I know I bang on about this a bit but I’m increasingly persuaded that aesthetics have a more powerful effect on us than we realise. On Saturday the family and I visited Mercedes Benz world in Surrey. If you’re near that part of the world it’s a great free couple of hours out. You can wander round and look in and sit in their beautiful cars. You can have a go in their simulators. You can see some of their artwork and exhibitions. You can get a quality cup of coffee in branded cups on branded saucers with branded napkins. You can enjoy the most immaculate facilities that even have little bottles of hand cream for gentleman. The staff are smart, smiling, and friendly. The space is open and full of natural light. The floors are clean, and the lifts aren’t full of graffiti and chewing gum. All of this makes you feel very good indeed. So much so that I found myself thinking “If I did happen to have fifty grand to blow on a new car I’d probably come back and see you guys.” Now clearly I don’t. But that’s not the point. The point is the beautiful aesthetics had a more powerful and intoxicating effect than I’d realised. They’d almost hypnotised me. So I thought “what about church?” Is there something to learn here? Clearly we’re not selling a product and trying to brainwash people. But nevertheless is there something about our aesthetics which will determine whether or not people might return. Or worse, is there anything about our aesthetics which ensures they probably won’t. We want the stumbling block to be the gospel not our aesthetics. And if a good aesthetic might grant us another hearing hasn’t that got to be worth considering more seriously than perhaps we do? Thoughts?