Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

(Image from Advizory)

1 Corinthians 12:12-26:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

So many times, this text is used in context for the church and its different members. But when I read it this morning the part that stuck out for me was more about the section from verses 15 to 20...the body parts bemoaning what they are not. It gets me to a topic that creates great sadness in my own soul--people psychologically shaping themselves to be "what they think others want them to be", and people (especially women) spending billions of dollars in the name of "beauty." Some while back, Elizabeth had a marvelous post on attitudes regarding female body image and the impact this has on society.

Although this certainly affects men, too, the statistics bear out that the vast majority of cosmetic procedures are performed on women. I was astonished to find that 75%--SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT--of women in the United States color their hair--the simplest and most innocently benign of "cosmetic procedures."

As a prematurely gray (and proud of it) person myself, I have found that statistic staggering. Why is gray considered an unattractive hair color for women of the age who have earned it? I don't need the hair color of my youth to feel young or energetic. I am not interested in being attractive to people who are so shallow and superficial I must appear more youthful. That's their problem, not mine. I have nothing against those who do color their hair; I simply just don't get it. Feeling good about myself comes from within, and from God, and our relationship.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2008, roughly 307,000 women underwent breast augmentation in the U.S. THREE HUNDRED AND SEVEN THOUSAND. Roughly a good size city. Three hundred and seven thousand women thought their breasts could be "more attractive." What about the heart that beats beneath those breasts? Isn't there something in there that has a beauty far beyond what fits in someone's bra?

In 2008, over 1 BILLION dollars were spent in the U.S. on cosmetic plastic surgery.

I realize in so many ways, this is as much a symptom as it is a statement of outcome.

The bottom line is all this is a symptom of, "There's something people don't like about themselves."

Well, gee whiz. There are a lot of things I don't like about myself, but in all honesty, they are things that live between my ears, and things that live under my sternum. That's not to say I haven't felt the pangs of rejection over being a rather plain-looking person. That's not to say I haven't been dissed physically in the presence of someone more attractive. That's not to say I haven't suffered someone who was supposed to be talking to me, while staring at someone else's boobs all the time. I have. It irritates me and hurts me at times. But in the end, I always come to the conclusion that someone else is being shallow, not me.

But I know for me, it is far more important to feel that I have an "attractive soul."

I think about the people in my life that I dearly love. It's not about their looks. It's about the earnestness in their eyes when they say something affirming. It's about the way their hands hold something of reverence or the way they touch another person with them. It's about the way pure heat radiates off of them when they do a good deed. It's about the holy radiance of one of their most honest smiles. It's about the security of a bear hug when we need it the most. It's about all the surprises of this life that they bring to the table.

To be what we're not--to be an eye when we are a hand, to be a foot when we are an ear--diminishes not just ourselves, but all of God's kingdom.

If we spent that one billion dollars on learning to be our real selves in the way God made us, to have the resources and the desire to have as beautiful a soul as we could, what would God's kingdom be like in this world?

I just don't get it, and I weep over what could be and has not yet come to pass.

4 comments:

I could not agree more. I don't wear make-up or paint my nails or have my teeth whitened. My dentist talked to me about straightening my buck teeth, and I decided I wanted to keep my distinctive smile. I do mess with my hair sometimes but that's only to mimic the sun highlights I used to get more easily.

Advertising is designed to make us think something is wrong with us and consumerism will fix it. Their messages are inferiority are quite intentional. I think it's a great evil in our society.

Well, and, as you know from a previous post, I had my crowned front tooth "intentionally nicked" to match the chip on the bottom of its next-door neighbor.

I would rather be "perfectly imperfect" than "imperfectly perfect."

Ok, ok - I do dye my hair. I make no apologies for this at the moment as my white hair (as opposed to gray) simply puts me off - not because of what others think.

As for the rest - well my hands. You know about my hands and you have helped me love them.

They are who I am.

Thank you for this post- for all these posts. So deeply thought provoking and stirring.

And authentic!

Well, Fran, and you know, it's possible we learn to accept who we are one piece at a time...all at once can be hard.

I have some white ones too, and I think probably in my case, since I decided at age 26, when I saw my first gray hairs, to let it go, it was easier to adapt because the change was gradual. Gradual change is always more "do-able" than sudden change.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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