As a scholar of literature, I find rich meaning in Mary's engagement with her Book, but I can't help mourn the disappearance of the spindle. While Mary's reading calls our minds to the invisible work of the Spirit as we hear the Word, her spindle affirms that the Incarnation transforms the daily work of our hands into worship -- work with eternal consequences.
I've seen weavers tackle all kinds of interesting materials. Beyond the traditional linen, wool, silk, or cotton, you can find weavers creating fabrics from paper, wood, metal, and more. But what in the world does it mean when someone claims to "weave truth"? The injunction to "weave truth with trust," however, stands as the motto… Continue reading Weave Truth with Trust
My longtime friend Michelle Palmer has co-founded an excellent site called Tuesday Justice. Focused on questions of oppression, equality, and freedom, Michelle and her co-editor, Channon Oyeniran offer ways to engage these important matters of justice on ordinary days and in everyday ways. This week they've asked me to write about how justice relates to… Continue reading Guest post on Tuesday Justice!
If we wish to have a Christian ethic of craft and clothing, we must have more than right ideas: we need spiritual practices to strengthen our memories, steady our hands, and give us hope. We need tea and cloth to help us embody what we say we believe.
Wonder. Curiosity. Courage. All these are signs that a craft has overcome my fear, and is leading me into something larger than myself. Learning tablet weaving has reminded me that without hope and without risk, we cheat ourselves from disciple of virtue, from gifts essential to human flourishing.
We know that our faith in Christ should affect our everyday actions.. But when it comes to clothing, can we do better than corny t-shirts that imitate a culture of brand-name obsession and conspicuous consumption?
Let’s imagine what it would mean for our literal clothing to symbolize our commitment to justice, mercy, and delight.
Throughout the Scriptures, God ordains significant material and metaphorical uses for textiles and clothing. Our own textiles should, likewise, participate in God’s story, turning our hearts and mind toward God’s eternal love for his creatures.
In Mary's prophetic song, so many threads --of God's story for and with his people, of human work and craft, and of the justice Christ will bring--come together with radical simplicity and integrity. They form a whole cloth, soon to swaddle a baby boy.
In the college English courses I teach, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey form our core texts. Students write in response to the timeless stories and use the speeches of Achilles, Nestor, Ajax, and, of course, Odysseus as lessons in rhetoric. These lessons are particularly rich in the Odyssey, as cunning Odysseus must talk his way into favor… Continue reading The Lessons of Craft