I'm reading a Brennan Manning book called "A Glimpse of Jesus." It's a short book, set up in a series of small essays . . . beautiful, rambling thoughts. You get that I enjoy rambling prose, right? Ok, good.

For the purpose of the narrative, Manning has dubbed Jesus "the stranger to self-hatred," and it makes total sense.

Manning writes this, "The unflinching, unwavering love and compassion of Jesus Christ, the stranger to self-hatred, is the ultimate source of our healing and wholeness."

Do you worry about being beautiful? Do you worry about being handsome? Are you hyper critical of yourself, and therefore spend tons of time thinking about what other people are thinking about you?

Hi. My name is Sarah, and I have a HUGE problem with worrying about what other people think about me. It takes way too much of my time.

Isaiah 53: 1-3 says all of this about the source of our hope . . . "Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."

God has not sought to qualify God's self as a human by way of a perfect body, a pile of professional contacts, or a list of friends with powerful community positions. 

When God enters the human scene in the shape of a person, it is done with no visual beauty. It is a truthfulness. It is a demand for us to look past the things we've become obsessed with.

I knew a woman named Peggy when I was in college. She was beautiful. She sang in the first church choir I worked for. Her house was a short walk from the church. She fed many of us every Sunday afternoon. She ran errands for other people. She baked bread constantly so that a loaf could be given to anyone who visited the church. She was older, but she seemed younger than my 20 year old self. Such a joyful energy about her. 

I miss her all the time.

Peggy passed away just a week after I graduated from college. It was a tragic car accident. The phone call was a shock. Robbie and I rushed back to Virginia for the celebration of her life. Our minister, David, shared a detail that I loved so much during his reflection on her life.

He said that she walked every day. But she did not walk so that she would look better. She walked so that she could keep her body healthy, so that she could go on cooking for people, running errands for people, caring for children, etc. When talking about her walking ritual, that's how she would talk about it. It was a matter of making herself ready to serve others.

We have nothing to earn with our pursuit of physical perfection or professionalism. These can become idols. I don't think the danger in worshiping other stuff is some kind of inherent evil - I believe it's dangerous to our health as people. And God knows that.

A world full of air brushing and auto tuned singers makes us think that we have to be that way on our own.

This song isn't auto tuned. I promise. If you listen to my CD . . . there's some auto tune. I am not going to lie to you. I don't sound that good on my own. This is what I really, really sound like.

God loves me just like this!!!

God loves you just like this!!!

He came to visit us with no physical beauty and no human success. Only a divine love of everything that is honest and plain.

Peace and Goodness to you in the name of Jesus Christ - the human form of God, who has asked us only to be honest.

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