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"Cologne and the Sky"

1990 Acrylic/ Pencil 32" x 22"

Is God there?: The invention of stained glass and the Gothic Cathedral is evidence of our constant search for the transcendent. The day I arrived in Cologne on a dual mission: to see the cathedral and to try to interest a gallery there, in representing me in Europe, the sky was low and misty. I walked out of the train station and was electrified by the sight of the huge towers, ascending, and disappearing into the dense air! Even an atheist must be given pause, that such miraculous human endeavor goes on! I believe in God. I came to this belief through science. It is constantly confirmed, by art. Design clearly exists throughout the universe. Aquinas said "no design without a designer," but lots of scientists seem to say design can happen without an intelligence at work. I don't understand how, and would welcome any thoughts on this subject.

The most difficult question to answer, IF you believe in God, is: "if there is a God, why is there so much horrible suffering in the world?" Why do innocents die etc.? The C.S. Lewis answer is that God's creative process involves destruction, much as a scultptor must destroy stone, in order to create. Also, that "death" is God's megaphone to the living. What is God saying through that megaphone though? When I lost my brother, last year, the minister asked if anything "good" had come from his death. One clear answer, was that, yes, life itself now seemed more important- and in need of being "lived." It made all living relationships seem more important. From friendships, to marriage, to a worm in the garden- life seemed even more important. Another thing we might ask however, is "what if there were no suffering in the world? No disappointment, no failure, no illness, no death? What would life be, under those circumstances?
Cologne makes a telling contrast. The city was virtually leveled by bombing in World War 2. The cathedral remained, without the windows, however. If we want a place to remind us of the best we are capable of, and the worst- Cologne is not a bad choice. As someone of partially German origin, I have tried to understand what happened there under Hitler. I want to say, it could have happened anywhere- to any people. Like so many of you, I spend most of my hours at work, either painting or teaching. I don't have a student's time, to find out if Stalin, or Pol Pot, or Idi Amin, or some war lord in Rwanda, were comparably monsterous. It is a subject I wish to know much more about...

This particular work, is a view from the square infront of the train station in Cologne. I spent many evenings there, buying potato (or is it potatoe) pancakes, from the street vendors! The other images involve things other than bombs which come from the sky, that is all I know about them.
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