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I recently read several articles on the intentional flaws found in Navajo art, particularly in woven products.  There might be a slight break in the pattern, or a single off-colored thread woven into the fabric.  But somewhere in that blanket, there is an intentionally-simulated imperfection that has a spiritual purpose.

Rudolph-Carl-Gorman-Navajo-WeaverAlthough the imperfection is usually referenced as “the door” of entrance or exit for the spirit to enter or leave the art, what is actually happening has multiple explanations or implications.

One explanation is that these artists pour their hearts and souls into these projects.  Once finished, they want their souls back.  The “imperfection” is the door through which these souls can return to their artists.

Another artist explained that the new creation needs a soul of its own and the flaw allows for the spirit to enter and take up residence.

I guess all those suggestions work just fine, but the overall message is clear:

The imperfection is embraced inside of the perfection.

In other words, this is a posture quite contrary to what we would view as excellence.  This paradigm embraces the idea that perfection isn’t the eradication of flaws, but the incorporation of flaws.

That might be helpful to us spiritual folk.

But many of us westerners can’t wrap our minds around that kind of thinking.  We want things to look perfect.  We’re quick to dismiss anything that doesn’t hold up to our external standards of “perfection.”  Even our chaos has to be managed, arranged, and propped up with all kinds of lights and smoking mirrors.

If we’re that way with other people and things, I wonder how we really feel about the flaws within ourselves?

Rohr stirred me up a couple of mornings ago about this very thing:

We are only now daring to believe, after 2000 years of revelation of the mystery of Christ, what Satan discovered at the crucifixion.  The Evil One knows that the place to attack us is in the area where we are most subject to shame, where we are most weak and truly “out of character:” OUR BODILINESS.  Satan knows that is the last place where we will expect or look for God.  And God knows that only forgiven sinners and spiritual searchers will find God there.

Here are the rest of Rohr’s thoughts.  Yes, it’s heady, but rich.  Dig in here:

So evil has found the breach in the wall and attacked each of us there with “a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan” (2 Cor. 12:7).  Unfortunately, it worked!  Much of Christian tradition has been negatively and uselessly trapped in guilt and preoccupation with our body, while the great issues of justice, gospel and grace have gone unheeded.  The result has been rigidity and repression—much of it called “holiness.”  This response has been Evil’s greatest triumph over gospel freedom.  It has horribly entrapped the positive power of human affection.

He concludes with these stretching thoughts:

Christ will have his harvest, though.  It will be through weak flesh, that least-suspected place, where health and growth will be revealed.  Richard Rohr – Sojourner’s magazine “Pure Passion”

Maybe the real benefit of community is that we have to become grace-filled in order to reside among each other.  Your deficiency becomes “the door” for the Spirit to work through me.  My weakness becomes “the door” for the Spirit to release strength through you.  Now my love and acceptance isn’t contingent upon you getting your shit together, according to my idea of what all that means.

I see you for how you really are.  You approach me regardless of how I really am.  Love manifests anyway.  It does, it sits, it moves, it swirls, it flows – regardless of the imperfections, ticks, and thorns.  People have a shot to grow up in those kinds of relationships.

A real shot… flaws and all.



Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Papa.. Yes. Muchos gracias, señor. And a whole lotta love to you and Miss P!

  2. Kathy H.
    February 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Good stuff Mike!! Thanks for sharing!! xoxo

    • February 10, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Thanks Kathy! Much love! xo

  3. February 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve got random scribbled notes laying around from the past week about our shame over being ‘human’. Coming across this summed it all up perfectly. Thanks for digging into that Navajo bit.

  4. Connie D
    February 12, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Paschall you always remind me that we’re Human and it’s OK! Love you Guys hope your well!

  1. February 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm

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