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183 With the dedication of the Roofless Church behind me and the dedication of Lipchitz’s golden gate a year ahead of me, I could resume my efforts to engage Paul Tillich in the fortunes of New Harmony. Tillich, now at Harvard, had been unable to accept my invitation to preside at the dedication of the church because of his trip to Japan.1 I owe the launching of Paul Tillich’s journey to New Harmony to my late father’s close ties with Rice University. As a trustee of Rice Institute, which became Houston’s first university, my father had befriended its president. Our family home on Sunset Boulevard was directly across from Rice. As a young child, I regarded the long, ­ oak-­ shaded entrance avenue to the campus as a pathway for my doll carriage. As I grew older and bolder, it became a bridge to the biology building, for outside ­ were ­ chicken-­ wire cages filled to their ceilings with frogs destined for vivisection. None exist for public view on the campus today. ChaptER 20 Tillich Visits Houston 184 New Harmony, indiana My father was a farsighted trustee of this ­ now-­ renowned university. While his energies ­ were primarily focused on helping direct oil revenues toward an endowment, he found time to consult with Tony Martino, Rice’s head gardener. During Daddy’s lifetime there ­ were always hedges of Cape jasmine in the environs of Lovett Hall (architect Ralph Adam Cram’s first ­ non-Gothic public building), named for the university’s first president, imported from Prince­ ton: Edgar Odell Lovett. This distinguished gentleman and astronomer, wearing a bowler hat with ebony cane in hand, walked seven or more blocks between his office in Lovett Hall and his modest apartment at the Plaza Hotel. Declining my father’s offer to provide him with a car and chauffeur, Dr. Lovett graciously­ replied, “Thank you very much, Lee, but walking is good and necessary exercise.” Family friendships with presidents of Rice continued long after Dr. Lovett’s retirement, particularly with William Houston. Although for health reasons he was no longer an active president in 1961, Dr. Houston had nonetheless arranged for Paul Tillich to lecture at Rice the first week of April of that year for Religious Emphasis Week.2 News of this important event flashed green lights in my head. The kairos , or vertical dimension of time, had, for me, intersected with the horizontal lines of chronos, the ­ here and now, actualizing the possible. Ever since reading passages of Tillich’s writings that addressed the root causes of war and megalomania, I had wondered how to expose his wisdom to a­wider-­than-­academic audience. The following words, for instance, should not burn only in a few educated hearts: He who tries to be without authority Tries to be like God who alone Is by Himself and like everyone Who tries to be like God He is thrown down to ­self-­destruction Be it a single human being Be it a nation, be it a period of history like our own.3 I envisioned this statement carved deeply in granite and anchored in my beloved New Harmony, a town with a long history of peace. Suddenly, I knew that the time had come to unite aspiration and dream. I was, there- Tillich Visits Houston 185 fore, not surprised when Dr. Houston responded favorably to my telephoned invitation. “Yes, Jane, I’ll be happy to bring Dr. Tillich to tea at your ­house.”4 Carol was at boarding school and Janie at college, but Kenneth would join us, including a few faculty members from Rice who accompanied Dr. Tillich and Dr. Houston. I had covered a round table with an antique embroidered cloth that had belonged to my mother and centered a bowl of fully opened yellow roses and a single candle upon it. Ten-­ year-­ old Annie ’s presence, together with the almond and citrus galette I had prepared that morning, placed us all in a blithesome mood and opened a way for me to reveal my idea. Dr. Tillich listened attentively as I described my plan for a garden called Tillich Park that would contain quotations from his works. I watched anxiously for signs of approval, because he looked surprised at first. I did not wait long. Slowly a broad, boyish smile lightened his serious face. Downplaying the honor I wished to bestow, he exclaimed with unconcealed plea­sure, “No one has ever named a park for me, Mrs...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253016638
Related ISBN
9780253016249
MARC Record
OCLC
903357020
Pages
400
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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