Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Northland's new sanctuary/auditorium is simply stunning (okay - the fuzzy picture is not helpful - but it did draw your eyes to the text!). It may be the most aesthetically beautiful auditorium I have ever seen. And it's not just a matter of expense. Many mega-church buildings are studies in expensive ugliness. Northland's sanctuary draws you in with a "halo" of concentric circles above your head and a great wooden "bridge" over the stage area. The lighting was soft with a "smoky" look as the light filtered down from the top hat lights in the ceiling. Visual designs weave all around you from the many projectors in the room.

All of this is , of course, technology driven. The merits and long term value of this reliance can certainly be debated. The worship leader was warm and humorous in a gentle, self-effacing way. As you would expect the music was excellent and the visuals remarkable. The words fade in and out, sometimes with video backgrounds, alwasys moving - yet without producing the vertigo of other amature attempts. I would call the style of music as "adult contemporary". The worship service was solid. Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries gave an excellent message and communion was served at the conclusion.

I can see how worshiping in this environment would make other venues seem "plain" or "lacking". Which, in fact, is just the problem. Maybe it's a case of sour grapes, but I can see how going back to a "normal" church after attending Northland would seem rather spartan or "boring". But, we are called to worship in spirit and truth, so I don't suppose the venue should matter. And yet it does, somehow. Then again, historic Christendom has had it's cathedrals, it's chapels, and it's catacombs. Somehow I think we need all three.

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