Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Beauty Crowns and Bloody Crowns
When I was a little girl, I remember various people telling my parents that they should put me and my sisters in local beauty pageants. Though I know those sweet people meant well, my parents always politely refused. They did not want to get caught up in the praise of physical beauty. They did not want me or my sisters to grow up believing that our value or sense of beauty is found in how many crowns we win or how many trophies that fill our shelves. Of course, that isn't to say that you will grow up believing that way should you chose to be in a pageant, but they wanted to steer clear of such functions to protect us from the temptation. I so treasure their teaching!
A few days ago, the 2012 Miss America Pageant came on TV. Having watched the pageant years ago, I decided to go back do some studying on the history of the pageant. Then I decided to sit down and observe. I was deeply burdened - though, sadly, not surprised - at how far the organization had "evolved" since 1921. The women competing for the crown each year are very lovely and very accomplished women in today's society. They are very smart; some aspiring to be doctors, lawyers, and teachers. They have wonderful platforms such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS prevention, domestic violence, diabetes awareness, and literacy that should be encouraged. But as I sat and carefully observed every contestant, I found myself wondering "Just what part of this pageant is about providing "personal and professional opportunities for young women" or promoting "their voices in culture, politics, and the community"? The Miss America website states that the program provides "a forum for today's young women to express their viewpoints, talents and accomplishments to audiences during the telecast and to the public-at-large during the ensuing year....The Miss America Organization is one of the nation's leading achievement programs and the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance." While I believe that is wonderful, I do not see that "statement of belief" displayed on the TV. What I see is beautiful women showcasing their physical beauty, some doing so in a very provocative way.
Now, there is nothing wrong with beauty, or admiring beauty. Miss America, though, takes it a step further and, while I am not throwing stones at the organization as a whole, I have to rightly call out a grave flaw.
This blog post isn't about the world's fixation with external beauty. It isn't about how difficult it is for girls and women to see themselves as beautiful in today's society when they are smacked in the face with the Miss America's that are a representative of "today's woman." It isn't about how the very organization that promotes a woman's intellect places the interview score barely above talent, evening wear, and swimsuit.
This post isn't about how many preliminary pageants have been held on Baptist campuses. ---leaving that one alone for now---
And while I believe that no Christian woman of God should "strut their stuff" in fashionable underwear in front of dozens, hundreds, thousands, and nevertheless millions, this blog post isn't even about that. I have posted so much on modesty, that it is - and should be - VERY obvious how I feel about the swimsuit competition that is masked as "physical fitness." If you know me or have spent time browsing this blog, than it is very clear how I feel about both. So I will let past posts speak for themselves on those subjects for now. This post is about something else.
Fifty-three girls competed for Miss America's crown last Saturday; each of whom already own at least one other crown from their state's preliminary competition. Many others all over the world compete for the title crown of Miss World, Miss Universe, etc. I remember when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a princess. Golly, I'm 25 years old and I STILL want to be a princess! What girl doesn't want a crown? There is something so royal and dignified about wearing one. I'm sure each of those fifty-three girls - and all the other "Miss" winners in the past - thoroughly enjoyed wearing their crown. I know that if I had one, I would likely be wearing it while folding laundry or grocery shopping!
But there are other crowns....
There is a crown of rejoicing - (1 Thessalonians 2:19 - "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?")
There is a crown of righteousness - (2 Timothy 4:8 - "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.")
There is a crown of life - (James 1:12 - "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.")
There is a crown of glory - (1 Peter 5:4 - "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.")
And then there is a crown that nobody would EVER want to wear. Yet, it was worn by our Savior. There is a crown of thorns that was once violently placed upon the Lord's head 2,000 years ago. Though He was King of all, that crown was put upon Him as a cruel mockery. His royalty was laughed to scorn. His crown was not one of shimmering gold, but of painful thorns that dug into His head and caused blood to pour down His face.
I am guilty of desiring a pretty crown of jewels over my Lord's crown.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 tells us that so many in this life are running the race for their own praise. They are going about their Christian life trying to attain physical crowns; be it beauty crowns, crowns of prominence, crowns of prestige, crowns of popularity, crowns of wealth, or the like. But we should run the race for the incorruptible crowns, because, at the end, all the crowns go to at the feet of Christ. He does not need the crowns of wealth, or fame, or prominence. He is GOD! He does not need beauty crowns either. What He needs are the bloody crowns - the crowns we have won through tears and sweat and blood; crowns we have attained in working for Him, serving our fellow man, loving much, giving all, and proclaiming to the world that He is the Savior. Those crowns may not be made of gold and gems and they aren't placed on our head before we walk forward and wave to millions. Once God Himself places them on our head, we will immediately take them and cast them down at His feet as we give glory to Him because in light of the REAL significance to life, crowns mean nothing.
"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."