First off, thank you women's ministry. This is a week that NEEDS to happen. For those of you that are unaware, as most who read this probably are, this week is Beauty Week at Taylor University. Most of the girls' wings are covering mirrors in the bathrooms and using these kinds of symbolic actions to start conversations about what real beauty is. Friday night, we had our wing "retreat" (the quotes mean that we didn't really go anywhere, we just stayed in our hallway--which was awesome). To start the evening, we were given a list of questions, there were 7 or 8, but i got stuck, and stayed awhile, on the first one--"What is beauty?" As a philosophy major, my first thought was that of my own opinion concerning Aesthetics. For a while i've spouted off, when asked this question, that beauty is the sum of an objects inherent truth and goodness. I was inclined to leave it at that, until I realiezed that i REALLY had no idea concept of what that meant, especially with regards to people. Here is what i journaled:
If beauty is a combination of one's inherent goodness and truth, then how do we become beautiful?
"I was beautiful, i suppose, originally, but now i'm rendered ugly by the fall. We've been told since we were little "you're special" and "you're beautiful"...but thats just not true. We can't be any of that, not if we believe the words of the Bible.
God is good. God is truth. I am not good. I am not truth.
Perhaps in drawing closer to that truth, found in the person of Jesus Christ, we move towards the good that God created us to be.
Christ in us is beautiful. Without his truth and a return to our lost goodness, we are not beautiful."
When i reflected on this tonight, i realized that we must, as women, as people, have a way to relate to others, knowing that they, themselves, are not beautiful, but instead that the love of Christ has given each person the opportunity to be beautiful. I started in Song of Solomon, and I found a verse that didn't sit right with me at first...
"All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you.." (S of S 4:7)
[As the lover speaks to the one he loves, he sees no flaw, not an accurate representation of how the woman really is...flawed. We have full knowledge of these flaws in that....
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23)
[This woman, who is seen as perfect, is really not. Perhaps she is seen this way because...
"Above all, love eachother deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins..."(1 Peter 4:8)
[It is the the love that this man has for this woman that makes him see her as flawless, without sin. Not unlike how...
"God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us..." (Romans 5:8)
[Ergo, God's love for us, makes us beautiful.]
We are called to be like Jesus, so who are we to exclude people from the title "beautiful"? Our love for people affirms their beauty. Affirming their beauty, however, is not loving them. Affirming the beauty of the one who has, by his love, made them beautiful, and reflecting that love, does, in turn, affirm a person's beauty.
Who are we to emphasize the beauty of creation, and not the creator?
Another thought that i had, rather platonic in nature, i suppose, was that the beauty we cling to is such a shadow. As in Plato's allegory of the cave, we know only the representation of something much more real. Women, and men too, will strive and strive for all that they think is "beautiful," when in actuality, they are grasping at shadows that point to the greater beauty that is to be found in Jesus. Shadows, by nature, only point to something more. If you see a shadow of beauty and work feverishly to attain it, you might. The problem lies in the fact that we don't understand that as much as we try to attain the beauty found in the shadow, its not the real deal. It points to something that we don't have. We will always fall short of what we strive for. It is important to use the shadow to understand the real object of beauty, but contentment will never be found in the shadow. Basically, good luck trying to become beautiful on your own, because if you do "succeed,"you won't be happy. Or, i suppose you may be "happy," but thats just a shadow of joy. :) And on and on it goes, living a shadowy life, never attaining the fullness that life was intended for.
[and again, i've landed on the topic of shadows and copies]
Well, thats it for now. I apologize in advance for the way i will look this week, no mirrors will do things to your appearance. No, actually, i take back that apology, maybe i'm going to, in fact, make it easier to see my beauty this week. :) Maybe, it will be easier to see all of Olson Hall's beauty this week.