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Hittin' the Prayer BonesMateriality of Spirit in the Pentecostal South$
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Anderson Blanton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469623979

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469623979.001.0001

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Prayer Cloths

Prayer Cloths

Remnants of the Holy Ghost and the Texture of Faith

(p.52) Chapter 2 Prayer Cloths
Hittin' the Prayer Bones

Anderson Blanton

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the remarkable metamorphosis of a mere rag into a sacred cloth receptacle for the healing and apotropaic power of the Holy Ghost. Tracking the circulation of anointed fragments of cloth for the purposes of healing and divine protection, this section articulates the relation between the movement of materialized prayers and the compelling narrative force of testimony. Through ethnographic descriptions of the process of manufacture and use of these sacred cloth remnants, this chapter describes the “texture of faith” as a particular desire to instantiate the fleeting voice of prayer. Tracing the movement of these sacred rags, I demonstrate the unanticipated emergence and force of faith in and through the exterior object. Suggesting a profanation at the heart of Holy Ghost power, this chapter describes the “patching-in” of materialized prayers into the threadbare fabric of everyday life.

Keywords:   prayer cloths, textiles, anointing, Holy Ghost, Temporality, touch and tactility, exchange, communal prayer, testimony, narrative

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