In this world where self is exalted and image is everything, it should come as no surprise to hear of a new online magazine targeted at moms between the ages of 18-35 that focuses on beauty, health, sex appeal, relationships, astrology, etc. The women featured are beautiful, strong, and very self-focused. They have produced a book to promote their philosophy of "Me First" and speak openly of "falling madly, unabashedly in love with yourself."
The website is called "The Hot Mom's Club." Its home page announces, "Welcome to HMC! A resource for moms who refuse to check their sense of style or sexuality at the white picket fence!"
The book they offer is called The Hot Mom's Handbook and carries their logo—a silhouette of a woman who strikes a "Charlie's Angels" pose, complete with spike heels, big hair—and two children clinging to her. (You, too, can buy the T-shirt with this logo from their online store and become a "hot mom"!) Contributors to the book include (among many) such notables as Kathie Lee Gifford; Daniella Clark, "widely credited for starting the rage of the now-standard low-rise jeans"; actress Kelly Preston (Scientologist); Elizabeth Blanchard, yoga instructor and wife of yoga guru Mark Blanchard; Diana Lang, spiritual counselor and yoga teacher (from whom one can get a one-and-a-half-hour astrological reading for $200); and Sheila Kelly, who has turned exotic dancing into exercise workouts to "empower women everywhere."
A redefining of common terminology seems to be prevalent these days, and this website is no exception. "Hot," we discover to our surprise, means "empowered"! Who would have thought? I checked Merriam Webster Online. Interestingly, that definition was not one of the many listed—or even suggested.
The website promotes other books besides its own. One is called Burnt Toast, written by Teri Hatcher (of Desperate Housewives fame). The premise of this book seems to be that moms get stuck with the worst of everything: doing without, eating the burnt toast while their children eat the good slices, sacrificing themselves so that their families get the best. Apparently (in this world of new definitions), this is a bad thing. Hatcher believes there needs to be a balance, and moms should, in fact, get the good stuff.
Okay, so blah, blah, blah. What else is new? Why the fuss? Why even bother to mention it?
Simply because the publisher and promoter of this book is none other than Thomas Nelson—which, on its own website, promotes itself as "the world's largest publisher of Bibles in English"; the same Thomas Nelson, Inc., whose founder's goal 200 years ago, they say, was to "Honor God and Serve People."
The Hot Mom's Handbook is being published under Nelson's "imprint," which they call Naked Ink. Naked? As in "[Adam] said, I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself " (Genesis:3:10)? No, no! "Naked," they hasten to explain (with yet another new definition), means "authenticity and transparency and vulnerability." Ah, I see.
In an article about the book posted on the Philly.com website, columnist Karen Heller writes, "...produced by Naked Ink, a division of Christian bookseller Thomas Nelson...." So although the book is very decidedly not Christian—nor is it being promoted as Christian—it is still being published, marketed, and distributed by a publisher who is known to be "Christian," and whose founder, they boast, "to the end...demonstrated the faith and integrity that had guided him throughout his life. When told his death was near, he replied calmly, ‘I thought so; my days are wholly in God's hands. He doeth all things well. His will be done!' Then he picked up his Bible on his bedside table and said, ‘Now I must finish my chapter.'"
In the "Thomas Nelson History" section of the website, they write, "He (Nelson) could scarcely have imagined the road that lay ahead for him—and for the company that would forever bear his name." What would he say if he saw the road that his company has taken?
From a legacy of publishing Bibles and such works as John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Robinson Crusoe, and The Vicar of Wakefield, Nelson currently carries titles on successful marketing, worship in the Emerging Church, books on landscaping, and a hunting and fishing guide.
And now, as if they had not strayed far enough from the paths of righteousness and fallen headlong into the "counsel of the ungodly" (Psalm:1:1), they are contentedly standing in the "way of sinners" and sitting "in the seat of the scornful" with the publication of a book that flaunts God's command that no one is to "think of himself more highly than he ought to think..." (Romans:12:3). This book (and the website) promotes sex outside of marriage (many of the contributors refer to themselves as "single mothers by choice"—and that doesn't, with these women, always mean adoptive mothers), astrology, yoga and meditation, along with a completely hedonistic lifestyle that is the very antithesis of the example set by the godly women defined in Proverbs 31; Titus 2; 1 Peter:3:5,6; Acts:9:36-42, and throughout the Scriptures. What business does a "Christian" publishing company have being associated in any way with such things?
(An interesting aside regarding a comment on Nelson's website: "In the early 1900s, Thomas Nelson and Sons was one of the largest publishers in the world. Yet by the century's midpoint it had declined significantly. Its direction had shifted from producing overtly Christian materials to offering popular ‘coffee table' books on any number of subjects....It...began to struggle financially.")
The company still proclaims, "By the grace of God, we have been honored to...spread God's Word around the globe." One wonders what they think constitutes "God's Word." What will be the effect on Christianity and the next generation of this blending of works that glorify the Lord and edify the body of Christ with those that bring shame and dishonor to His name? Does Thomas Nelson, Inc., take responsibility for this mixed message that is going forth from their company in "the name of the Lord"? Do truth and love and honor and commitment and sacrifice mean anything, or have they all been redefined to fit the purpose of the moment?
I have always marveled at the sweetness of the Lord and His faithfulness to give good things to His children—His willingness to sacrifice everything for us and to set the perfect example of the perfect parent. ("For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps..." -1 Peter:2:21.) As a mother who has raised five children, I find it remarkable that the Lord has blessed me in so many unforeseeable ways as I stumbled through motherhood, uncertain of nearly everything but that the Lord was with me through it all—giving me indescribable love for my children as I watched them grow and mature, desiring nothing more than to see them take their place in the body of Christ—and even finding myself developing a taste for burnt toast along the way!
How sad that so many young women will miss the blessings that not focusing on oneself can give, and who, in the empty pursuit of satisfying themselves, will never learn the joy of sacrificing for others.
How tragic that a company like Thomas Nelson, which has been given the opportunity to do so much good, has chosen instead to wallow in the mire—all the while proclaiming boldly on their website (from the New Century Version of the Bible): "If the Lord doesn't build the house, the builders are working for nothing" (Psalm:127:1).