14 May 2007

Young lady, I'm talking to you

by Dan Phillips

Temperatures are rising, hem lines are drawing closer to each other (lower on the top, higher on the bottom), and material-density is decreasing.

If only I were talking about the world, of whom we'd all expect it. I'm not.

Lately there has been some encouragement for me to reprint Sister...show mercy! I won't do that; I will do this.

First, an excerpt:
What are you clothes saying about you, sister? What are they supposed to say to your brothers? "Hey, look at this?" Well, they actually are trying to look at the Lord; it's not good for them to be looking at that. No, it's not your fault that they have a problem. We established that. And it's really great that God has made you beautiful. I hope your husband (present or future) shows you how grateful he is for that about you.

But you can help the brothers who aren't your husband, or you can not-help them. Which are you doing? If you're not married, and a man looks at you, is he thinking, "What a great character"? Or are you giving him reason to think about something else?

I know many of the responses. "You don't know what it's like to buy women's clothes, you ignorant man!" Mostly true. My first just-for-fun purchase for my wife was, well, it was appalling. What a good sport my wife was. I took it back to the store immediately, and made a much better subsequent choice.

But this: "You can't find anything modest! It's all too revealing! It's impossible to get something that looks nice, yet isn't too tight, or too short, or too-something / not-something-enough!"

Sorry, but baloney.

I put "modest women's clothing Christian" in Google, and 453,000 pages come up. Yes, some are funny and quaint at best. But are they all Amishwear? "Can't find?"

More fundamentally: I do not accept that anyone has to wear clothes that are too tight or too sheer or too short -- unless you are the largest and tallest woman living in the hottest part of the planet. Because I see larger, taller women walking around in hot weather, and they're all wearing clothes, every last one. They got those clothes somewhere, I reason. You could too.

"But -- but they won't look good on me! The shoulders will be wrong!"

I'm not sure that's necessarily true, but let's accept it and pose a counter-question. You tell me. Which is worse: your shoulders hanging a half-inch too low? Or a blouse/shirt that simply (shifting into turbo-delicate) provides need-to-know information to those with a need-to-not-know?
If you haven't previously, please read the whole thing.

The post generated 96 comments, which is lively. But many of them went a different way than I was going.

Given that I took an illustration from church service, many naturally thought I was writing about how Christian women dress in church. I wasn't. I was writing about how Christian women dress publicly, period. Church provides a bright and shining illustration, but it isn't as if (to speak bluntly) there's some virtue in dressing like a saint in one building, and like a slut in another.

Second, it's my pleasure to link to a few other good articles:
  • Our friend Kim the Kanadienne first vented (very appropriately) on the subject, then added some more thoughts, plus a checklist.
  • Carla Rolfe posts some helpful and specific thoughts, including a "Cleaning Out Your Closet" checklist. I'd add the thought that women just don't and can't look at it as men do; if you've got a Christian, male, teen-or-later relative in your life, ask him. He could add to Carla's list — if he's not too embarrassed.
POSTSCRIPT: of course, in spite of the eye-catching title, this is a classic "if the shoe fits" post. If you think I might be talking to you if I knew you, odds are I may well be. Again, if you have male relatives of good Biblical judgment and character, think about asking them.

Dan Phillips's signature

79 comments:

centuri0n said...

There is nothing I could say to this post which wouldn't be taken the wromg way.

Not by Dan, but by the rest of you.

DJP said...

I hope nobody takes that the wrong way.

Janet said...

Cent, I think I'm taking what you didn't say 'the wrong way'.

Dan, preach it brother!

LeeC said...

One of our pastors wives aent out a questionnaire to some of the men here asking them to anonymously tell her what some of the more distracting clothing was to them. She regularly speaks on modesty to the women here helping them to help we men. And not just in church.


I confess it's hard. A few Sundays ago I had a lady in the pew in front of me with a slit skirt sitting to my right and ther slit kept opening, and she kept adjusting it trying to be modest, but that just drew attention. She was at an angle where if I held my Bible where I usually do to read it I got a view of a lot more skin than I should so I changed my postion with my wife.

When we were home and away from the kids I imediately told her about it. Not that Iwas frooling or anything but you just notice those things and with the positioning as it was I owuld have noticed repeatedly.

Married guys, please talk to your wives about such things. It's some of the best protection we can have, don't hide it or "just keep it between you and the Lord." Shes your partner, show her you trust her, and that you need her prayers also.


I'm not saying ladies are to blame for my struggles, our sin is ours but I am saying that men have eyes, they notice things, and like all sinners they are weak. When you see something it is there, you can't just wipe your mind.

We need help, please help us to remain pure and good examples before Christ.

Lee

art said...

Seems to be a little legalistic.

Why don't you spend the time worry about the men who are the perverts; work on their thought process and what parts of the women's body they look at.

It's a two way street. Men need to step up to the plate and stop looking at women in the way that they do.

They should not be the ones responsible for having to take into consideration all the skeezy pervs in the world everytime they go to dress themselves.

How about another post titled, "Men, stop being perverts"?

steve said...

she kept adjusting it trying to be modest

This is what has baffled me for ages. If a woman has to "keep adjusting" her clothing in an attempt to be modest, why doesn't she just wear more modest clothing altogether?

I would think that a Christian woman who has just gone through a whole day of "keep adjusting" would realize that particular article of clothing is not worth hassling with and get rid of it. But I've been proven wrong. Apparently the task of having to "keep adjusting" doesn't discourage some from wearing a particular item again.

~Mark said...

A dear friend of mine who mentors young ladies had two experiences that stay with me to this day. One, she had a 15 year old who wanted to pierce her belly button and absolutely refused to hear any argument against it. I called my friend on her cell one evening and she happened to be driving with this young girl.

I know the girl from church and my friend asked me to giver her my opinion on the piercing. In short, I asked her to think about the kind of attention this would attract and if that was the way she wanted to be considered.

Perhaps it was because the conversation came from a man, but my friend said this girl dropped the topic that night and never brought it up again, nor did she get the piercing.

The other experience was when my friend had several of her girls with her and stopped by my house to pick up some tools. She had just finished taking one of the girls back home to change her clothes in order to find something appropriate, and they were still buzzing about it.

I thought this would be a great opening to share my opinion (which is usually just crazy for a guy to do with a group of females of any age! :) ) and I explained to them how MORE clothing, tastefully executed, is much more attractive to a guy because it not only says that the woman can be sexy but also implies that not everybody gets to see the show.

My friend hasn't had a substantial problem with their dress since.

I think that when women and girls hear the truth tactfully, from someone they can respect, it sinks in.

They don't even have to become Amish! ;)

I remember hearing a story recounted on "Focus on the Family" where a mother explained to her daughters the difference between males and females, and how visual men can be put into a serious struggle merely by the way she cose to clothe herself that day.

As she learned to love her neighbors, she took this into account and it made a big difference.

You might enjoy the work these ladies do: http://blogs.modestlyyours.net/ It isn't a stricly Christian site, but their views on modesty and how to achieve it are usually quite good.

I'll forward "Sister....show mercy!" to my friend. Now, in this day where more women are becoming visually oriented sexually, what about the responsibilities of men?

Hmmm...

DJP said...

How about another post titled, "Men, stop being perverts"?

Interesting thoughts, Art.

I wonder what you'll think if you ever actually read the post through.

DJP said...

LeeOne of our pastors wives aent out a questionnaire to some of the men here asking them to anonymously tell her what some of the more distracting clothing was to them. She regularly speaks on modesty to the women here helping them to help we men. And not just in church.

Brilliant idea. Great!

DJP said...

I would think that a Christian woman who has just gone through a whole day of "keep adjusting" would realize that particular article of clothing is not worth hassling with and get rid of it.

Yeah. You'd think a guy whose zipper kept spontaneously unzipping would trash the pants.

jsb said...

Great thoughts, Dan. Thank you. Centurion is WAY off base. I can't believe he says those things.

DJP said...

Pray for him.

(c;

janelle said...

GREAT post. Reminds me of what Carolyn Mahaney came up with...a "modesty checklist" that was handed out to the girls of my church. It really helped.

Antonio said...

Anyone seen this:

http://www.therebelution.com/
modestysurvey/browse

I've heard some have found it useful, and it goes into specifics,

Antonio

Kim said...

It's a two way street. Men need to step up to the plate and stop looking at women in the way that they do.

This sounds so totally de ja vu. I hear this from the teenage girls to whom I speak. It is, as you say, a two way street, and we can only work on the street upon which we are travelling: ourselves. Of course, "perverts" ought to be discouraged, but I can only work on me. I can't make perverts stop being perverts. I can't make anyone stop thinking about my daughter in an inappropriate way. I can, however, encourage myself and my daughter to wear clothing that does not unnecessarily make us a "target" for leering looks.

Let's face it, there are simply some kinds of outfits that make a woman look trampy. I don't think Dan is suggesting we women wear our skirts to the floor. There are shorter, tasteful skirts. It's the fact that young women seem to want to dress trashy, but not have anyone treat them in a trashy way. And they want to do it all in the name of "their rights."

Dressing modestly is a matter of the heart. I would rather be known for being a godly, gentle, meek, lover of Christ. If I walk around looking like I belong on the cover of Rolling Stone, how easy will that be?

I am a tasteful dresser. I choose my clothes well, don't look like I'm ready for Lancaster County Amish Woman of the year, and I am, in my opinon, a modest dresser. I would rather know that I am not a hindrance to another person than exercise my "rights."

It's the hidden person of the heart I want to work on.

jen elslager said...

Excellent post. It's a dual responsibility, and neither can shirk theirs.

And Kim... very succinct comment. It is a matter of the heart, and I'm thinking that trying to shift blame to "perverted" men exposes something in the heart -- a lack of willingness to deal with your own "stuff".

I hardly think that in most cases we're dealing with "perverted" men though, but men who are dealing with God's natural design.

art said...

Dressing modestly is a matter of the heart.

It's also a matter of context. Modesty is going to look different on South Beach than it is in Mid-America than it is in a foreign country. So who wins? Should a woman always wear clothes that would seem "modest" in the most conservative part of the country just in case someone is on vacation or traveling and sees them dressing a certain way and is offended? That seems ludacris.

I definitly agree that there are some outfits that would not be considered modest anywhere except for the set of a Playboy photoshoot. The issue is, I agree, within the heart of the woman based on what her motivations are for wearing a certain outfit.

The reason that I even brought anything up is because of many close friends who I have who honestly dress the way they do with intensions that have nothing to do with attracting attention or making males look at them. It's their style. Yet they place their foot into a church and all they get is stares and whispers and dirty looks because of their outfits. Since then, they don't place foot inside of the church and want nothing to do with Christianity because of its judgmental attitude and legalistic practices.

The people within the church judged them based on their idea of modesty and did not take the time to get to know the girls and see if they were even Christians or find out what the motivations of their heart were when getting dressed. It's a travesty.

I'm not saying their rejection of Christ or the church is valid...I'm saying that its a shame that they walked away because of the judgmental attitude and legalism of those within the church. Why should unbelievers be held to Christian morality? Shouldn't we first evangelize them and then disciple them so they will then realize that what they are wearing might not be appropriate for their context?

I realize that Dan's post was aimed towards Christians, but I just bring this point up because its something that has affected unbelieving people with whom I am close friends and it kills me that this had to happen.

I am, in my opinon, a modest dresser. I would rather know that I am not a hindrance to another person than exercise my "rights."

But what about the opinion of someone who is more conservative than you? Should you have to be forced to wear skirts down to your ankles and oversized sweaters because some man thinks that your clothes are too risque? Why does your opinion trump anyone else's? What if some man in the church is turned to lust after woman because of their eyes because that is his "thing"? Should woman, then, have to wear sunglasses so as not to cause that man to lust? If not, then were is the line where men need to step up and woman be allowed to dress how they believe modest should look like?

LeeC said...

Art,
To put it simply this ONLY applies to believers.

How someone is treated by believers when coming to church isa completely different issue, and an issue of sin also.

If you know what you are doing is aiding a brother to stumble, be it dress, off color jokes, movies whatever, and you simply ignore it in your "liberty" then you are sinning against your brother, and God.

No one here is talking burkhas, we are simply pleading for people to show true love to one another considering one another as more important than themselves for the glory of God. It's heartbreaking to hear people get defensive and accusitory when you humbly plea for help as a brother in Christ.

If we are to be willing to cut off our hands if they make us stumble, and we areto consider others as more important than ourselves...well.

On a kind of tangent, I wear a kilt, regularly. I was married in one, I love them and they a fun sign of my heritage. I often have people ask me when I will wear one to Church.

I say "Never".

I will, and have worn a kilt to picnics, father daughter banquegts ect. But when I gather together with the Brethren to worship God I want Him to recieve all the glory laud and honour...and attention. And I wish to do nothing to detract from that and draw attention to myself.

But if I do, I pray that my brethren would humbly assume the best, and come alongside and perhaps tell me so rather than giving me dirty looks as you say, and I pray equally that I would love them enough, and be humble enough to accept their rebuke and alster my actions dress whatever accordingly.

It's a hard subject, but biblical loves is the answer on all sides.

Carla Rolfe said...

Thanks for linking to my post today Dan. My checklist certainly wasn't mean to be all inclusive, but rather a place for young women and ladies to start considering practical questions about our appearance.

Certainly if there is a Godly man available (husband or brother) their input to this subject is just as important as our own, and something we should be willing to hear & act on (if applicable).

In our day and age, modesty (just like everything else, it seems) is open to redefining and all that sort of thing. I would be careful when someone wants to redefine a Biblical principle to accomodate today's trends & fashions. Modesty is not a trend, it's an outworking of the heart that confesses to serve a Holy God.

Just a few thoughts. Unlike Frank, I'm never taken the wrong way.

(*loud snort)

Libbie said...

Sorry, art, I disagree. Just because we can't set out a checklist of godly/ungodly clothing, doesn't mean there aren't principles to apply and standards to hold to.

A woman's intention doesn't magically change her outfit from immodest to modest. Some of us have needed to be told that what we're wearing isn't helpful or loving to those around us.

And btw, a man isn't a pervert if he looks at my legs when I'm wearing a mini-skirt. He's just a normal man. Sinful, like any of us, and I have no business drawing him into that, whatever I may believe about my personal 'style'.

I'd really like men to stop suggesting this actually, because it's actually drawing women like myself towards the sin of selfishness.

What exactly is 'legalistic' about encouraging each other toward holiness?

Carla Rolfe said...

Libbie asks:

"What exactly is 'legalistic' about encouraging each other toward holiness?"

May I suggest Libbie that the accusation of legalistic is really just a cover for being possibly convicted?

We are afterall, a rather prideful lot, and generally cringe when someone tells us (even in a kind way) that what we've done/said/worn, is unbecoming a child of God.

This is where it gets hard - learning to take criticism and correction with grace and humility.

Dave said...

I guess this still needs to be emphasized: All (straight) men are tempted (at least from time to time) to "look at" women (pick yer context).

All men.
ALL men.
ALL. MEN.

If your male loved one tells you that they never do this, and are never tempted to, they are LYING to you.

This does not make them (us) "skeezy pervs." It makes us fallen and in need of the Spirit's sanctification, just like You are.

We as men need discipline, we need grace, and ladies--as far as it depends upon you--we need help from you. This is not binary issue, it's not a question of choosing between "Amish" or South Beach. It's a question of a little sacrifice on your part for the benefit of those of us who are fighting this battle. Please.

The story of the non-believers being judged is disappointing. That should not happen; we shouldn't be judging others' servants like that. HOWEVER, that sin cannot justify a rejection of these questions in the lives of Believers.

As for the context question: I used to argue that context dictated whether some rough language was allowable or not. I'm slowly learning (or rather, slowly accepting) that a Christian's language is not decided by context ("G" in the churchhouse and "R" at the ballpark). I would propose that a Christian's dress is the same way.

The Doulos said...

Great points, Dan. This is something that I think is rampant in the church today but nobody seems to want to talk about it. Yes, we men have the problem, but that is no excuse for women exposing whatever they want. This is not being legalistic, it is instead calling our sisters in Christ to exercise restraint in their Christian freedom.

I saw a great example of the positive side of this last week. My son was previously a student at a large public university here in the midwest, and when helping him move into his dorm (coed, BTW) I was constantly having to more or less walk around with my eyes closed due to the clothing (or lack thereof) that these young women were wearing. However, he is now a student at The Masters College, and I was there last week helping him move home for the summer. Lots of just as lovely young women, but dressed appropriately (and not prudishly) and much more God-honoring.

DJP said...

Libbie, you make me wonder if we should start giving out Comment of the Day awards. So well-put; thank you.

Sewing said...

I dare say that if a woman were wearing excessively revealing clothing and a man trying to resist temptation were doing all he could to avoid looking at the revealed parts, the act of getting consumed with avoiding looking would probably be worse than glancing in the first place.

No, we certainly DON'T want to entertain the thought of a world where all women are shrouded from head-to-toe, but a little moderation may be a good thing.

But on the other hand, I agree that the women Art speaks of should not have had to be subjected to those kinds of sidewards, judgmental stares, or whatever other similar treatment they had to endure. That's not cool, and it's not Christ-like.

Daryl said...

...as I once heard a wise woman (I think it was a woman) say..."You advertise what's for sale"...

Funny that church on Sunday mornings can be the most difficult places for non-perv guys trying to keep their eyes in their head...

By the way, the mention that modest dress doesn't only apply to Sunday mornings...if you've ever been to a beach party or other social gathering with you church going friends and some of them happen to be female...can be uncomfortable if you know what I mean.
By the way, my wife graciously allows me the right of final say in regards to modesty of her clothing. I'll retain that right as my 4 year old daughter gets older. I think any Christian Dad should...for HER sake, not mine.

steve said...

A woman's intention doesn't magically change her outfit from immodest to modest.

Touche, Libbie!

donsands said...

Modesty is the best policy. Or is that honesty?
It's both really.

Nice post. Good stuff to kick around.

art said...

Libbie:

principles to apply and standards to hold to.

I'm with you on this, but the point you are missing is that those principles and standards, once they are formed, are inevitably bound to a context. Again, which context wins? South Beach, Mid-America or a foreign country? Or is their a contextual element here? I think we are all smart enough to know that context determines this. For instance, what a woman wears at the beach can be appropriate for the beach, but no one would argue that the same outfit would be appropriate for church. Context determines whether or not it is appropriate. So then the conversation turns to whose or what context is appropriate to determine what is "modest" or not? Any answer that you give is going to be determined by your context and preferences, not Scripture. What is biblical about holding your conclusions based on your context over someone else?

This is not some postmodern word game either. This does not apply to things which Scripture states explicitly...but what modest looks like in practice is one of those things that Scripture does not define explicitly and must be worked out in context. Therefore, you can't set a standard for modest dress and then hold others accountable for it unless you overstep Scriptural teachings.

a man isn't a pervert if he looks at my legs when I'm wearing a mini-skirt. He's just a normal man. Sinful, like any of us

Exactly. He is sinning. And the woman wearing the skirt should not be the scapegoat for his sin. "I wouldn't have looked if she wasn't wearing such a short skirt." That's bologna. You wouldn't have looked if your mind was in the right place and you were thinking about the right things...seeing that woman as a sister in Christ who was made in the image of God and not as a sex object.

What exactly is 'legalistic' about encouraging each other toward holiness?

I'm sure the Pharisees said the same thing. "What's legalistic about building a fence around Torah so that we maintain holiness and do not violate the law."

Carla:

May I suggest Libbie that the accusation of legalistic is really just a cover for being possibly convicted?

Yes, I am very convicted about the mini-skirts and spaghetti straps that I wear. Thank you for skirting (pardon the pun) around the issue and reverting to ad hominem argumentation. It's helpful.

art said...

Dave:

This is not binary issue, it's not a question of choosing between "Amish" or South Beach. It's a question of a little sacrifice on your part for the benefit of those of us who are fighting this battle.

So if a person was going to lust after a woman no matter what she wore because "eyes" or "hair" was one of the things that attracts him to women, would you say that all Christian women around him should wear sunglasses and hats? Or would you say that the man needs to get some of his issues straight?

So how is this different from telling a woman that she needs to not wear certain items of clothes because it causes men to lust?

Lust is the problem when it comes to men. Not women's clothes.

Like I said before, some woman are prone to wear clothes for the wrong reasons hoping to get men's attention and that is wrong.

But by just telling women to dress differently is putting a bandaid on a 12-inch long, deep cut. It will provide some help, but the issue is still there.

Getting men to view women as sisters created in the image of God and not as sex objects to be lusted on gets to the heart of the problem. Then dress is no longer as issue because men are viewing women correctly.

I'm slowly learning (or rather, slowly accepting) that a Christian's language is not decided by context ("G" in the churchhouse and "R" at the ballpark). I would propose that a Christian's dress is the same way

Back in the day it was seen as risque for a woman to show her ankles.

Now it is not.

How is that not determined by context?

LeeC said...

Um,
With all due respect, Art, you first posted this "They should not be the ones responsible for having to take into consideration all the skeezy pervs in the world everytime they go to dress themselves."

Who should you be taking into consideration? And taking a humble plea for help and using it to call a bunch of people trying to honor God "skeezy pervs"?

Is this how you believe a Christ centered approach should be?

I know the lady in my example did not realize what was happening. I'm not blaming her, and no one else is either.

What if Christ just for one millisecond demanded His rights?

jpmac.wallace said...

I don't know about the rest of you but I have had it up to hear (hand held just below nose) with people saying "that's a bit legalistic" every time somebody suggests that there are common sense Biblical rules and principles that aid us in our Christian walk.

Legalism is not when you live by rules, whether simple rules, or complex rules, it is when you trust in your living by those rules to win merit with God and thereby gain eternal life.

Suggesting, for example, that maybe our sisters in the Lord could possibly aid us in my quest to overcome the world which seeks to draw us with the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16) is not teaching legalism, it is teaching us to love one another by denying self.

1Co 10:24 Let no one seek his [or her] own, but each one the other’s well-being.

Ro 15:1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

1Co 8:9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

Good post Dan.

JP

art said...

Who should you be taking into consideration? And taking a humble plea for help and using it to call a bunch of people trying to honor God "skeezy pervs"?

Is this how you believe a Christ centered approach should be?


When you lust after a woman, you are, with all due respect, a pervert. You are perverting the relationship between yourself and that other person created in the image of God. There's no way around it. You can attempt to make it sound better and write "brothers struggling with sin" or however you want to put it...but the fact still remains. They are perverts perverting the way that humanity is supposed to relate to each other.

I believe a Christ centered approach is for people to take responsibility for their actions. If you lust after a woman, you are sinning. Repent, pray for help, attempt not to do it again. Looking for scapegoats is not the correct answer.

I am not keeping myself out of this. When I lust after a woman I am being a skeezy perv too. I take responsibility for that, repent, and continue on with the battle with help from the Spirit.

Like I've said before, if women are dressing with the wrong motivations and attempting to get a lustful reaction from men, then they are sinning and need to repent and deal with that as well.

What if Christ just for one millisecond demanded His rights?

I'm not well versed in Christianspeak, so I'm not sure what you are saying here.

Sewing said...

Art: It may be well to consider what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 8 regarding food offered to idols. Basically, what he wrote is that yes, it may be possible for a righteous Christian to eat sacrifical food without sinning, if we understand the idol is just a human artifact and not imbued with any divine power. But if setting an example by eating that food may cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble and fall astray, then we ourselves have sinned:

"9 Don't cause problems for someone with a weak conscience, just because you have the right to eat anything. 10 You know all this, and so it doesn't bother you to eat in the temple of an idol. But suppose a person with a weak conscience sees you and decides to eat food that has been offered to idols. 11 Then what you know has destroyed someone Christ died for."

He goes on to argue in the rest of that chapter and the following chapter that yes, as someone saved by grace and not by the law, by grace and not by works, he is free to do whatever he wishes—but he is not free to do it if it leads other Christians astray. You could argue it's the weaker person's problem and why should it be the stronger person's responsibility? But this is a matter of conscience, and an obligation of fellowship, and of fostering a mutually supportive Christian community.

Now, I am NOT going to hypocritically say that women who dress revealingly are ipso facto sinners, and I am no prude. But this may hopefully be some food for thought, on the angle that Dan was trying to get at.

art said...

Legalism is not when you live by rules, whether simple rules, or complex rules, it is when you trust in your living by those rules to win merit with God and thereby gain eternal life.

You are working on one definition of legalism when there are several others:

01. "Strict adherence to law, especially to the letter rather than the spirit" (The Random House College Dictionary, pg. 765).

02. "The judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws" (Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, pg. 818)"

03. "The doctrine that salvation is gained through good works" (Random House College Dictionary, pg. 765)

04. "Close adherence to law; strict conformity to law" (New Illustrated Webster's Dictionary of the English Language, pg. 559)

You are working with one definition (03) while I was speking in terms of another definition (01 and 02 specifically).

LeeC said...

And what part of our sin is our own is unclear?

I suppose you would prepare meat sacrificed to idols to weaker brethren since they should be strong like yourself?

Perhaps in your Christian liberty have a nice glass of wine at dinner with a bleiever you know is struggling with alcoholism?

This isn't about what you have the right to wear. It's about basic Christian liberties, and how we are called to edify one another. Are your thoughts centered upon you, and what you want, and can do, or upon others and how you can minister to them and honor God?

The fact that the topic has settled upon clothing is irrelevant, it could be a myriad of things.

Yes, I am a weak, wicked and sinful person, and anyone who says they are not is a liar, or decieved. We all need help.

Nath @ Reformed Geek said...

I missed the original post so thanks for the excerpt and the other links. :)

Married couples have you discussed this issue together?

My wife often asks me for my thoughts on how she looks, and is more than happy to change if I consider something she is wearing could be too 'eye-catching'...

Libbie said...

He is sinning. And the woman wearing the skirt should not be the scapegoat for his sin. "I wouldn't have looked if she wasn't wearing such a short skirt." That's bologna. You wouldn't have looked if your mind was in the right place and you were thinking about the right things...

O-kaay. So Christians should be completely oblivious to placing temptation in front of each other, right, because hey, that's their problem, not mine? We shouldn't be, oh, I dunno, bearing one anothers burdens and all that?

I used to be a nightclub dancer. I know full well how it makes a woman feel to dress in a certain way. It makes you feel powerful and confident in a very particular way. I know I need to lay aside that kind of power because it just isn't godly.

I don't live in a primitive culture where everyone wears grass skirts and goes about bare-chested. Everyone in our 'context' knows full well where a mans eyes will be drawn if he sees a woman wearing a short skirt and a low cut top. That's a real temptation.

An alcoholic is drawn to the bottle. Would you really be so crass as to tell him to just deal with his temptation while exercising your 'right' to freely wave a glass of red wine under his nose??

i'm going to leave the Pharisee thing, because it's a total blind alley. No-one is claiming that you're not a true Christian unless you adopt a specific manner of dress. But if you don't even think this is an issue you should consider, I'm going to be bold and suggest a study on kindness.

Sewing said...

...As illustrations of what I wrote in my last comment, I wouldn't dare to enjoy an alcoholic drink in front of someone in AA. Sure, I'm free to do it—drinking (at least in moderation) seems to be quite an acceptable practice, scripturally. And I'm not going to refrain from drinking out of fear of breaking some commandment, because I have been saved by Grace, and not under the Law. But I know that I risk tempting this person to fall off the wagon, and if they're in AA, it's probably because they ended up there after getting into a whole bunch of alcohol-related trouble before they hit rock bottom and realized they needed help. Do I really want to be responsible for ruining that person's life and risk putting them back into whatever horrible situation they already lifted themselves out of? Even if they're of strong character themselves, do I really want to flaunt my resistance to alcohol in front of them like that? So I wouldn't drink in front of him or her. Not because God said, "Thou shalt not drink," but because I don't want to lead that person away from Christ if he or she is a Christian, or prevent him or her from getting to Christ in the first place.

LeeC said...

Art,

Just so you know we (you me and the rest of the crowd) are all perverts by that call. The natural man does not know the things of God. We are all corrupt, and in fact what we are trying to be by imitating Christ is inherant UNnatural for us.

jpmac.wallace said...

Art,

Respectfully, that's all very interesting, but since when did we define theological terms using english dictionarys. The definition is in my own words but is clealry the definition of legalism accepted throughout Church history.

JP

Mike said...

Art,

Very simply...

Is there a difference between legalism and obedience? Is it possible for one Christian to call another to obedience without being legalistic?

--Mike

LeeC said...

If you have the time I highly reccomend listening to these:




Your Liberties in Christ and Your Responsibility to Others, part 1



Your Liberties in Christ and Your Responsibility to Others, part 2


Your Liberties in Christ and Your Responsibility to Others, part 3



Your Liberties in Christ and Your Responsibility to Others, part 4


If my feeble attempts to make the links work fail I'll delete this.

Lee

art said...

leec:

I suppose you would prepare meat sacrificed to idols to weaker brethren since they should be strong like yourself?

Perhaps in your Christian liberty have a nice glass of wine at dinner with a bleiever you know is struggling with alcoholism?


Not at all (and not only because I'm vegan). Because I would know that those exact things (meat offered to idols and alcohol) are what that person struggles with. But when it comes to modesty, how are women supposed to know what turns every single male in their life on? Again, what if it is eyes or hair? Should they be bound to wear sunglasses and hats?

And, sooner or later, the "weaker brother" does need to become mature and strong and not so prone to sin because of the actions of others.

This isn't about what you have the right to wear. It's about basic Christian liberties, and how we are called to edify one another.

I'm not arguing with you on this point. I agree. What is unclear when it comes to modesty, however, is where to draw the line. Is it with skirts and tight shirts or burlap sacks? How is one line "more biblical" than another?

Libbie:

So Christians should be completely oblivious to placing temptation in front of each other, right, because hey, that's their problem, not mine? We shouldn't be, oh, I dunno, bearing one anothers burdens and all that?

Yes. Place temptation right in front of everyone. You finally got it! That's exactly what I'm saying.

Let's be serious. Of course we should bear one another's burdens and not tempt someone else. But the fact of the matter is that some men will be tempted no matter what women wear. So what then? In most cases it is the lust of the man, and that is what needs to be addressed.

Would you really be so crass as to tell him to just deal with his temptation while exercising your 'right' to freely wave a glass of red wine under his nose??

See above.

But if you don't even think this is an issue you should consider, I'm going to be bold and suggest a study on kindness.

Since I'm male, I do think it's an issue that I need to consider. I need to consider how I am viewing my sisters in Christ.

takin said...

context?

i'm not sure that what most wear to the beach is modest for the beach!

Libbie said...

I need to consider how I am viewing my sisters in Christ.

Of course you do. Was that the topic of the post?
Do you seriously think that these posts have been about finger-pointing at women as the cause of all lust? Isn't there a graphic in the post illustrating that 'cover up women as too tempting' is not what Dan is saying?

Dan is encouraging his sisters to act with kindness towards a particular common temptation among men. In the original post, he referenced a post of mine talking about the universal problem of lust. The comment section of that post had good advice about guarding our own hearts on this issue.

Dan's post addresses the other side of the coin, and I am grateful to him and other men who have had the courage to admit to a sinful weakness and ask for help in over-coming that.

It would not be an appropriate response for me to say "Chin up, lads, I happen to like the cut of this split skirt, you need to deal with your hearts" Surely you have no objection to mutual kindness? Is there something oppressive in that?

lawrence said...

Very interesting conversation. I guess this is "Gang Up On Art" day. Two things in Art's defense

1) I don't know how the analogy between drinking and modest works. Modesty is an idea that can be intepertated (sp?) different ways by different people (as this discussion proves.) Alchohol is a thing...you don't "interpet" alchohol differently based on upbringing, culture etc. Perhaps it would relate if Y amount of skin shown ALWAYS caused EVERY MAN to lust.

2) Lust is a sin...it doesn't matter what you're lusting after, or what the motives of the person (or thing) are. I don't know how you can ever even sort of excuse lust based on the dress of the other person. If the girl is motivated by a desire for sexual attention (in whatever she's wearing), then that motive needs to be addressed. But I don't think that modesty can be related to Paul's "weaker brother", because, again, modesty is totally different in Wisconsin then it is in Cuba. Modesty is totally different in Cuba then it is in Ethopia. Cigars, achohol, casual cursing (yes I know there are different languages) movies w/ violence, food sacrificed to idols etc. are the same everywhere so they can be related to Paul's weaker brother in a way that modesty cannot.

By the way I could be way off. Someone let me know if I am :-)

Matt said...

Art, you claimed that you were working with Definitions #1 and #2 on legalism -

01. "Strict adherence to law, especially to the letter rather than the spirit" (The Random House College Dictionary, pg. 765).

02. "The judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws" (Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, pg. 818)"


Nothing in Dan's post fits either definition of legalism. If he would have said, "Women need to wear tops that do not drop more than 8" below the height of the chin, and skirts must be black in color, extending a minimum of 4" below the knee", then your charge of legalism would have a semblance of credibility. Dan's post (and all the comments other than your own) are not concerned with the "letter of the law" or with "adherance to precise laws". In fact, I have not come across a single "specific" in this thread. The post, and the comments are concerned with the spirit of the law - modesty in general.

I agree with you in general, that we men are responsible for our own lustful thoughts, and I'm sure Dan would agree with that. You, as a 26 year old male, should of all people, realize that curiosity and second looks are not reserved for "pervs", but are a common struggle among men in general. Dan was merely encouraging godly women to do their part and be considerate of their brothers in Christ.

Back to the charge of legalism - you are guilty of a classic form of liberal legalism. Your arguments against Dan's post are based upon your own imposed gridwork of very specific applications or the overarching principle of modesty. YOU are the one trying to draw neat lines around "south beach", "midwest", whatever. A little common sense would serve well here. Any person here would affirm that a tasteful one piece bathing suit is modest on the beach, but maybe not while singing the special number on a Sunday morning.

I always love how when faced with an absolutely irrefutable proposition, liberals rush to make ridiculously absurd and highly specific applications of said proposition (that are often not logical extensions of the original proposition itself) in order to discredit it. If there was anything of substance to critique in the post, I suppose Art would have attacked that instead of an imported, artificial, absurd, highly specific, and not only a little legalistic application of it.

And cent, how dare you? HOW DARE YOU?

donsands said...

People today are afraid and fight against feeling ashamed, as in all ages really. We want to always feel good about whatever we wear.

But it's good to be ashamed. "Ashamed" is a blessing of the Lord, for it leads to godliness, modesty, and being an example to others.

This has been some good dialouge. I pray we will learn from one another.

Caleb White said...

One important thing I haven't seen much mention of: tact. It's really important in situations of the nature being discussed here.

A couple of years ago, the first week I became a Christian, I tried to talk to a close friend about the way she was dressing and I just straight up told her that I couldn't look at her in certain outfits she wore and not lust.

She didn't talk to me for a month and her mom told me she went home and cried (and then, of course, went shopping for some new clothes).

Yeah, what needed to be said got said; yeah, she dresses differently know; but the damage that was done by my approach didn't heal for a long time.

It's hard enough to word things in a sensitive way in a blog post -- what do you do when you feel the need to talk to your sister in Christ about a specific problem you have?

Oh, by the way...by "tact," I mean the exact opposite of Centuri0n's comment. I can't believe that guy.

DJP said...

Art, enough.

If you wanted clarification, you've gotten it, time and again, and very patiently.

If you wanted to try to make a point, you've had your chance.

Drop it.

Daryl said...

A note of encouragement for Art if I may...(at least I think it's encouragement)
The whole guys & their eyes thing doesn't go away. We men will have to struggle our whole lives with this to some extent (usually a greater extent than we like to admit). In fact in my experience its those guys who insist that they haven't got a problem who have the biggest problem, if you know what I mean.

Given all that, I for one appreciate all the feedback from the ladies who are doing their best to be kind to their brothers.

Thanks.

Daryl said...

Sorry Dan, I didn't see that last note before I posted.

wfseube said...

You know, I find it odd that, whenever this comes up, it's a male who's trying to defend the "right" of a woman to wear whatever she wants to because it's the males who are at fault because they are lustful scumbags. I have never, not once had a Christian woman try to defend wearing clothing that is revealing and causes men to stumble.

Why do you think that is? Guilt complex? Reverse psychology? ??

Sorry, art, but you're flat wrong. You've conveniently ignored what one of the previous posters stated, which is that this whole discussion revolves around male/female believers, not non-Christians. Your earlier statements were founded on an experience of a non-believer, and you've conveniently lapsed away from that.

No, the man is not without fault. But neither is the woman. Both can contribute to the solution. And lo and behold, the WOMEN agree! I think that's telling.

CuriousSaint said...

Art...are you a born again Christian?

Mike-e said...

Just a thought...but the JW's don't have a problem with modesty. Well, that's been my experience anyways. The women seem to care a great deal about how they present themselves. But i'm sure that's largely due to the legalism that they are bound too. Nonetheless, the point is that dress doesn't seem to be a big issue for them.

another runner said...

I apologize ahead of time if I repeat something which someone has already said. The comments have gotten to be more than I can read through. I have 3 different comments that I would like to make.

1) I think that we so often put so much of an emphasis on dressing modestly for the sake of "our brothers in Christ" when in all reality we need to remember that the way we dress is a testimony to the unbelieving males as well. An example of this was last summer I was witnessing to a guy and was talking about how being a Christian changes everything about me - the way I talk, dress, act, etc. He said to me, "I know you are being facetious when you say how you dress." I said to him not at all and the fact that I was sitting across from this guy dressed modestly was a real testimony that what I was saying was true. I very quickly explained to him why I was wearing what I was (and no it was not anything that the Amish would wear.) I can say, though, that if I had been wearing the same ol' thing that other girls wear during the hot summer months then the gospel message that I was speaking to him would not have meant anything.

2) I also would like to touch on the matter that this is a matter of the heart. I attend a Christian college and more times than I care to count we have been divided up between the men and women and given "the talk." The one where they tell us that what we wear affects the guys and that we should and shouldn't wear certain articles of clothing. Directly following this time there is generally a change for the better among the girls' dress, but without fail they will go back (usually within days) to the way they were dressing previously. I actually do not blame them becuase I know that it is ultimately a matter of the Lord changing their hearts which will in the end change their motives for the way they dress. I say this because I know the transformation that took place in my own heart several years ago. I used to dress in a way that was not appropriate until the Lord changed my heart and I realized the way I dress ultimately has to do with others...not myself. I have since come to realize that this is one more of those things which is a part of sanctification and the Lord has to convict and change the heart just like any other issue.

3) Lastly I would like to ask that if the guys/men see the girls/women around them dressing in a way that is modest and obviously different that y'all would take the time to thank them. This may seem like something uncomfortable, but I can assure you they will appreciate it. A commment to them to let them know that you notice they are trying to please the Lord and dress differently than the "world" says they should will go a long way. I realize that this must be done in an appropriate way, but I ask that you will at least think about doing this. It's a way that you can encourage your sisters in Christ.

centuri0n said...

Art:

At the risk of baiting a troll, would a woman walking around naked be guilty of anything, or is it my filthy mind which makes her nakedness a bad thing? That is, is it legalism to consider a woman walking around naked as guilty of a sin?

Any answer longer than 150 words will be considered avoiding answering. That may be a legalistic view, but any reasonable person should be able to answer that question in less than 25 words.

April said...

Thanks for this timely refresher, Dan.

And thanks, Art, for protecting us from the mean ol' villans trying to put us in potato sacks. But really, women know clothes are about more than "expressing ourselves."

As much as this post is intended to request help of the ladies, this is also a challenge to us women to keep our own hearts and motives pure in what we wear and how we wear it.

I do understand what you're saying, Art, and I appreciate it, but we aren't oblivious to the effect we can have on our brothers. As a follower of Christ, I have an obligation to consider him and not just what may be considered stylish.

centuri0n said...

Matt: it's your flthy mind which is taking offense. Try to be a stronger brother, would you?

Booklover said...

I have to agree with Art, and I am female. If I deck my table with delicious food, am I guilty of tempting the local glutton?? Should I stick with bread and crackers?

I frankly am tired of hearing about men who struggle with being "visual." Like if I am "audio," does that give me some excuse to blame others for constantly being attracted to rotten song lyrics??

And men, if you are complaining about the way women in church dress, why do you watch hours of TV without ever averting your eyes?? Go read your Bibles or spend time with your children. Or, what an idea, go MAKE LOVE WITH YOUR OWN WIFE!!

I think our Christian culture is entirely too hyper-focused on the sexual attraction-power of women. They should be more worried about stopping hate and gossip and self-righteousness. I would think that if one would love God with all his HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH, one wouldn't have much time to hyper-focus on SEX.

This is way off topic, but as for these men who keep looking at other women in the church--maybe their own wives wouldn't struggle with obesity if the men made them feel as if they themselves were beautiful. Have you ever noticed how many obese women there are in the church?? Come on, men, stop the lustful glances at other women and pay attention to your own lovely wife, and make her feel loved!

Has anyone seen the Christian movie "Amazing Grace?" The leading actress showed a generous portion of her bosom--a common practice in those days. As a matter of fact, a common practice in the high school days (the 50's) of my mother--have you ever looked at senior pictures from that era? Yet nowadays when young women bare the top half of their bosom, we cry foul. Styles do change. If man can't appreciate beauty without lusting, then they'd better deal with their own sin.

Sorry to disagree with most of you here.

DJP said...

That's okay. You didn't actually say anything that hasn't already been answered. Several times. Including in the post itself.

Folks, I know it's hard to read through a long comment thread. But then again, you don't have to comment. But if you do, is it unreasonable to ask that you read what's already been said? Saves you making an argument that's already been refuted — which itself can be a learning experience.

steve said...

I think our Christian culture is entirely too hyper-focused on the sexual attraction-power of women.

The sexual power of women is quite well attested to in secular culture. Thus it's a legitimate issue of concern in Christian culture. Even Scripture addresses the manner in which a woman dresses. Does that mean Scripture is hyperfocused on the sexual attraction power of women?

They should be more worried about stopping hate and gossip and self-righteousness.

So we should be more concerned about some problems than others? Is the matter of modesty "not important enough" to discuss? The problem Dan addresses here is very real and common. Quite a few commenters here--both male and female--have expressed appreciation to him for bringing it up. Seems it is a matter well worth addressing.

I would think that if one would love God with all his HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH, one wouldn't have much time to hyper-focus on SEX.

Even a man who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength is susceptible to temptation--we can never reach a point at which we are immune to temptation. That's why a Christian man who yearns to live holy appreciates those women who, out of kindness, are thoughtful about the way they dress.

And a woman who loves God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength is going to care about what her choice in clothing might do.

LeeC said...

Again, not an argument, but a plea for compassion, and obedience to Christ. Not just in dress, but in all things.

Luke 17
1 He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!
2 “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.
3 “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
4 “And if he sins against you aseven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

Matthew 18
7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

Galatians 6
Bear One Another's Burdens
1Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
3For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
4But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
5For each will have to bear his own load.


6 One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.
7Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.


Do Not Cause Another to Stumble
13Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Romans 14
20Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

art said...

Any answer longer than 150 words will be considered avoiding answering. That may be a legalistic view, but any reasonable person should be able to answer that question in less than 25 words.

Apparently I'm no longer able to speak...yet Libbie and others are...curious.

Booklover: Thank you.

April said...

Booklover,

Yes, the sins of lust and seduction have been around since the fall. But as Christians , we are called to love one another and bear one another's burdens. And if a brother in the Lord asks me help him by being aware of my wardrobe, then certainly I can do that. You say "they'd better deal with their own sin," but the biblical model is for believers to help one another overcome the sins they struggle with. If a brother struggles with lust (and many do), then how is it helpful to dress in a way that makes his struggle that much harder?

Not to mention that as Christian women, we are called to be modest in every culture and in every time period. Does that vary among cultures? Yes, which is why Dan and others have mentioned things relevant to this culture. But it's not so much about "style" and "culture" as it is understanding what God requires of us.

art said...

Art, enough.

If you wanted clarification, you've gotten it, time and again, and very patiently.

If you wanted to try to make a point, you've had your chance.

Drop it.


Typical.

Curioussaint: Art...are you a born again Christian?

You are absolutely ridiculous for asking this.

steve said...

Apparently I'm no longer able to speak

Art, that's not what Centurion said. Don't misrepresent him. He gave you up to 150 words. But you haven't answered yet.

art said...

Art, that's not what Centurion said. Don't misrepresent him. He gave you up to 150 words. But you haven't answered yet.

I'm not talking about Centurion. I'm talking about Dan telling me to drop it....which is why I quoted his comment...which I will now quote again since you apparently missed it.

DJP said...
Art, enough.

If you wanted clarification, you've gotten it, time and again, and very patiently.

If you wanted to try to make a point, you've had your chance.

Drop it.

5:33 PM, May 14, 2007

jen elslager said...

Art,

You want women to be able to dress how they see fit, and for men to hold themselves responsible.

Most of the women here believe they should dress modestly (per Biblical instruction), and most of the men have stated their own responsibility in the matter and their desire for holiness and purity.

Your mission is accomplished. What more could you possibly have to say?

Sewing said...

Art, Booklover:

Why, over the ages, have monks and nuns organized themselves into gender-segregated communities? Because even the holiest among us are still susceptible to temptation, or at the very least distraction.

Sewing said...

...Oh, and not just Christian monastics, but Buddhist ones, too, for that matter.

CraigS said...

Men need to step up to the plate and stop looking at women in the way that they do.

How do you do that, this side of glory?

Sewing said...

Anyhoo, all that's been said having been said, I wouldn't want to worship in a congregation like the synagogues of my Orthodox co-ethnics, where men and women are strictly separated.

Touchstone said...

Hmmm.

So, the comments on this thread beg the question, and I ask this in all seriousness:

Given what Dan has said, why doesn't he just politely ask Christian women to wear burkas?

If Dan is *sincere* about the urgency of women compensating for men's weakness and failures, why not really solve the problem as best we can, as conservative Muslims do. If Dan's point is a a good one, I think conservative Muslims must have it even better. I realize Dan is not suggesting this recommendation be codified into law with criminal sanctions attached, but the basic rationale is the same: women are to shoulder the burden for whatever man simply cannot help himself with.

I have a wife who is extremely modest, and appreciate that. But I also know that here modesty comes from her heart, her attitudes toward people, and even in a conservative one piece bathing suit, she's modest, even though her attire is much more revealing than the outfit she had on before changing into swim stuff. Dan, if you want to *really* speak to issue, then you're going about it the wrong way (maybe I'll get my wife to post here, so you can her it straight from her, although she's very modest and would be chagrined to offer you contradiction here, even if she thought you merited it.)

If women are well-advised to dress more modesty then they do, then why are they not even more well advised to cover it all up. For me, Dan, if you let a woman reveal her eyes, than that's a struggle for me in terms of lust. Ladies, if you are to carry the responsibility for me not doing the right thing, I must ask you to please wear a veil, if you are determined to keep me from stumbling.

Other men, ankles. Still others, long skirts are a turn on. No matter how much lower your skirtlines go, the male mind will find a way to indulge its lust, if it is permitted to do so. Women are powerless to stop a male mind from lusting if that's its goal. It's true you can resist it somewhat, maybe slow it down, so that's why if you really take Dan's message to heart, the burka seems to be the inevitable endpoint of the message. Maybe just not leaving the home is the next step.

I'm not at all naive on this. My modest wife is quite clear in explaining the dynamics of the way women dress, and their full knowledge about what kinds of messages and effects different outfits and items will have on men (and women) they encounter. Women know when they are dressing immodestly, or for untoward reasons , or with bad motives. That's wrong, and women should be encouraged to resist doing wrong, just like the men.

But, Dan can wave his hands all he wants and tell me he's just ask for a bit of mercy from the ladies, but every man knows in his head and heart this is *his* issue, and he is not excused even if the lady in question is trying to seduce him, or encourage lustful reactions. Proverbs has a whole *bunch* of admonitions for men concerning this, and I suggest those warnings are much more apropos here than the tired "alchohol example", which is a red herring by way of comparisons if there ever was one.

Man up, guys. Look your responsibilities in the eye and own it like a real man who fears God should. Taken to its logical conclusions the "cover up more" argument ends up in burkas, doesn't it?

"Oh, Touchstone, be reasonable!" I can hear it now. "Use some common sense". Fine, then explain who to *apply* this reason and common sense. How much is enough coverage. As I said -- seriously -- if you let a man like me see your eyes, you're a temptation. Do you love your brothers in Christ to cover your face, your *eyes* to keep him from stumbling?

Modesty is an *attitude*, not an outfit. My wife and I can name several women who wear very conservative clothes and yet are *far* more immodest than other ladies we know who wear much more revealing attire, yet have a modest attitude. Modesty has outward effects, but it's an internal issue.

-Touchstone

DJP said...

Yet again, a perspective that has been answered, and answered, and answered — even (yet again) in the original post.

ljchan said...

"Whatsoever you do, do as unto the Lord". Is that my motivation, or is it my vanity? Do I secretly desire the approving looks of others? Why do I "gotta look good"? Dressing up for the Lord's Day--is it really to show respect for God, or to preen my own feathers in public? I am certainly not advocating slobbery. But when I go to church or any where else, do I want Him to increase, and me to decrease, or do I still just a little bit, want a little attention for myself? Do I want my rights, or His glory? Vanity is a deep and treacherous thing, and we can find all manner of "reasons" to cover it up that we might indulge it. Of course, men need to take responsibility for their eyes and actions, but that does not take away my responsibilty to walk in godliness and holiness. If I am really learning what it is to walk according to the Spirit, to abide in Him and He in me, if I keep my eyes fixed on Him and keep my perspectives in light of eternity, well, what do you think?

Even So... said...

(mad hatter walks in, full of gravitas...)

On eyes vs. thighs

Just because a fire starts doesn't mean you have to let it spread or throw a match on it...draw the line somewhere

Some think it leads to burkas, some think it leads to bare nakedness, both are wrong...

Did it ever occur to anyone that you might want to ask your pastor what he thinks?...didn't think so, you rebel..."but it is a personal matter of conscience!"...sure it is Joab, sure it is...

Hey DJP, see why it is so hard to get people to study the bible for all it is worth, or at least correctly, and why we have so many half brained ideas about doctrine and practice, and why we have so many pastors and teachers sailing off into the sunset of silliness...there is this little thing called authorial intent that people don't want to pay attention to...this thread is a case study in what an object lesson means...

DJP said...

Excellent point, JD, and a good note on which to close the comments.

Riddle: When does a question stop being an honest question?

When it has been answered.

This comment thread illustrates the point that there simply and literally IS no truth that, if disliked, can't be caviled against. We've long-since run out of honest questions, and the thread has been hijacked by a few who simply don't like the Scriptures that formed the basis of the original meditation.

Well, I'm sorry, but I've never yet found a way to make people like what they don't like. "The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly" (Proverbs 15:2). That's not a "should," it's an "is."

So with pecksniffian comments proliferating on this thread by people who clearly have not even actually read the original post (—or they'd not be fabricating objections already anticipated and answered), it's time for me to do for the first time what Phil has done at times: lock the thread down.

So I want to thank the many folks, and particularly the sisters, who have registered a "message received," and who have sacrificed a lot of time patiently explaining the obvious to the unwilling. But enough time's gone down that particular drain, and it's time to move on.