Wednesday, August 09, 2006

a genuine copy

When I spent a semester in Niger, as a senior in college, I studied as apprentice to a weaver. Amadou worked in the National Museum, weaving in traditional styles but making innovative items which the few tourists who found their way deep into West Africa might buy. (They sold tablecloths in traditional designs in a country where only foreign guests and people in restaurants eat at dinner tables...)

One of my favorite moments in our weaving area happened when a French woman living there in Niamey, Niger came to pick up the baby blanket she had commissioned Amadou to make.

"This isn't an African blanket!" she complained loudly. "This looks like a French blanket. It's the colors of Paris: black and red and white! I wanted an AFRICAN blanket. One that was green and gold and orange--the colors of the earth. This isn't African!"

To which Amadou replied, "Look. I didn't make this up. I just copied it. You can look for yourself in the exhibit over there--I just copied it."

My art-and-innovation-loving instincts were amused by an artisan who insisted he was just copying things.

This week, Paul calls us to copy--to imitate--God. And to see that we belong together.

I find this challenging--I want to be individual, independant, and special.

See what you think: Ephesians 4:25-5:2.

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