I Have The Body of a Victoria Secret Angel

Well, not really. Actually, far from it.
I just wanted your attention. Ha.

Recently, Kylie Bisutti was back in the press.
A while back, she made a small splash when she said that she was going to quit being a Victoria Secret model due to her faith.
She’s back in the news because she’s now coming out with a new book, I’m No Angel. (Victoria  Secret has come out and said that Kylie was never a Victoria Secret Angel and that a lot of her stories are fabricated. She won an online model competition held by VS and that was the only association that VS claims to have had with Kylie).

Kylie said that more than being a lingerie model, she felt the need to be a Proverbs 31 wife. I’ve heard that phrase, or title, quite often recently and I was a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know what they meant when they said Proverbs 31 wife. So I looked it up and saw that there was a section called “The Competent Wife” (Common English Bible). Funnily enough, there isn’t a proverb section called “The Competent Husband.” But maybe you don’t need to be a competent husband when you have 700 wives and 300 concubines. Or  if you’re the one writing the Proverbs, or something.

When I first heard this story — before she was coming out with the book and made national headlines — I have to admit, my initial reaction was an eye-roll. Like c’mon. Stop trying to be all holier-than-thou when this was the career that you were pursuing. Or just quit, without letting the world know.

But now, I commend her for standing up for who she believes she is. For not bending her morals for a paycheck.

Which made me entertain the idea that I have a rather divided self.
There’s the Christian/Pastor side of me. Then there’s Me. The crazy thing is I almost typed “the Real Me.” Which is just mind bogglingly boggling. (That reminds me. One of my first blogs was called Mind Bloggling. I thought I was so clever…)

I always thought it was naive for Christians to question the type of media that I (and other Christians) would engage in.
I’d roll my eyes or scoff when Christians would question my reading certain books (like Harry Potter… oooh wizardly magic) or listen to certain type of music (recently, someone in my office saw a book of poems by Tupac Shakur. They asked who that was, and I just responded, “It’s a modern theologian and poet” and left it at that) or watching certain movies and TV shows.

While I judge them to be super naive — I have to say that I admire their resolve to not compromise their beliefs. That they feel so strongly about God and faith that they are willing to put aside the immense popularity of a British boy who discovers he is a wizard.
But while I judge you, I ask that you won’t judge my indulgences. (Ha.)

Paul writes, twice, in 1 Corinthians, “Everything is permitted, but everything isn’t beneficial. Everything is permitted, but everything doesn’t build others up.”

Yea, I have the right to do everything and anything I want to — it’s a free country as they say.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is beneficial. And not everything doesn’t build up others. Nor does it build me up.

Over the past few years, my theology has grown and, yes, evolved.
I think that’s great. And necessary in my journey.
But — I also noticed that there is a shift in thought of how I approach faithful living. I’ve become more laxed in my approach to faith and spirituality. Does it have to do with my growth in theology? I don’t know. I don’t think so. But, it’s almost like, because I know more, I do less. 

When I went back to Hawaii recently, I got to see the things that my former youth kids were doing in their faith journey. Their dedication to spiritual disciplines. Early morning prayers every Saturday. Prayer meetings. “Rogue” Bible study meetings. (Where they just get together for bible study — but not really part of the “official” church ministry. My definition) And these were kids.

I got to see the things that my brother’s church were doing, in regards to their spiritual growth and formation.
While I may not completely agree with their approach — that almost makes me feel like they’re isolating themselves from the world — there’s something that feels right about their pursuit of spiritual disciplines and moral inflexibility. Something I sort of lack.

And I don’t like where this road that I’m currently on may be leading. 

When I was struggling with this, I ran across this blog post by Dan Dick (an excerpt from that post):

In a third setting, I advised the Trustees, Staff Parish Relations Committee, Church Council and Lay Leader join the pastor in a solid month of daily prayer and reflection on God’s will for the congregation.  I received a phone call the next morning from the pastor who told me, “You really blew your credibility with my key leaders last night.  We called you for your expertise in planning and you offered a bunch of fluffy hocus-pocus instead of practical ideas.”  When a pastoral leader accepts “fluffy hocus-pocus” as an uncontested definition of prayer, we are in deep trouble.

I don’t want to be in that kind of deep trouble.

But one can only compromise so much before losing their identity. And I think one ends up to a place where prayer seems like “fluffy hocus-pocus” through lots of compromising; by indulging in permitted, but un-beneficial, acts so much so that we end up forgetting who we are and, and even more important, whose we are. Sort of like giving up a birthright.
Esau is easy to make fun of, because he gave up his birthright for a bowl of soup.
But, c’mon. He’s not the only one who compromised their birthright — their identity — for fleeting moments of temptation.

Kylie Bisutti basically said, “This is who I am. This is what I believe. And doing that will compromise all of this.
Many may not understand. I didn’t at first. And maybe I still don’t. After all, I could easily rationalize and justify it saying that it’s just a ‘job’; a means to an end; a guy’s gotta eat.

But, I do find it admirable that someone was able to stand up for what they believe in. (Without telling anyone else that they are an abomination and going to hell and yada, yada.)

4 thoughts on “I Have The Body of a Victoria Secret Angel

  1. Pastor Joe,
    It seems you are setting this up to be an either/or choice. Either pursue sound theology (as Anselm calls Faith Seeking Understanding) or pursue Spiritual Discipline/Solid prayer life/ “Moral Inflexibility”. Why can’t it be a both/and instead of an either/or.

    And since when is reading Harry Potter “compromising your faith”. This “Moral Inflexibility” that you talk about admiring is what Jesus seemed to teach against ie. Pharisees. To be honest I am pretty surprised by your praise of such a “moral” frigidity.

    I know there is fine line in trying to understand what it means to be in the world but not of the world, but that saying has been bastardized to the point of it being a rally cry for Christian isolationist. I think it is important to note that the incarnation of God was not an Essene or a Zealot or a High Priest but the son of a carpenter (uh oh, a secular job) born in the middle of it all and sought to be part of it all.

    I am glad that Kylie had the courage to not pursue a career where she was going to have to compromise her beliefs (though I suspect it was a big birth mark that prevented her from wearing lingerie, j/k). But I think that I big cry of a difference between that and reading Harry Potter or listening to Mumford and Sons, or watching Glee. Christ is not confined to the boxes that we create and label as “Christian”. I can be honoring to God while doing those things just as much as someone can be dishonoring to God while doing “Christianese” things like watching any movie with Kirk Cameron movie, reading the Left Behind Series(I threw up a little bit when I wrote that), or listening to Hillsong United (Un-United or whatever the other one is called) till your ears bleed.
    My point being I don’t think Spiritual discipline/formation doesn’t equal abandonment of theological questioning or abandonment of Secular Society.

    We will have to talk about this more at our next Life Group. :)

    I won’t start with the Proverbs 31, I will leave that for another time.

    Love you brother,
    Jonathan Garcia

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