An attempt to examine the church’s history through its architecture suffers from narrow understandings of “church” and “history” alike. The church is not a building, but it certainly has buildings. My own church has a stone structure by a creek in Johnson City, Tennessee. We know that the first Christians here baptized believers in that water and worshiped together on the banks, nearly 200 years ago, before building the fellowship hall and sanctuary with stone and stained glass. Around town, I see churches that meet in storefronts, in renovated factories, and one above an upscale barbecue joint. There are big,…

German Christians debate whether conservative state’s new law honors or hijacks the core symbol of their faith. “A clearly visible cross must be placed in the entrance area of every service building to serve as a reminder of the historical and cultural influence of Bavaria.” So reads a controversial new law introduced in Germany’s second-most populous state. Markus Söder, premier of Germany’s Christian Social Union party (CSU), was the driving force behind the new law, which went into effect on June 1 and has caused a schism between church and state leaders. Söder called the ruling an “affirmation of our…