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Purposely Imperfect

16 December, 2007

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Voice 1

Thank you for joining us for today’s Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid

Voice 2

And I’m Joshua Leo. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

People all around the world try very hard to reach perfection. People change their bodies hoping to look perfect. Companies try to make perfect products. We want everything to work without any problems but it seems like people always fail. This desire for perfection is not a new idea.

Today’s Spotlight is on perfection and imperfection.

Voice 2

Recently I visited the British Museum in London, England. In the museum, there were many things from ancient cultures. People travelled from all over the world to see these things.

I walked past huge stone animals, and art from the houses of ancient kings. I entered a large room with shiny white stone floors. It was then that I saw the most amazing thing in the museum. The statues were from ancient Greece. They were thousands of years old. I could not believe that artists could cut stone into such realistic shapes. The statues looked like real people! But then I noticed that the stone people’s bodies were different than normal human bodies. The top parts of their bodies were longer than real humans. Parts of their bodies were not normal sized.

I had read a sign near some of the sculptures and discovered the reason for this. These sculptures were the Greek artists idea of perfection.

Voice 1

Artists in ancient Greece thought perfection was very special. They saw perfection as a godly quality. People in ancient Greece believed that humans were very special. They believed that man was the best thing created by their gods. But the ancient Greek people believed that their gods were more special than humans. They believed that the gods were perfect.

Voice 2

So, the Greek people showed their beliefs in their art. Greek artists made large blocks of stone into the shapes of gods they believed in. The gods had human forms. But the Greeks believed that the god’s bodies were better, stronger and more beautiful. So the artists created bodies they thought were perfect, more perfect than human bodies.

Voice 1

But not all people honour God by making something perfect. Some people honour God by making imperfect things! Things that are not perfect. They add imperfections purposely.

Voice 2

Rugs are special pieces of cloth. People use rugs for many reasons. People put rugs on the ground. Rugs provide a soft place to walk. People in some cultures also use special rugs for prayer.

Voice 1

Some rugs are very special. Oriental rugs are some of the most beautiful rugs on earth. These rugs come from all over Asia and the Middle East. People in China, Turkey, Iran, and India all make oriental rugs. They make the most valuable rugs by hand, not by machine. The rug makers create complex images in the cloth. It takes a lot of time and skill to make an Oriental rug.

Voice 2

You may think that something with so much detail would be perfect. You may think that since a person works very hard to make the rug, that there would be no imperfections. But some people include an imperfection purposely. This imperfection may be an incorrect colour. It may be a missing line in the images on the rug. The rug-maker does this to make sure that the rug is imperfect.

Voice 1

But why would a person try to make something? Well, in some cultures, people believe that they should not try to make something perfect. They believe that only God is able to make something that is perfect. Only God is perfect. The rug makers do not want to make it seem as though they think they are perfect. The rug makers do not think that they are perfect. They believe they show that God is better when they make these imperfections.

Voice 2

The Navajo people, a Native American tribe, also put imperfections in their rugs and blankets. But they do this for a different reason. They call the line of imperfection the “spirit path.” They believe that when they die, their spirit can escape through this line. Then their spirit can continue weaving rugs and blankets.

Voice 1

In Navajo culture, people often use pottery, or containers made from earth. The artists who make this pottery also include an imperfection. They never make a line that makes a circle around the pottery. The artists never connect the lines. They believe that if they make a perfect circle around the pottery, their spirit will be trapped inside the container.

Voice 2

We can find another example of imperfection in quilts. A quilt is a blanket made from many pieces of cloth. African American slaves used to put imperfections in their quilts. They said it would “distract the devil at night.” They thought perfect quilts were unlucky.

Voice 1

Some people who make quilts today also include imperfections. They make an imperfect square of cloth on a quilt. The person may use a colour that does not appear in other areas of the quilt. They call this imperfect square of cloth a “humility square.” Historians say that “humility squares” were started by the Puritans. The Puritans were some of the first Christians to settle in America. Including a “humilty scquare” is similar to the mistakes in oriental rugs. These imperfections show a person’s imperfections. The person making the quilt includes this “humility square” to show their imperfection. They make sure to show that only God is perfect.

Voice 2

Christians today have very similar beliefs. Christians believe that the earth is still imperfect. They believe that humans are imperfect. But God is perfect. And God cares for people. He helps them to live better lives. Because of God, Christians try to show that they need God’s perfection. They need God to cover their imperfection. And God does this because he loves his creation, people.

Voice 1

Imperfection is all around us. We see mistakes in most things. But maybe next time you see an imperfection, you can look at it in a different way. You can see the imperfection as a way to remember that even though we are imperfect, God is perfect. You can remember that his perfect love hides all our imperfections.

Voice 1

The writer and producer of this program was Joshua Leo. The voices you heard were from the United States. Computer users can hear our programs, read our scripts, and see our word list on our website at http://www.radio.english.net. This program is called “Purposely Imperfect”.

Voice 2

We love to hear comments and questions from our listeners. If you have a comment or question, you can e-mail us. Our e-mail address is radio @ english . net. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

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