Thursday, March 25, 2010

Domesticated Theology

Jeremy at Domesticated Theology Blog has been commenting on Christ's involvement as a carpenter and what it meant to his theology. The idea is that we might come to better understand the importance of our own hands-on service to others through the example set by common craftsmen. I thank Jeremy for his thoughtful reflections on craftsmanship as a theological concern.

Educational Sloyd proposed that all students through engagement in hands-on learning, crafting beautiful and useful objects from wood, would gain an understanding of the dignity of all labor. Widely shared respect for all labor was seen as the foundation of democratic society. While much of modern society has disparaged the hewers and choppers of wood, there is an honesty about making things from wood. A poorly crafted object describes its maker's lack of care, and care is most certainly the foundation and expression of all morality.

Morality as nurtured, learned and expressed through craftsmanship is not limited to Christian theology. Craftsmanship is an essential expression in all human cultural and religious groups.

As described by John Ruskin, "Time and Tide", 1883
"Let the youth once learn to take a straight shaving off a plank, or draw a fine curve without faltering, or lay a brick level in its mortar, and he has learned a multitude of other matters which no lips of man could ever teach him."

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