September 29, 2020

Internet Monk Radio Podcast #123

podcast_logo.gifNon-Catholic experts on Catholicism. Sacred Space.

NOTE: Yes, I kept saying it was episode 124. It’s 123

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  1. imonk. Thanks again for including the songs in the podcast. It’s an honor.

    I’m working on a new solo album right now. As soon as it’s done, I’ll get you a copy to be used however you wish.

  2. From my experience, pastors and churches following the Saddleback and Willow Creek models end up with Seinfeld church: it’s about nothing. Everything that a church did and represented up to that point was wrong and needs to be thrown out. What replaces it really is a vacuum. I would agree that the result is more conflict, but think the reason why is because nature abhors a vacuum. So, traditional denominations, where everything has meaning, place, and significance are the truly “purpose-driven” churches (IMO).

    I think the problem with traditional denominations is that familiarity breeds contempt; they assume everyone knows why things are where they are and why, but after a while it all becomes mere furniture arrangement. My pastor goes out of his way to explain why the altar colors are what they are, the significance of days on the church calendar, the symbolism of the Christ candle, etc. It makes worship truly rich and thick, like a good chili.

    I think the second error of traditional churches is that all these details, smells and bells, were intended to be missional, invitational, inclusive, but instead they become the means to separate themselves from everyone else. I’ve been reading Sara Miles’ testimony, how as an atheist she walked into a church one day and received the eucharist, and the experience radically changed her, and inspired her to start a food ministry. To her, it was all connected to meeting Christ in that piece of bread and sip of wine. It wasn’t mere theory, theology, apologetics, and denominational superiority; it was real and experiential.

  3. Speaking as one who is presently sojourning in the seeker-sensitive regions of evangelical Protestant-dom, I can definitely see why the concept of sacred space has been jettisoned–it would (supposedly) make seekers uncomfortable. I disagree with this and I definitely wish that we would place a higher premium on the concept of sacred space.

    I am also intrigued by your idea that the more evangelicals throw away, the more tightly they will cling to what has not yet been thrown away. It will definitely be interesting to see if in fact that happens in the years to come.

  4. After I left Roman Catholicism, I really struggled with the churches I was attending because they did not have any Sacred Space. After all, as a little kid, I entered the confessional anc confessed to the priest that I had “talked in church.” The nuns had drilled into us the fear of death if we spoke in church. The poor priest had to take the time to explain to me that talking in church was not a sin but that I should attempt, as much as possible, to pay attention.

    My biggest shock, when attending non-denominational churches, was that they moved the chairs out of the sanctuary and held pot-luck suppers in there! The horror!

    I began to realize that the non-denominational churches did not have as much real estate as the RCs had. The RCs had everything. The non-denoms. did not have a school with a function facility, at the time, or a gym. They simply were double-dipping the space because they had to. At one point in history, when the school was not as yet built, the sanctuary was used for classrooms during the week using partitions, torn down for worship services, and then re-assembled for school on Monday morning. We made due with what we had, providing for a vibrant, growing body of believers to live and congregate with the space that we had.

    This whole concept of Sacred Space is why I think the service of the worship leader is so important. Whether it is in the living-room of a small group, the main sanctuary, the fellowship hall, etc., when it is time to focus on worshipping God, the worship leader/group provides the atmosphere for one to transition from concerns of this world to worshipping the Almighty. It is great if one can have all the visual stuff such as stained-class windows, marble baptismal fonts, lovely artwork, but if one can not afford such things, then get that worship leader with the guitar and let them lead us into the Sacred Space of the throne room of the Almighty. I just love that part.

  5. Enjoyed your podcast. Just yesterday I was at a Pentacostal Church which was hosting a reintegration event for returning Guardsmen. The church was beautiful with stained glass and traditional architecture. I was discussing with their photographer that I was enjoying their sacred art and that many church’s don’t include sacred art. I was explaining that centuries ago, sacred art was how the gospel was passed on from parents to children as many were illiterate. The stained glass and statues were used to tell the Bible stories. Ther photographer was somewhat surprised to at the connection between sacred art and illiteracy.

    BTW, there’s a good book called How to Read a Church available. The book explains how churches and cathedrals were originally built to be read.

    God bless… +Timothy