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The Rev. James Ellis III The Rev. James Ellis, III

The Rev. James Ellis III is Chaplain of Discipleship at Hope College in Holland, MI.

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Diamonds Are Forever

July 04, 2010

Reminiscent of the 1971 James Bond film and rapper Kanye West's attempted 2005 lyrical critique of the mines in Sierra Leone, you can hear Shirley Bassey's robust voice resounding harmoniously with women and men throughout eternity singing, "Diamonds Are Forever."

This is the phrase that was tattooed in large Old English script on the chest of some indiscriminate young lady who couldn't have been more than 19-years-old. Believe it or not, her outfit was more provocative than the various pieces of body art that encompassed her open canvas.

We are talking about a prominently displayed bust loosely contained in a skin-tight, mini halter dress that was working overtime to barely reach mid-thigh. We are talking about professionally styled hair and nails accented by 4-inch stiletto heels that were walked in both seductively as cautiously, for sheer crowd control and foundational stability, although her walk was noticeably quite wobbly at times.

Some might refer to her shoes as "hooker pumps," for obvious reasons while some may refer to her inappropriately otherwise, no matter her undignified presentation. Be that as it may, regardless if this young lady is or is not a "woman of the night" who makes her living on a corner or in a club, as some may presuppose, I didn't encounter her in either setting.

Nope, she wasn't on the boulevard or the block, as it were, trying to solicit for suitors.

She was at a suburban high school graduation that I recently attended. After the ceremony my wife and I observed her sashaying up and down the sidewalk just outside of the convention center with a cadre of similarly decorated sistren, presumably waiting to greet their friends.

The icing on the cake, so to speak, however, was the baby that she pushed in a stroller as she managed the overwhelming attention, mostly from men, that she was receiving.

It was all quite sad.

It reminded me of a book that I read a few years ago titled Sex, Lies, and High School: What Your Teens Are Learning and Aren't Telling You. The following excerpt stuck-out to me:

.....more and more, media portrays sex outside of marriage as normal, okay, and expected. The church, on the other hand, is telling them [teenagers] less and less. We are entertaining rather than teaching. Pacifying rather than preaching. And Satan is watching with a glint in his eye.[1]

I could say much more about immodesty today, from clothing to conversation and beyond, which both men and women perpetuate (perhaps in different ways) as manipulated consumers of popular culture. However, I won't use this as a forum to espouse all of my problems with the aforementioned.

Suffice it to say, "Man does not only sell commodities, he sells himself and feels himself to be a commodity."[2] As Christians we are charged to counter the secular notion, which has become a popular value also within the church and amongst believers, that bigger is better and less is more regarding these kinds of issues.

Rather than being mere purveyors of dysfunction, we must find creative, relevant, incarnational ways of representing Christ in culture: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)

I can't speak with any real first-hand experience as to if diamonds are a girl's best friend, but I do know that only what is done for Christ will last. 


[1] Eva Marie Everson, Jessica Everson, Sex, Lies, and High School: What Your Teens Are Learning and Aren't Telling You (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2006), 158.
[2] Erich Fromm, Fear of Freedom (New York: Routledge, 2001), 103.


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