Sunday afternoon was the 90th birthday party for my tante Leine. She is my mother's oldest sister, and like her mother before her, she is of sturdy stock. Grandma lived to be 94 and was sharp as a tack, right up to the last 9 months of her life.
I always enjoy these family times, especially now that I am older, and I attend them by choice. Its probably kind of stupid, but I'm always pleasantly surprised how we've all grown up to be real people, with opinions, experiences, and stories that we couldn't have anticipated when we first met as children in tante Leine's basement.
Last night, I got into it deep and dark with my cousin-in-law Wendy. Seems everywhere I go in recent years, people are hungering for more authenticity in their faith. We're weary of programs, image, and the perceived pressure to fit into preconceived, tidy boxes. I trust in the largeness of God whenever I encounter this. I remember how much energy Jesus spent trying to explain to the religious experts of the time that they were MISSING THE POINT of his message.
I don't want to miss the point.
Which brings me back to yesterday's conversation. It may be connected to the facts that I
(a) work at home, and (b) generally hang out with wanna-be hippies such as myself but......
I was more than a little shocked to hear her tell me about what SHE is sick of with church people. It seems that women are buying into some sort of church-lady image ideal and going so far as to pursue breast implants and liposuction.
Yeah. That'll feed the hungry.
Are we REALLY willing to spend our entire lives not admitting to one another that we're **GASP** not perfect? Are we going to minister more effectively if we're not "lacking confidence" due to our saggy breasts and doughy thighs? Maybe we should have 12 board meetings in order to launch a new church program: A beauty pagaent! Then women would have a platform from which to reach out to other women. We could all sign up for seminars to learn more about world peace. Maybe we could raise money to send some gals to Darfur to hand out some Mary Kay samples.
I'm penetent of any associations I have built between myself and this ridiculous beauty ideal that North America has paralyzed us with. Are we smart enough to know they can't take away our vote, but so stupid that we don't notice how ineffective we are when all we think about is what our bodies look like?
When you come to my 90th birthday party, may my breasts sag proudly beneath the hem of my dress. May grey haired wrinkled women surround me with their love and passion for living. May we lean into each other, lost in discussion of what a full, useful, purposeful life that God has directed us through.
Its time to get real.