Friday, April 21, 2006

About the New Windows...

The new windows are part of our expansion of the auditorium. They're actually wonderful. They let in natural light; a lot of it. They're big; about 2-and-a-half feet wide by 10 feet tall with normal glass. They have some attractive decorative molding around them.

The windows do several good things for the worship space of our auditorium...
  • They let in natural light (already mentioned)
  • They can open to allow airflow in summer (we don't have air conditioning)
  • They make the auditorium feel more church-like (whatever that means - this assumes that the church is really a building and not a people)
  • They orient the room well (without the windows, it's just a big square-like room - the windows give it direction and lead your eyes toward the front)
At the same time, I am really struggling with some things that are not good about the new windows...
  • They let in so much light that you can't really see the screen. You know how much I believe that the visual aspect of worship is as important as the spoken word or music.
  • They seem to be a distraction in worship. People are looking outside and not focusing on the service. There are lights and reflections flashing in all the time. I've noticed we are less engaged in worship since the windows went in. I have even see this in videos I've taken of our services - it's really strange, but also really evident. (In contrast, Good Friday and Easter were very focused when the windows were covered temporarily.)
  • They also have some strange sort of emotional attachment, already. We covered the windows for Good Friday and Easter and people were apparently really upset. (It concerns me when people are more concerned about windows than they are about worshiping God.) On the other hand, I was pleased when the widows were covered because people were much more focused and participatory in those services.
  • They seem to be too big to cover with window coverings that do not cost a fortune. The window coverings we used on Good Friday only cost about $65 total for 5 windows. Unfortunately, they can't stay up due to complaints. Nice 10-foot-long blinds will cost about $300 per window.
Windows or not, I just wish we could use the visual aspect of worship to its full potential. I also wish we could focus on our worship instead of the many other distractions around us. As much as I really like the aesthetic aspects of the windows, they are a another big obstacle to the worship life of our congregation.

I know it seems petty, but look at the times when Jesus was most angry - they were times when people and things got in the way of allowing people to worship God unhindered.