Working in a restaurant, I see a lot of …interesting people.
I’ve never forgotten the transgendered "man" (woman?) who was
seated at one of my tables last summer.
She was born a woman, clearly. Petite, brunette, even pretty.
Except for the flimsy "moustache" and "goatee" of a
testosterone-ridden 8th grader. She looked to be a mechanic or something,
wearing dirty jeans, tank top and flannel overshirt. Her hands were
strangely feminine, but clearly had seen a lot of work and not much soap before
coming to lunch that day. Media and cultural ideals of feminine beauty certainly
were things she had overcome.
She was clearly trying not to be a woman, but she was obviously NOT passing
for a man.
So when another woman trying to pass herself off as a man, using the title of
Reverend and "pastoring" a couple churches in Iowa, gives advice on
what a woman’s true beauty is according to God at the ELCA’s Cafe
(a.k.a. big fat barrel o’ fish), I was sadly not surprised that the entire
article failed to mention Jesus, much less the Cross. Yet she purports to
tell others what God has to say about the matter apart from Christ.
Bemoaning the media and the unattainable ideals it sets before women, she
makes passing reference to God but only to comment about how unconditionally He
This certainly can't be what the God of Peace intends for us. We were created in God's image, weren't we? Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, aren't they? So if we hate our bodies, as our culture's media encourages us to do, does that mean we hate God? Is that like saying, "God, your creation isn't good enough. I'd love you more if I looked better in a miniskirt?”
Yep. That’s what we say. We hate God. We arrogantly tell
Him just what He needs to do in our lives to get us to love Him more. And
being the superficial, appearance-driven women that we are, who wouldn’t love
God more if He made us supermodel drop dead gorgeous? I know I certainly
The author says that body image is a faith issue. "As a matter of faith, it is imperative that we make peace with our bodies, that we actively reject this destructive ideal, and embrace ourselves as unconditionally as God does."
This is misleading. Maybe even a logical fallacy. How does
God embrace us? Sure, red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in
His sight…He doesn’t care what we look like. God still loves us when
we’re feeling fat (even if we are!). But He does not love us
unconditionally because we are somehow just so unconditionally loveable He can’t
help Himself. This "pastor" neglects to tell her readers that
God loves us unconditionally – in Christ. It is only because of Christ
that God loves us at all. Not because we’re pretty or have healthy body
images or reject the media’s standard of beauty.
Scripture tells us that Christ has sanctified and cleansed His Bride with the
washing of water by the Word (Baptism) where also He gives her His perfect
beauty, "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
(Eph 5:26-27) You don’t get more beautiful than that. We look in the
mirror and see all our blemishes, wrinkles, flab, cellulite, stretch marks –
nothing but flaws. Christ looks on us and says, "Not my
Bride. My beautiful Bride doesn’t have any flaws. No spots,
wrinkles…not even sins. I took them all to the Cross for
I agree with the author. Beauty is a faith issue. But it’s not a
matter of convincing ourselves to make peace with our bodies and the diversity
of our flaws despite all the pressure from the media to uphold an unattainable
ideal. It is not a faith issue because we believe ourselves to be
beautiful. Beauty is a faith issue because only by faith do we believe
what God says about us in Christ. Only by faith alone do we receive His beauty, won for us on the Cross and delivered to us in the waters of our
In Christ, God says you’re beautiful. Faith says, "Amen, I am beautiful, as you say."