Thinking outside the box

The Associated Baptist Press is reporting on an architectural revival, of sorts, among Christians trying to get away from sterile, stadium-like box-shaped megachurches. Tim Blonkvist, an Episcopalian and one of the architects profiled in the piece, says that church buildings are “God’s calling card,” and, as the article continues:

Almost everybody who commutes to work or school drives by one or a dozen churches every day. Those structures either grab the attention of passersby – and, like the Gothic cathedrals of old, perhaps steer their thoughts heavenward – or they blend into an increasingly nondescript urban landscape.

Christian architects like Blonkvist and Cook are passionate about their work with churches. But they are troubled by what many congregations have been building lately – “big box” churches that look like warehouses or office buildings, denominational cookie-cutter models, and prefabricated buildings built as fast and cheaply as possible.

But after 300 years of mostly plain, utilitarian buildings – capped by three decades of what Cook calls megachurch “monster barns” devoid of Christian symbols – American Christians are poised for a revival in their church architecture. The architects say there is a hunger for spiritually expressive buildings that recapture a sense of sacred space, are rooted in a congregation’s specific location and lifestyle, use indigenous artwork and symbolism, and are environmentally sensitive.

The architects agreed the tide is turning – both in the church and culture – toward more overt spiritual values, and the days of spiritually neutral churches may be ending.

Read the whole thing here.

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