Do we value beauty and appearance in the church more than we care to admit?
Ever prayed more for someone just because they’re hot?
Come on, I’ve done that too. Let’s not act like we’re above judging looks here. We give more cred to someone based on their defined jawline and bigger bra size than their less tangible patience and hospitality and compassion.
A very fleshy part of our human nature presumes good-looking people are also just good, or less good-looking people don’t really count somehow.
In church it’s easy to ask for prayer requests from the well-off, well-dressed, clean-cut, easily approachable mid-20s demographic.
Not the weird cat lady off the street, not the dude with the one rotten tooth who talks up a storm, not the pale socially awkward kid who says dorky things.
Most Christian books have the same problem: They’re geared to that same easygoing group of believers who attend the same megachurch in a crimeless, suburban, gated neighborhood with the sparkling 2.5 kids and Hollywood-acceptable appearance, but they have nothing to say for the sick, struggling, screwed-up former addict who can’t find a job because he just “looks wrong.”
Wired into all our unaware brains is the deception that appearance means more than it should: But if I could give you a pair of X-ray goggles, you’ll see a bunch of skeletons with the same hopes, dreams, ambitions, anxieties and worries everyone else has too.
That 17-year-old, pimply kid who loves Call of Duty is the same bag of meat and bones as the athletic football captain with the perfect hair; that girl who everyone hates because of her so-called overweight body could just as easily have been the same girl with the slightly higher cheekbones who runs the gang of cheerleaders.
You can honk your car horn at the punk teenager on his skateboard crossing the street, but wave at the old lady on her walker—when both are just people who run deeper than what you see.
Take a spiritual x-ray and we all have the same vacuum of eternity within our souls with the same desperate longing inside. You and I could do way better than our visual addiction to all things sight, and instead see by vision.
I’ve mentioned this one before: In a famous psychology experiment, a group of men were given pictures of women they would call over the phone and strike up a friendship.
The pictures were not really of the women.