Church of Art: Van Gogh

“When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.” -Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo.

 In case you want to listen:

Hello everyone. If you all will get settled down in to your pews, we’ll begin our service.

Today’s sermon is brought to you by one of my metaphorical forefathers, Vincent Van Gogh.

Vincent was a pastor. Did you know that? When he was younger he studied theology and was ordained as a minister.

He was passionately committed to connecting people to The Divine. So passionate, his family feared for him. His dedication lead him to cold surroundings, meager housing, limited income.

After a time he became disenchanted with the pulpit. He picked up a paintbrush and his work continued. His vocation was, in essence, the same. Only now he connected people to the Divine through his paintings.

When faith failed him, art saved him.

(Are you starting to see why he’s my favorite?)

Of course, once again his passion lead him to dubious surroundings, meager housing, limited income. (No one said it would be easy, this passionate life.)

But later. Well, later he influenced the world.

Passion is a frightfully powerful thing. And the quest for the Divine can take you to very unexpected places. But the results? The results make you want to kneel.

What about you my magpie? Are you a person of passion? Can you say “yes” to that which beckons you near? Will you create beauty in this world?

I think you are. I know you can. I hope you will.

(Amen? Amen.)


Who are your ancestors-adopted-by-affection? What have they imparted to you?  Come remember with us as we celebrate the Day of the Dead in Flock, our online soulcare community. Click here to join us before October 31st. 

When religion failed me, art saved me. Now I worship at the Church of art, at the intersection of art + spirituality. Click here to soak up more inspiration. (Amen? Amen.)

The Creative Beast October 28, 2012 at 8:26 am

I must say, the timing of this post is quite fascinating since I ‘saw’ Vncent Van Gogh and his Sunflowers dancing at a Halloween party just last night!!!

Of course, it was a couple with the man dressed as Van Gogh and his wife dressed as his famous painting “Sunflowers” and I was enchanted with watching them during the evening. I was also appalled when I overheard the wife saying that no one knew who the man was, though it was SO obvious when Vincent was wearing his straw hat and had the scarf around his head hiding his missing ear and I told her so!! ;)

Thank you for the reminder of Vincent as pastor – it is something that I often forget in the face of his amazing artwork that I have always admired, more than the other Impressionists, and it explains so much about his approach and his style of work. It also helps to explain why I was so fascinated in the face of the costumed gentleman I saw last night – it almost felt to me as if Vincent was truly there among us passionately engaged in the festivities of celebrating being Human with food, drink, music and dance, something I know Vincent would have enjoyed if he had not been so isolated in his life. Thank you for sharing this profile of a most amazing Artist!

Kimberley McGill November 1, 2012 at 11:53 am

This explains so much to me about his art and his dedication – I never knew he was a pastor.

And what you’ve saidis so true, our passions lead us in unknown directions – I think that’s part of the fear – but I move forward anyway!

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