Skip to main content

Musing: Architects as listening community

“In Jesus’ name, amen.” We all close our prayers with that. However, how often do we left Jesus out in the bulk of our prayer until the very end? How often do we begin our prayers with a list of request, follow by more requests, and just reiterate “In Jesus’ name, amen” like we always do to close it off. In Praying Backwards, author and president of Covenant Theological Seminary urges us “to use that routine phrase as the premise and basis for prayer,” rather than stamping God’s name at the end to seal the deal.

For architects, our list (and the clients’) of requests is replaced with programs and budgets. Perhaps it would be more feasible for clients (in our case, churches) to come to us with just a budget and a list of programs, do away with BlueSky and charette and dive right into the solution. But without first listening to God and without God’s vision as our premise and basis of our design, what we are responding to are just needs.

In Who’s your city, author Richard Florida named a list of things for readers to consider while choosing a place to live. Against the all-places-are-equal-with-globalization mentality, he argues that the physical entity of place is still important. While he identifies that different place offers different climate, environment, job opportunities, culture, and so on, he fails to see a greater significance of place which only comes from God. In the Old Testament, the patriarch like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sojourned from land to land, places to places. Wherever and whenever God spoke to them, they would make memorials and alters to commemorate the event and gave the place a name in connection to what took place. Like Bethel, which means “house of God.” These places were significant because God had made it meaningful. By the same token, Churches and Christians could be called to a place which has zero appeal in other circumstance.

Without a doubt programming and budgets are critical paths to any project, but architects and designers need to be a listening community which prioritize the voice of God in order to deliver designs beyond functionality but meaning and significance. Listen first, draw second.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:9


Popular posts from this blog


Three days after my first 50 miler, the OSS/CIA 50M held at Prince William Forest Park, my legs are feeling great while my body is still catching up in recovery. The funny thing is, even though I ran almost twice the distance of a marathon, I felt much better than how I was after my last two road marathons. The slower pace and the softness of trails is much more forgiving than the hard pounding on asphalt/concrete. I was even able to run a couple easy miles to test my legs yesterday.
The OSS/CIA 50M Night Run by Athletic Equation was held at Prince William Forest Park in Dumries, VA, about 1.5 hour north of Richmond. Two things lured me into signing up for my first miler: One is obviously to get at least one 50-miler in before my attempt at the WV Trilogy this fall. Two is the location of the run. The Park is the birth place of OSS, the predecessor to CIA in the 1930s. On the brink of war, U.S. intelligence operations needed a centralized effort. In response to the need, a team of un…

24 Things about Hinson Lake 24-Hr Ultra

Here are things that went through my mind during the 24-hour run, somewhat chronologically:
"I get a decal, a glass, and a shirt!?" "Where's Peter?" Peter came the night before and set up camps. Sometimes I think he's gifted with 48 hours a day."Wow. People actually do plan to run the whole duration.""Mt. Hinson?" There's a section of the course with a slight incline. I'm sure it's a fitting name at some point approaching 100 miles. I didn't give myself a chance to find out."Haha" - upon hearing someone telling Sharon and I that we are on pace for women's 24-Hour American Record at mile 3."Maybe I should switch to my hybrid shoes." And I did. After the first 13 miles, I switched from my Altra road shoes to the Inov-8 TerraFly for a little more tread."25.84 miles? Eh, so close." 17 laps on the 1.52-mile loop - not quite a marathon."30.4 miles? Eh, another lap to make it a 50k."&q…

WV Trilogy - Part 1

My experience at WV Trilogy is unimaginable. It wasn't just the run or the scenery, though both are spectacular - but more so my journey before and during the run, the emotions, the learning, and the tremendous love and support I get from friends and family. The last three days are not only a running adventure, but an opportunity of personal growth and defining moments which will outlast adrenaline or results.

Each of the journal entry is written after the run on each day. I want to share it chronologically and hopefully could take you through my experience as I have experience it.

(Thurs) Oct 11 at 8:19 pm - 
In my dorm room, in bed. I'm still nervous about my shin splints and calf pain. Both legs were hurting this afternoon. There's nothing much I could at this point but just take everything as it is - pain, race, outcome... My job tomorrow is to simply show up and do what I can. I'm praying to open my heart and mind to whatever God has for me and remember that I'…