The Clothesline Christ

The Clothesline Christ

Sunday, December 12, 2004
| Matthew 11:2-11

Nicols Fox hung her laundry on a clothesline instead of tossing it in the dryer, and by so doing, ignited a political firestorm. Sometimes, simple but strongly held positions will do that.

Several years ago, the clothes dryer in Nicols Fox’s house stopped working. It was old and worn out, and Nicols came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth repairing or replacing. Instead, she began to hang her laundry on a clothesline, believing that this would spare her the cost of a new dryer, save a little money on her utility bill, and give her some exercise.

No big deal, right?

Wrong. Nicols’ decision to string up a clothesline unleashed a political firestorm.

A friend of hers found the practice revolting. “You hang out your clothes?” she asked in horror. The Washington Post interviewed Nicols about the elimination of unnecessary technologies from her life, and she had to defend herself against charges of being a “Luddite” — a destroyer of labor-saving machinery. Utne Magazine reports that a critic in New Zealand wrote a one-act play making fun of her clothesline. And an American free-lance writer in Costa Rica accused her of “sanctimoniousness and self-righteousness,” implying...

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