In this original and scholarly examination, Dr. Ebenezer A. Nwankwo examines the whole question of physical appearance when it is set against the teachings of the Bible. Specifically, the author zeroes in on the question of complexion and its part in God's great design, and also on history and development of the use of makeup and its cultural, emotional, and sexual significance in our society.
Dr. Ebenezer Nwankwo was born in Nigeria. He received his undergraduate education in the Middle East. His graduate and postgraduate work was conducted in the United States and the Phillipines, respectively. The author was taught by male and female teachers of various cultural and racial backgrounds.
Dr. Nwankwo has traveled across the continents of the world, and lived among cultural and racial groups from Africa, Asia, South and North America, Europe, and the Middle East. He has served briefly as a seminary church youth pastor and has taught Bible to high school and college students. He is a former assistant professor of religious education and pastoral theology at the Adventist Seminary in West Africa, currently Babcock University, and also, a former special education school administrator. Dr. Nwankwo is a certified Christian counselor and a history and special education teacher. He has been serving as a public school teacher with the Houston Independent School District since 1995. In his free time, he enjoys reading and gardening.
Posted by Bettie Corbin Tucker on 5th May 2010
By Bettie Corbin Tucker (PA USA)
This review is from: Complexion, Cosmetics and the Christian (Paperback)
Though Complexion, Cosmetics and the Christian may be considered controversial by many individuals, it is a book that needs to be read by all women. Since much of the information would also be applicable to men; I recommend that they read it, too. The author has written this book so that it is easy to read; however, the subject is powerful and goes far beyond the scope of whether or not one should wear makeup. I sense the true motivation for Dr. Nwankwo writing this book is love--love for Jesus Christ and love of mankind and his desire for all individuals to see the living inner beauty within themselves--a beauty that lasts beyond death. As I read the pages of this book, I was reminded of how the world glorifies outward appearances; many Christians want so desperately to fit in that they actually believe they can outdo the artistry of their creator by covering their natural beauty with makeup. John 17:15, 16 tells us that we are in this world but not of it, so why are we not more concerned with our spiritual lives and how others see us as a creation of God?
The author gives readers an eyewitness account of Limah, a 24-year-old woman who is responsible for the caring of her two beautiful daughters. Because of the death of loved ones, she has no one to help her. When she becomes acquainted with Remo, a friend of a wealthy store owner, she lands a job as a sales assistant in a small local grocery store. At first everything is fine, and she dresses nicely and is content with her job. However; after a couple of months, she begins feeling out of place and aspires to be as fashionable as her co-workers and customers. She begins using bleaching soap and creams and wears lipstick and nail polish. One morning, as she was getting ready for work, her six-year-old questioned her about her looks. The child thought her mother looked like an actress because of the way she had changed her appearance. Readers later learn that the little girl wanted to ask her mother if she was ashamed of her color.
Readers are given historical, scientific, and Biblical information regarding the variation of skin colors. I was reminded of a young black woman who worked for my publishing company several years ago. She noticed that my young children were totally comfortable with her and said, "Your children don't see skin color."
Though I understood what she meant, I had to add some clarification. "Yes, they do, but they see the different colors as evidence of God's creativity--how every color is beautiful because He is the perfect artist." Dr. Nwankwo devotes a very informative chapter on human skin color and reactions to the same. Again, he gives readers eyewitness accounts to demonstrate how various people react to someone who looks different than they do in regard to skin color. In the introduction, I was particularly disturbed by the story of two pen pals who lived worlds apart but corresponded for years. When they eventually met, it was not a happy meeting but demonstrated prejudice. One of the pen pals sadly referred to them as being a "mismatch" because the other had dark skin. Yes, the author does briefly address racial issues and "hate crimes," but everything he writes is written in truth and backed up by the Holy Bible. He gives readers scripture to show the existence of prejudice among Bible characters; however, we also see God's favor on those who, regardless of skin color, radiate an inward beauty. He emphasizes that human beings are a perfect product of God's handiwork.
In finalizing this review, let me emphasize that the author makes a distinction between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. One may be a necessity, while the other is more likely sought to improve on God's design. Also, the author excludes perfumes, deodorants, lubricating or moisturizing creams, and lotions and ointments that are needed for dry skin from the frivolous makeup category.
I suggest that individuals need to read this book more than once as there is a wealth of information to glean from the pages. As for this reviewer, I found myself contemplating on the scripture which appears throughout the book. Most of it I was very familiar with--even had some memorized--yet I often saw it in a different light.
It is my hope that readers will purchase Complexion, Cosmetics and the Christian by this scholarly teacher, read it with an open mind, and then decide for themselves how much makeup they really need. It is an excellent read and very well written.