An Islamic necklace with an accompanying meditation.
December 2008 Archives
An Islamic necklace with an accompanying meditation.
A trip to the flea market leads one designer down the rabbit hole of American civic faith:
Imagine her surprise when she discovered that she had paired a medal for The USA Minute Women, Crusaders against Communism, with a religious medal for A Christian Reformed Sixth Year Achievement! It was too good to be true! Online research revealed that the stunningly detailed “Reformed” medal was made by Little’s Crown and Cross System, a maker of school and religious medals in NY.
Click the pic for a more detailed photo and information on how to buy this item on Etsy.
The holiday has been a time for setting up next year's projects, including a series of things related to this very site. Still, I am finding time for breaks, which usually consist of cable TV and the ubiquitous commercial for the authentic! collectable! Prayer Cross!
As the commercial reiterates--and reiterates--and reiterates, the cross has The Lord's Prayer inscribed on authentic Austrian crystal. When your loved one holds the cross up to the light & sees the Lord's Prayer appear, she'll think it's a miracle!
It's an interesting mix--the references to "magic" and "miracle", the rhetoric of luxury (Austrian crystal!), certification as an authentic collectible, the image of the woman delighted to receive the Cross as a gift from her guy, the implication that the magically appearing Lord's Prayer could entice a child into faith, the lack of any overt connection to a church or other ministry.
Businesses have already flocked to the notion that an association with charity could enhance sales in a time of financial crisis; perhaps jewelry associated with higher meaning is also regarded as a means of overcoming the reluctance to spend on personal adornment.
The De Beers Amulet Collection draws from African folklore to create luxury jewelry with a folk narrative sheen. The premise: "Benevolent spirits who lived in the stars that were cast to Earth as diamonds after misbehaving."
Africa being the inspiration behind this collection, befitting the company's African roots, expect rough and polished diamonds set in 18karat white gold and taking the form of the African tribal masks used to worship these spirits ritually. Each amulet symbolizes different optimistic meanings: love, hope and fresh beginnings amongst them.
Click through for the the whole set of Ernst Haeckel Christmas cards, via Neurophilosophy.
Through tomorrow, the Empire State Building is blue & white for Chanukah.
The excellent photo above is close to what it looks like from the roof of my own building, except when I try to take a picture on the ice-hill covered ledge that offers the best shot I always slip, creating a surreal blue-and-white blur as well as a moment of existential anxiety.
If you want to keep up with the ESB's holiday lighting, check out What Color is the Empire State Building?
This is a custom made "Arms of St. Michael" commissed by a member of the U.S. military serving overseas.
The image was based on a fifteenth-century manuscript of Aunciant Coates.
This amazing piece was designed & crafted by Matthew Naftzger, whose Works of Man home page and blog should be bookmarked by anyone interested in metalwork and design.
Miedah (above) was arrested for "violating a court policy of no headgear" after she refused to remove her hijab at a Georgia municipal court hearing on a traffic violation.
As the news story notes, the "headgear" question is a lively one in U.S. law, especially in schools and prisons. An earlier Oregon case (Oregon v. Allen, 832 P.2d 1248 (Ct. App. Ore. 1992)) offers a nuanced way to deal with religious accommodation in a courtroom context, although it's not binding on a Georgia court:
Under UTCR 3.010(1), a trial court has discretion to exclude persons from the courtroom if they are attired in a way that detracts from the dignity of the court. A court does not exercise that discretion in a vacuum; it must balance the reasons and the need for proper courtroom attire against the results of enforcing the rule. The result here is twofold and affects the defendant's constitutional right to present her defense and the witness' constitutional right to practice his religion. Although considerations of proper attire may go beyond the mere maintenance of a dress code, a trial judge's desire simply to maintain a general dress code cannot justify an infringement of a criminal defendant's right to present an exculpatory witness, unless the attire worn by a witness would be disruptive or would create an atmosphere of unfairness.
In weighing the competing interests of an appropriate courtroom atmosphere with the right of a defendant to call a witness, the court can properly consider the reasons the witness gives for not honoring the court's request to remove a particular headgear. If the witness' reasons are not substantial or are based on a belief asserted but not sincerely held, and the court determines that the attire threatens to be disruptive or is unfair, it may then be justified in excluding the witness.
The court declined to hear the offer of proof, so it was not informed about the witness' religious practice or whether the belief on which it was based was sincere. The court made no findings about the reasons for excluding the witness other than the court's dress code. The state agrees that the ruling is not defensible but suggests that we remand so that the court can make findings about whether the witness' headgear would be disruptive, unfair or prejudicial and whether his religious beliefs are sincerely held. It is clear from the record that the court was enforcing a general rule that has nothing to do with considerations that are particular to this proceeding. Reconstructing the events to determine whether there was a justification other than the court's desire to enforce a general dress code would be unfair to defendant. The court erred by excluding the witness, and the error was prejudicial.
The Episcopal News Service takes an extended look at a Pennsylvania church that has added a Goth liturgy to its menu of services. The liturgy is adapted from an Anglican model, whose self-description is wonderfully British:
The structure of the service revolves around the baptismal candle and reflects a serious engagement with the depressing and darker sides of our lives before moving towards a position of hope and happiness found in the empathy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It's hard to imagine an American, well, anything selling itself as "depressing," and it probably comes as no surprise that the word does not appear in the description of the U.S. variant. Instead, we find the liturgy framed in business terms:
These days, it isn't unusual for Divis to drive past a closed car lot in the greater Scranton area. One day, she found herself thinking that the church could go out of business as well. Like automobile manufacturers who are struggling to meet consumers' expectations for more energy-efficient vehicles, she thought, "we need to market a 'product,' if you will, that meets people where they are today. Maybe Goth services can provide an alternative energy of some sort."
To use the language of the charitable world, it's liturgy as social enterprise, blending business with transcendence.
Just over the electronic transom: a press release for a recent examination of adornment & communication in India--Pravina Shukla's The Grace of Four Moons. Hindu and Muslim dress are central to the work.
There's a lot of good stuff here, but this in particular stands out:
[The notion of dress as communication is] also consistent with an important concept within Hinduism called Darshan, a Sanskrit word which means "vision."
"The premise of Hinduism is you look at the god and the god looks back at you," Shukla said. "You ask for the god's protection by looking at the god's face. The god gives you a blessing by looking back at you. Most of the Hindu statues have very big, prominent eyes -- the eyes are painted at the very end when you're making a statue."
It provides a precedent for nonverbal communication in India and shapes its people's orientation to the visual, she said.
A real McLuhan moment!
From the online exhibit examining early photographic images of "Ghosts, apparitions, angels, spiritual visitations and views of the future." It was an age without Photoshop, so it must all be real.
The Greatest Name
". . . the symbol of the Greatest Name represents an invocation which can be translated either as 'O Glory of Glories' or 'O Glory of the All-Glorious.' The word glory used in this connection is a translation of the Arabic term Bahá, the name of Bahá'u'lláh."