We do love our churchin' here in Houston. And our donatin', which allows churches to build massive, eye-catching temples.
And some of them turn out very ugly.
We're not talking about churches who don't have much money -- or who choose to spend what money they have on something other than architecture. We don't mean strip-mall storefronts or renovated old theaters.
No, we mean churches with congregations who have money to burn and have burned it unwisely.
Six of the worst in Houston. (Note: These involve only exterior views, so as to limit any chances of actual church attendance.):
5. Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Oh, Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston: You used to have a perfectly charming church:
Yeah, it was small, but it's not like church attendance in downtown Houston was threatening to overwhelm it.
At any rate, somehow you found the $49 million to build a new facility. And you got this modern bunker, hunkered down against the mean streets of downtown, about as welcoming as the county jail. At least you gave us Steroid Jesus in the limited amount of stained glass provided.
5. Grace Community Church Also known as The World's Biggest Walgreeen's. Drive-thru's around the back.
4. La Luz del Mundo Words fail. Even Spanish words.
3. St. Martin's Big ups for going with a classical design on the new building, but there is such a thing as too much. Take the "ye olde church" thing down a notch or two, and you're golden. As it stands now, you just look like the `60s suburban mom who decided to do the den in colonial style so you have a plaid sofa with pseudo-Williamsburg armrests. And plastic surrounding the cushions, of course.
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2. Lakewood Church You could say a lot about the old Summit/Compaq Center, but "warmly welcoming" was not among the descriptions. A solid block accessed mainly by underground parking garages, the old facility was absolutely nothing to look at from the outside. So why not make it into a church? We're sure it's very efficient at removing money from members' wallets.
1. First Baptist Talk about bunkers. The First Baptist is squirreled away at an odd location, I-10 and the Loop. If you drive by it, it looks like nothing more than another office-park building, housing a company that's somehow very, very concerned about a nuclear apocalypse. Its forbidding style must say "church" in some language, but we're not sure we want to learn it.