Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship

Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship

Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship

Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship

Synopsis

Church buildings have played significant roles in the formation and ongoing development of Christianity. Neither mere witnesses to transformations of religious thought or nor simple backgrounds for religious practice, Kilde identifies church buildings as dynamic participants in religious change.

Excerpt

Religious space is dynamic space. Religious spaces house religious ritual, of course, but they do far more than simply provide the setting within which ritual takes place. They contribute in important ways to the very meaning of ritual practices and to the shape and content of religious systems themselves. Consider Christian churches, for instance. Church buildings influence worship practices, facilitating some activities and impeding others. They focus the attention of believers on the divine, and they frequently mediate the relationship between the individual and God. They change with religious activities over time. They contribute to the formation and maintenance of internal relationships within congregations. They designate hierarchy and they demarcate community, serving a multiplicity of users with a host of objectives. They teach insiders and outsiders about Christianity, and they convey messages about the religious group housed in the building to the community at large. Indeed, church buildings are dynamic agents in the construction, development, and persistence of Christianity itself.

This dynamic character renders religious space a particularly complex subject. The diversity among types of church buildings; their multiple functions and various users; their embedded layers of religious, social, and cultural meaning; and their tendency to change dramatically over time create real challenges for those who wish to augment their understanding of Christianity with a knowledge of the architecture of worship. The purpose of this book is to provide . . .

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