Christ and Culture

The other day I watched several episodes of “How to Look Good Naked” – a show that helps women appreciate their bodies as they are, instead of how they think they ought to be.

I like the show because it helps people become compassionate towards themselves. The host is Carson from the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” show, and he is sweet and warm with the women. Who knows where he developed a heart for this ministry, but he has one, without a doubt.

I genuinely enjoy the show and hope it helps not only women who were on it, but women who watch it, too. However, it highlighted something about our culture that freaks me out. These women, and I don’t think they are unusual, are so caught up in how they look that their very minds and hearts are preoccupied with it, to the exclusion of other, deeper things. Their preoccupation is also negative. These are not Hermosa Beach housewives who walk around all year in beachwear and $400 sunglasses feeling and looking hot. (That’s the same preoccupation, just with a positive slant.)

If we spend the energies of our hearts and minds concerned with how we look, those energies can’t go somewhere else. I love cute clothes and looking nice as much (or more) than the average female. But I see what a trap I can set for myself if I make this a central thing.

I don’t mean a trap, as in, “oh, I’m trapped, because I’m going to try on eight outfits! Oh no! I’m such a slave to the appearances of things!” No. That is too simple. And I don’t think it is wrong to have some sort of an aesthetic for our appearance. I’m pretty sure that in every culture, everywhere, this is a part of how we roll as humans.

I mean that it is a trap because it can casually and insiduously keep me focused on the appearances of things. Especially my own appearance. And nowhere, but nowhere, does the Bible ask me to focus on looking hot. (Or on my house being fabulous. But that is another post.) Micah’s simple instructions about what God requires include: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. “Look hot” is not squeezed in there anywhere.

This is where I think Christ meets culture on this one – he asks me not to be fooled, not to be overly distracted by stuff like this. He asks me to remember that the Spirit is here in the world at work, and that there is plenty of ministry waiting for us to step into. He reminds me that the joy and satisfaction of looking in the mirror and seeing something pleasing doesn’t compare with the joy and satisfaction of being touched by God, or of reaching out and touching someone else.

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3 Responses to Christ and Culture

  1. micey says:

    this is a very good post… and i agree whole heartedly… :)

  2. Megan.

    I agree with you, one thing is to be fit another is to live a life wanting to always have the greatest appearance. The problems arrives when everything is about if you are lean or not. In my family the first question most of them ask me after long periods of silence is, have you lost any weight?, they even asked me with excitment because I think they ant to hear: yes!!! I lost 100lbs…..and they will be happy. This loosing weight emphasizes brought me so much insecurity specially living among lean people. But when I came to this town and I started to serve Christ, I know people worry about my health but they are more concern about me as a person, not me as a physical projection of their own desires, but as care that goes beyond our appearance. Sometimes when I am with my family in Mexico I feel extremely aware of being overweight…….I should keep learning on what God says about me: his most precious treasure.

    Gracias por siempre escribir tan bonito

  3. Dale says:

    Your post reminds me of the gratitude I have for my marriage. I worry too much about my weight and appearance. Often, it’s vanity gone awry, as with so many of us. I’ve learned, though, that my wife’s love for me will never be affected by that. No matter how far I let myself go, she’ll love me. That love, I believe, is ultimately what all of us are looking for, and the concerns about appearances are an expression of our desire to be loved. Unfortunately, as you made clear, we have it wrong. We are loved, and when I think of the women on that show, and many men and women I know who are like them, I hope they will find the human expression of that love that is unconcerned with appearances.

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