Blessed Are The Consumerists: The Ideology Of Contemporary Mega Church Architecture -- By: Robert Falconer
Conspectus 24:1 (September 2017) p. 65
Blessed Are The Consumerists: The Ideology Of Contemporary Mega Church Architecture
Church architecture is commonly a tactile expression of theology, revealing to us who we are, what we believe and how we practise Christianity. While the content of the Gospel message is significantly more important than church architecture, we nevertheless ought to work towards an architecture that creatively and meaningfully expresses Biblical Christianity, its faith, theology and praxis. In this paper I argue that most contemporary mega church architecture is unfortunately an expression of consumer-capitalist ideology, and fails to contrast itself as ‘other’, by aligning itself with secular architectural typologies. These generally govern the form, space and aesthetics of the contemporary mega church. It is argued that contrary to good architectural design theory, the mega church building all too often is a form that does not follow function, but is rather a manifestation of consumerism and capitalism. And while this manifestation of ideology is arguably noble, because of its apparent evangelistic objective,
Conspectus 24:1 (September 2017) p. 66
I demonstrate that this is problematic on several accounts, ultimately offering an inversion of authentic Christian community. The paper then endeavours to offer counter-cultural ideologies from Scripture that are often in contrast to the ideologies of the mega church and its Christianity. Some of these Biblical ideologies and other ideas are then developed into features that might inform any church architecture. It is hoped that further reflection on this topic would encourage a Biblical theology and spirituality that leads to world-class church design.
Architecture tells us something about ourselves and the world in which we live. The same has always been true of church architecture; it tells us how we ought to relate to God and to one another. Church architecture is commonly a tactile expression of its theology. Mohler (2005:online) is in agreement, he says, ‘Architecture does signify meaning and intention’ and gives the example of the difference between the ‘soaring nave of a Gothic cathedral and the flat auditorium of many evangelical church buildings’. The Gothic style communicates transcendence and majesty, while the flat auditorium is an expression of nearness, fellowship and teaching. The verticality in the Gothic style draws us in awe, and on the other hand, the flat auditorium offers a more horizontal perspective (2005:online), perhaps relational.
Much has been written about traditional church architecture, but little on c...
Click here to subscribe