Thursday, July 15, 2010

John Chrysostom & Our Female Body-Consciousness

On Barbie's blog The Mary Mission, she posted a letter written by John Chrysostom in 390 AD. I was so inspired and encouraged by this, as it applies to the modern day woman (and the always popular topic of modesty!), despite being such an old document. (I guess women have been the same throughout the generations! haha)

Just read this with an open mind, as it can be a little harsh, but really think about it in relation to your own life and your own body issues. Do you ever feel "not pretty"? Do you think you need to dress in the latest fashions to impress someone? Do you ever leave the house without makeup or is that just unheard-of? After my first year in college my self confidence plummeted (as discussed in earlier posts) and I became obsessed with looking my best. But in we not look our best when we are in our "natural state"? The body God put us in? The one He hand crafted for you? So give yourself a little break and don't believe the media...we do not need makeup, or fancy clothes, or awesome hair to be beautiful. God made you the way you are because He saw beauty in His design and His creation in you!

I don't believe makeup is "evil", but when used with the wrong intentions...and when applied in certain can really be a stumbling block for our brothers in Christ!! Do everything in life in moderation and abandon the urge to change yourself so others will be attracted to you (boys) or jealous of you (girls). When we exude confidence in our God given bodies and features, we truly are beautiful and powerful. We don't need to succumb to the world's standards to find self-worth, because we know we're worth so much already: our God desires us and OUR love so badly! So liberate yourselves (funny how feminism says we need to liberate ourselves through the objectification of our bodies...psh) and people will see your beauty...inside and out!


I wish you women not only to abstain from other hurtful practices (here he has thus far talked about not practicing exterior adornment by the wearing of comely, expensive clothes but rather simple modesty) but also from the practice of painting your faces and adding to them, as though the workmanship were defective. By doing so you insult the Workman. For what are you trying to do, woman? By using rouge and eyeshadow you cannot add to your natural beauty nor change your natural ugliness, can you? These add nothing to the beauty of your face, but they will destroy the beauty of your soul. For this meddling with nature testifies to your interior weakness. Especially are you heaping abundant fire for yourself by exciting the looks of young men, and attracting for yourself the eyes of the undisciplined; by making complete adulterers of them you are bringing their downfall onto your own head.
It is fitting and helpful to abstain from this practice entirely. But if those women who are caught in the grip of this evil habit should be unwilling to give up the use of cosmetics, at least let them not use them when they come to the house of prayer.
Why, tell me, when you come to church, do you adorn yourself this way? You have come to worship God and to make confession to Him in atonement for your sins. Does He look for this beauty? No. He seeks the beauty from within, he looks for activity which expresses itself in good deeds: almsgiving, temperance, compunction and strict faith. . You have forsaken these virtues, and you are trying to trip up many of the careless ones, even in church! By what thunderbolts do these actions deserve to be punished? You arrive in port and cause your own shipwreck. If some women in the past were so careless of their own salvation, let them now be persuaded to rid themselves of this outrageous practice. If the Apostle (Paul) forbade the use of expensive clothing, much more would he forbid the use of cosmetics and eyeshadow.
-from his baptismal instructions, given at Antioch 390 AD

1 comment:

NeverEver said...

beautiful sentiment and I agree 100%!!