Sunday, 14 December 2008

Authentic Beauty: an afterword

Personally, having lent my copy to a couple of people, I felt that I need to clear up a few things about how good I feel it is.

Firstly, Authentic Beauty, written by a very romantic, emotional, but lovely lady from the US, is undoubtedly going to be very sugary and very American in the way it has been written. This may be the reason why some people found it rather cheesy. And I mean so cheesy as to reading parts of it aloud to others to relish the cheesiness for even longer.

I myself can never really distinguish between cheese, 'cringyness' or something puke worthy. At the time of reading this, it was really relevant to my life at that point (which was why I got it), so I disregarded anything that might make me cringe now from re-reading it.

Secondly, a lot of it is quite autobiographical (if that's a word. I can never remember the difference between autobiography and biography) and those parts weren't really relevant to me in my current situation. Sometimes it often went too in depth and some of it the reader didn't really have to know. It must be important to her, but to us as readers it was at times a bit unnecessary. But the actual devotional stuff she recommended was really helpful.

Thirdly, although Authentic Beauty does remind us that Jesus is not only a saviour who is distant and impersonal, but a personal saviour, who we can fully rely on and trust in, and with whom we can grow in by talking to him and reading his word, Leslie didn't really emphasize how Jesus isn't someone we can just view as a romantic companion. As Mr Beaver said in 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis, Aslan is wild you know, not like a tame lion. The book does not remind us that God is to be revered and obeyed as the King of the entire universe, whose power cannot be withstood, and that He does bring judgement upon us, what we should deserve. Okay, I can understand that Ludy wants women who are not Christians to read it too, but from talking to my good friend Susan about it, she did say that she thought that it didn't assert that truth about God enough, and consequently, many may feel as if Jesus can just be put in a box or seen in the wrong way.

There was also the question about when Ludy talks about clearing the 'inner sanctuary': as depraved and dead in our sin, on this earth, will our sanctuary ever be pure? Even through God's amazing grace we still sin, and other lovers crowd it, distracting us from Jesus. From thinking about it, it can seem to lead away from the idea of just trusting in Christ's forgiveness and grace, and trying to be legalistic and controlling our own sin, as if we ever could without Jesus.

But as a whole, the overall message of the book was really what I needed a while ago. It reminded me that Jesus is enough for me, that I don't need that 'special someone' and I can be 'intimate' with the Lord, and be fully satisfied with that instead of something that will only satisfy me for a short time in my fleeting existence.

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