The “Cool” Cathedral


Sunday morning early noon

I wandered in a chilly room and sat


There were lonely people there

Who listened to a man who didn’t care

Or show it

He just talked about nothing

I could not understand

I stood up and I cried

Listen to me

Don’t you see

You’re not speaking


I need someone who will help

Set me free

          by John Fischer from the song “Cold Cathedral”

My 1969 album, The Cold Cathedral, considered by many rock historians to be the first contemporary Christian album on record, featured a song about a young man walking into a church and pleading for someone to care about him. It captured what many of us as young people were experiencing as the irrelevancy of the church to what we were seeking about the world around us and our place in it. It connected with a generation that was looking for spiritual answers to a chaotic world, but finding that the institutional church was not prepared for their questions or long hair and jeans.

Today, the situation is surprisingly similar, though for different reasons. Many Millennials today find the church irrelevant except instead of calling it the cold cathedral, we might find that the “cool” cathedral might be more accurate.

While no longer cold, I fear many of our churches today are in similar places of complacency for other reasons. Instead of cold cathedrals, we might refer to many churches today as “cool” cathedrals – “cool,” as in “stylish, fashionable, in vogue” — the cool place to be. They are so “cool” to the needs of their people that relevancy could in some instances be considered the new god. Today, we seem to again reflect the concerns of the status quo, and the easy acceptance of a world where how we feel is the great crisis of our time. We produce a massive consumer niche of ready-to-buy wear, and applaud whatever fits in our pre-described mold of entertainment-oriented discipleship. We dress the way we want to dress, sing songs we want to sing, and hear messages we want to hear. Everything is catered to us. It’s also about a short list of predetermined social issues and not the widespread prophetic agenda of justice and compassion. We are consumer Christians picking our choice of music, teaching and worship as if from a vending machine.

It is time we sang a new song – a song of deliverance and hope without judgment, as we apply the Gospel in a way that embodies Christ’s heart for the hurting, the weak, and the outcast. It is a new song of reconciliation that causes those with no hope to hear, to run to Him and not away from Him, because acts of love are occurring and not just words.

We have a new song made even surer than the songs of those who mounted the countercultural Jesus movement of the early 70‘s. It is time for isolation and protection to cease. It is time to be the hands, feet and heart of the gospel. Time to venture out of our comfortable places and meet Jesus where He is out in the world.

And where is He? He is with the vulnerable and the poor. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives. He is in the place where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. God is with us when we are with them.


Creating a New Song of Deliverance and Hope


Paul Clark, Nancy Honeytree, Glenn Kaiser, Chuck Smith Jr, Randy Stonehill, John Fischer, Noel Paul Stookey and Ingemar Olsson.

You do not want to miss seeing and hearing these who have consistently lived within their prophetic message over these last 50 years. Come and hear what they have to say about a new movement for a new generation!

Live Streaming on February 11, 2023

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3 Responses to The “Cool” Cathedral

  1. Kevin C. Krabbenhoft says:

    “God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives.”
    I can relate to the truth in the quote above.

    The Lord has an unexpected way birthing hope out of what appears to be nothing. It amazes me how he uses our rock bottom moments in life to awaken us. And we are moved from considering a meal of pods with the metaphorical pigs we’re feeding to a vision of hope and reconciliation.

  2. The Church in the era of the Cold Cathedral:

  3. The Church as it probably should be instead of the Cool Cathedral:

    Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones. — Proverbs 15:30

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