Friday, October 05, 2007

"Mommy Jobs" and the Refusal to Accept the Process of Aging

I recently read a story in the New York Times about a new surgical phenomenon known as "Mommy jobs" in which women who have given birth to children undergo surgery costing in the tens of thousands of dollars to reshape their body according to pre-pregnancy standards. The story is worth the few moments' time it takes to read as it illuminates our culture's obsession with physical beauty.

Surgeries of this type represent a revolt against the established order of creation. They show us that the mere potential to do something is not a sign of its inherent goodness. In an age of incredible technical innovation and medical facility, one is confronted with an array of choices that previous generations knew nothing of. Those with money possess the ability to continually reshape and renew their bodies--or at least to look as if they are doing this. The ability to do something--to have one's body reshaped, for example, following pregnancy--does not suggest that such action is inherently good. We have to be careful about the choices we face in this modern era. Does this action represent a conscionable and understandable choice? Or does it signify a small revolt against the God-imposed standards of this world? Few today even remotely consider such questions. But we Christians must.

It is frightening to think of the effects of such cultural practices upon the church. It is growing increasingly hard for the church to find common cultural ground with the world. Christian women who adhere to biblical teaching will, I would predict, find themselves increasingly alienated from their unsaved peers. This will present Christian women with challenges they may not yet face. Taking the matter mentioned above, Christian women may well end up looking very different from unsaved women in their communities, particularly in wealthy areas. Perhaps we are not very far from being able to identify believing women by their appearance. Crow's feet, gray hair, and a transformed body as the result of pregnancy may not simply reveal that a woman is aging. These features may reveal that a woman is a believer. I'm guessing that we are a ways off from such polarization, but who knows? Who knows what the future, drenched in paganism, holds?

We in the church must not simply wring our hands over the beauty-obsessed culture we live in. We must embrace aging and the design of God that is clearly present in aging. You and I were not made to be immortal. We were not to be perpetual coeds, living and acting and looking as if we're lifelong college students. Youth can boast of vigor and freshness, yes, but the aged know dignity and poise, gracefulness and classiness. May Christians remember this. May we echo the scriptures and see gray hair as a crown. May we see crow's feet as the sign of a life long and well-lived. May we praise a woman who has given up her youthful figure in order to bring children into this world. Such things, such features, are not dishonorable or ugly. In the eyes of God, they are beautiful, the mark of a soul committed to God and the natural order of all things in a fallen world. May we see ourselves through these eyes.


Blogger Dad said...

Of course this does not pertain to just "moms", but I think we can see a lot of such things going on in the 'church' already. How many Christian families have just one or two kids? (deliberately)? What is this a sign of? How about the issue, for both parents, of how much each works and why? How do Christian parents entertain themselves? How do Christian parents take care of their parents? Just to name a few points that quickly come to mind.

We find that we have to wrestle with similar issues all of time, and it is so easy to just 'sanctify' what the world is doing - plug in a few godly reasons for doing something - rather than live by faith - trust and obeying God in all things in a fallen world.

I think some women don't look like they have had a lot of kids when they really have. This would be a very fleshly standard to judge whether a woman is conforming to the world or not.

May God bless and keep you.

Al (Not Owen's dad or that other "Al".)

4:55 AM  

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