February 29, 2020

Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal by Lloyd C. Douglas

Dr. Hudson is not a regular attender of church services,
but reflects upon a visit to a Chicago church that impressed him.

In the very first place, you had a sense of the solidarity and sureness and
effortless self-confidence of the building itself.
It was massive and it was sincere.
The walls not only looked like stone: they were stone.
I thought a little about this as I approached.
Some of our churches are built of concrete blocks, in imitation of stone.
And some of our wooden steeples, fussy with jigsaw ornamentation,
are painted gray to resemble stone.
I had never considered this matter, but it occurs to me now
that a church should never be an imitation of something.
If the people cannot afford to build their church of stone,
let it be made of wood; but, in that case, let the wood be wood.

... The more I think about it, the more important it grows.
If the church wants to have a steadying effect upon the people,
it must begin the task by being absolutely honest.
The individual may not pause to ask himself why it is
that the church he attends does not compose his spirit,
but I think it must have a disquieting effect on him
if the building itself is an architectural fraud.
If he can't believe in the integrity of the structure,
how is he going to believe in the soundness and 
sincerity of the institution?

I hope I am not making too much of this,
but I think the feeling of repose, reliance;
the feeling that I was, for a little while,
in the custody of something substantial,
enduring, and impeccably honest,
had a lot to do with my mood, that day.
Everything was genuine.
The candles on the altar were candles;
they were not electric lamps fashioned to
resemble candles: they were candles.