Sunday, October 01, 2006

where does body hair come in?

Mike helped me think through my position this evening. I started out with the presupposition that my readers would assume my view of inner beauty. I affirm what Scripture says ... especially to women ... concerning developing one's character into a beautiful sacrifice to God.

When I realized that my mention of why I (personally) wear make-up struck up controversy, I was confused.

"Surely, inner beauty is a given in this conversation!!"

But as points of view began to be fleshed out I saw more and more that everyone agreed with each other concerning the big picture and what is ultimately important.

The reason I did not start off with a soap box post about women glorifying God in their inner beauty and casting off the shakles of cultural mandates was because I have heard it again and again and again ... and I agree with it. But I decided to bring up a side issue.

Perhaps I should have started off:

"Alright, ladies, we all agree about what needs to be done to develop inner beauty, right? Now, how does the Christian woman approach the issue of the outer appearance? This is difficult to address because there are far more passages in Scripture that address the issue of inner beauty; thus, indicating it's priority in the Christian life. However, let's explore the proper Christian response to this topic of physical appearance."

The physical is a side issue that many in Evangelical circles choose to ignore (oh, besides the whole dress modestly bit). And I believe that it is essentially due to a reaction to the world. The world focuses on the body, believing from a secular worldview that the body is the sum of man, nothing more, nothing less. Evangelicals react to this by placing heavy emphasis on the spirit.

But is man not both body and spirit? We are dichotomists. Not merely body and not merely spirit.

1 Corinthians 6 and 7 approach the issue of glorifying God in one's body. Indeed, much of the passage involves sexual relations. However, the broader issue of the body is addressed. A wife's body is not her own. A husband's body is not his own. They honor one another in their bodies. Is this confined to sexual relations? ... or can the interpretation be broadened to pleasing and honoring one's husband by dressing in a manner that he appreciates?

Hmm, just a question I'm throwing out there. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

well speaking as an almost 30-years-married (yeah, that makes me very early 50s) I take care of my appearance partly because it's fun, and partly because I believe it's honouring (and helpful to) my husband if I do. Out in the world I carry Christ's name, so I seek to represent Him by what I am becoming inwardly, and I carry my husband's name, so I seek to represent him by what I am outwardly.

Stephen Newell said...

I would venture to guess that it would be a sign of a wife's respect for her husband if she dolled herself up for him. Think of it - "My love and respect for you is so deep that I want you to look at me and go 'Wow!' and me only."

I love it when my wife (married all of 4 months now) primps herself up, especially when I know she is doing it to make me go "Um, dang."

Why shouldn't a woman want to attract the attention of a man she loves and respects through physical beauty? Shouldn't that be glorifying to God that she is honoring her husband by being desirable to him?

bert said...

I thnk you are great a coming at an issue from a new ( or should I say, different) perspective. This is what keeps me coming back. Fresh outlooks at a timeless issues.

papabear said...

hrm, body hair--I think there is too much of a denigration of body hair in American culture..

Katie said...

Hmmm well take a look at Song of Solomon. The bride is ashamed of her "darkness" from working in the fields and yet Solomon finds her beautiful because of his love for her, and yet you see her mention how she takes the time to enhance the beauty that he delights in.

You rightfully say that we speak the mantra "inner beauty is worth more than outer beauty" often in the chuch and yet to ignore our bodies, which God tells us He created and formed for His delight, also neglects that man is both outer and inner. One should not be at the expense of the other and yet both have worth when we present them to God and to others.

Christina said...

Christine, Have you read For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn? You have mentioned it somewhere in your blog already. If not, check her out at Until I read that book, I didn't really understand or perhaps didn't want to understand the mind of a man when it came to their view/appreciation of physical beauty. A lot of what she discusses in the book covers issues that Christian men are ashamed of or shamed into denying or embarrassed to talk about because women often jump on the offensive so quickly. It's a quick read for whatever that's worth but it leaves behind a lot to contemplate.

ckhnat said...

Indeed, both Mike and I have read the Feldhahn's books for our respective genders. Maybe we'll do another joint post on For Women Only and For Men Only in the near future.

ckhnat said...

it's not about good looks ... it's about the *effort*