"Boyd delivered this sermon, “The Fine Art of Being Imperfect,” in 1996. Apparently the Irish pastor never wrote out his sermons, but rather scribbled down a few notes and extrapolated on the ideas as he stood before his flock.
To make his point about the varying human responses to imperfection, Boyd uses three examples: Waterford crystal, pottery, and oriental rugs. At Waterford, Boyd explains, each piece of crystal is meticulously inspected, held up to the light, each surface appraised for the slightest crack or deformity. If any is spotted, the piece is immediately shattered. Boyd allows this imagery to sink in, allows the listener to picture the beautiful crystal being smashed against a hard object, the pieces swept away, punishment for a defect nearly invisible to the human eye. Then Boyd urges us to consider the slight space between these two wildly different outcomes. He says, “Notice how close perfection is to despair.”
Then he moves on to pottery. As a potter’s hands move over clay, shaping the malleable form, occasionally a mistake is made, an unwanted alteration to the vision. But usually the potter will not throw away the clay; she will attempt to reshape the piece around the mistake, as if it had never happened. Then Boyd turns to the weavers who create the world’s most beautiful rugs. They spend hours creating designs by hand, and during this painstaking process the shapes and angles often become lopsided, asymmetrical. However, this is its uniqueness. This rug is unlike any other, and that is what makes it a coveted work. Boyd’s message asks a single question of his listeners: In which way do we view imperfection?"