When the new catalog came in the mail, my mother was upset. She had signed up with this company because it produced very good quality vitamins and herbs that had helped her health. But now the company had swept all that to a couple of pages in the back of the catalog, clearing the way for all the cosmetics that it had added.
She wasn't opposed to looking good but she watched the company leave its first mission of helping people feel good.
We in America worship the physical more than we want to admit. We judge people by their clothing selections and by their makeup. Have you seen the videos showing how models are not only airbrushed these days, but their bodies totally re-sculptured into whatever will have the most appeal?
This is the issue in The Personifid Invasion that intrigued me. (Check out yesterday's post for a review).
In selecting an artificial body, people were able to avoid all the hassles of a weak body. Instead, they had the chance to get the body they wanted (depending on their budget, of course). They avoided death and also avoided aging, fatigue, and weakness. This artificial body was virtually indestructible.
Interestingly, one of the side effects in the storyline was that those personifids who were not able to keep their bodies in good repair were eliminated because their ugliness offended others.
In fact, one of the characters in the story (I won't identify because that might be a spoiler) tried to destroy her personifid body by bashing it against rocks. She was trying to break into the inner core which housed her soul, thereby committing suicide. She failed but her body was mangled. The response from others was to look away or to send out robots which cleaned up the distasteful in appearance.
I cheered when the followers of Tri-Une reacted with compassion, helping her repair the body.
But the book raises an interesting question: how do we view our bodies? In America, I think we expect perfection while trying to hide our own imperfections. We value the body too much.
Paul told the church at Philippi that God had generously granted them the privilege of suffering as Christ suffered. (Phil 1:29 -Some versions dilute the word to "granted" but the original Greek is clear that it was an honor to be granted this privilege.)
How did Jesus suffer? He suffered more than on the cross. He suffered from tired feet, hunger, fatigue, sore muscles. He took on a human body and he had to live with the weaknesses of it.
The Personifid Invasion reveals the vanity of ditching our frail bodies for something that seems to be more perfect. In the end, it doesn't matter how ideal the physical is. It matters how rich the soul has become.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Note: The Personifid Invasion will be available for purchase at Lord Marcher Press on Oct. 1. Be sure to check out the site for more books and prizes.