Thursday, June 12, 2008

Persian Flaws, Spirit Beads, Humility Squares and Thorns

I was watching a TV program the other day and heard the phrase, "Persian flaw." I had to look it up. The story behind the phrase is that, long ago, religious Persian rug-makers deliberately wove, into each rug, a flawed stitch. This "Persian flaw" was a means of silently, but assuredly, proclaiming the rug-maker's belief that only God's creations are perfect.

Hearing about the Persian flaw reminded me of another story I was told, when I was taking beading lessons in Alaska. When one of the other students opened a new container of tiny seed beads, she discovered a red one, mixed in among all the yellow. Our teacher told her that it was a "spirit bead," and that she should weave it intothe design just as if it were a yellow bead. According to Native American culture, she told us, God's spirit would not enter into anything that was flawless, so a spirit bead was sewn in among the others, providing a flaw through which God's spirit could enter and flow through the bead work.

I became curious; were there other crafts with intentional-flaw traditions? It didn't take me long to find, on the Internet, information about the quilter's humility square. This purposely mis-pieced square was a reminder to the quilter, and others, that only God is perfect, and only God can create something that is perfect.

This concept of the intentional flaw fascinated me. I felt like there had to be some personal application there that I was missing. And then I remembered what the apostle Paul said, when he was speaking of his "thorn in the flesh." No one knows what this "thorn" was, but it was certainly some kind of weakness in Paul's life ... a flaw ... his humility square! He wrote about it in II Corinthians 12:7-10:
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I think I found my personal application!


Karah said...

Wow! I am doing a project in college on this very subject and discovered this through searching the web. This helped me so much. Thanks! =)

GrandmaMarilyns said...

Really cool post. I love the idea.

Kristie said...

I write music, paint, and do all sorts of creative stuff. I see a lot of people get caught up in this. I know better but I will still push perfection upon my creations. To the point where they are not fun any more! So I'm glad my friend sent me this link! Thank you. I tell myself imperfection is perfection. I don't watch t.v. How quickly I find myself living up to an imaginary standard. We are the standard!