Image seems really important these days. The Delta Zeta Sorority at DePauw University "reorganized" and dismissed more than a hundred members. The uproar is over whether those women fit the "image" required. Here is part of a recent news article that emphasizes our fixation with the way we look:
"These days, 'American Idol' dedicates hours of airtime to auditions in which judges openly chortle and make fun of would-be contestants' looks, style and personality quirks. Taking a cue from the grocery tabloids, entertainment magazines and TV shows now regularly pick apart celebrities' appearance and attire. It's no wonder, one professor says, that students feel free to mock those who don't fit their image ideal.
"'It's out from under the rocks. They're saying what so many people think and believe,' says Thomas Cottle, an education professor at Boston University who has studied the way appearance affects public affirmation. 'It's tragic.'
"Recent studies have found that a growing number of young adults are more narcissistic and materialistic than their predecessors. And more of them are seeking spa treatments, plastic surgery and anti-aging remedies at younger and younger ages. It's gotten to the point that image is the 'currency' on which youth culture runs, says Jessica Weiner, a Los Angeles-based author and public speaker who specializes in young people and self-esteem. 'We have flung so far out of control in this society based on appearances,' Weiner says. 'We're incredibly more focussed on image than we were even 10 years ago.'
"The problems come when people get so wrapped up in image that they lose themselves. 'They're trying to emulate an image given to them that's really not encouraging them to discover who they are, truthfully,' Weiner says."
Does it improve our spiritual health and well-being to improve our image? This is a trick question. See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 for one possible answer.
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek