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I was raised a Southern Baptist. I was "saved" at a retreat when I was 10 (I think).
We were singing "Just As I Am" as I started to cry and walked up the aisle.
But I stopped going to church when I was in High School.
My father stopped going first, then my sister, then me.
I just got tired of sleeping in an uncomfortable pew every Sunday morning!
I always thought my Mom was weak because she needed God.
That is ... until I found God again.
My mother died and I took a trip to Brazil.
It is there that I realized that I needed God. That I wanted to serve Him and His people.
A friend said that she could see me as a Franciscan. But I wasn't even Catholic!
I visited the Franciscan Monastery and knew that was where I belonged.
So I converted to Catholicism and entered the Monastery a year later.
I left just a year before final vows.
It was not for me.
I drifted away from the Church over the years that followed.
I even joined the Metaphysical Church. But I did not feel at home.
Then I went to Mass with my Aunt while visiting her in Michigan.
I came back and started going to the only place that felt like "home" ... the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately, after the whole "Priest Scandal", the American Bishops made a statement
saying that Gay priests are to blame. The Holy Father has even put a ban on Gay men
entering the seminary. Nevermind that it is a fact that the majority of pedophiles
are HETEROSEXUAL. Well, that was the last straw! I am tired of homosexuality
being blamed for everything that is wrong with the world!
So I have stopped attending Church altogether.
I still believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, my mother Mary and the Saints.
I just have to look for the "Kingdom of God" outside institutionalized religion.
I am currently exploring other spiritual options.
I'll let you know how that is going on my journal page.
"Testament" mixed media approx. 24" x 15"
© Denton '90
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The Lord is my refuge; of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies themselves stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust.
One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life."
Below are a few examples of my more "sprirtual" works.
"St. Francis of Assisi"
© Denton '87
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
"Christ the Redeemer"
© Denton '87
"Have mercy on me O God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offenses.
Wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin."
"Tunnel of Light" oil on canvasboard 14"x11"
© Denton '88
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark and I am far from home;
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene: one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
John Henry Newman
(Study for) "Jesus Saves" graphite and pastel on paper 14"x11"
© Denton '90
"Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me;
yet not my will but yours be done."
"Sorrowful Mother" graphite on paper 12"x9"
© Denton '00
"Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother:
'This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel,
a sign that will be opposed - and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword -
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.'"
(Panel 1 from) "Idle Worship" oil on canvas 24"x18"
© Denton '97
The Jesus Prayer
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
"Watering the Seeds of Forgiveness" oil on canvas 24"x12"
But truly, in our minds there are all kind[s] of seeds.
There are seeds of suffering, but there are also seeds of happiness.
There [are] seed[s] of aversion but there [are] also seed[s] of love and forgiveness.
There [are] seed[s] of ignorance, but there [are] also seed[s] of wisdom.
Our lives are just the manifestations of the seeds within us.
We are living skillful or UN-skillful lives. It all depends on which type[s] of seeds,
or habitual energy, are controlling our lives. In order to achieve a true happiness,
we will need help and support from our teacher, friends and the dharma.
Looking deeply or meditation, is a wonderful way [to] practice peace and joy.
It will allow us to identify and touch our elements of happiness, which always exist within us.
If we know how to water and take care of our seeds of love and forgiveness,
we can transform all of our angers and sufferings."
by Thích Tinh Tù
The Metta Prayer
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free.
I honour the place in you where the entire Universe resides.
I honour the place in you of Light, Love, Truth, Peace, and Wisdom.
I honour the place in you where, when you are in that place,
and I am in that place, we are both One.
-Mohandas Ghandi in response to Albert Einstein
when asked the meaning of Namaste.
Painting at the top of the page: (Top Panel from) "Jesus Saves" oil on canvas 20"x16" (entire installation approx. 84" x 72" x 24")
© Denton '91
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