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by Michele Saracino; edited by David H. Jensen

Publication Year: 2012

Reinhold Niebuhr argued that one of the fundamental challenges to human existence is the anxiety caused by our desire to be perfect and godlike while knowing we are limited and mortal. This book explores how human adornment practices negotiate anxieties about our finitude. Through our clothing, we often shield ourselves from feeling our human frailty and from having others detect our emotional, physical, and spiritual vulnerabilities. Looking at the incarnation as a form of "dress," Saracino claims that getting naked with Jesus or embracing our vulnerability is our only hope at creating life-giving relationships with God and others in the global world.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Series: Compass: Christian Explorations of Daily Living


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. vi-7

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Series Foreword

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pp. vii-x

Everyday practices matter for Christian faith. Our ordinary routines—eating, cooking, working, walking, shopping, playing, and parenting—are responses to the life God gives to the world. Christian faith claims that the ordinary materials and practices of human life are graced by God’s presence: basic...

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pp. xi-xii

Human beings, like all mammals, are born into the world without clothing. But unlike other mammals, we are swaddled in clothes from the moment of our birth and spend most of the rest of our lives in various forms of dress. We get dressed for many reasons: to protect ourselves from elements such as cold weather...

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pp. 1-18

Perhaps you have had one of these mornings, when you find yourself standing in front of your mirror, drowning in a pile of tangled clothes. Every item of clothing you have put on makes you feel bad about yourself and your entire existence. As you toss the clothes to the ground you begin to panic, wondering if you are...

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1. Vulnerability and the Human Condition

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pp. 19-52

Human beings have a limited tolerance for feeling vulnerable. Sure, when babies are born, we honor their fragile nature and embrace it as part of the miracle of life. We swathe them with our warmest blankets and softest clothes and bathe their delicate bodies with soothing cleansers and lotions. We cherish the helplessness...

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2. The Path to Perfection Is the Road to Destruction

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pp. 53-82

Some years back, my father underwent a number of consecutive cardiac surgeries, all in the aftermath of barely surviving a massive heart attack. His brave surgeons risked much in taking on his case, as many others had turned him down because his health was precarious and surviving surgery seemed extremely unlikely. Known for their skill and experience, his...

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3. Redeeming Fashion

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pp. 83-116

How do we foster the good stress and overcome the bad stress in our day-to-day clothing? How can we transform sinful patterns of dress into redemptive ones? Perhaps the most important question, what’s the incentive to do so? If this or that clothing practice mitigates our anxieties about the frailties of life, why change anything? What I have attempted...


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pp. 117-120

Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 121-122

Reader's Guide

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pp. 123-124

E-ISBN-13: 9781451424416
E-ISBN-10: 1451424418
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800699062
Print-ISBN-10: 0800699068

Page Count: 128
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Compass: Christian Explorations of Daily Living
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OCLC Number: 824698875
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Clothing

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