I have to say, this is one of the few things that mainstream Christianity has done in the past several years with which I find myself in agreement.
I find it not surprising that several prominent faces in this shallow American evangelical institution that we like to think is church aren’t in agreement with the so-called “Evangelical Manifesto.” Makes it more appealing to me already.
On a lighter note, we were at a cookout today with some professor friends of ours, one of whom always ends up in deep and intriguing conversation with me (his mind should be credited, not mine). We talked about communities of faith in America today, and how huge buildings seem to be how we scramble to quantify our spiritual journeys. His quandary is that these buildings cost enormous amounts of money. I understand that. At the same time, I think that the beauty of a cathedral or sanctuary that is designed to reflect one’s love for God and as an act of worship to Him is justified, in the way that all art is justified, whatever the expense (as was the Temple of the Old Testament). I also the logic in using a building as a tool for an evangelistic purpose, as my community does, having essentially built a theatre instead of sanctuary. His take on it is that any dollar spent on a building such as this is taken out of the mouth of someone who is desperate for food or shelter.
I remember reading a Japanese (I think) theologian whose name cannot recall at this second that said he wished all the church buildings of the world were leveled to the ground, because, if they were, we might begin to realize what our faith is truly about. I think there is truth in that. I think there is truth in the other perspective, as well.
I fear, as always, that the materialistic cultural lens through which America functions dilutes our faith so enormously that we will never understand the extent of the damage until He tells us one day. Hopefully, our efforts will count for something.