Posts Tagged ‘Sacred Heart Catholic Church’

Sunday Morning Coffee with Dave and a University Theologian

September 9, 2018

Schleier

From of old, faith has not been every man’s affair. At all times but few have discerned religion itself, while millions, in various ways, have been satisfied to juggle with its trappings.

Friedrich Schleiermacher, On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers

Waking early on Sunday morning and hearing the bells tolling at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, I rolled over in bed and looked out my fourth-story window directly across the street and admired the stark white towering structure against the azure blue skies. Waking on Sunday mornings inside the historic Redlands Hotel stirs feelings inside me that transcend words. I reached to the bedside table of my hotel room and opened my Greek New Testament to translate from The Gospel of Mark, chapter 4: The Parable of the Sower. The words from Schleiermacher’s writings, posted above, were my first thoughts, and I found this parallel in a New Testament parable.

4:1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

.   .    .

13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

14 The sower soweth the word.

15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Gospel of Mark 4:1-20

Schleiermacher argues that a slim minority has focused on the realm of religion. Two thousand years before Schleiermacher uttered these words at an assembly, a Galilean spoke from a boat moored just off the seashore to a crowd gathered on the land, and uttered this parable. The story relays the truth that the sower scattering seed in rocky Palestine finds only small pockets of soil fertile enough to yield an abundant harvest. When disciples pressed Jesus for a spiritual interpretation of the parable, he said that the seed sown was the Word. Why was there little return when the Word was sown? The parable mentions four types of soil that received the seed–wayside, stony, thorny and quality. The application of the parallel pertains to the kinds of minds receiving the Word. Sometimes the Word falls on deaf ears. Sometimes it lands on shallow minds. Other times it falls among minds too distracted. But occasionally it settles upon minds prepared to receive. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Remembering that I had packed Schleiermacher’s volume among my items for this weekend, I went downstairs to the gallery to retrieve it. Over coffee, I read and paused over the passage posted above. Schleiermacher insisted that few people burrow deeply into the religious sentiment. The audience he addressed in these speeches was a mixed one: some of the crowd were university professors who scoffed at the anti-intellectualism of the church in general; another part of the crowd consisted of pious worshipers who distrusted scholarship, believing that university personnel consisted of arrogant scoffers. Schleiermacher was the one who was simultaneously churchman and university man. In his six Speeches, he sought to bring the two sides together in healthy dialogue.

As I continued to read and scribble observations in my journal, thinking of the richness of religion, and the few who care to absorb it, I recalled a similar thread from Thoreau:

The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

For most of my adult life, I have found myself classifying humanity in much the same way as just touched upon by Schleiermacher, by Jesus, and by Thoreau. But this morning, I don’t want to do that. Instead of breaking the population down into groups, grading them by their receptivity, I wish to take inventory of my own personal ways, and come to grips with this striking parallel. I know that I am not consistent, not 100% “alert” all the time. Whether it be physical weariness, spiritual depression, or just plain distractedness, I acknowledge this morning that I tend to find myself all over the map. The truth is, there are times when I am not receptive to the genuine qualities life offers. Sometimes these truths fall on the wayside, unnoticed by me, and nothing happens. Sometimes the gifts fall directly in front of me and I seize them with immediate joy, but with no depth of soil, and when times get rough, I forget the riches. And then sometimes the good things fall among the thorns–the “distractions” of life that choke out their fruitfulness. But there are those blessed times that when the gift arrives, I am prepared, collected, focused, and willing to embrace it with all thankfulness.

For the past week, I suppose I have been classed in that third soil type: thorns. Jesus interpreted those as the “distractions” of life that choke out the Word and make it unfruitful. I can certainly identify with that. There has been so much on my plate of late: plumbing issues and restoration inside my house, three college classes, a series of Academic Decathlon lectures, little time for quality reading and thought, and no time allowed to create art. All of that added up to an unsatisfying week. I now recall those gentle words of rebuke from Jesus to Martha in Bethany:

Martha, Martha. You are distracted by many things. Only one thing matters . . . 

This morning, I have ears to hear. My college grading has been all caught up. I have a day to relax in The Gallery at Redlands. I have my books, my journal and my art supplies. Today, I anticipate quality as I seek to focus on one thing.

Thanks for reading.

Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, my Neighbor

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The Gallery at Redlands Early this Morning

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Always a Wonderful Stay at the Redlands Hotel

Redlands3

The Guitar is Always a Comfort

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Morning Coffee with Dave & Paul

August 19, 2018

Sunday Tillich

Reading from Tillich after Attending Mass

I am not a Catholic, but attending mass is something I do on occasion. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church is directly across the street from The Gallery at Redlands. I have painted it twice, and for over a year have felt serene every time I hear the church bells tolling the hours. John Donne’s “Meditation XVII” keeps coming back to me.

Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Palestine, Texas

Among the books I packed for the weekend in Palestine was volume one of Paul Tillich’s Systematic Theology. I read this in its entirety over ten years ago (T. S. Eliot read it twice while crossing the Atlantic, and sent Tillich a “thank you” letter for the contribution). I still return to it frequently to re-read portions I have underlined and notes jotted in the margins. Among my favorite passages is the following:

Theology moves back and forth between two poles, the eternal truth of its foundation and the temporal situation in which the eternal truth must be received. Not many theological systems have been able to balance these two demands perfectly. Most of them either sacrifice elements of the truth or are not able to speak to the situation.

I will have to agree with Tillich on this point. The theologian Karl Barth struggled to bring together the current newspaper on one side of his pulpit and the New Testament on the other. That was 1914. Today I feel is no different. I love to read the New Testament, and am grateful that I was provided an education enabling me to read its Greek text. During mass this morning I attempted to read from my Latin Vulgate. I regret that Latin was never available to me, and though I work in the grammars, I have not paid the price in learning to translate it effectively. But still, I enjoy reading the text and learning what I can from it.

But the current news, well, I won’t waste time addressing that. In this country, I feel that religious leaders with the biggest megaphone are the least effective, or relevant, in bridging the message of the New Testament to bear on these times. And our nation certainly lacks courageous prophets of the ancient Hebrew heritage who withstood rulers clearly on the wrong side of the truth. Still, I search for meaning and coherence in this life we live these days.

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Sunday Morning in the Gallery at Redlands

The weekend spent in the gallery was refreshing to me, to say the least. I left here fifty days ago to travel, and I so loved my odyssey. But it was a thrill, feeling that I had a home where I could return. And the people of Palestine certainly made me feel welcome. On Saturday, a high school friend came down from Paris, Texas to visit, and I had not seen her since she graduated college and packed her car for Houston to accept her first teaching position. That must have been around 1976. So, we had much catching up to do.

And then Sunday, a dear friend that I met through this hotel a year ago came by for an afternoon visit. We hadn’t seen each other in about three months, so we also had catching up to do. What a homecoming this has been.

Sunday cloudcroft

(Sorry about the Reflection!) My Plein Air Watercolor from Cloudcroft

Sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck, I began this 8 x 10″ watercolor on the edge of the town of Cloudcroft, New Mexico several months ago. I decided to frame it for the gallery and brought it down to add to the collection this weekend. We are offering it for $200 in its 11 x 14″ frame.

Sunday box

(Ugh! Reflections!) Box Canyon at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

One of my most thrilling mornings at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico was hiking back into Box Canyon, and pausing beside a stream to set up an easel in the shade and attempt this 8 x 10″ plein air watercolor of this magnificent bluff towering above me and the trees. I am still fascinated at the colors and textures and striations of massive cliffs, and am struggling to find the right color combinations for rendering them. I’ll continue to study this matter. This watercolor as well, in its 11 x 14″ frame, is offered at $200.

Today is the first day of the semester at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. I have two online classes ready for viewing. Tomorrow will be my first time in the classroom. Time to hit the books!

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Sunday Morning Splendor

March 4, 2018

Hopper church

11×14″ framed Sacred Heart Catholic Church. $200

Waking at 4:18 this morning was not part of the plan, but nevertheless I got up, feeling rested. Enjoying the dark and quiet of the basement studio of The Redlands Hotel, I managed to finish all my grading, so I can now return the writing portfolios to my Humanities classes tomorrow afternoon. I did not anticipate the elevated mood that grading these works would generate. The subjects ranged from art in the Baroque, Neoclassical and Romantic periods, along with poetry from Wordsworth and Whitman. Many of the students indeed poured out their hearts onto the typed pages, and the more I read and graded, the happier I grew. By the time I was finished at 6:30, I was ready to go out and try to do something creative.

The painting posted above I managed to frame and hang yesterday in The Gallery at Redlands. Last night, I completed work on a piece I had begun en plein air during a Mississippi stay over in February when I drove to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama to deliver two watercolors (the auction was March 1 and I’m still waiting to find out what happened).  The Mississippi piece I matted and put up in the gallery last night as well.

Mississippi snow

Snowfall in Clarksdale, Mississippi, 11×14″ matted. $100

Shelton Hall

Shelton Hall, 11×14″ matted.  $100

I finally completed work on a plein air attempt of Shelton Hall, located in Old Town Palestine, several blocks from the gallery.

small church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church. 8×10″ framed.  $50

Once the grading was completed this morning, I left the dark basement and emerged into the early light, finding the environment overcast and ready to rain. I sketched out the Sacred Heart Catholic Church while seated on a bench outside the Carnegie Library building. Once I began painting, the cold winds began to stir and knocked over my container of water. The brushes were also blowing off the bench, so I decided to take a reference photo and descend once again into the basement where I have set up one of my drafting tables. I worked quickly on this 5×7″ composition, then inserted it into an 8×10″ frame and installed it into the gallery as well.

Chamber of Commerce

Currently I am working on the Chamber of Commerce building, for the fourth time, somewhat disappointed that there is no sunlight on it today. But it is still refreshing to look out the gallery window and see it directly, instead of relying on photos of it.

The day is shaping up to be another productive one, and it feels good. Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Monastic Thoughts

February 25, 2018

church study

Early Morning Hours in the Basement of Redlands Hotel

. . . each individual life, its growth and decline, is a developmental process in which an entity unfolds itself in an upward movement until all its properties are fully exposed; this phase is followed by a period of standstill–its bloom or epiphany, as it were–which in turn is succeeded by the downward movement of disintegration that is terminated by complete disappearance.

Hannah Arrendt, The Life of the Mind

Having just undergone a medical procedure that had me preoccupied over past weeks, I’m happy now to be back at work, doing things that interest me. Part of my weekend was swallowed up by the hospital visit, but I managed to travel to Palestine later, and woke this Sunday morning beneath the hotel gallery, and enjoyed some quiet moments in this “monastic space” that I have come to enjoy so much. The sub-street level windows in the background look up to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church across the street. Recently I photographed the church from the gallery during a looming storm, and today decided I would try to paint it.

catholic straight

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

church painting

Beginning of a 16 x 20″ watercolor

Drawing this structure has taken a ton of my time–so much geometry and precision to consider! I’m taking my time with it, hoping to turn out something worth viewing.

I’m pleased that the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama has posted details of its Art Auction 18. They have selected two of my watercolors to put up for sale after displaying them since February 15. The bidding has now opened and the link is below:

http://mmfaauction.com/

I’m choosing to spend Sunday night in the hotel since my Monday class at the university doesn’t begin till noon. I’ll see how the two-hour drive time plays out in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.