This morning after Elizabeth had recounted a bizzare dream she’d had in ‘the land between’ while she was waking up, she and Mick were telling me (while the coffee brewed) of a couple of the guys at church who’d recently had their eyebrows done (!)

It wasn’t the time for a too serious conversation but I had to comment on the article I’d just opened on the gender blog that very minute; The Feminization of the American Male (after all, there are only American males).

When I picked up a coffee at Maccas later on, I noticed that the boy serving me had very dark roots under his bleached hair and his eyebrows were some days overdue for a wax! I really got to thinking about the image idol of our modern age. Read some of the advice to men from the above mentioned article: [When preparing for a special occasion] visit your hairdresser, go for a massage, and have a facial scrub [which] will all add to your confidence. And the question…Can you imagine our great grandfathers talking [about] the slow pampering of a bath, moisturizer, eye cream, manicure kit, pedicure kit, body moisturizer, and body scrub?

Admittedly, most of this is new. Not the vanity, self absorption and pride but certainly the pampering, plucking, dying and primping! The article comments: If men are focused on such trivial things as dry skin and pampering themselves with long baths, it will be all the more difficult to expect them to lead, provide, and protect. Read the complete article on the gender blog here.

Most boys I grew up with would have identified those tips as the realm of the feminine, without a blink of the eye. But then I got thinking about the whole gym culture with its body building, workouts and weight training. Just because this is a manly pursuit, doesn’t make it more ‘right’ does it? Men are built to be buff. They used to build muscles by splitting wood, carting heavy objects and doing real man things. But if the focus of servant-like leadership has become hazy and ‘it’s all about me’ then the gym is as much an image idol as plucked eyebrows and manicured nails, just as much a distraction from ‘who and what am I supposed to be?’

I really don’t think we can lay down rules about how to look and dress, what shampoo to use or whether to wax the T-bar. But I do think that as Christians we should ask seriously; what shapes my image…the magazines on the i-bars at Coles, the neutering of gender issues in our culture or my understanding of myself as a child of God?

And guys…here’s my tip; Jesus was the son of his Father.