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Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

What about our children and grandchildren?

Is there hope?  Yes!

It makes no difference if we’re talking about music, the Christian faith, etiquette, speech, or clothing.  We teach our children best by equipping them to contrast what is good and right with what is not.

In his new book, Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music, Robert Reilly writes:

“I employed a very simple teaching method with my children.  I regularly showed them beautiful things and great movies and played for them some of the finest music.  I didn’t preach about these things; I simply let them experience them.  They gained an intuitive appreciation for beauty and were automatically repelled by ugliness.  I then let them explain to me what was wrong with it.  When my oldest son was still in grade school, he came back from seeing a movie with one of his classmates.  The father driving the car played only acid rock on the car radio.  My son returned very agitated about the music.  I asked him what was wrong with it.  He replied, “It is irritating to the mind.”  I then knew that what I was doing worked.”

Quote from an interview with Robert Reilly
by Michael Cook, MercatorNet, 5/26/17.

 

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thumbnailScarlett O’Hara, in the movie Gone With the Wind, believed her figure would be perfect only if she had an 18 inch waist.  Every day, Scarlett instructed her “mammy” to push, prod and tightly lace her into a corset.  The experience was literally breath-taking.  (It was no wonder that women of Scarlett’s era fainted so easily.)  Scarlett may have been a story-book character, but the fashionable corset was a cruel reality.  Thousands of American women attained the so-called perfect figure, but at a high price.  The following true story explains.

When Hiram Powers, the great sculptor, was visiting in the U.S., he attended an elaborate party.  A friend observed Mr. Powers watching a beautifully dressed and fashionable woman.  The friend said, “What an elegant figure she has, don’t you agree?”

“Well,” said Mr. Powers, “I was wondering where she put her liver.”

You see, Mr. Powers had studied the human body, and he knew that in order to shape a female body in the outline of the woman he was watching, some internal organs would have to be forced out of their properly functioning place.

A physician during that same era, Dr. J.H. Kellogg, examined thousands of women in a year’s time.  He stated that it was almost impossible to find a woman whose stomach was where it belonged.  This was a serious matter because no organ can function efficiently when it’s out of its proper position.

Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, a physician and the author of a series of books for young women growing up in the early 1900s, wrote: “The reason we admire the tapering waist is because we have been wrongly educated.  We have acquired wrong ideas of beauty.  We have accepted the ideals of ‘fashion’ rather than those of the Creator.” (Purity and Truth: What a Young Woman Ought to Know, Vir Publishing, 1898)

In the late 1950s, a toy company defined the so-called perfect figure by creating the Barbie doll.  Almost every American girl not only wanted a Barbie, she wanted to look like Barbie.  But Barbie’s figure is abnormally out of proportion.  A real girl with Barbie’s measurements would fall over on her face.

Perhaps we, too, have fallen over on our faces and caused our brains to stop thinking.  In what ways do we put our health dangerously at risk in order to have a “perfect” figure?  Who determines the “perfect” skin color?  How many piercings and tattoos are enough to suit the trend-setters?

Why do we let fashion designers (who don’t know us) tell us how we should look?  Why do we let department stores (who profit from our purchases) tell us what to buy?

We’ve listened to the world long enough.  Don’t you think it’s time to hear what the Creator of our bodies has to say?

Take a breath.  Pick up your Bible.  What does God say to you in Isaiah 43:1, 7; 45:9-11; 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Peter 3:3-5; and 1 Corinthians 6:18.

From Lesson Eight: “Beauty at Any Price?”
Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up
A Bible Study by Linda Bartlett
(Lutherans For Life or Concordia Publishing House)

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My left-leaning “sisters” claim there is a “war on women.”  They’re right about the war, but they’re confused about who is waging it and why.

John Stonestreet, writing for Breakpoint, quotes from The Screwtape Letters.  (It is, I believe, my most favored work of C.S. Lewis.) “In an especially prophetic chapter,” notes Stonestreet, “Uncle Screwtape explains to his demon nephew Hell’s strategy for using imagery to derail human sexuality: ‘We have engineered a great increase in . . . the apparent nude (not the real nude) . . . It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn; the real women in bathing suits or tights are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear firmer and more slender than nature allows a full-grown woman to be.  As a result we are more and more directing the desires of men to something which does not exist.’  If there’s a more perfect summary of how our culture views women,” writes Stonestreet, “I haven’t found it.”

Our culture’s perspective on women opposes God’s.  I sometimes trip over myself in the excitement of sharing the truth: We are creations of the holy God… real women in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Often, I quote from the book What A Young Woman Ought to Know written by Mary Wood-Allen, M.D.  I found it in my grandmother’s collection.   Dr. Allen, a physician in the late 1800s and early 1900s, wrote, “The reason we admire the tapering waist is because we have been wrongly educated.  We have acquired wrong ideas of beauty.  We have accepted the ideals of the fashion-plate rather than those of the Creator.”  Then, she detailed the corset, a hideous contraption worn by women — pre or post pregnancy — who coveted a 17 inch waist.

The corset shaped a woman’s body so that a man would be attracted.  But, at what price?   Dr. Allen wrote that Hiram Powers, a great sculptor, once attended an elegant party where he was observed watching a beautifully dressed and fashionable woman.  A friend noticed, and said to Powers, “What an elegant figure she has!”  “Well,” said Powers, “I was wondering where she put her liver.”  As a sculptor, Powers had studied the human body.  He knew that some internal organs, stomach included, had to be displaced in order to create that tapering waist.

A corseted waist made breathing so difficult it was not unusual for a woman to faint.   Yet, it was viewed by the culture as a way to increase beauty.  False beauty.

The corset.  How barbarous!  Now, think our culture.  Bulimia.  Anorexia.  Piercings.  Tats.  Cosmetic surgeries.  Girls pinched in, propped up, and covered only by fig leaves.  All of this is addictive.  All of this is false.

Focusing on sexuality, we mis-shape the image our youngest women have of themselves.  We deceive them into becoming “fake” women.

Only later in life did I realize that my Barbie doll, if a real woman, wouldn’t be able to stand.  Top heavy and with pencil-thin waist, she would fall face down.  How embarrassing.  More than that, what a sad and dangerous mistaken identity.

For many years, I’ve listened to women tell me about the sorrows and false hope of their abortion experience.  There is an identity issue long before the choice of abortion.   These women have helped me understand what happens when we see ourselves from the world’s perspective rather than God’s.

Wrongly educated and believing the lie, men and women are stripped of true identity.

More than sexual beings, we are human beings – male or female – with the attributes of our Creator.  We are each His special possession designed for the purpose of living a life that reflects those attributes.  We are more than bodies, but heads to think and souls that never die.

There is something wrong and potentially dangerous about being defined as a “sexual being.”  Yes, we have sexual thoughts and desires.  But, what if we never marry?  Are we less of a person?  No!  And, if we do marry, but our bodies don’t function as we think they should, are we “junk?”  No!

It is most certainly true that we procreate sexually, but again, what happens if we never marry or can’t have biological children of our own?  Are we mis-fits?  No!  Jesus tells us that there is no marriage in heaven.  Oh my!  Then, do we become floating, bodiless souls?  Angels?  No!  And no!  We maintain our identity as God’s magnificent and beautiful creation.  Our identity as His priceless possessions never changes.  From the moment God thought of us right through eternity.  Can this change the way we see ourselves?  Yes.  The choices we make?  Yes. The life we live?  Oh, yes.

Never once does God tell us to stop being a male or female, but He does tell us to guard against sensuality.  To not let sexual thoughts and desires determine every behavior.  God designed male and female to fit perfectly together in marriage, but He said: Have no other gods before Me.  Might it be that obsession on sexuality is putting something else before God?

There is a “war on women.”  (Therefore, on men, too.)  Dear parents!  Which of us wants to put a daughter at risk?  To sexualize her… and tantalize boys and men?  To distort both male and female ideas of what real women are actually like?  To deceive all the way to the pharmacy… the abortion clinic… or where after that?

Resources for you to consider:
Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up
(a ten-lesson Bible study for girls) (Available here)
Titus 2 for Life, a mentoring ministry

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The word “male” (Genesis 1:27), from the Hebrew word zakar, could be translated: “the remembering one.  Isn’t this a strange description for the male?   What is it that God wants man to remember?

God’s wants man to remember His Story (history).  His instructions for life.  His warnings away from death.  Just as Adam passed on God’s Word to Eve, so is man to pass on God’s Word to his family today — sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters.  Whoa.  Stop.  Adam passed on God’s Word to Eve?

Based on Genesis 1:27, I used to assume that God made man and woman at the same time.  That God instructed them both not to eat of the one tree.  That in choosing to do so, they would know good and evil… and die.  I was ignorant of God’s Word.  I was guilty of reading one passage, but not another.  God uses the first part of Genesis, chapter 2, to give more detail on His creation.  God didn’t create man and woman at the same time — or in the same way or for the same purpose.  Eve had not yet come to be when God gave the man His instructions for life and warnings against death.  She learned of God’s Word from man.  And, in God’s order of things, she would be privileged to help him remember it.  Trust it.  Use it.

One day, Satan slithered right past the man to deceive the woman.  The twister of Truth knew that Adam was entrusted with the responsibility of remembering God’s Word so he flattered the woman.  Put her in the role of leader.  Perhaps intoxicated by this attention, she disobeyed God and doubted His Word.  In doubt, she was foolishly emboldened to not only speak for God but add her own words as if they were His.  Eve’s words should have been to her husband.  She should have beseeched him to remember God’s Word and use it to engage the enemy.  Instead, she chose to tempt man to also eat of forbidden fruit.   Adam could have resisted.  Turned Satan on his tail.  But, failing to remember God’s Word and use it, the man was ill-equipped to cover his wife.  Lead away from danger.  God held man responsible because he failed to remember.  To act.  To engage the liar with Truth.  To bring order out of chaos.

It all could have ended there.  But, God’s love for His creation endures forever.  He promised that another Man would come.   The Man who would remember the Word and use it to cover every sinful man, woman, and child.  That Man is the Word.  The Word sent from the Father to be the Savior from sin.  In Jesus Christ, man has new opportunity to remember the Word and use it.  And woman remains privileged to help man remember.

How does she do this?

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tear it down (Proverbs 12:1).

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life . . . she opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue . . . the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31).  (Note: She deserves to be praised not because she is so amazing, but because she is not deceived by the world.*)

She is reverent in behavior, not a slanderer or slave to much wine.  She teaches what is good, and so trains the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands [as to God], that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:3-5).

Even if her husband doesn’t obey the Word, she may win him by her behavior when he sees her respectful and pure conduct . . . when she lets her adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious . . . likewise, her husband lives with her in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since she is an heir with him of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:1-7).  (No offense here!  God expresses care, not disrespect, for women because physically, women are typically smaller in size and weaker in strength which could make them vulnerable to abuse.  Husbands are not to exploit their size and strength in unkind ways.*)

A husband needs a wife who will patiently help him remember God’s Word.  Use it and pass it on.  On this earth, there is no more powerful union — for the benefit of children.  Society.  A future of hope.

*With appreciation for commentaries
from The Lutheran Study Bible

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