The Appeal of Imperfection

BROADCHURCH_EP1_02JPGAbout a year ago, I wrote about how I’ve gotten into the habit of watching British television shows. I’m still doing it. There is something about these shows that is different from American television and those differences are interesting and intriguing to me.

The camera work is often different. Longer shots, more scenery.

Frequently there is less dialog. They seem unafraid of times of silence, of showing the viewer a scene and letting us figure out the meaning.

There is less action, especially in the police shows. More conversations, fewer car chases, virtually no shootings, more ordinary human interactions.

And the people…the actors look…normal. They are not all glamorous models with toned bodies and capped teeth. (Have you ever noticed that in American television, even the homeless and addict characters have perfect white teeth?) Actors in these British shows usually look like us. Some are attractive. Some are not. They can have wrinkled clothes, unfashionable hair, and crooked teeth. And these are the stars of the shows, not just the guest stars.

Of course, the Brits also have their glamorous stars, the picture-perfect folks. There is usually a character or two or three that fit that mold. But they also have characters that look like you or me. I find that appealing. Watching shows where everyone is slim, fit, in fashionable clothes, and sporting perfectly-coiffed hair and perfectly-capped teeth makes me feel a bit inadequate. Which says more about me than anything else.

We’ve all heard the public laments about our American obsession with youth and body image and standards of beauty, so I won’t recite them here. We know that such obsessions are unhealthy and yet it is so easy to fall into the trap of measuring ourselves by the unobtainable and unrealistic images we see on screens.

And yet we also know that people love us just as we are. We may be overweight, under-toned, have out-of-control hair, or be covered in hair, moles, freckles, or psoriasis. But people still love us, just as we are. Yet somehow, we can still find ourselves sucked into the media ideals and we still spend millions and millions on trying to get a bit closer to that ideal.

Good to know that God doesn’t care about such things. Good to know that God’s idea of beauty is about what is in our hearts. And good to know that God’s love and mercy do not depend on us in any way, but are pure gift from the Creator to the created.

Have said all that, I still plan on putting on my make-up tomorrow. God will love me then too.

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