This is the question I asked last time, and I loved all of the delightful responses.

First, about non-sweaty work-out instructors: One woman said, “Seeing a skinny, toned person working out is believable because you DO get skinny and toned if you work out…” But even if/though it’s possible, another woman said she doesn’t usually “ think friendly thoughts about the toothpicks on the screen.”

My favorite response was: “I’m the type who looks at the ones on television, decides I’ll never be THAT coordinated or skinny, sits down with my coffee and sugar cookie and watches for any sort of fat jiggle.  It’s sort of like a Where’s Waldo, only with cellulite.” 

We dislike being “bombarded with too much ‘perfection’ from the world around us”, said one woman. Another said, “Just as I know the perfect body  is a lie–there’s airbrushing, lighting, camera angles, editing–(plus I know that those people exist on protein bars, filtered water and air, and spend 3 hours per day at the gym) perfection, or the appearance of it, in the Christian life is also a lie.”

Another woman agreed. “Every person I read about in the Bible, from Eve to Paul, is flawed and struggling to be closer to God. I distrust those who seem to have it all together, spiritually.” She said that ‘glossy and seemingly flawless’ leaders make her uneasy.

And with good reason. We’ve seen our share of spiritual facades. But is our skepticism healthy? Christian ladies today seem to be leaning back in the pew with arms crossed, rather than lapping up spiritual guidance like friendly puppies.

This can be a teensy bit hard on our leaders. Listen to this woman’s response: “I think this whole conversation is why I continue to be intimidated by the task of teaching the Word to others. I know my own failings so well and some days the voice that says ‘If they only knew you, they would never listen to a thing you say’ rings in my ears.”

Boy, can I relate to her.

In conclusion, I’d like to offer a suggestion to both  leaders and listeners (hopefully we are all both).

To the leaders: Don’t be arrogant—it makes us plug our ears. But in your humility, don’t fail to say what God has called you to say. It may take more humility, these days, to say something out of victory than out of weakness. But don’t worry about whether we will roll our eyes or de-friend you on facebook. Humble yourself, and say what God wants you to say, not what you think we want you to say.

To the listeners: Don’t be arrogant—it makes your leader zip her lips. I know, I know… I’m skeptical, too (probably even more than you!). But, I think our skepticism actually causes our leaders to don the glossy veneer that we hate. If we are graciously receptive, our leader has the freedom to step out from the plastic mold she’s been hiding in and minister as the sincere sister in Christ we’ve been longing for.

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