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These images were used to generate a discussion about Sacred Space. We allowed ourselves to reflect on how the different shapes, patterns, uses of light, etc. "spoke" to us about an encounter with the Sacred. Comments from the conversation are posted in this column.

#1
Light fixtures seem meaningful, like bowls of light. The space has a golden tone. The lighter wood looks more friendly than dark, heavy structures. This space creates an expectation that action is up front, that God is not physical or visual, and that decorations are a distraction.

#2
Lots of beautiful detail. Shows time and wealth have been invested. It is big, loud, and without a clear focus. An initial impression of "chaos" gives way to a sense of curiosity about all the details. Different time periods are represented in the architecture and decorations. This space creates an expectation that God is overwhelming and awesome, that no detail is unimportant, that there's a patchwork of diverse theology and tradition.

#3
Enormous, hard and silent. Soft, natural light. The use of dark below and light above draws eyes upward. Larger than human scale. Inspires song. Everything is very round: arches, not sharp angles and curvaceous calligraphy. This space creates an expectation that God is breath-taking and grand, that we are humbled.

#4
Shows investment of power, time and resources (more than a lifetime). Stained glass. Path to eternity.

#5
"Grounded" into the womb of the earth, rather than escaping the earth. Easy to center. A little fear about the lack of easy exit. A place of mystery. Intimate space for community. Rounded (like Hagia Sophia). The small amount of natural light seems more inviting than lots of artificial light. This space creates an expectation that we enter sacred space as individuals, it is safe and well-protected, ANCIENT, intimate, pulls you out of ordinary space into the mystery, participatory rather than geared toward spectators, dark and smokey place, SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN!

#6
Looks like a printed circuit. A "path" suggests motion and journey, but not something that happens quickly. You can cheat any time you want, but something will be lost. Are the lines imposed structure or an invitation? It is an expansive, open place. Freedom.

Sacred Space (page one)


1. Ramallah Friends Meetinghouse:

2. Church of the Holy Sepulcher:

3. Hagia Sophia:

4. St. Vitus Cathedral:

5. Kiva (Mesa Verde):

6. Labyrinth (Oregon Extension Campus):

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