Something Phallic This Way Comes

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Image credit: News.com.au

This is a Google Earth image that’s been making the rounds on the web lately. I pulled this image off an article on an Australian news site, but it’s been all over many others. It’s a satellite image of a new Christian Science Society building recently erected (sorry, I just can’t help myself) in Dixon, Illinois. Yes, the puns practically write themselves with this one; and yes, it is fitting that the town this building is located in is called “Dixon”. It’s hard not to laugh every time I see this, although I do honestly feel somewhat badly for the Society in Dixon.

I can’t help but wonder; who, having final approval over the building plans, didn’t notice the peculiar shape of the building? This question was asked in one of the former Christian Scientist Facebook groups I’m in.

I also wonder if this was deliberately done by the architect. If I was an architect, interior designer, or other such contractor, I would never want to work for a Christian Science church. It would be an exquisite form of hell. If my Dad were still alive, I’d tell you to ask him what it’s like to do design work for a Christian Science church. I wonder what sort of hell the architect of this building might have gone through working with Christian Scientists–a particular group that has a penchant for arguing and commiserating over the most minute details of any project, and if he/she perhaps took out a little bit of revenge. Probably unlikely–it’s more likely that the whole process was fairly harmonious, and this is just an honest oversight, but it gives me a bit of a laugh to think it might be true. What seems most likely to me is that the designers and clients were looking more at the front view of the building, which simulates outstretched arms open in welcome.

Now, while it’s entirely possible this was all a mistake that nobody caught. After all, Google Earth is relatively new, and until now, it’s not been a huge consideration what a building might look like from a high elevation, as until recently extensive aerial photography has not been widely available. But, it is now; oh well. According to the society’s Facebook page there is a “giant fig leaf coming soon.” The sad irony I see here is that this incident has likely raised more awareness of Christian Science than has any of the recent efforts by The Mother Church.

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