Beauty – Part 2

March 28, 2008

Violet Blue, writing in the San Francisco Examiner, interviewed a Burlesque dancer who admitted the following:

“I have shared dressing rooms with thousands of ravishingly beautiful women over the last 12 years, and the one thing they all have in common is … none of them think they are beautiful enough. Our society teaches women to pick themselves to pieces, analyzing each and every feature individually and keeping a list in our minds of each and every perceived fault. No one comes out of this scenario feeling good, and when women are in this mind-set, nothing you can say will change the way they feel about themselves. Believe me, I’ve tried. (Have you noticed that most women will argue with you when you give them a compliment rather than just saying ‘thank you’?)

What is this “our society” that she criticizes as the real culprit? Some would say it is men who ogle women and comment on their physical attributes out loud as if they were examining horses at a sale. Others would say it is the millions of women who analyze models to death and love reality shows that parade “almost perfect” women to discover their flaws. Some blame their mothers, others their fathers. There are some who see advertising and television as the villains and still others who find the source of physical self-hatred in the school system.

Who is to blame?

Might it just be “beauty” itself? I think there is an existence or thing we can call “perfect beauty” which none of us attain. Just as there is a holiness that sin has put out of our reach (apart from the gift of God in Jesus), so too there is a beauty that we cannot get a hold of because sin has mostly ripped it away from us.

As I said last time, when man sinned, the consequence was that we were lead down a garden path. At the end of that path is an idea that the physical realm is the only reality. Or if not the only reality, the only reality that we can evaluate. The naturalist would say: “Prove the existence of any other reality and then I will believe”. What they mean by that is “reduce any other reality to physical laws and I will accept it.” That, of course, is ludicrous.

Keats said “Beauty is Truth and Truth, Beauty. That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.” He did not mean Truth in the absolute sense, but naturally verified truth…as in “how many legs does a spider have” and “what colors are represented in this sunset”. Being a naturalist, he believed that all matter is beauty.

Tell that to the burlesque dancer with legs that go on forever and she will ask “do these sequins make my butt look too big?” She doesn’t believe all matter is beauty and I suspect that when Keats looked at other women as he was walking down the road with his wife, he didn’t believe it either.

I do remember that moment I held my first child while his body was greasy with afterbirth and his lungs were filling up with air and emptying with wails for the first times. My wife was being cared for and the nursing staff rushed around oblivious to me and my son. I held John and looked into his eyes for the first time. There was nothing for me to see that was appealing. He looked like an overdone lobster. He was messy, noisy, squirmy, and he made me nervous. But for a moment, I saw another realm leaking through. There was a glimpse of beauty, a Shining that came through him. I was tied to him as tightly as my Father in Heaven is tied to me. All three of us were joined and I felt “beauty” as a reality. It was like that moment when looking into a “Magic Picture” where your focus catches the real picture. That is what happened when I caught Beauty in my soulsight.

Beauty lasts…it cannot fade, since it is permanent…but my focus went elsewhere after awhile. I have caught other glimpses of Beauty at the strangest moments. So have you.


  1. This may have been your point in Beauty-1, but do you think our search for and obsession with beauty is our spirit’s recognition that something is not as it should be? Just as so many people are attempting to fill their spiritual void with religions and “spirituality”, is our spirit searching for the beauty of us before the fall?

  2. Aaron, I think that is a lot of the real answer. Beauty still leaks into our world, but to say (as the pantheists do) that all things are beautiful both demeans “beauty” and denies what our hearts know: That there is something we have all lost.

  3. If I remember correctly, John Eldredge hits this topic a lot in his books and ministry. I think he would agree that perfect female beauty was lost in the garden. Eve was perfection in womanhood. Originally, I believe she was a stunning crazy-hot beauty who had a saintly heart. Someone said (I am paraphrasing) women are a mystery to be enjoyed not a problem to be fixed. I think that is how God intended them to be. But we know the story, Eve was convinced that she was not happy with the status quo, ans so, she made the fateful decision to disobey God.

    I think Eldredge holds that because of the fall, women (all of Eve’s decendents) lost the confidence in their perfect beauty. As a result they have filled the loss with a lot of other crap. The one I see the most is women who have a desire to control everything and everyone around them. They like to think they are take-charge people. Otheres fill the loss of confident beauty with whatever poison looks good at the moment. In the church, you see a lot of women trying to fill the void through servile behavior (another of Eldredge’s observations). Some women fill it vicariously with their children. Some fill it with men and sex. Some fill it with work, food, drugs, alcohol, relationships, cell phone relationships, incessant complaining, a sharp tongue, or whatever.

    We long for that ideal beautiful bride, but she is lost to us. And most of us men do not have the stones to intervene with our wives and girlfriends. We might fight with them (when we should fight for them) for a few seasons, but we eventually give up and withdraw; better not to rock the boat. Many women need an intervention. Who is going to do it?

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