My mentor, Alejandro García-Rivera, who I've mentioned several times here on hR, passed away this morning.
He's the one who defined beauty as "that which moves the heart," which inspired my re-REC album of the same name.
He'd been diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago. Those of you who do such things, please pray for/send loving thoughts to his family and all of us who miss him and will miss him so very much.
Alex (originally from Havana, Cuba) was an amazing scholar. He started out as a physicist, until (as he describes in the foreword to his last book, The Garden of God) he learned he was working on a nuclear weapons project and had a vision of hell on earth from nuclear devastation. He became a Lutheran pastor (and has some great stories about that in his book, The Community of the Beautiful), but eventually converted to Roman Catholicism. As a theologian, he was grounded in systematic (philosophical) theology, but became one of the leading figures in theological aesthetics, while continuing to work in dialogues between theology and the natural sciences. Recently, he was asked to join an archaeological dig in Turkey to lend his insight to the interpretation of what was being found. Every class I took with him was co-taught; interdisciplinarity and collaboration were simply his style.
His books, if you're interested, are:
St. Martín de Porres
A Wounded Innocence: Sketches toward a theology of art
The Community of the Beautiful
The Garden of God
and, in conjunction with a RC priest, Living Beauty: The Art of Liturgy.
Alex was excited about, and very supportive of, my work in the theological aesthetics of decay (something only a few philosophical aesthetics theorists seem to be working in, but which doesn't seem to have been treated yet in theological aesthetics). I will definitely miss his insights and guidance. I have him to thank for supporting my application to the PhD program I'm currently in.
He's survived by his wife and two daughters (I believe both in their 20s).
"May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."