God Is an Aesthetic

Do you believe that?

Sometimes it seems as if aesthetics is relegated to the realm of the expendable--icing on the cake at best, vain and superficial at worst.  But does this reflect the nature and intent of God?  A look at His creation should answer that question pretty quickly.  God is concerned with both form and function independently.  He is a God of beauty and a God of intricate detail.  He has created us to recognize and appreciate beauty (though some of us apparently more than others!).  "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," indeed.  What is beautiful to one person may do nothing for the next person.  Yet to deny the pursuit of beauty and visual harmony is "a crime against humanity"--and against God.

In the contemporary, Western church there is a tendency toward utilitarianism.  This is most evident in our places of worship, although it surfaces in our programming priorities as well.  The pendulum has swung from extravagant cathedrals to bleak, barren, characterless warehouses.  I'm no Romantic.  There is a beauty in minimalism when it's done right.  But even minimalism does not deem aesthetic concerns superfluous.  It takes into account shape, color, shade, texture, lighting, balance, (along with utility) and so forth.  Unfortunately, there are many architects who are not artists.

If you have a strong aesthetic bent and you are suffering silently in bleak worship spaces week after week, I would encourage you to step up, say something, and then do something about it.  Volunteer to head up a Creative Team.  If you're unlearned in the specifics of good design, do some research and put together some plans to enhance your church's worship space.
Space matters.  Beauty matters.  Everything communicates.  Let's make sure what we are communicating is what we want to communicate--and even more importantly, what God wants us to communicate.

RECOMMENDED: 
This article does a much better job of addressing the nuts and bolts of this issue than I have.  Check it out! 

This study shows what type of church architecture speaks most deeply to the American public at large, including the unchurched (with an important note from Ed Stetzer that it takes a lot more than architecture to build a true church!).

This church's accomplishment is truly inspiring!

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