As Dr. Know explains in this answer from the September 2012 issue, chuch architecture isn't always divinely inspired.
I’m wondering about Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church on East McMicken Avenue, which I pass on the bus. It seems an odd shape for a church. What is its history? Was the building always a church? —Historically-Challenged Methodist
Dear Methodist:First, kudos to you for leaving the SUV at home. Now, as the Doctor is a cultural, if not particularly observant, Protestant, he is allowed to say harsh truths about his brethren that non-Protestants may not, just as, say, African-Americans alone have license to tell it like it is in African-American matters, or only Lesbian-Americans may be completely frank about Lesbian-Americans. The fact is that Protestant-Americans have been engaged in a vicious and hard fought battle to see who can build the dreariest church. The long-running contest pits social class against social class, evangelical against Episcopal, charismatic against Congregational, and megachurch against storefronts. Many of these same Protestants have poured out buckets of cash to go to France to be stunned by Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres, only to return to the Queen City to put further buckets of cash into an A-frame with an aluminum cross surrounded in stained glass designed by Piet Mondrian’s blind cousin.
The concrete bunker that is the present Wesley Chapel Mission Center, a strong contender for the small church bracket in the Menacing Church tournament, was built new in the 1970s—not at gunpoint, but willingly by the congregation that had owned Wesley Chapel located on East Fifth Street where Procter & Gamble’s stunningly expensive but deliberately unwelcoming front yard and pergola collection now stands. Like the Allen Temple on Broadway, once a historic synagogue but which was in the way of the big Salt and Pepper, it vanished without a trace.
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