An architect’s vocation

World Magazine has a  profile of architect David Greusel, who specializes in designing baseball stadiums.  In addition to a fascinating discussion of ball parks, focusing on the one hailed as the best in baseball–Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, which Greusel designed–the article by Janie Cheaney highlights the architect’s Christian faith and his sense of vocation.  This excerpt has wide-ranging implications:

Integrating work with family and faith shouldn’t be controversial, but over the years Greusel has found himself running counter not only to the architectural establishment, but also to certain strains of Christian fundamentalism. In an online essay called “God’s Trailer,” Greusel boldly states that “bad church architecture is as much the result of bad theology as it is of bad design”—meaning that an overemphasis on saving souls has blinded some congregations to the value of nurturing souls. Too many Christians buy into a perversion of the old architectural saw that “form follows function,” seeing their buildings as so many square feet of function with a cross stuck on, instead of a place to direct our attention to God’s glory.

Greusel likes to quote Winston Churchill: “First, we shape our buildings, then they shape us.” He believes the need for Christian architects who bring their worldview to their work has never been greater, for at least three reasons. One, the “creation mandate” (Genesis 1:28) implies that we can continue God’s work on earth by designing spaces that are both useful and beautiful. Also, as creatures made in His image, we honor God by following in His creative footsteps and striving for excellence. And finally, designing (and insisting on) beautiful buildings puts us on the front lines of the culture war: Against the dreary functionalism, commodification, and standardization of concrete boxes, our buildings can reflect both the glory of God and the humanity of man—whether their primary function is to encourage worship or to showcase a perfect double play.

via WORLDmag.com | All-star architecture | Janie B. Cheaney | Jun 30, 12.

Read Greusel’s entire essay God’s Trailer.  The contradiction he cites–”fundamentalists” buying into the dogmas of the “modernists”– is very telling.  By the same token, some of the biggest critics of pop culture are insisting on pop music in their worship.  And theological “conservatives” are arguing that the church must conform to the culture, the textbook definition of theological liberalism.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    Interesting piece, and welcome back. It’s fun, when in Europe, to note the stark contrast between the many ornate and nowadays largely unused cathedrals and the prevailing soulless modern European architecture.

  • Pete

    Interesting piece, and welcome back. It’s fun, when in Europe, to note the stark contrast between the many ornate and nowadays largely unused cathedrals and the prevailing soulless modern European architecture.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The assessment about architecture is correct. Build a building that doesn’t feel like a church, and people will start treating it like it’s not a church.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The assessment about architecture is correct. Build a building that doesn’t feel like a church, and people will start treating it like it’s not a church.

  • Tom Hering

    Half a block to the north of me is St. Paul Lutheran Church, a Northern Gothic structure built in 1935, and a couple of blocks further north is St. Joseph Catholic Church, an Italianate structure built in 1916. Neither is particularly beautiful or inspiring. Both may be examples what post-war functionalism reacted against, i.e., second-rate imitations of European forms.

    One consequence of functionalism is that relatively few American artists receive religious commissions. So the impoverishment of religious art in America follows the impoverishment of religious architecture.

  • Tom Hering

    Half a block to the north of me is St. Paul Lutheran Church, a Northern Gothic structure built in 1935, and a couple of blocks further north is St. Joseph Catholic Church, an Italianate structure built in 1916. Neither is particularly beautiful or inspiring. Both may be examples what post-war functionalism reacted against, i.e., second-rate imitations of European forms.

    One consequence of functionalism is that relatively few American artists receive religious commissions. So the impoverishment of religious art in America follows the impoverishment of religious architecture.

  • fws

    “Also, as creatures made in His image, we honor God by following in His creative footsteps and striving for excellence.”

    1) the Image of God is Adamic Original Righeousness.
    2) The Image of God was COMPLETELY lost in the fall.
    3) So what is the Image of God?
    4) It is, alone, what is restored in the Waters of Holy Baptism.

    What is, alone, restored in the waters of Holy Baptism?
    What is restored in Baptism, is, alone, the restored Image of God which is the restored Adamic Original Righteousness.

    What was original righeousness then? Take a guess!

  • fws

    “Also, as creatures made in His image, we honor God by following in His creative footsteps and striving for excellence.”

    1) the Image of God is Adamic Original Righeousness.
    2) The Image of God was COMPLETELY lost in the fall.
    3) So what is the Image of God?
    4) It is, alone, what is restored in the Waters of Holy Baptism.

    What is, alone, restored in the waters of Holy Baptism?
    What is restored in Baptism, is, alone, the restored Image of God which is the restored Adamic Original Righteousness.

    What was original righeousness then? Take a guess!

  • fws

    And adam gave birth to his children in the Image and likeness of…. Adam . Old Adam!

  • fws

    And adam gave birth to his children in the Image and likeness of…. Adam . Old Adam!

  • fws

    Church architecture, liturgy, and doctrinal formulations are all carnal righteousness that are of Old Adam and will perish with the earth.

    So we can compare these laws with civil laws and rites and ceremonies.

    Form does follow function. And also it is true that function follows form.

    Neither the disciplines of proper form nor function will preserve that Truth that is the Holy Gospel. That preserving is alone the work of the Holy Spirit. It is He who calls, gathers, enlightens and keeps the Church together with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. It does not depend upon us or our doing.

    Isn’t that a wonderful comfort?

  • fws

    Church architecture, liturgy, and doctrinal formulations are all carnal righteousness that are of Old Adam and will perish with the earth.

    So we can compare these laws with civil laws and rites and ceremonies.

    Form does follow function. And also it is true that function follows form.

    Neither the disciplines of proper form nor function will preserve that Truth that is the Holy Gospel. That preserving is alone the work of the Holy Spirit. It is He who calls, gathers, enlightens and keeps the Church together with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. It does not depend upon us or our doing.

    Isn’t that a wonderful comfort?

  • DonS

    Many of the beautiful cathedrals we visit today in Europe (and which are but historical relics now) were built by a corrupt institution using funds wrongfully obtained from parishioners in abject poverty and servitude.

    Not saying that there is not a place for beautiful architecture, even (or especially) in the church, but it is not the key to a vibrant church, obviously. Stewardship is always an issue in the church and different congregations will make different decisions on the nature of their worship space depending upon their values and their resources. There is no Scriptural right or wrong in these matters other than that we are effective stewards of the resources God graciously grants us.

  • DonS

    Many of the beautiful cathedrals we visit today in Europe (and which are but historical relics now) were built by a corrupt institution using funds wrongfully obtained from parishioners in abject poverty and servitude.

    Not saying that there is not a place for beautiful architecture, even (or especially) in the church, but it is not the key to a vibrant church, obviously. Stewardship is always an issue in the church and different congregations will make different decisions on the nature of their worship space depending upon their values and their resources. There is no Scriptural right or wrong in these matters other than that we are effective stewards of the resources God graciously grants us.

  • SKPeterson

    I would add that it is often not just aesthetics, but also acoustics. Hymns just sound better in spaces that are well-designed; many of these structures are the older, more traditional style of church building. In many of the newer, literally pre-fab, structures being built for congregations, the acoustics are often of poor quality. Hence the need for electronic amplification and sound systems which thereby leads to a perfect justification for a praise band since the hymns don’t sound very good when being sung by the congregation due to the poor acoustics. So, from that standpoint alone, bad architecture = bad acoustics = bad congregational singing = the descent into bad worship a la the praise band motif.

  • SKPeterson

    I would add that it is often not just aesthetics, but also acoustics. Hymns just sound better in spaces that are well-designed; many of these structures are the older, more traditional style of church building. In many of the newer, literally pre-fab, structures being built for congregations, the acoustics are often of poor quality. Hence the need for electronic amplification and sound systems which thereby leads to a perfect justification for a praise band since the hymns don’t sound very good when being sung by the congregation due to the poor acoustics. So, from that standpoint alone, bad architecture = bad acoustics = bad congregational singing = the descent into bad worship a la the praise band motif.

  • Joanne

    When he is engaged to design a ballpark, the money is there in large quantities. Churches no longer have large sums of money unless a wealthy person is a member. In Florida we can see building that the very wealthy man Henry Flagler built. When he was building in St. Augustine (when his railroad line ended there), he build huge hotels for his passengers to extend the amount of their money he got. He repeatd this when his line reached Palm Beach, and then when it reached all the way down to Key West.

    When he was at St. Augustine he and his familt were Presbyterians, so he built a Presbyterian Church, but because he was very wealthy and had been everywhere and Venetian architechture was the rage, he copied a domed church he had seen in Venice. On the outside it looks architechturely appropriate, cruciform. On the inside it has been adjusted for Calvinists needs of worship. The pulpit is centered at the domed edge of the north transcept. It has a large choir loft rising behind the centered pulput, and the little remembrance table below the pulpit. The pulpit faces the south transcept and heavy oaken pews in a solid rank fill the dome area and go all the way to the back of the south transcept, where the main entrance to the church is locatd. In the nave, the same regiment of pews extends to a little used door and anyone sitting there will see the preachr in profile. There is also a crypt built off the north side of the west end of the nave where Mr. Flagler, his first wife, and a daughter are buried in exquisite tombs in a Ravenna type space.

    When one enters this church, one goes to the western front entrance as one would in any church in Venice. One has mistakenly entered the inside behind the side seating area and near the crypt. When one looks for the altar at the eastern end, one see a velvet curtin closing off the entire eastern portion from the dome. There seem to be Sunday school stapce or reception space behind the curtain. To put it mildly, one is extremely disoriented, it may take several visits before one realizes that one should enter by the door at the south transcept and sit facing the pulpit in the south transcript or under the dome. Then, slowly, it begins to work when one lowers ones expectations and learns that the church structure, though totally unsuited to Calvinist worship, is meant to be a museum-like depiction of Venetian religious architechture, made to function out of character, if one may say that a building has a character.

    Mr. Flagler had the money to build a Venetian church in St. Augustine, but he did not have the ability to affect how Calvinists would use it. This thought, a very coviteous thought, “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s exquisite church building.” But the voice in my head screams everytime I go to Mr. Flagler’s church, can you Imatine what Catholics, Anglicans, or Lutherans could have done with this architechural opportunity. One would expect an approximation of the Venetian style in the sanctuary. But still subtily adjusted to fit. The Anglicans would put up an altar screen and choir pews in the choir, and an expensive stone altar smack up against the east wall of the sanctuary. The would put the lecturn (a golden eagle) and the pulpit in the expected places at the interface between the choir and the domed nave. It would be the same as they did when the Anglicans built churches in Florence and Rome.

  • Joanne

    When he is engaged to design a ballpark, the money is there in large quantities. Churches no longer have large sums of money unless a wealthy person is a member. In Florida we can see building that the very wealthy man Henry Flagler built. When he was building in St. Augustine (when his railroad line ended there), he build huge hotels for his passengers to extend the amount of their money he got. He repeatd this when his line reached Palm Beach, and then when it reached all the way down to Key West.

    When he was at St. Augustine he and his familt were Presbyterians, so he built a Presbyterian Church, but because he was very wealthy and had been everywhere and Venetian architechture was the rage, he copied a domed church he had seen in Venice. On the outside it looks architechturely appropriate, cruciform. On the inside it has been adjusted for Calvinists needs of worship. The pulpit is centered at the domed edge of the north transcept. It has a large choir loft rising behind the centered pulput, and the little remembrance table below the pulpit. The pulpit faces the south transcept and heavy oaken pews in a solid rank fill the dome area and go all the way to the back of the south transcept, where the main entrance to the church is locatd. In the nave, the same regiment of pews extends to a little used door and anyone sitting there will see the preachr in profile. There is also a crypt built off the north side of the west end of the nave where Mr. Flagler, his first wife, and a daughter are buried in exquisite tombs in a Ravenna type space.

    When one enters this church, one goes to the western front entrance as one would in any church in Venice. One has mistakenly entered the inside behind the side seating area and near the crypt. When one looks for the altar at the eastern end, one see a velvet curtin closing off the entire eastern portion from the dome. There seem to be Sunday school stapce or reception space behind the curtain. To put it mildly, one is extremely disoriented, it may take several visits before one realizes that one should enter by the door at the south transcept and sit facing the pulpit in the south transcript or under the dome. Then, slowly, it begins to work when one lowers ones expectations and learns that the church structure, though totally unsuited to Calvinist worship, is meant to be a museum-like depiction of Venetian religious architechture, made to function out of character, if one may say that a building has a character.

    Mr. Flagler had the money to build a Venetian church in St. Augustine, but he did not have the ability to affect how Calvinists would use it. This thought, a very coviteous thought, “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s exquisite church building.” But the voice in my head screams everytime I go to Mr. Flagler’s church, can you Imatine what Catholics, Anglicans, or Lutherans could have done with this architechural opportunity. One would expect an approximation of the Venetian style in the sanctuary. But still subtily adjusted to fit. The Anglicans would put up an altar screen and choir pews in the choir, and an expensive stone altar smack up against the east wall of the sanctuary. The would put the lecturn (a golden eagle) and the pulpit in the expected places at the interface between the choir and the domed nave. It would be the same as they did when the Anglicans built churches in Florence and Rome.

  • Joanne

    Now the question for us is, what would the Lutherans do with it? Pretty much what the Anglicans would do, and much of what the Romanists would do. The sanctuary would feature the altar, though bringing it out from the east wall so that the communicants could walk around behind the altar to go from receiving the body wafer on the north side, to receiving the wine blood on the south side of the small altar rails.

    In the late 1800s, wealthy Lutheran churches in America created incredibly ornate and high altarpieces attached to the rear of the altar. I would expect to see a Venetian style version of a remarkable altarpiece with 2 and 3 dimentional art all over it and the whole church. This altar would look like a catholic altar in Venice, but without a sacrament safe on the altar. A missing sacrament safe is often the only way to tell a catholic altar from a Lutheran altar, and one will see paintings all over the church, but no stages of the cross, which I believe was a post reformation development in catholic churches.

    Another indication of Lutheran worship here is that all the art has biblical, not Saint or church administrator hagiagraphy, themes. The altar will feature the crucifixion, in some way, following Venetian style. And a huge organ and choirloft will fill the upper western end of the church. Putti will crawl all over the organ case and the words “Alles was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn.”

    After the death of his first wife, Henry married again. By this time his railroad/hotel line had reached all the way to Palm Beach and he built a home mansion, Whitehall?, the huge Breakers Hotel, and for his second wife who was an Episcopalian, St. Somebody by the Sea Episcopal church. It’s huge and exactly like any other built in those days. It’s quickcrete-like coating is a bit off-putting, but the well-heeled Palm Beachers seems satisfied with it.

    Today we borrow money to build temporary churches. The lenders think about what they would do with the building were the church not to thrive or survive, because they will try to recoup as much value from selling the building, so the more generic it is, the better the chance to resell and recoup. We actually build auditoriums with one cross on a wooden box (Lutherans). That’s it, so that if necessary it can become almost anything else if/when needed.

    We build our churches at minimum cost for reuse value if/when necessary. If you sell it to the Methodists, you won’t have to change a thing, unless you were foolish enough to put a Lutheran distinctive crucifix on the altar. Still, that’s easy enough to switch out, isn’t it.

  • Joanne

    Now the question for us is, what would the Lutherans do with it? Pretty much what the Anglicans would do, and much of what the Romanists would do. The sanctuary would feature the altar, though bringing it out from the east wall so that the communicants could walk around behind the altar to go from receiving the body wafer on the north side, to receiving the wine blood on the south side of the small altar rails.

    In the late 1800s, wealthy Lutheran churches in America created incredibly ornate and high altarpieces attached to the rear of the altar. I would expect to see a Venetian style version of a remarkable altarpiece with 2 and 3 dimentional art all over it and the whole church. This altar would look like a catholic altar in Venice, but without a sacrament safe on the altar. A missing sacrament safe is often the only way to tell a catholic altar from a Lutheran altar, and one will see paintings all over the church, but no stages of the cross, which I believe was a post reformation development in catholic churches.

    Another indication of Lutheran worship here is that all the art has biblical, not Saint or church administrator hagiagraphy, themes. The altar will feature the crucifixion, in some way, following Venetian style. And a huge organ and choirloft will fill the upper western end of the church. Putti will crawl all over the organ case and the words “Alles was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn.”

    After the death of his first wife, Henry married again. By this time his railroad/hotel line had reached all the way to Palm Beach and he built a home mansion, Whitehall?, the huge Breakers Hotel, and for his second wife who was an Episcopalian, St. Somebody by the Sea Episcopal church. It’s huge and exactly like any other built in those days. It’s quickcrete-like coating is a bit off-putting, but the well-heeled Palm Beachers seems satisfied with it.

    Today we borrow money to build temporary churches. The lenders think about what they would do with the building were the church not to thrive or survive, because they will try to recoup as much value from selling the building, so the more generic it is, the better the chance to resell and recoup. We actually build auditoriums with one cross on a wooden box (Lutherans). That’s it, so that if necessary it can become almost anything else if/when needed.

    We build our churches at minimum cost for reuse value if/when necessary. If you sell it to the Methodists, you won’t have to change a thing, unless you were foolish enough to put a Lutheran distinctive crucifix on the altar. Still, that’s easy enough to switch out, isn’t it.

  • Jonathan

    DonS @7
    Chuck Smith or Jack Chick taught you some bad history. Even a rudimentary understanding of their history shows that Cathedrals were and remain spectactular monuments to the Christian faith, taking many decades, centuries even, to finish. They were hardly built on the fiscal backs of an impoverished citizenry. Read, man.
    Pax.

  • Jonathan

    DonS @7
    Chuck Smith or Jack Chick taught you some bad history. Even a rudimentary understanding of their history shows that Cathedrals were and remain spectactular monuments to the Christian faith, taking many decades, centuries even, to finish. They were hardly built on the fiscal backs of an impoverished citizenry. Read, man.
    Pax.

  • DonS

    Jonathan@11: Your typical gratuitous smear aside, huh? I’ll grant you that the cathedrals are spectacular monuments. But they are relics of a failed religious hierarchy that, in the aggregate, was more interested in furthering its own very carnal interests than in shepherding and tending the flock. Where, exactly, do you think the money and labor to build those cathedrals came from, if not ultimately from the impoverished citizenry, typically by way of the corrupt nobility, looking for an earthly legacy?

  • DonS

    Jonathan@11: Your typical gratuitous smear aside, huh? I’ll grant you that the cathedrals are spectacular monuments. But they are relics of a failed religious hierarchy that, in the aggregate, was more interested in furthering its own very carnal interests than in shepherding and tending the flock. Where, exactly, do you think the money and labor to build those cathedrals came from, if not ultimately from the impoverished citizenry, typically by way of the corrupt nobility, looking for an earthly legacy?

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    interesting that fws states that we are no longer in God’s image- but in Adam’s image-
    from comment above-humans no longer in God’s image-
    HMMMMM-
    Adam = male human= XY-

    any Woman-female human = XX (architecturally- the stronger of the two structures)–
    the female human still in the image of God?!

    as to church architecture-
    I notice that most ‘older’ Lutheran churches have a inverted ark formation (as in Noah’s Ark ) ..in other other words – the ceiling looks like the bottom of the ARK!–you know – that ‘boat’ that carried two of each animal – saved from being destroyed by the flood–
    Carol-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    interesting that fws states that we are no longer in God’s image- but in Adam’s image-
    from comment above-humans no longer in God’s image-
    HMMMMM-
    Adam = male human= XY-

    any Woman-female human = XX (architecturally- the stronger of the two structures)–
    the female human still in the image of God?!

    as to church architecture-
    I notice that most ‘older’ Lutheran churches have a inverted ark formation (as in Noah’s Ark ) ..in other other words – the ceiling looks like the bottom of the ARK!–you know – that ‘boat’ that carried two of each animal – saved from being destroyed by the flood–
    Carol-CS

  • fws

    ccs @ 13

    Take what I wrote in this context : Christ is the New Adam.

  • fws

    ccs @ 13

    Take what I wrote in this context : Christ is the New Adam.

  • Tom Hering

    @ 13: Poseidon Adventure, the prequel! :-D

  • Tom Hering

    @ 13: Poseidon Adventure, the prequel! :-D

  • Joanne

    DonS@7
    A good, easy read for 14th century history is Barbara Tuchman’s, “A distant mirror : the calamitous 14th Century.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Distant_Mirror

    Now, that’s a tad late in the cathedral building bidness, but not for the late Gothic. Many monasteries and large convents, episcopal cathedrals, and large Imperial/Hanseatic city churches were pulling down their Romanesque Choirs and replacing them with late Gothic structures. There are very many examples of Romanesque naves, then at the transect and the large vault between nave and c+
    oir, a sharp jump up for the much higher gothic choir.

    Everyone was doing it, and replacing romanesque steeples with tall slender gothic ones. In much of the restoration work done after WWII when almost all of Germany’s churches were pulverized, some gothic acretions were replaced with what the experts said was just like the original romanesque. I’m thinking particularly of the large Abby church at Quedlinburg.

    Abby churches were usually financed/paid for by gifts of large sums of money from the nobility and often Imperial nobility. This meant that forever, after they were buried before the high altars of these memorial churches, that masses or messes would be said for them in perpetuity to shorten their time in purgatory. Purgatory time avoidance was the chief way that the church made its money for hundreds of years and from all the classes. Everyone paid what they could afford to escape a few more years of torture.

    However, the nobles often borrowed the money from the big Italian/German banking houses, as did Albrecht of Brandenburg, Magdeburg, Halberstadt, und Mainz. The pallium for his second Arch-Bishopric was quite costly and his fellow nobles other than his own family, the Hohenzollerns, were disinterested in helping him pay it back to the Fuggars and his family had already been tapped out paying for his other church offices. Mainz was an ArchBishopric too far.

    Poor Albrecht had to resort to indulgence sales (again, time off in purgatory) to pay his loan. But some damn Augustinian Friar thought there was something wrong with purgatory and indulgences, so I’m not sure the loan was ever repaid. Oh wait, yes it was. Halle (an der Saale), only about 30 miles from Wittenberg, was the Residenz for his ArchArchBishopsself. It was in a part of Germany that was going with the Reformation. Part of the deal to get Albrecht to move away from Halle is that the town council agreed to payoff his Fuggar loans.

    Do you notice how complicated human activity is today. Well, it always has been. As hard as it would be to write down correctly everything that happened last month in Germany, is just as hard as it would be to write the history, only you never have enough source material in history.

    And, history isn’t the story of what happened. History is the study of human activity that was written down. That’s how we have prehistory, the time before writing.

    The history of the battle between the Abbesses of Quedlinburg and the Bishop of Halberstadt over their line of authority, the Abesses successfully maintained their independence from Halberstadt, their local bishop, for hundreds of years is a rewarding read.

    It is also one of the several examples of an Abby siding with the Reformation and remaining an Abby, ruled by an Evangelical Abbess until the Mediatization when Napoleon single-handely killed the Holly Rum and End Pyre and put a knife through it heart in around 1810. (The Abbess in the 1520s was a great friend and
    admirer of Luther and one of his most ardent and earliest coverts.) Here, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quedlinburg_Abbey

    Did you notice that the second son of the English/German George III, in the movie, “The madness of King George the III,” commented that somehow he had been given the Prince Bishopric of Osnabruck, near Hannover? That’s another example of Lutherans being Prince Bishops just like Albrecht had been. George III ca. 1776 — Albrecht of Mainz ca. 1530. Even monasteries went with the Reformation, see Herford in Lower Saxony. Don’t you just love reading history?

  • Joanne

    DonS@7
    A good, easy read for 14th century history is Barbara Tuchman’s, “A distant mirror : the calamitous 14th Century.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Distant_Mirror

    Now, that’s a tad late in the cathedral building bidness, but not for the late Gothic. Many monasteries and large convents, episcopal cathedrals, and large Imperial/Hanseatic city churches were pulling down their Romanesque Choirs and replacing them with late Gothic structures. There are very many examples of Romanesque naves, then at the transect and the large vault between nave and c+
    oir, a sharp jump up for the much higher gothic choir.

    Everyone was doing it, and replacing romanesque steeples with tall slender gothic ones. In much of the restoration work done after WWII when almost all of Germany’s churches were pulverized, some gothic acretions were replaced with what the experts said was just like the original romanesque. I’m thinking particularly of the large Abby church at Quedlinburg.

    Abby churches were usually financed/paid for by gifts of large sums of money from the nobility and often Imperial nobility. This meant that forever, after they were buried before the high altars of these memorial churches, that masses or messes would be said for them in perpetuity to shorten their time in purgatory. Purgatory time avoidance was the chief way that the church made its money for hundreds of years and from all the classes. Everyone paid what they could afford to escape a few more years of torture.

    However, the nobles often borrowed the money from the big Italian/German banking houses, as did Albrecht of Brandenburg, Magdeburg, Halberstadt, und Mainz. The pallium for his second Arch-Bishopric was quite costly and his fellow nobles other than his own family, the Hohenzollerns, were disinterested in helping him pay it back to the Fuggars and his family had already been tapped out paying for his other church offices. Mainz was an ArchBishopric too far.

    Poor Albrecht had to resort to indulgence sales (again, time off in purgatory) to pay his loan. But some damn Augustinian Friar thought there was something wrong with purgatory and indulgences, so I’m not sure the loan was ever repaid. Oh wait, yes it was. Halle (an der Saale), only about 30 miles from Wittenberg, was the Residenz for his ArchArchBishopsself. It was in a part of Germany that was going with the Reformation. Part of the deal to get Albrecht to move away from Halle is that the town council agreed to payoff his Fuggar loans.

    Do you notice how complicated human activity is today. Well, it always has been. As hard as it would be to write down correctly everything that happened last month in Germany, is just as hard as it would be to write the history, only you never have enough source material in history.

    And, history isn’t the story of what happened. History is the study of human activity that was written down. That’s how we have prehistory, the time before writing.

    The history of the battle between the Abbesses of Quedlinburg and the Bishop of Halberstadt over their line of authority, the Abesses successfully maintained their independence from Halberstadt, their local bishop, for hundreds of years is a rewarding read.

    It is also one of the several examples of an Abby siding with the Reformation and remaining an Abby, ruled by an Evangelical Abbess until the Mediatization when Napoleon single-handely killed the Holly Rum and End Pyre and put a knife through it heart in around 1810. (The Abbess in the 1520s was a great friend and
    admirer of Luther and one of his most ardent and earliest coverts.) Here, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quedlinburg_Abbey

    Did you notice that the second son of the English/German George III, in the movie, “The madness of King George the III,” commented that somehow he had been given the Prince Bishopric of Osnabruck, near Hannover? That’s another example of Lutherans being Prince Bishops just like Albrecht had been. George III ca. 1776 — Albrecht of Mainz ca. 1530. Even monasteries went with the Reformation, see Herford in Lower Saxony. Don’t you just love reading history?

  • DonS

    Thank you, Joanne @ 16. Your research has illustrated the point I was making quite well.

  • DonS

    Thank you, Joanne @ 16. Your research has illustrated the point I was making quite well.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    fws-
    Christ is GOD-
    Christ on earth-w/ physical body-
    XY – physical body- part of physical body from female human (X)
    who was -is – in the image of GOD-
    Humans are in the image of GOD- sadly – we need GRACE (CHRIST’S Sacrifice) to be redeemed -
    OKJ- – Chaldee–Latin- all will help w/ that knowledgeable understanding –get back to me when you read the various translations – OK-=-
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    fws-
    Christ is GOD-
    Christ on earth-w/ physical body-
    XY – physical body- part of physical body from female human (X)
    who was -is – in the image of GOD-
    Humans are in the image of GOD- sadly – we need GRACE (CHRIST’S Sacrifice) to be redeemed -
    OKJ- – Chaldee–Latin- all will help w/ that knowledgeable understanding –get back to me when you read the various translations – OK-=-
    C-CS

  • Joanne

    DonS,

    Most of the money made was from control of land and control of trade. And then the control of the surpluses these caused, by which I mean the banks. They don’t make any money unless they can lend and get interest income (or a piece of the deal, if interest is an evil word).

    The Imperial Cities and the Hanseatic Cities were in a constant tug of war with the Imperor and other Kings in keeping more of their money than the nobility could get their hands on. “City air is free air.” And, in the early 1500s, Inca and Aztec gold and silver began to flood into Europe through Spain and Portugal, along with spices going all the way round Africa, that was upseting many a wedding cake.

    Old lines and orders of control were being sorely tested. Still, the peasants wars happened every century (as soon as they forgot how badly the last one ended) and Ms. Tuchman’s book is full of the horrible aftermath when the peasants eventually lost, more from political ignorance than from the power of the nobles. The nobles do that everytime, all the way back to Sparticus.

    If you take a look at the Fuggar Chapel in St. Ann’s Church in Augsburg, you’ll see that the church was as successful at getting money from the bankers as they were any other purgatory avoider.
    http://www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/augsburg-st-anne-church

    Everybody paid taxes for something somewhere, and the peasants who had any coinage could pay with it, or else in commodies. However, the Lords with so much New World gold and silver in circulation began demanding payment from the peasants in coinage, changing very old ways. I think there’s a significant kernal cause for the 1525 Peasants’ War in Germany. So much was changing and the peasants didn’t understand or even see the big picture, and nobles who did see used the peasants’ frustations to lead them into the jaws of defeat.

    There’s a fairy tale out there that someday the peasants are going to win and then they will level society as the Lollards had been saying for so long. And, how many Russian peasants did it take in death, confiscation of lands and goods, and forced collectivization to support the 20 million Party members in the best that socialism could offer? Again, it’s those that see and understand the big picture that will win. Ignorant violence just messes up the streets.

    The Soviet house of cards fell when those 20 million party members saw the best that capitalism could offer. And let’s give the poor peasant bastards a chance; let’s let them into the middle class so maybe every century or so we can skip those horrible Peasant wars, that one way or the other the poor and ignorant always lose, and the little that they have, even that will be taken from them along with huge loss of life.

    May God will a limit, maybe even a surcease from the blood lust that drowned the evil 20th century and all it’s Peasants wars. My prediction as a history reader, as soon as they forget how horrible the last peasants war ended, they will do it all over again.

    I wonder if middle class wars will happen. It’s harder to fool the middle class about how it is that you have to have ever more and more of their money. But, the middle class have so much to lose by violence. I think they will only fight when victory is an overwhelming eventuality.

  • Joanne

    DonS,

    Most of the money made was from control of land and control of trade. And then the control of the surpluses these caused, by which I mean the banks. They don’t make any money unless they can lend and get interest income (or a piece of the deal, if interest is an evil word).

    The Imperial Cities and the Hanseatic Cities were in a constant tug of war with the Imperor and other Kings in keeping more of their money than the nobility could get their hands on. “City air is free air.” And, in the early 1500s, Inca and Aztec gold and silver began to flood into Europe through Spain and Portugal, along with spices going all the way round Africa, that was upseting many a wedding cake.

    Old lines and orders of control were being sorely tested. Still, the peasants wars happened every century (as soon as they forgot how badly the last one ended) and Ms. Tuchman’s book is full of the horrible aftermath when the peasants eventually lost, more from political ignorance than from the power of the nobles. The nobles do that everytime, all the way back to Sparticus.

    If you take a look at the Fuggar Chapel in St. Ann’s Church in Augsburg, you’ll see that the church was as successful at getting money from the bankers as they were any other purgatory avoider.
    http://www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/augsburg-st-anne-church

    Everybody paid taxes for something somewhere, and the peasants who had any coinage could pay with it, or else in commodies. However, the Lords with so much New World gold and silver in circulation began demanding payment from the peasants in coinage, changing very old ways. I think there’s a significant kernal cause for the 1525 Peasants’ War in Germany. So much was changing and the peasants didn’t understand or even see the big picture, and nobles who did see used the peasants’ frustations to lead them into the jaws of defeat.

    There’s a fairy tale out there that someday the peasants are going to win and then they will level society as the Lollards had been saying for so long. And, how many Russian peasants did it take in death, confiscation of lands and goods, and forced collectivization to support the 20 million Party members in the best that socialism could offer? Again, it’s those that see and understand the big picture that will win. Ignorant violence just messes up the streets.

    The Soviet house of cards fell when those 20 million party members saw the best that capitalism could offer. And let’s give the poor peasant bastards a chance; let’s let them into the middle class so maybe every century or so we can skip those horrible Peasant wars, that one way or the other the poor and ignorant always lose, and the little that they have, even that will be taken from them along with huge loss of life.

    May God will a limit, maybe even a surcease from the blood lust that drowned the evil 20th century and all it’s Peasants wars. My prediction as a history reader, as soon as they forget how horrible the last peasants war ended, they will do it all over again.

    I wonder if middle class wars will happen. It’s harder to fool the middle class about how it is that you have to have ever more and more of their money. But, the middle class have so much to lose by violence. I think they will only fight when victory is an overwhelming eventuality.

  • fws

    joanne @ 19

    that was wonderful joanne,.

    Here in Brasil it is oil money that is flowing into the country rather than gold. And the firehydrant is squirting so hard that the powerful have not yet learned to capture it all… so some of that wealth is actually getting down to the poor.

    And something wonderful is happening. the slum hills that pocket rio like holes in swiss cheese used to be lawless run by the drug lords… another source of “gold” coming in… the government and police were afraid to enter those pockets for 40 years except to sweep in and then leave again.

    And now these pockets are being pacified. they are paying taxes on the property that their grandparents squatted on. And…. they are being given deed titles to the land that before only had 3 generations of squatters rights. so the marginalized now have a real stake in society. something to lose of the lawlessness returns.

    And the government is creating instant wealth for poor working families with a piece of paper called a deed.

    Amazing.

  • fws

    joanne @ 19

    that was wonderful joanne,.

    Here in Brasil it is oil money that is flowing into the country rather than gold. And the firehydrant is squirting so hard that the powerful have not yet learned to capture it all… so some of that wealth is actually getting down to the poor.

    And something wonderful is happening. the slum hills that pocket rio like holes in swiss cheese used to be lawless run by the drug lords… another source of “gold” coming in… the government and police were afraid to enter those pockets for 40 years except to sweep in and then leave again.

    And now these pockets are being pacified. they are paying taxes on the property that their grandparents squatted on. And…. they are being given deed titles to the land that before only had 3 generations of squatters rights. so the marginalized now have a real stake in society. something to lose of the lawlessness returns.

    And the government is creating instant wealth for poor working families with a piece of paper called a deed.

    Amazing.

  • Joanne

    When I studied Latin American geography at U. of Miami back in the 80s, the professors then maintained that capitalism was alive and well in the squatter cities of the whole continent. It they legitimized ownership of the sqatters to the land they were on, great wealth would be created. Unt zo, it seems to be happening in Brazil. The only thing wrong with socialism/communism is that the application of their economic ideas destroys wealth. Let’s hope Madam President dosn’t still have crazy notions about collectivization.

    And, let’s hope the original owners of the land are being suitably remunerated. A new deed means nothing if the governent has no respect for property ownership. A government that creates deeds out of thin air, can turn them back into air just as easily.

    Eminent Domain and payment for confiscated land to be used for government porpoises, is the usual process in civil societies. The owners had obviously lost control of their land, the land became a slum, the government wants to apply a capitalist solution to slum improvement and crime reducion, that’s a good enough EmDo reason for me.

    It’s not that odd, to elect a communist and to get capitalism. I think we may elect a capitalist and get lots of “reasonable” socialism, and everyone will wonder how. But, it was ever thus. In democracies, you never really know what a person will do till you give them power and money.

  • Joanne

    When I studied Latin American geography at U. of Miami back in the 80s, the professors then maintained that capitalism was alive and well in the squatter cities of the whole continent. It they legitimized ownership of the sqatters to the land they were on, great wealth would be created. Unt zo, it seems to be happening in Brazil. The only thing wrong with socialism/communism is that the application of their economic ideas destroys wealth. Let’s hope Madam President dosn’t still have crazy notions about collectivization.

    And, let’s hope the original owners of the land are being suitably remunerated. A new deed means nothing if the governent has no respect for property ownership. A government that creates deeds out of thin air, can turn them back into air just as easily.

    Eminent Domain and payment for confiscated land to be used for government porpoises, is the usual process in civil societies. The owners had obviously lost control of their land, the land became a slum, the government wants to apply a capitalist solution to slum improvement and crime reducion, that’s a good enough EmDo reason for me.

    It’s not that odd, to elect a communist and to get capitalism. I think we may elect a capitalist and get lots of “reasonable” socialism, and everyone will wonder how. But, it was ever thus. In democracies, you never really know what a person will do till you give them power and money.

  • Joanne

    Oh, and crony mercantilism is the default position in the Latin American economies. The powerful will seek to use the government to control the flow of wealth. They usually do this by regulating the less wealthy out of the business.

    I believe that at the president’s palace right now, regulations are being written to make the oil companies safer, and to minutely control oil exploration and extraction that only the largest oil companies will be able to comply with. The government will insist on unionized workers and high salaries, another thing that only the most wealthy oil companies can affort. If you can’t afford to comply with the 2750 page new petroleum law, and the 15 volumes of regulations, then you really shouldn’t be in the oil bid’ness.

    That’s the way we do it in America, only we call it croney capitalism.

  • Joanne

    Oh, and crony mercantilism is the default position in the Latin American economies. The powerful will seek to use the government to control the flow of wealth. They usually do this by regulating the less wealthy out of the business.

    I believe that at the president’s palace right now, regulations are being written to make the oil companies safer, and to minutely control oil exploration and extraction that only the largest oil companies will be able to comply with. The government will insist on unionized workers and high salaries, another thing that only the most wealthy oil companies can affort. If you can’t afford to comply with the 2750 page new petroleum law, and the 15 volumes of regulations, then you really shouldn’t be in the oil bid’ness.

    That’s the way we do it in America, only we call it croney capitalism.

  • fws

    Joanne

    What a cynical way of looking at the powerful.

    I think I agree.

  • fws

    Joanne

    What a cynical way of looking at the powerful.

    I think I agree.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X