Thursday, December 4, 2008

Angels from the realms of glory

CAUTION FOR READING...contains mature subject matter.
'Tis the season...for the Victoria's Secret fashion show. The lingerie-clad models winging their flights oer the television screen. They are dressed in festive holiday "apparel," or so I hear. Come and worship us, they beckon with their feathered wings. Your woman can look like me, too. Get her this outfit, these wings, and then worship her. I have to say, is this what Christmas has become? Is this what people look forward to? Are these the angels we want to put on high? What happened to those other angels from the realms of glory, telling the story of the Messiah's birth? And why have these ideas of womanhood become objects of worship? What about the cry of the heavenly host to come and worship Christ?
A favorite Christian author and literary hero to me is Lauren Winner. Lauren writes a great book that exposes our way of thinking about our bodies and our intimate relationships, Real Sex. In this book, she discusses the Victoria's Secret phenomenon and brings to light a telling truth about our cultural obsession with sex...she reminds us that sexual images bury themselves in our minds and in our relationships and eventually chip away at good intimacy. She says that these images teach us that real bodies aren't good enough, and that "real sex" happens only in a fantastic, other-worldly way. God, who cares enough about the people he has created, chooses to inhabit our bodies in the birth of the Christ child. And so, I'm certain, our bodies and how we approach them matter to God. I doubt these angels are what he had in mind. So, each time I am bombarded with the fluffy-winged images, I am going to remember those other angels who proclaimed a redeemed flesh--that God in our skin is here! And that he bids us choose respect and love over gratification and desire. In excelsis deo!


PaintItRed said...

As the mother of a tween who struggles with her body image, I remember how I felt growing up. All I wanted was a flat stomach and skinny legs. Never happened! Now we have half dressed "Angels" parading around for all the world to see. Not really what I thought I would see walking the streets of Heaven. Not really what I want me daughter to see and think she has to be. It is easy for me to say to her, "You are beautiful." It is 100 times harder for her to truly believe it. God made her to be HER, not some image that is perceived to be perfect.

Who?What?Where? said...

I saw that coming on TV the other night and I said to myself... you have got to be kidding me. I turned the channel rather quickly and thought of the book Kiss My Tiara - How To Rule The World As A Smartmouth Goddess - By Susan Jane Gilman. Here is what she says...

" For all the human progress over the past 200 years, we still feel an obscene amount of pressure to be beautiful. And we can all name the culprits: media, boys, capitalism, Calvin Klein and that moron in elem. school who insited on weighing everybody publicly in gym class. But frankly, some of the pressure to look beautiful is self-inflicted, too. Sure, we know that there is more, that there should be more, and that there has to be more to us than meets the eye. But this doesn't preclude us from wanting, on some level, to win the Miss Universe pageant, too. And so we women end up believing on some level that we're only beautiful if we're under forty years old and 110 pounds. We end up believing that, in order to be beautiful, we've gotta treat our bodies and faces like Humpty-Dumpty, delicately smashing them up and then trying to put them back together again. We dissect and critique ourselves like a poultry inspector. Obviously, if we chicks are going to be seriously powerful in this world, we've got to learn how to appreciate our own natural, Goddess-given looks, to work with them as best we can, and then get over ourselves a little. Otherwise we'll just drive ourselves crazy.