Cultural Architecture, part 1

Back in September/October, I was thinking about the term “cultural architecture.” Specifically, “How does one create a culture?” My specific interest is culture within a church. After a consult with a friend, I was directed to Vitruvius, a Roman writer and architect. He stated that there were 6 principles of architecture:

  1. Order
  2. Arrangement
  3. Eurythmy
  4. Symmetry
  5. Propriety
  6. Economy

I’m not referring to “order” as “style“.  Here‘s what I mean, “Order gives due measure to the members of a work considered separately, and symmetrical agreement to the proportions of the whole. It is an adjustment according to quantity. By this I mean the selection of modules from the members of the work itself and, starting from these individual parts of members, constructing the whole work to correspond.”

Within the church, Paul would describe “order” in this way: There are many parts of the body, and each member has a role in it. Despite appearances, opinions, traditions. . . there are no parts that are more important, and none that are less important. What’s more, no one that is truly a member of the body has an “opt-out”. They simply cannot say that because they play a minor role, that they are un-needed and un-neccesary. It is in light of this understanding that Paul actually says that the supposed “least important parts” are the most important, which is why we make them “more presentable.” You can read all about this in 1 Corinthians 12.

Combining Vitruvius and Paul, we’d get something like this:

The Body of Christ is created when the individual members, each using their own giftedness, come together to create a whole in an organized and proper manner. There may be a greater number of individuals with one giftedness and a lesser number with another. And yet, these individuals, varying in quantity and distinction of gifts, come together and form a whole that is not merely equal, but greater than, the sum.

So, step 1 in creating a culture? Teach that all are important in it. Demonstrate that all are important in it. Equip in a manner that communicates that all are important. Empower all within to live in the truth of their worthiness. Create accountability expectation for unity and participation. Champion the individual as they relate to the whole.

Next up? Arrangement.

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