Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Classy Hot4Jesus Discussion #1: Churches

Let’s get You talking – about religion, religion and politics, spirituality, fundamentalism in America, evangelical fundamentalism in America, evangelicalism in America, atheism, secular humanism, agnostic atheists, science, art, math, music, deprogramming, reprogramming, well-fed kitty cats napping in sun spots, and, of course, your mom.

Every week I’ll dedicate a Hot4Jesus post to you – a post that goes nowhere, accomplishes nothing, unless you comment.

Today’s topic for you to discuss and yack about?

Churches, cathedrals, tabernacles, chapels, and/or your body as a temple.

Inspired by a photographer I discovered online, Christopher Crawford, who takes gorgeous photos of abandoned buildings, including churches, in Indiana, inspired by o so many ugly and beautiful holy places I’ve worshipped in and toured, I have a few questions for you:

What House of God made the biggest impression on you and why? What was the ugliest church you’ve been in? The most beautiful?

What are the pros and cons of home churches?

Have you ever thought of your body as a temple? If so, what did that mean to you – your body as something to inspire awe in others or your body as the place where Jesus and the Holy Spirit lived? How did this concept as your bodies as a dwelling place for the Divine direct your every day decisions?

Is there such a thing as a secular church in your community? What would be an example of a secular church? What secular alternatives to churches – buildings or gatherings are there out there?

Raise your hand if you’ve never stepped foot in a church.

Raise your hand if have and you never want to step foot in a church again.

Finally raise your hand if you would go to a church, cathedral or chapel just to experience the space, light and sound or other superficial aspects of the place.

Put your hands on the keyboard and write. Get used to this – I have a writing assignment headed your way soon.


krissthesexyatheist said...

I would check out beautiful architecture, even if it was a church. I just wouldn't worship there.

My body is a temple (a temple of awesomeness), but i learned that from martial arts and eastern philosophy.

Home schools and churches are stupid, well, more stupid than the org. of schools and churches. Look at the xtian revisionist history/science that is being taught at home. At least w/public school everyone learns the same thing (more or less). A home church is dangerous cause that is how splinter cells of xtian interpretation happen. Just look at Rev. Terry "Attempted Qu'ran burner" Jones, or Westboro. They are fringe believers amd extremist that happened because they strayed away from the 'authority' of a million gazillion years of 'teaching.'

While I do not like org. religion anyway, I think the unorganized home church is that much worse.

BTW. I like basketball Jesus. Super Awesome "C".


Anonymous said...

The more I study architecture, the more I'm intrigued by its psychological possibilities. I think the religionists are often ahead of us on this. Take the Valleaceron Chapel in Ciudad Real, Spain, one of my favorite buildings ever:

Soaring ceilings may inspire lofty thoughts of god among the faithful, but these same ceilings might produce expansive thoughts of a secular nature, or that's at least what a U of MN professor found when she tested students in two separate interior spaces, one with low ceilings, the other high.

The creativity and non-utilitarian values inherent in so-called 'sacred architecture', shouldn't be the sole interest of the religious, in my view. If we secularists and humanists are serious about creating a world that better meets human needs and aspirations than the religiously mired one we have now, I submit that we have to become champions of excellent design (among many other things).


Infidel753 said...

There was a time when I felt I should not enter or approach a church, considering it an "unclean" place, malignant with all the lies and bigotry that constitute religion.

Later I realize that this, in itself, was a religious way of thinking.

The main impression churches make on me now is one of utter futility -- all that effort and passion put into ideas we now know were irrelevant, pointless, a gigantic distraction. But a church is just a building. A physical structure cannot become tainted with evil.

What House of God made the biggest impression on you and why?

Both of my answers date back to a time in my life before I had started thinking seriously about religion at all. The great cathedral of Köln (Cologne) in Germany impressed me with its sheer size and the way it dominated everything around it. The Umayyad mosque in Damascus is a less physically impressive building, but it was impossible not to feel aware of the weight of history there.

There's no denying that many old religious buildings are architecturally impressive. In those days, organized religion was where the power and money was; it's where talented people went to make their contributions. If that magnificence hadn't been put into churches and mosques, it would have been put into something else.

The body as a temple? Such a concept would never occur to me. Religious people who say that seem to be using it as just one more metaphor for God's omnipresence as a reason to avoid having (possibly-sinful) fun.

Tai Bee said...

These days, I get a really nervous feeling, whenever I enter a church - I sort of feel like a may melt or something. Even as an xtian, it made me nervous, so the anxiety itself is nothing new. I used to bring a sweater along with me, even during the summer, so that in case my palms became unbearably sweaty, I could wipe them off before it was time to hug and shake hands with the congregation during 'greeting time'(creepy).

In all post-xtian church experiences (there have not been many), I've always ended up sitting in the last row (okay, on purpose), which my mind automatically connects to my most vivid back pew experience where my first boyfriend sneaks his hand under my skirt, fingers me, bringing me to orgasm, all while the pastor is looking directly at me (or at least that's how it seemed to me!) as he delivered his sermon.

That said, church now makes me an even mixture of nervous and horny! >.<

hmm ... maybe this doesn't directly apply to the discussion, but I really wanted to share. *shrug*

I'd rather not step foot in a church again, unless maybe to relive that past experience -- *hawt*! But yea, other than that ... no interest, really. I can see how one might find certain superficial aspects beautiful or something, but I just don't get at that level with any of it. I do think stained glass Jesus pictures are pretty, though.

Finally, as an xtian, I saw my body as a temple. I took this to mean that Jesus dwells within all xtians, and that the church is the physical representation of this.

An inner conflict I struggled with was the desire to to make 'my temple' look good while bombarded with messages that made me guilty for such a desire. I never could justify the desire to wear short shorts or show a little cleavage, but I did them anyway and just dealt with the guilt. I did justify tattoos and piercings however, by thinking of them as temple decorations, which my Jesus was fine with ... ^_^

Christine Vyrnon said...

Amazing! All of you! I don't know where to start - so I won't. Thank you! They each deserve a blog post of their own... so those of you with your own blogs - if you can... keepwriting!

Ahab said...

I have great respect for the architecture of churches and other places of worship. As an adult, I've come to appreciate the postmodern exterior architecture of many Catholic churches in my region.

That does NOT imply, however, that I wish to worship in a church. Beautiful external architecture notwithstanding, I find many churches stuffy and claustrophobic on the inside.

Spiritual gatherings outdoors (i.e., neopagan spiral dances) or indoors in a warm, friendly setting (i.e., meditation groups) are much more welcoming for me.