Churches often broadcast the message that they offer “the world” a glimpse of “the kingdom”.
The high medieval period in Europe was a time when the very architecture of the church sought to reflect the transcendent nature of divinity, to overwhelm with beauty and majesty, and to visually exhibit perfection.
The outsides of churches portray something different than what was really going on inside. For the most part we still recapitulate that façade on the interpersonal level – I profess a godly lifestyle on the outside, but inside I am alone in my depravity. It is only by mistake or under duress when we expose the flaws. And of course, it doesn’t help when our industrial culture quickly dismisses vulnerability and discards the broken. Pop culture isn’t real – it’s a façade as well.
Can church broadcast then a different message now in the 21st century? This ad shows that at least one auto corporation acknowledges the façade and addresses it “head on”. But perhaps it could double for our churches.
It is still beautiful in its brokenness. There’s something to be said for that.