Monday, August 11, 2008

Jesus Thinks You're Pretty

Regular readers know that when beauty and religion converge, I am always interested. Perhaps it's because in an alternate reality, I am quite devoted to God:
  • The other me is a co-pastor in Illinois, who encourages people to come forward and be healed.
  • The other Peculiar Beauty blog looks abandoned but featured this quote, "the LORD is God in heaven and He does whatever He pleases." Is that really in the bible or is it the author's own take? I really don't know.
Anyway, my latest find is Ginger Garret's Beauty Secrets of the Bible. This is not a vintage book, but I never promised you that beauty has gotten less peculiar through the ages. Actually, Ginger's book is quite reasonable. The tips and suggestions have historical basis. For weight control she recommends a focus on natural foods and a mindset of relaxed gratitude. Almonds, pomegranates, figs and apricots were staples of biblical places and times, and can indeed enhance beauty. She eschews store bought skin products and instead points to honey, olive oil and goat's milk. I knew that was coming because when I purchased the book, Amazon helpfully pointed out that many other people who choose this book also purchase a particular brand of powdered goat's milk.

Ginger suggests throwing Bible Beauty parties at home for friends. You do things like make bath salts and demonstrate biblical skin care. There's a recipe for a beauty-enhancing biblical sort of trail mix of nuts, dried fruits and chocolate to serve. She offers downloadable invitations and planning materials for these parties and points out that they are very low-cost entertainment, and do not require your guests to purchase anything. I am not joking when I say this sounds like a great deal of fun. Though my friends would be startled to receive an invitation from me that included the word Bible, I'm sure.

My favorite part of the book was learning about Queen Esther who spent a full year being oiled and fed a special diet before given to the King in marriage.

There is a big love-yourself-as-God-loves-you aspect to the book and I when I visited Ginger's website I was sad to see that this is something she seems to struggle with quite a bit. In her blog post, An Open Letter to Men, she says she wears over-sized, baggy clothes whenever she goes out and writes:

I want you to know that you spoil me, in the worst sense. After you’ve stared at me, followed me down the aisle of a store, or grunted as I walked by, I detest being a woman. I wish I was anything but. I want to hide, to vomit, to shroud my face in shame.

No one likes to be grunted at, but this is so extreme, and from a woman who obviously takes time and care with her looks. It's just a complicated subject. And instead of making any grand statements, I will continue to do what I do. On a lighter note, Ginger Garrett is now the health and beauty editor of Called Magazine, The Lifestyle Magazine for Female Pastors and Women in Ministry, which will now be on my list of regular reads. A recent article on sunscreen was introduced with this biblical quote:

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.