Archive for October, 2008

Survival of the prettiest

October 10, 2008
Will Jesus like what he sees?

What would Jesus see?

For a school that didn’t teach evolution, the rules for survival were harsh in charm class.

Early in the Christian Charm Manual, the sweet girlies are instructed to muse: “Does my face reflect the image of Christ’s beauty within me?” This lesson contains a one-two pretty punch: Step one, invite Jesus into your heart … Step two, be sure you’re attractive.

This page spells out the prayer of confession. But the Charm Marm doesn’t settle for mere conversion. Immediately below the prayer is the following pronouncement:

The above prayer of commitment is an important step in the development of inner beauty. When a girl’s heart has found peace with God, harsh tension lines relax; a new softness and gentleness appears; a lovely new radiance and glow – the light of His glory – shines through from within. Yes, a NEW LOOK WITHIN and a NEW LOOK WITHOUT go hand in hand. To be truly attractive, a girl must have both!

Now this is shocking beyond belief. And I do mean “beyond belief” in so many ways. Can you imagine Jesus admonishing Peter, James, John, Mary or Martha about their attractiveness?

  • You must give away your goods to the poor – except for those face creams. You’re going to need those later backstage at our Disciples Who Glow talent contest.
  • Yea verily, all you need is faith the size of a mustard seed … and a whole new look. For I say unto you, you cannot have new life within and wrinkles without.
  • Blessed are those of you who are truly attractive – I’ve got some extra loaves and fishes for you later.

Clearly, it’s ridiculous; nonetheless, somehow many of us are convinced – in more subtle ways, typically – through our religious programming to look outside of ourselves for validation. When we’re persuaded that how we look matters, our psyche assumes we need outside approval for other facets of our lives, too. Many of us who grew up in fundamentalist organizations realize at some point in our lives that we’re always looking externally for approval or for answers. As a result, we’ve given away our own power, bit by bit.

Undo the Charm Marm: Ignore your critics and listen to yourself. Seriously. You can start by simply sitting quietly whenever you can sneak in a few minutes. Ask yourself how you’ve forfeited your authority by looking to others for approval. Nothing that’s external – whether it’s how you look or where you live – matters as much as that quiet space within yourself. This is your inner wisdom becoming your companion again. This is you and your soul getting back in touch. This is something to write home from charm school about.

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Blessed are the ironic

October 5, 2008

Fresh theology from Blue Q

Today’s charm school break is sponsored by faux holy soap.

While scrubbing is not a recommended technique for soul-care, irony is. In my quest to un-do my religious programming and find an authentic way of being on the planet, I’ve read dozens and dozens and probably hundreds of ponderous books, many of which were quite brilliant and helpful.

I’ve read books by scholarly heavyweights and quirky revolutionaries, by theologians and atheists, by mystics and poets, by priests and psychologists. But as it turns out, a tube of lip balm can also speak volumes.

My cheeky “Looking Good for Jesus” balm is “virtuous vanilla” flavor and promises to help me “be worthy” and “be noticed.” Turns out all of that effort in churchy charm school could have been replaced by judicious beauty purchases.

Guilt, begone!

Lots of Blue Q products offer the same sense of whimsical detachment, in fact. Nothing makes me feel better about personal germ dispersal than my “Wash Away Your Sins” towelettes, scented with heavenly Easter lilies and guaranteed to help me “go forth purified and moisturized.”

Sure, it’s hard work to keep digging until you hit spiritual pay dirt, but a bit of wit along the way propels you with pure charm-i-ness. Besides, you know you could use an extra lip balm (it’s SPF 18, for goodness sake!) and anti-bacterial towelettes to keep in your car. It’s just plain good sense.

And it’s exactly what the Charm Marm wouldn’t order.