By Louis P. Nelson
This quantity examines a various set of areas and structures noticeable during the lens of renowned perform and trust to make clear the complexities of sacred house in the US. members discover how commitment sermons rfile moving understandings of the assembly condominium in early 19th-century Connecticut; the adjustments in evangelical church structure throughout the similar century and what that tells us approximately evangelical spiritual lifestyles; the influence of up to date matters on Catholic church structure; the effect of globalization at the development of conventional sacred areas; the city perform of Jewish house; nature worship and principal Park in manhattan; the mezuzah and family sacred area; and, ultimately, the religious elements of African American backyard artwork.
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Extra resources for American Sanctuary: Understanding Sacred Spaces
In formal instruction and in casual conversation, people hear and choose words that help them know how to feel about a place; that is, to know what it means. In the case of space that is “sacred,” language can have an especially important task, establishing and afﬁrming that very sacrality. In early-nineteenth- century New England, Congregationalists, the descendants of English Puritans, changed the way they built, used, and talked about worship space in important ways, and the result was a new understand- Nelson_AmerSanctuary 18 11/30/05 2:32 PM Page 18 Inscription ing of what that space meant.
Emphasizing the sacred character of the meetinghouse and anticipating God’s presence there had a deﬁnite spiritual function: raising worshipers’ expectations regarding the emotional content and spiritual dividends of worship. A special worship space, its sanctity preserved by solemn and reverent behavior, would enhance the quality of worship. ”33 Reverend Strong acknowledged that because “we need every assistance in devotion . . ”34 Recognition of the importance of emotional engagement in worship was leading Congregationalists to make other concessions as well, especially the introduction of more complex and practiced singing into worship, and similar language was deployed.
Their belief in an immanent, transcendent God held that God was everywhere and deﬁnitely not contained in a building. The New England meetinghouse continues to claim mythic proportions. Americans have equated these plain, informal, seemingly unchanging buildings with close community, democratic government, and profound faith. In reality, the form evolved slowly and changed considerably over 200 years. New Englanders of the seventeenth century worshipped in centrally located, square, wooden, unheated, sparsely decorated buildings with entrances on several sides.
American Sanctuary: Understanding Sacred Spaces by Louis P. Nelson