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Archive for August, 2017

DO I LOOK ALL RIGHT?

 

“She really lights up a room.”

Said no one ever, about me.

“Serious.”
“Gets the job done.”
“Outspoken.”
“Tall.”
Maybe “Funny…”

Those were more likely.

Like many of you, I’ve given a lot of thought to how I appear to other people. The impression I make. My appearance. From the agonizing adolescence years to the grandmother years, there have always been cultural standards that I’m pretty sure I haven’t met. At least in my own estimation.

When I was teaching at The Blake School, I remember how much physical appearance affected student perceptions when watching a movie from an earlier era:

“Geez, look at that hair!”
“Could his tie be WIDER? That is hilarious.”
“That dress! Could there be MORE ruffles on that thing?”

When I told them that years from now teenagers would be laughing hysterically at THEIR hair and clothes, they refused to believe it. Because their look was definitive. Forever.

Right.

I have been wrestling with Moses this week, and how he looked to his followers coming down from the mountain after receiving the Ten Commandments. In a lot of Renaissance art, he is depicted as having horns but this appears to be a possible mistranslation by St. Jerome and the word in question actually means “shining.”

Talk about being misunderstood…

The theologian Richard Rohr gives this interpretation of the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3): “We are called to let go our our self-image, our status symbols our false self. It will die anyway. So don’t make anything absolute when it is only relative.”

The right physical appearance seems to be an absolute in our culture. What are the absolutes in your own life that are really only relative? That you have elevated to an almost godly status?

And how’s that working for you?

See you in church. (I’ll be wearing white.)

Barbara

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