Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Church Going: How to Read Churches


“Once I am sure there's nothing going on/ I step inside, letting the door thud shut,” begins Philip Larkin’s poem “Church Going.” “Another church: matting, seats, and stone,/ And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut/ For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff/ Up at the holy end.” For many of us, walking into a church we dumbly look at the “holy end” and wish we knew to call it the sanctuary, with all the connotations that word holds. Denis R. McNamara’s How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture gives us those words as well as their deeper meanings. With Lent and Easter just around the corner for Christians, McNamara’s book provides the perfect entry, or re-entry, for those going to church hoping to find the significance of the glass and stone earlier generations understood and found comfort in. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Church Going."

[Image: Interior of Thomas Aquinas College Chapel in Santa Paula, California, designed by architect Duncan Stroik. Image source here.]

[Many thanks to Rizzoli for providing me with a review copy of How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture by Denis R. McNamara.]

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