will contribute to their success while Christians are building structures that look like malls, strip malls, and other public buildings -- but not like churches -- in the presumption that this will contribute to their success.  

I fear that Christians seem to be trying to prove something that they should not prove and one that will contribute to the decay of the faith rather than its growth.  By building something that looks like anything but a church it is saying to the world around the facility that it is not a church.  Is that what you want to say?  People will book trips to Europe solely to visit castles but I have yet to see folks willing to spend a small fortune to visit the latest iteration of a strip mall.  Could it be that we are confusing people outside the Church?   Could it be that we are confused in the Church?  Why else would we be constructing plain, generic, boring structures under the guise of erecting a House of God?  Either we are one or we are not.  The Temple in Jerusalem was by God's own design and it was meant to stand out and apart from every other structure in the city.  Did God have a change of heart and suddenly decide that He thought His House should look anonymous and blend into the landscape?

Sure, a congregation should be known for more than its facility but at least the facility ought to say that it is Church, this the House of God, and this the Gate of Heaven.

1 comment:

Janis Williams said...

Physical facilities, whether churches, wedding venues, doctor’s offices, etc. “confess.” Why are Christians, who are not to lie, doing just that with their buildings? Could we be guilty of breaking the Second Commandment by building generic buildings? The house churches of the first century didn’t have bells, steeples, etc, but they generally were the homes of wealthier Christians, and they often dedicated a room or rearranged the furnishings of the home to accommodate the liturgy. Unless it becomes illegal to build a church building in America…