Saturday, May 22, 2010

God Don't Like Ugly

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. John 5:1-5

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 24-25; John 5:1-24

So I just read this article in the Washington Post this morning entitled “Why Looks are the Last Bastion of Discrimination”.

The article briefly discusses the legal history of discrimination against unsightly individuals and then goes on to suggest that perhaps civil rights protections should be extended to people generally considered to be less attractive.

When I got to the section where the author sited the “National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance” my first thought was…

Word?? Come on man are you serious?

But then I kept reading.

My mood changed for good when I came to the section about a study done by some researchers at Cornell University

“Stephen Ceci and Justin Gunnell, two researchers at Cornell University, gave students case studies involving real criminal defendants and asked them to come to a verdict and a punishment for each. The students gave unattractive defendants prison sentences that were, on average, 22 months longer than those they gave to attractive defendants.”

Wow… that’s almost two years man… That is NOT ok.

It made me think about the times when I was a kid (and as an adult… let’s keep it extra real) when I ridiculed others for being unattractive. And then I thought about the passage above, how back in Jesus’ time folks were marginalized for many of the same reasons.

Jesus was a champion of the poor, maimed and downtrodden. What right did I have to ridicule anyone?

None at all.

So I realized that I had to ask forgiveness on that one and change my ways.

I will do my best.

There’s an old African American proverb that says “God don’t like ugly”. The ugly that God doesn’t like isn’t anything that can be seen on the outside. It’s that ugly on the inside that we all have and keep hidden from the outside world.

So I wanted to take a moment to thank the writer of that article for helping me to clean up some of the ugly that I have on the inside.

Better late than never right?

Here's an interesting piece by the homie Adam Tillman-Young. It relates. I promise.

Question of the Day: Do you have anything within that needs to be cleaned out? Do you harbor any hidden prejudices that you never thought were that big a deal? Take an honest look and work through it. You’ll be a better person for it.


  1. This is a tough one because we are socialized to like attractive people. We even dislike ourselves for not being more attractive, i.e. a better physique, better manicured nails, nicer clothes. On top of all that we live in a society where we live life by comparison, which makes it tough not to judge without thinking.

    This post,one the other hand, made me think. That has to be a start! Right?

  2. Interesting topic. Biblically "ugly" seems to relate to anything outside of what is considered majority "normal".

    As the video relates to it, Jesus wasn't any more attractive than anyone else. His enduring great amounts of suffering but continuing to speak of the works of God, knowing doing so would only bring him more challenges, in fact made him "unsightly". As he was willing to suffer and die for a cause where most have fallen under such "pressure".

    "Unsightly" is quite subjective. We all have our preferences, for many nfortunately, what is not "prefered" is considered as being the opposite or "ugly", which many times is not the case. I.e, if I prefer vanilla bean ice cream over chocolate, that is a preference. If I prefer a toned body form, some will change that to my finding "untoned" body forms as ugly.

    A preference, opinion, as the adage goes is like a "you know what" and we all have one. We WILL NOT no matter how hard we try be pleasing to everyone. So at the end of the day, choose whose preferences and opinions matter to you and go from there.

  3. Wow!! This was an interesting post. It took me a moment to really think about what are some of those prejudices, if any, that I may have.

    I am guilty as charged of judging others simply by what they look like.

    Its not something that I do intentionally. At times, I have given more grace to those individuals who were more pleasing to look at.

    Appearances are not something I live by. I predominantly judge individuals based on their conduct to me, as well as to others. No one wants a cute jerk, at least, not for long.

    Growing up, I found things to be enormously easier for me because of what I looked like. It has been a bitter sweet experience. Also, I've been hated because of what I looked like.

    I've had countless experiences with people who have said to me "I thought you were a until I got to know you."

    Since I've put on weight, things are very different in many respects of how people view me and treat me.

    But don't get it twisted, I'm still sexy.....

  4. @Dominique "On top of all that we live in a society where we live life by comparison, which makes it tough not to judge without thinking." Soooo true and so sad. Imagine how much more freedom we would all feel if we refused to live life looking over our shoulders at others and just focused on what will fulfill us the most...

  5. @Alegria That's an interesting comment you make about preference and I feel that. But I also found it interesting how the article seemed to suggest that there was a consensus when it came to otherizing folks. We do all have our own preferences but they are informed by a dominant aesthetic right?

    But I do like that you have been able to make that distinction within yourself. I'm still working on it.

  6. @Nic hahahaah yes you gotta own your sexy. If you don't think you're sexy then why should anyone else ya know?

    "I have given more grace to those individuals who were more pleasing to look at."

    that's so true. I know that I have engaged in longer conversations with certain women because they were cute when otherwise I'd have shut it down. that's so true. And being "cute" will wither away eventually anyway right?

    I guess most of us are too myopic to see the truth here.

  7. LOVE this video post- Wow! I particularly liked the part about Jesus and if He had to come down to Earth to have the human experience He had to be Ugly like us...but the thing is- Jesus although not beautiful by society's standards on the outside, was beautiful Inside which in fact made Him "altogether lovely"... and this is the beauty we should mimick. Humans on the otherhand, as Pretty as some of us may be on the outside>>> on the inside>>>let's just say that "ugly coffee" in the video is extra hot w/ an extra shot- LOL. I for one, like upgrades...supersize me! but after reading this post I definitely felt convicted and have subsequently ordered a slice of humble pie. I do not always walk in Jesus's footsteps by being a champion for the "socially disadvantaged" whether they are mentally ill, homeless, disfigured etc. This has to change. I must realize how blessed I am-what if the tables were turned? How would I want people to treat me? I would not want to be ignored or marginalized because I'm not "pretty", that's for sure. Your proverb says "God don't like Ugly" my mom always says "Pretty is as pretty does"...this requires immediate action: less time staring at my reflection in the mirror, more time reflecting my inner beauty to the world. Thank you Clarence for this consciousness raising post.


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