GOOD ARCHITECTURE, GOOD THEOLOGY
John Ruskin (1819-1900) philosopher and polymath wrote among many other things ‘The Seven Lamps of Architecture’ and ‘The Stones of Venice.’
In ‘The Seven Lamps of Architecture’ (1849) there are eight chapters; an introduction and one chapter for each of the seven ‘Lamps,’ which represent the demands that good architecture must meet, expressed as directions in which the association of ideas may take the observer:
Sacrifice – dedication of man’s craft to God, as visible proofs of man’s love and obedience.
Truth – handcrafted and honest display of materials and structure. Truth to materials and honest display of construction.
Power – buildings should be thought of in terms of their massing and reach towards the sublimity of nature by the action of the human mind upon them and the organization of physical effort in constructing buildings.
Beauty – aspiration towards God expressed in ornamentation drawn from nature, his creation.
Life – buildings should be made by human hands, so that the joy of masons and stone carvers is associated with the expressive freedom given them.
Memory – buildings should respect the culture from which they have developed.
Obedience – no originality for its own sake, but conforming to the finest among existing values.
When I read this book and studied these principles many years ago my thought was these seven lamps represent a meaningful theology for me. Especially after reading the ‘Stones of Venice,’ a more detailed description of ‘The Lamps.’ What a brilliant man John Ruskin was in so many ways. Only the Gospel of the Kingdom afforded me the realistic ideas of a spiritual Kingdom like Ruskin’s architectural ideas. They are Seven very important concepts.
“This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.” Jesus