America’s Church and My New Obsession With It

Maybe it is the fact that I’ve been going to church in a school gym for the last 8 years, but I’ve recently found myself drawn to several classic elements of traditional churches. I find myself craving stained glass windows, hymnals, and arched ceilings with murals! And on that note, I think I have a new mini-obsession with our National Cathedral.

Tonight my husband brought home a link he knew I’d love. It is Donald Miller’s blog entry on his experiences at President Obama’s Inauguration. I love Miller’s writing and his take on this historic event is compelling. It is a little long, so check it out when you have time. In the meantime, here is a clip similar to the one Miller uses of the song “Amazing Grace” at the Inaugural Prayer Service. Let’s just say, you have probably never heard anyone hum like this (watch it all – the end is the best part):

The Inaugural Prayer Service, of course, is held in the National Cathedral, and earlier in the day I was researching an author and found out that the National Cathedral website posts video clips of many of their guest speakers. Talk about a who’s who of spiritual leaders (not all Christian, by the way). And while they talk you can gaze longingly at the columns and ornate decorations. Well, anyway, that’s what I’m doing.

I’m enjoying this traditonal phase almost as much as my big hair phase in high school. I just hope this one has more eternal value!

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10 Comments

Filed under Fun, General, My Favorite Part

10 responses to “America’s Church and My New Obsession With It

  1. Molly

    Whoa. Loved the end. All the columns and glass that were intended to point the eye heavenward certainly work their magic on the two of us if no one else, huh?

  2. Kathy Nickerson

    How did people stay in their seats so long? I had shivers! And, as one who came from the store-front church movement of the eighties where we actually disdained stained glass in our arrogance, I long for a little tradition these days myself. I think the grandeur of a cathedral reminds us of God’s majesty. And I think the permanence of tradition hints at eternity. Of course, tradition can become a dead work. But so can non-conformity for non-conformity sake.

  3. Sarah

    I went to the National Cathedral in 2006. It was an amazing experience. Pictures cannot even compare to being there. However, the 60 inch plasma screens attached to the ginormous columns did remind me that I am living in the 21st century. The columns are so huge that hundreds cannot see around them to look at the priest and ministers. Amazing majestic!

  4. @Kathy (Mom) – if you watch the clip Donald Miller has on his blog you can see President Obama react in his cool, calm way.

    @Sarah – BIG SCREEN TV’S!? NO! Of course, I guess that says something about what religion has become …

  5. Tracy

    I found out when we dropped Jenelle off at college how much I, too, have been longing for a little tradition. I loved the stained glass windows in their chapel, and the thought that went into the building we were in. They purposely put in 66 stairs so they could print the name of one book of the Bible on each step. However, it didn’t all go as planned. Their intention was to have ten big pillars in the chapel to represent the 10 Commandments, but there only wound up being room for eight pillars. So the joke on campus is you get to pick the 8 you like!! :o)

  6. Ha! I know WAY too many people who pick their own 8 (or less)! 🙂 Hilarious!

  7. Cheri White

    Having grown up in a church where there were beautiful stained glass windows and amazing ornate architecture, I would have to admit I grew bored with it. However, once I truly came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, it became more beautiful to me. Since my heart had found the One who is the Truth, I then viewed it through new eyes, and it held greater significance.

    One particular stained glass window drew my attention. It was a picture of Peter after he’d failed to keep walking on the water. He looked so helpless; yet Jesus’ face was filled with such compassion and his hands were extended toward him. You could see the grace of God displayed beautifully in dynamic preciseness.

    Even in a building, where the religion practiced there was dead, the beauty of the architecture spoke volumes about Jesus and the true nature of God.

  8. Dorothea

    I watched the video. It reminded me of another video had seen awhile back. It explains some of the history behind the beautiful humming and singing of the wonderful hymn.
    If you haven’t seen it before….well, I just think that you’ll really like it. It really helps me to see how important the historical significance of this inauguration really is.

  9. Dorothea, that video was AWESOME. I’ve been watching it in my office and almost started shouting! How much would I like to meet that man?!

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