Deep Strength has had a number of excellent posts in the last week. In deciding whether to respond to them or not, I was prompted search scripture as a foundation for any future posts. I would first recommend reading his post on the purpose of prayer, as it is an excellent place to start with scripture.
In his post Shallowness is False Humility, Deep Strength addresses the subject of beauty and how desiring it is not shallow. In the spirit of his post, I will mention a few verses from scripture which seem on point:
17 Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand,
so is a beautiful face on a stately figure.
18 Like golden pillars on silver bases,
so are shapely legs and steadfast feet.
These verses compare a woman’s beauty with the beauty of God’s temple. Since admiring the beauty of God’s temple isn’t shallow, and female beauty is compared to that of God’s temple, I dare say it it isn’t shallow to value beauty in a woman, either.
27 A woman’s beauty lights up a man’s face,
and there is nothing he desires more.
Don’t see anything about beauty and shallowness there.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
May her breasts satisfy you at all times;
may you be intoxicated always by her love.
And of course, Proverbs goes so far as to remind men to enjoy the beauty of their wife, and to find satisfaction there (and not elsewhere). If one carefully examines Scripture, you can see that most of the “warnings” about beauty aren’t that it is shallow, but that it can entrap the unwary man should he be blinded by the beauty of a wicked woman. Proverbs 31 also has the additional reminder that it is fleeting; a reminder which encourages men to look for something longer lasting- fear of the Lord. Many of the holy women in the Old Testament are reckoned as beautiful, and that is never held against them.
In his next post, The three big elephants in the Christian dating and marriage room, DS examines the issues of attraction, the feminization of the church, and the lack of mentorship. The latter two deserve a full post, so I will address solely attraction. Specifically, I wanted to reiterate my statement earlier that many of the holy women in the Old Testament were recognized as beautiful. That was clearly something important. But men too received recognition for things that rendered them attractive.
Joseph, son of Jacob, was a handsome man:
5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge; and, with him there, he had no concern for anything but the food that he ate.
Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking.
As was King David:
12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”
(1 Samuel 16:12)
Of course, Looks isn’t the only thing in a man’s favor. The other attributes in the LAMPS/PSALM model can also render a man attractive. Such was the case for an ancestor of King David, Boaz:
Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.
Both Money/wealth and Status make a more more sexually attractive. Here they favored Boaz, who married the widowed Ruth. Sadly, such details as I’ve highlighted before are not merely taken for granted, but overlooked in the modern Church. No good has come of it.
Finally, Deep Strength’s most recent post addresses the issue of obesity in the West, primarily America. While bad education is a part of this, gluttony and sloth play significant roles. A few verses to keep in mind:
Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me,
and do not give me over to shameless passion.
and further on in Sirach:
12 Are you seated at the table of the great?
Do not be greedy at it,
and do not say, “How much food there is here!”
13 Remember that a greedy eye is a bad thing.
What has been created more greedy than the eye?
Therefore it sheds tears for any reason.
19 How ample a little is for a well-disciplined person!
He does not breathe heavily when in bed.
20 Healthy sleep depends on moderate eating;
he rises early, and feels fit.
The distress of sleeplessness and of nausea
and colic are with the glutton.
(Sirach 31:12-13, 19-20)
Our bodies do not belong to us. They belong to God, as does all things. We must take care of them , or else we might suffer the fate of the wicked servant from Matthew 25.