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In Its Rush to “Leave the Building” What’s Christianity Leaving Behind?

What happens to Christian worship when sacred architecture is no longer deemed revelant? Introduction: A Most Bemusing Church Tour Not long ago I was offered a personal tour of an Episcopal church by a pastor seeking advice on how to update its interior. The Depression-era structure was attractive in a quasi-high church, Episcopalian sort of […]




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Lenten Reflection on the Cleveland Museum of Art’s ‘Master of Rabenden Vesperbild’

What meaning do we make of images of suffering that portray Christ’s passion and death? Vesperbild (Pietà) c. 1515-20 MASTER OF RABENDEN Lindenwood, polychromed and gilded Overall: 89.1 x 78.7 x 32.4 cm Cleveland Museum of Art I still remember the interior conflict that befell me after seeing Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List for the first […]

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Preserving the Place and Practice of Eucharistic Prayer: An Ecumenical Survey of Christian Pastors

What values do pastors of differing Christian traditions share when celebrating Eucharist in sacred spaces? Introduction: Current Challenges to Eucharistic Place and Piety For some thirty-five years I have served Roman Catholic parish communities throughout the United States as a liturgical educator, designer and consultant, a tripartite lay ministry, as I see it, inseparable from […]


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Chalkware Catholicism: The Aims and Art of Catholic Statuary Reconsidered

What does a sacramental imagination make of the religiously mundane? Sleeping Among the Saints “Chalkware Catholicism” is a phrase I coined some time ago in my writing on sacred art and architecture to describe an approach to the faith, once widespread among the faithful, that relied heavily on the plaster statuary — or “chalkware” — […]




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Topiary, Aviary, Bestiary, Breviary: An Organic Reading of Church Architecture

What do our great church buildings tell us about our relationship to creation? Our Mechanized Environment The Swiss-born Modernist architect LeCorbusier (1887-1965) is credited with having inspired several generations of architects throughout the world to regard their art as one aligned with the mechanization of human life, something akin to the business of boilermakers or […]