I recently read a fascinating article on the Huffington Post website. Regardless of your opinions of the Huffington Post, I assure you, this story will capture your attention.
In the article, “This is the most spiritual place in your home state,” writer Yasmine Hafiz introduces readers to 50 uniquely spiritual sites across the United States. She highlights places of worship for numerous religions, including Christianity, Baha’i, Islam and Sikhism. She also includes several natural landmarks like Mount Denali and the Great Serpent Mound, demonstrating that spirituality encompasses much more than doctrine and buildings.
I expected some of Hafiz’s picks, like the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, but I didn’t know many of the locations even existed, like the Temple of Eck in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
I was thrilled to see that Columbus’ North Christian Church made the list as Indiana’s “most spiritual place.” Hafiz wrote the following about North Christian:
“Designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen, North Christian Church is a landmark of Columbus, Indiana. Saarinen wrote about his ideas for the church in a 1962 publication, ‘Eero Saarinen On His Work,’ ‘I guess another reason people go actively to church is so they can worship with a group of people of like mind. They will do this in the sanctuary, and they should feel they are all in unity and harmony in a special and appropriate spiritual atmosphere. As I understand the Disciples of Christ, Communion is a very important act, and the congregation participates in it. ... Whatever way we solve that, the congregation should have a positive feeling of being within the church, in a special, enclosed spiritual world.’”
Even though I grew up in Columbus, I have been inside North Christian Church only a handful of times. The thing that always strikes me first is the fact that the sanctuary is round, with the center of the room the focal point.
Visitor seats encircle the Communion table. This design element is what makes North Christian extremely spiritual to me, because it forces visitors to focus on the most central element of their beliefs. The circular design also makes it nearly impossible to avoid looking into the faces of other visitors, those who believe what you believe and will hold you accountable to living the principles you profess.
Here are a few of the other sites listed in Hafiz’s article:
Illinois — Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette: This is one of only seven Baha’i temples in the world today. Like all Baha’i houses of worship, it has nine sides and is surrounded by gardens and fountains.
Michigan — Islamic Center of America, Dearborn: Established in 1963, it is the largest mosque in North America.
Ohio — The Great Serpent Mound, Adams County: It was built by the Adena people between 800 B.C. and A.D. 400. The mound is approximately a quarter of a mile long and represents a giant snake holding an egg in its jaws.
Spirituality means many different things to people. To me, it means religion, which gives meaning and purpose to my life. To others, spirituality is not religion but the source of the deepest values by which they live. Others might see it as the avenue for self-discovery.
Whatever you believe, there are places in this world that mean more to you than others. This list is a good place to start thinking about where you go to find meaning in your life.
Paige Harden Langenderfer is a lifelong resident of Columbus. She is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.