December 30, 2009

Why is Our Top Categorical Distinction for Literature Between Fiction and Non-Fiction?

While the delineation between fiction and non-fiction exists, I don't think it's the most authoritative categorization of literature (or reality). I blame the Enlightenment.

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

I just finished reading the debut novel of Reif Larsen. It was pretty amazing and I highly recommend it. I couldn't resist producing an illustration (and I apologize in advance for those who are easily offended by strong language or insects). For an explanation you will just have to read the book.

December 24, 2009

Before and After

From work yesterday.

From work today (and getting worse).

December 23, 2009

Anaplastic oligodendroglioma

The lead pastor at our church recently had a brain tumor removed and will going through radiation and chemotherapy treatments beginning Dec 29th. He has asked for (and would greatly appreciate) prayer for the following:

-My doctors

-That God might glorify Himself in amazing ways through all of this

-The Village Church and our elders

-Complete healing

-Healthy appetite

-Protection from side effects of radiation

-Protection from side effects of chemotherapy

-Peace for my family...specifically my children and their salvation

Sister's Graduation

And Laura killing bottles with her 22.

December 21, 2009

Jacob Haynes Design dot com

My wife really outdid herself on my Christmas present this year, she made me a website. There are still some pages that will need be updated but as it stands it gives me a very nice online portfolio. Go have a look.

December 16, 2009

Christmas Card 09

This was the final card sent out. Marketing did the layout and added the text.

December 11, 2009

5 Favorite Books of 2009

I started keeping track of everything I have read in August or September and since my memory is horrible this list is really “5 favorite books of the latter half of 2009”.



A Place of My Own::Michael Pollan

Best architecture reading. Pollan, known more for his non-fiction on food, wrote this book describing the building of his writing retreat. He really delves into all that goes into making a building from architectural theories to sanding window sills.



American Gods::Neil Gaiman

Best Neil Gaiman. I read (or listen to) a lot of Gaiman this year so he gets his own category. Sandman was a close contender as was Stardust. The use of setting, finding all the unusual but forgotten places in America, was especially impressive for someone who was born across the pond.



Planetary::Warren Ellis

Best comic book series I read this year. About a group of “archeologists of the secret history of the twentieth century” whose job is to save the world by unearthing the weird stuff that normal people won’t acknowledge or comprehend. Great concept, great art, great characters. Runners up: Fables, Mouse Guard Winter , Persepolis, Maus, and Sandman.



Jungle Book::Rudyard Kipling

Best classic fiction. The story of Mowgli really shines when compared to the overly polished Disney rendition. The man/nature dichotomy is used to full effect as a twelve year old boy without fear or hesitation pwns Shere Kahn in the wolf council.



Life of Pi::Yann Mantel

Best unexpected reading. We picked this up on a whim and it turned out to be really interesting. For a work of fiction that does a stellar job at playing itself off as non-fiction, it does a remarkable job at allegory. The island chapters recall Lewis’ brilliant sci-fi trilogy and the end twist is heart wrenching. Add to that a great character in Pi, a lot of interesting thoughts on zoos and religion, and some great survival writing..

IF - Hatch

A hatchling rendered with hatching.

December 4, 2009

Random Angel sketch

IF - Crunchy

I started wondering what Captain Planet would look now, over 15 years after his TV show. I imagine he would be a crunchy hippie in his mid-thirties living in a off the grid bungalow in Arcata.

December 2, 2009

Suburb Stations

A dallas fort worth metroplex map that I just finished. It is done in the style of subway maps though I don’t think it makes anything any clearer. In fact I could have used it for this week’s IF.

Speaking of maps, Laura found a great website dedicated to the cartography of the weird:

November 26, 2009


We had a great thanksgiving diner.

The cat approves (as much as cats approve of anything).

November 6, 2009

Evangelical Church Architecture in the 21st century


I have run across quite a few blog articles recently dealing with church architecture. I found that I had many the opinion but that my thoughts on the subject weren’t as focused as they should be (being that theology and architecture are both pretty important to me). So I sat down and organized them. I admit up front that a good majority of this is rant material but it provided me with a good framework in which to build my thoughts.


I can’t say for certain (but have a pretty good hunch) that building a building has always come to down how much it costs. In any case built edifices today do. In the secular architectural sphere, architects everywhere are trying to cram the most beauty (quality and sense of space) into their (seemingly) ever restricting project budget. The same fight is present within religious architecture though with slightly different nomenclature. Instead of the corporate “what is the cheapest I can build this building and still retain employees” it is “what is the cheapest I can build this building so we can give the extra to missionaries”.

The whole “if we save money on this building we can give it away” mindset is a subtractive attitude that has wreaked massive destruction on modern church architecture. As a design process it flows like this: An architect designs a church on an inflated idea of function and aesthetics. The church client then starts ripping off all the unnecessary pieces until it is within the then decided budgetary constraints. The resulting building is usually a poorly designed, poorly functioning, shambling mess.

Many churches fall too far the other way: spending far too much. This inflated cost is either the result of a far too extravagant aesthetic or superfluous functionality. (see Aesthetics and Function)

The guiding principle when it comes to the budget of a church building should be one of Stewardship:

-What are my limits financially and what is the most sound way of seeing this project through?

-Will the aesthetics and function be provided for in the best possible manner within the limits decided on above?

-Will the church be producing in a good quality building that will make a sound investment through sound and sustainable construction methods?


My response to the adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is that you should be able to. The design of a book cover, if it is done well, should construe the heart of the book before you even open it. While Theology is explicitly expressed through a creedal statement or sermon, it is also construed through architecture (sometimes more so). There are many different design solutions for church architecture, and they are ultimately judged on how well they impart the beliefs of the church. Particularly how the particular church perceives God, how they perceive their community around it, how they perceive their material possessions, and how they perceive their selves. The beauty in the design will be how well the building relays these perceptions and how well these perceptions line up with truth.

Christianity has this inherent tension between the sacred and the mundane, a battle often fought in the realm of architecture. Through the grace of Christ and the ever-present presence of the Spirit, we can meet anywhere at any time and offer worship to God. But we also recognize that there is a sacred hierarchy to the world and certain spaces will tap into the beauty and rhythm of the created order better than others. Worship can be better directed and the Truth of the Lord can be more clearly seen in these places. Most buildings exist somewhere between these extremes; between the cathedral and the house church, to which there are appropriate situations and solutions for both.

There are objective measures for architecture just as there is a particular solution for any given design. The church should recognize that these governing design principles are not grounded in style but rather a particular style will flow out of these principles. A good church design is not immediately judged by whether it is of the lofty Gothic vein or the open Modern vein, but by its connection with the greater song of creation surrounding it. The building should be in rhythm with its location upon this earth and set this rhythm for the culture that surrounds it.

The church has a rich architectural history on which to continue conversation with; which it should be very grateful for and always take advantage of. Not all buildings types can enjoy this privilege (I’m looking at you airports). However, the church must be careful not to dismiss current technologies and philosophies when it comes to architecture, as there has been much to learn from this past century. The church should be the forerunner of culture precisely because it can provide the history to give meaning and perspective to progress.

The guiding principle when it comes to the aesthetic of a church building should be one of Beauty:

-What building response provides the most beautiful solution given the limits of cost and function?

-How is the theology of the church displayed through the building?

-How well does the church respond to its particular place in this world?


Most of my issues with modern church architecture stem from the function of the building which in turn stems from how Evangelicals think about and do church. There needs to be strong inherent reasons behind the activities we fill a church building with in order for the program to produce strong architecture.

The Sanctuary

A place for weekly communal worship, the practice of sacraments, and for special occasions relating to the church body (ie. Marriage, funerals, etc). Functionally it should accommodate all these activities but it should not be a slave to any of them. There needs to be a conscious effort to infuse some aspect of sacredness to this space (see aesthetics). It is disturbing to see a space that was once designed to impart the beauty of the Creator being slowly turned into a music venue. Just because you worship with guitars and drums does not mean you need to shut off all natural light and ignore the past 1500 years of church architecture. On the other hand the symmetrical center aisle, though convenient for weddings and having strong historic roots, is not always the best design solution.

The Support spaces

Lobbies, restrooms, mechanical/electrical rooms, and stairs are necessary and needed. Not much to say except they cost money and shouldn’t detract from the overall design.

The rest of the Functional Church building

Offices, educational spaces, fellowship spaces, libraries, and storage rooms make up the bulk of most modern Evangelical churches. Most of these in most cases are either superfluous or irrelevant. The church should look to its community for most of these. Most churches today are in the process of replacing Sunday school with small groups (a great allocation of existing interior space that the church body owns-the individual members’ houses). The church might use existing communal spaces in the community (civic centers or parks) for large fellowship activities and rent or buy small office space. By utilizing community resources the church strengthens it bond to its community, increases its profile within the community, and monetarily supports the community’s local economy.

If the community is found to be deficient in any of these areas, then by all means the church should build them but making sure that they are offered to and accessed by the community. The church building and the church’s activities should directly respond to the needs of the immediate surrounding community.

The guiding principle when it comes to the function of a church building should be one of Purpose:

-Are the activities that are driving the design of the building inherent to strengthening the body and glorifying to God?

-Are any functions redundant with the functions of the community?

-What is the best way in which the functions of the building and the activities of the church best redeem, strengthen, and sustain the community around it?

November 4, 2009

A cool short video I found on Radiolab. A celebration of humanity through the ambiguousness of the dimensions of a "moment".

November 2, 2009

Monetary Compensation Never Hurts

After volunteering for a couple of months at a non-profit that helps refugee women in Dallas, Laura is now getting a paycheck as well. Her official first day is today. Congratulations my love!

October 30, 2009

IF - Skinny

A Sorn from Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet.

October 16, 2009

Dallas Arts District

It seems like overnight Dallas grew an arts district. What used to be a surface parking field on the northeast corner of downtown is now a pedestrian avenue with three museums, three performance halls, residential condos, retail, and park area. While most of this has been in the works for a number of years, the completion of the Wyle Theater and the Winspear Opera House (and the pedestrian plazas in between) has brought everything together.

Yesterday Laura and I went to a lecture in the Wyle by Rem Koolhaus, then to an exhibition of models by Norman Foster at the Nasher, and then to a symphony/choir rehearsal at the Myerson (all free by the way). Today I went to a lecture by Foster in the Winspear and got lots of good photos. All in all, very much enjoying the new arts district.

The chandelier was amazing (it slowly lowered into place) but all I could get was a fuzzy picture.

And I got to see some monks making a Mandala out of colored sand at the Crow art museum. Impressive to say the least.