Within the past half century a style of worship known as “megachurch” has radically transformed the religious landscape. Characterized by spectacular largesse, megachurches reimagine the material culture of Christianity by blending audio, visual, and communications technologies within postmodern architectures. This essay helps establish the origins of the megachurch by tracing the rise of the Crystal Cathedral. The Crystal Cathedral brought automobiles and drive-in cinema (1955–61), then glass, steel, and television (1962–70), and finally architectural postmodernism and global broadcast (1980–present) into worship. In the process, the ministry designed a form of religious assembly uniquely suited to the material conditions of increasingly mobile and distributed social life. As a mediated congregation this church makes visible the process whereby a traditional cultural narrative, like Christianity, migrates into a new technological regime.
Erica Robles-Anderson; The Crystal Cathedral: Architecture for Mediated Congregation. Public Culture 1 September 2012; 24 (3 68): 577–599. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-1630672
Download citation file: