In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

xvii The first half of life is biography, where we allow our story to be written for us by others ​. ​. ​. ​. The second half of life must be autobiography, authored by the Self. J. Pittman McGehee and Damon J. Thomas, The Invisible Church: Finding Spirituality Where You Are Preface Jane Blaffer Owen May 1, 2010 Fiftieth Golden Anniversary Rededication of the Roofless Church in contrast to the way in which most of us in the modern world live our lives, early Celtic artisans represented the commingling of their yesterdays and tomorrows in the strands that form their everlasting and interlacing designs drawn in manuscripts and carved on monuments. I experience a similar commingling of time in New Harmony. Extraordinary men and women brought their visions, scientific minds, talents, and, as with Robert Owen and William Maclure, their personal fortunes to New Harmony in 1826. Their likenesses adorn spaces in the national art galleries of En­ gland, Scotland, and Wales, the M. and M. Karolik Collection of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and Washington’s Smithsonian Institution. In New Harmony, their portraits hang in the Working Men’s Institute and inside the historical ­ houses that my husband , Kenneth Dale Owen, restored. Numerous biographies document their achievements and limitations. Readers of history, however, shall not learn from these books, portraits , or bronze effigies the extent to which the undying dead of New Harmony have directed the course of my life and impacted the lives of xviii Preface fellow residents, some of them close friends and allies for over half a century . Today’s visitors, what­ ever their reasons for coming to New Harmony, enter a community of energetic and caring citizens who, consciously or not, inhabit the past, present, and future. The powerful river that partly encircles this town of less than nine hundred people offers another meta­phor for the conjoined seasons of our lives and for my personal approach to New Harmony’s rich and varied legacies. Whether the current of its journey south is languid or swift, whether its surface darkens with filtered mud or mirrors a sky flushed with ­ rose and lavender, the Wabash flows onward, totally alive—like the town of New Harmony itself—reminding us it is an unpredictable river, not a placid, circumscribed lake. However threatening on some days or safe and picturesque on others, this river challenged me, forcefully and fatefully, from my first arrival in New Harmony in 1941. (See the area map on the front endpaper.) While the Wabash has provided a title for my tale of New Harmony, it does not explain why I have chosen to bind these pages with five bands of different colors, placed vertically, not horizontally. These colors and their alignment represent a philosophy bred into me by my parents and nourished by the people who, after them, have influenced and enlightened me. I owe a few words of gratitude to the remarkable man who inspired the black, red, white, yellow, and brown bands of color. But first, the genesis of our friendship. Sometime in the early 1960s, I was invited to join an or­ ga­ ni­ za­ tion founded by men I admire: the theologian Paul Tillich, the psychologist Rollo May, the mythologist Joseph Campbell, the Harvard biblical scholar Amos N. Wilder, and many others, each of whom was a seminal figure in his field of study.1 The or­ ga­ ni­ za­ tion was formally named the Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture, but members and fellows always spoke of it by the initials A.R.C., as though to call attention to what the found­ers of the society took to be an indivisible trinity of three abiding realities—art, religion, and culture. At an ARC annual conference, I had the good fortune to meet Frederick Franck. Born in Holland of agnostic parents, he stepped upon the world stage when he joined the medical staff of Albert Schweitzer’s famous Lambaréné clinic as an oral surgeon. Franck brought pencils, paintbrushes , and an unerring eye with him to Africa. He chronicled the so- Preface xix journsandexperiencesofalong,creativelifeinhisbooksandfreestanding artworks around the world. Frederick designed Saint Francis and the Birds, a Corten steel sculpture, to place beside small Swan Lake behind the New Harmony Inn in 2004 (see numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the town map on the back endpaper). Guests and residents should smile to learn that our version contains one dove more than Franck’s similar statue in Assisi, birthplace of...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.