Our duet went well — some pulled out their handkerchiefs and some sang along, the two best responses you can get in church — and the sermon was thought-provoking as always, but the part of yesterday’s church experience that is lingering in my mind came in Sunday School.
The lesson was about body image. Leprosy, as it happened, but one of the discussion questions was “Is there anything about your body that makes you self-conscious?”
If you ask that question in a group of women, you are likely to get answers of such specificity that it boggles the mind. It seems that there is nothing women can’t obsess about in this arena. But this Sunday School class is largely populated by old women. One said she couldn’t run any more — sometimes she dreamt of running, but her legs just wouldn’t do that any more. Another said her skin has gotten so thin that she bleeds if she touches anything in passing, and it makes her self-conscious when it happens in public.
Puts those “I don’t like my arms” whines in perspective, eh?
But one woman said that she wished her body was firmer. I was aghast. Sure, there are parts of my body I’d like to have firmer, but surely when you are 80, you can give that up and just be thankful that you have all your body parts?
Then came the next question: “Should a Christian’s attitude toward her body be different from an unbeliever’s?”
We were a little stunned. A Christian’s attitude toward her body — that’s easy, if you accept the Bible as instructions. Proverbs 31 tells us that we should strengthen our arms and be vigorous and energetic, which I take to mean that we should stay fit and healthy. The Song of Solomon tells us to enjoy our bodies. All over the Bible you’ll find that you are supposed to be pretty impressed with your body — God is not one of those shy retiring creators who doesn’t want admiration. And the injunction against covetousness makes it pretty clear that you are not supposed to be wishing you had Angelina Jolie’s body instead of your own.
But what attitude should the woman who is not Christian have? Well, is that any of my business? Are we prepared to say that unbelievers are stuck with their magazine-driven self-loathing, but Christians should appreciate and care for their bodies as a gift from God?
So I contemplated that as I enjoyed the afternoon. The Empress and That Man came by for some herbs. Toby the stupid dog barked at them, as is his wont, but then they started petting him, and he gazed lovingly into their eyes, put his head on their knees, and growled at them.
Toby is often pulled in two directions. Being a dog of very little brain, he cannot make up his mind, but just goes in both directions at once.
Then Partygirl called (and expressed surprise that I had actually answered the phone) with a suggestion for The Princess’s bridal shower. Since she is already having several showers (she is a sorority girl), Partygirl proposes having a Spice Up Your Marriage shower. This is where everyone brings a recipe and a spice.
#2 daughter had asked me to copy out all the family recipes for her, so I set off to find a good book for the purpose of copying, and a recipe album for The Princess’s shower, and was successful with both elements of the quest.
Thus it was that I spent the evening copying out recipes rather than knitting, and have no new progress to show to you.