This Sunday's gospel resonates very strongly for me.
My general objection to much of modern sacred architecture is the same as to much of modern "worship":
(as a writer whose name I have sadly forgotten said,) we have made no place in our places of worship for the Publican.
It is all very well to say, sure we have, he's welcome! let him come right up here with us and shout out with joy! but if he doesn't want to come up there and shout out with joy, that isn't welcoming.
Whether as a result of his mood or emotion or even perhaps tragedy of the moment, or as a result of his lifelong personality or proclivities there are people who are quiet, or diffident, or sedate, or analytical or detached or shy, or cerebral or low-key -- or otherwise not loud or touchy/feely or energetic.
The person who insists on hugging the stranger isn't welcoming if the stranger is the sort who withdraws, shuddering from having someone he doesn't know wrap his arms around him and pat and squeeze.
The song leader who berates or cajoles people who aren't singing the hymns or saying the responses loudly enough, doesn't make anyone think, gee, I think that's just what I wanted all along without knowing it, to sing out louder, it makes him think, how can I get out of here? or worse, drat, I could have gone to brunch.
Sometimes, some people want dark corners, where they can kneel, in supplication, in awe, in penitence..... heck, in exhaustion!.
Big, white-walled, round spaces, lit up like police interrogation rooms make lousy churches.
My second objection to far too many churches is sheer ugliness, and I've seen plenty of that.
But I do not have the knowledge or expertise in aesthetics or the visual arts to address that properly, so coming from me, that is merely disputing about taste .
And my third objection is the barren simplicity of much of it. Nothing "noble" about the simplicity, the blank uniformity of many modern churches.
I think the overly decorated, fussy, tchotchked-up church interiors are, ultimately, more useful to the faith, more conducive to fostering devotion, more compelling, more likely to lead the soul into new ways of thinking about God, than the minimalist, see-everything-there-is-to-see-at-first-glance, nookless, crannyless, detail-less spaces that one encounters so frequently nowadays.
It is reminiscent of the flat, get-everything-out-of-it-that-can-be-gotten-on-first-hearing prose to which we are subjected.
Yes, yes, more of my inchoate, incoherent rambling....