When I was growing up, if someone used the word sexy, they were almost always describing a person. I now read about sexy football plays, sexy economic policies, sexy art galleries. It became truly bizarre when a U.S. military general described a bombing raid on the Taliban as "sexy stuff," and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said an intelligence report needed to be "sexed up." A pastor friend once told me his ministry needed to be sexier!

Cultural critic Ariel Levy writes [that], "for something to be noteworthy it must be 'sexy.' Sexiness is no longer just about being arousing or alluring; it's about being worthwhile." Banks, herb gardens, and universities can all wear the public mask of "sexiness." It is the perfect outerwear in the age of the horizontal self.

The 14th-century English mystic Walter Hilton wrote clearly of the choice between accepting our true selves, which he described as being branded in the image of the Trinity of God, and accepting our unredeemed selves, or being branded in the image of "the wretched trinity"—"a state of forgetfulness of God, ignorance of him, and an animal lust for [one]self."

Hilton points out that when we embrace the false self as Adam did, we lose our honor and dignity. We bring upon ourselves a kind of self-judgment in which we fall into a forgetfulness of God, an ignorance of the fact that God is the source of all life. Cut off from this source, we find our behavior becoming less human and more animalistic. We give ourselves over to what Paul describes as "the flesh," or the Greek word sarx.

The path of holiness is about ridding ourselves of sarx, that is, anything in life—attitudes, relationships, actions, desires, or worldviews—that carries with it the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Abandon Studying the Historical Jesus? No, Jesus Studies Matter Subscriber Access Only
A response to 'The Jesus We'll Never Know.'
RecommendedWhen ‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ Bombed, I Had to Rethink Humility
When ‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ Bombed, I Had to Rethink Humility
Watching a beloved video game franchise crash and burn challenged my gut reaction to disappointment.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickWhatever Is Pure: Cedarville Requires Professors to Apply Philippians 4:8
Whatever Is Pure: Cedarville Requires Professors to Apply Philippians 4:8
Faculty push back against stricter standards keeping curse words, R-rated movies, and sexual content out of their curricula.
The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are in An Age of Self Obsession
Christianity Today
The Vertical Self
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.