“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Monday, November 5, 2018

BARRIERS TO BEAUTY

Disabilities and the modelling industry. Is it just a flash in the pan? I hope not but fear so. The concept contradicts many perceptions of beauty that do not conform to the modelling industry's constructs of perfection. There's another reason.

People with disabilities do not generally have the financial resources to have much impact as consumers. Many are just trying to survive without being concerned with high fashion. In fact, if any other segment of the population had the levels of poverty, under-employment and unemployment as people with disabilities, it would be considered a national scandal!

And yet, I applaud people with disabilities as models. Why? It chips away at so many prejudices and barriers. It challenges cultural perceptions of perfection and beauty. Beauty simply is. It is not a human construct, it is a God construct. It can transcend human definitions—and even itself—through struggle, to become a more complete beauty. Perfection can and does exist within imperfection. What is seen by the eyes is the beginning of an internal change in people's hearts. 

And when human hearts change, barriers to inclusion and acceptance can come down.  That which challenges our senses or perceptions or prejudices are often the fertile ground where real internal human growth happens. (Granted, not everything that challenges is good, that is where discernment is needed.)

Jesus described the eye as a lamp of the body. The eye is an entrance to the heart and mind and even the soul of a person.

"The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness."[1] 

He was referring to eyes that see well, and perceive well, and illuminate a person's whole being—or the opposite. It is possible to perceive darkness as light or light as darkness. Bad eyes lead to bad perceptions. 

We live in an era where that strange possibility has materialized all around us. Evil is called good and good evil. That's why the Bible must be the standard for right versus wrong, morality versus immorality, liberty versus licence. It is immutable.

Moral good is that which allows people to rise to their full potential that God intended when He created them.[2] I would even go further and say that 'good' includes encouragement and nurture of individuals to find purpose and meaning to their lives, within a prayerful and proper Biblical context. 

Part of human nurture and encouragement involves helping to clear away barriers to people reaching their
fullest potential and discover the purpose and meaning of their lives. A redefinition of beauty — both physical and in art — clears barriers that bind and restrict human development.  Then there is the worst tragedy of all. Barriers to beauty kill dreams.
MDP
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[1] Luke 11.34 & Matthew 6.22.
[2] See CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1906.

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