Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Cathedral and the Temple

Cathedral, Seville
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

Now, why is it that this cathedral in Seville should leave me so cold, while La Sagrada Familia Temple in Barcelona should cause me to break out into tears?

As I've said, I felt the spirit of Seville was not a good one. I got my Jewish dander up pretty high while there, and very liberal, muttering to myself about "well financed marauders" as I skirted the enormous, gold tomb of Christopher Columbus.

"Didn't discover anything.

Conquered it, didn't discover it."

Mutter, mutter.

I thought it very humorous that my first efforts to visit the Seville Cathedral took me straight to the Exit sign. "Salida." I also think it's funny that on my first night in Cordoba, I got instantly lost on my way to a recommended restaurant and wound up stumbling about the twisting streets of La Juderia, the site of the old Jewish ghetto.

Yet when I caught my first glance of La Sagrada Familia, I felt it was a work of love, not of conquest. I felt it was the expression of an artistic vision rather than a monument to dominance, a beautifully insane explosion signifying creation itself, not just the Christian story.

If you google La Sagrada Familia, it will point you to all kinds of sites, which I encourage you to peruse. You will learn how Antoni Gaudi was entirely inspired by the natural world in all of his designs. I cannot begin to express to you how this orientation shapes the experience of La Sagrada Familia Temple, and how much of a difference there is in the spirit of a Cathedral --which is financed by compulsory taxes -- and in the spirit of a Temple, which relies on independent gifts and contributions for its construction.

La Sagrada Familia

How often do you actually get to see a temple like this being built? It's apparently going to take at least 25 more years, which gives me a great trip to look forward to in my 60's. I want to see La Sagrada Familia when it's completed. It will be a life goal.


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