Church of God, Inflationist

[Image: An inflatable church on the beaches of Sardinia; via the BBC].

Inflatable infrastructure for churchgoers has arrived on the sandy beaches of Sardinia, as a bouncy chapel has been installed for Christians on holiday. "Using compressed air it takes only five minutes to inflate," the Times reports, and it "comes complete with an altar, an apse and a confessional."
Inflatable mosques and temples will be next. An inflatable sacred grove for druids.

[Image: Via the BBC].

The size of your church is directly affected by how much money you can raise – because the only pumps strong enough to inflate the whole structure cost $50,000 or more. Once you get that far, though, you realize there are still more rooms and radiating chapels to inflate... but it takes an even larger – and far more expensive – air pump.
Yet, even then, you find more – nearly impossible to inflate – rooms hidden away inside the structure.

[Image: Via the BBC].

"Who made this thing?" you ask one day, quietly, not wanting to draw attention to yourself; and you learn that there is a Holy Lab of Consecrated Inflatables housed in an unmarked room in the Vatican attics – attics the size of basketball courts – where priests trained in the art of shaping warm air read apocryphal texts on the breath of God, stitching vast sheets of polyethylene together to form Gothic geometries.
It's rumored that the largest inflatable ever created is being designed by the monks of Mount Athos; it will require a small nuclear power plant to fill properly.
Bombproof churches will be erected throughout Syria in what becomes known as the Inflatable Crusade.
In particularly expensive models, assembled by private firms in the Netherlands, inflatable priests will pop out of hidden compartments in the floor when you twist small valves, triggering a recording of Agnus Dei.
Children clap, endless cupolas unfold into the sky, and the real services of the evening begin.

(Thanks, Nicky!)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Holy Church of Hot Air?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

August 12, 2008 4:31 PM  
Blogger Dan O'H said...


The next stage is naturally to make the things fly. Helium is one idea; better would be hot air, heated by thousands of votive candles. Light a candle, lift your church closer to God - or just help it move onwards, bringing the Good News to the next town.

August 13, 2008 10:00 AM  
Blogger Pete Kirkham said...

There's been a more traditional, temporary one around the UK for some time - I saw it at the Greenbelt festival a few years back, and there's more detail at the ship-of-fools.

August 13, 2008 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We think it is time for you to have a column about the olympic structures and the events within.

Can you take some time to once again visit the Beijing landscape of architectural sporting forms?


August 13, 2008 8:36 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

We think it is time for you to have a column about the olympic structures and the events within.

It seems a little over-done by now, but I'll see what I can do.

Who's "we," incidentally?

August 13, 2008 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Brunner's 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider opens with a scene inside an inflatable church in a hyper-sectarian American midwest of the near future.

(If I recall correctly, the main character is startled to find it deflated - due to hacked electricity/utilities bills).

a prescient book, coined the virus term "worm", eerie pre-Google concern for network power, data mining, & surveillance

August 14, 2008 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems a little over-done by now, but I'll see what I can do.

Who's "we," incidentally?

Sorry Geoff, I was speaking for myself and some of the staff at the office here in the East Bay. Yes, you may be right about over-done, I was wondering if there were any new thoughts out there now that the buildings are really being tested out...

douglas wittnebel

August 16, 2008 1:51 AM  

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