MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

On the Culture of Casualness

September 1st, 2006 Visited 7488 times, 4 so far today

Ok, first let me thank MInTheGap for asking me to guest post here. I have never been asked to post anywhere! Wow, I’m flattered! That said; let’s get down to business…

Today’s worldly culture is becoming increasingly casual. Let me list just a few areas that I see this being/becoming a problem especially between the sexes:

  • Casualness of dress, immodesty.
  • Casualness of speech.
  • Casualness of space, which I define as a lack of separation between the sexes in general.

Pretty in HeelsImmodesty is influenced by casualness in that men and women alike feel free to dress down, and without care. Often this leads to a lack of covering, which promotes sexual thoughts about persons with whom you are not intimate (i.e. married to). When our culture became casual in dress, it left the woman’s (and man’s) body open like a book to be flipped through casually. Men walk down the street and flip through the pages of female forms everyday. When a person does not cover their body– the form of a woman or the bulging muscles of a man– it becomes casual: available to any observer.

The casualness with which we can view other’s bodies, devalues the precious gift of your spouse’s body given to you in marriage. For example, when you are constantly exposed to ladies legs, breasts and hips, (or for women the muscles and chest of men or even men in their undies!) you become numb to it in a way. Then when you marry, those things are not as exciting as they would have been if you had never seen them. What you would have given to your wife, in praise of her body, is lost to those on the street.

I am not saying that men do not praise their wives’ body or women their husbands… However, something is lost; it is that FIRST expression that is lost, the novelty of it, the excitement of it, the newness and innocence of your first marital view of your spouse. Furthermore, the idea that no one else has ever seen YOUR spouse is lost. If you as a man or woman have ever worn tight fitting clothing, others have envisioned your body naked. You aren’t such a nice new package anymore made by God just for your spouse!

Furthermore, while not all Christians struggle with this, the casualness of the body promotes early sexual experience and many sexual partners. What used to be considered bad for a guy and just out right terrible for a woman is now flaunted by both. Both men and women are “players”, people who experience multiple partners in casual settings. One night stands are nearly as common for women as for men. Also related is the casualness with which the life of the baby created during these casual experiences is disposed of. And the increasing statistics on rape are likely attributed by the casualness of the covering of our bodies, among other casual issues to be discussed…

Secondly, the casualness of speech: the lack of use of terms of respect, such as Miss, and Mr. which were used by acquaintances, to define their relationship, and to keep space between them. Today even adults are called by their first names by CHILDREN, not to mention that men and women address each other as friends, not acquaintances. This allows for a deeper relationship to develop much more quickly. (Which causes us to defraud each other when later we decide this isn’t Mr./Miss. Right.) It used to be that hearing your name only happened within families. It was special, your name was special. Now it is thrown around by almost anyone.

Artists ChairAlso, the way anything can be said in front of a lady is a casualness that promotes women as being men. It does not protect the woman from embarrassing comments. The woman is a weaker vessel, and a vessel full of mercy and compassion. What may be seen as funny to men would be embarrassing to women. To cause a woman to blush in public would be rude. (Not like most women blush these days, and the reason for that is again the casual culture we are in, that treats the sacred as common.)

And thirdly, casualness of space: which I define as a lack of separation between the sexes in general. If you think back to Biblical times, the men and women were separated much of the day. In worship services, in work, even at parties men and women did not dance together. Today however, men and women touching and brushing against each other is commonplace. This also devalues the body, and the sanctity of the marriage union. Your body is not your own, it is not protected on the street, where any stranger can brush his body against yours.

We have all heard the stories of molestation that happen on buses and trains. When too many people are crowded together there is an expected casualness in touch. You could not ride a train and be offended every time someone brushed your leg as they walked by… but it desensitizes you. Now the touch offered by your spouse has to compete with all the touches you have received all day long. The proximity of men and women through out the day lessens the special-ness of proximity with spouse and family.

So people… our culture is going to hell in a hand basket! Is it any surprise? The question is, what are we going to do about it! I don’t claim to walk in the way I am proposing, but little by little I am attempting to change my lifestyle to become godlier. Personally I have stopped wearing tight fitting clothing, and short shirts. I am learning how to sew, so that I can make dresses that are modest, feminine and fashionable. (I am also not into jumpers, Mary.) I require the children I meet to call me Mrs. Logan, which is amazingly difficult in a culture where people go by first names, and say things like “Mrs. Logan is my mother…” And I try to keep my body away from men. I am uncomfortable hugging men at church (a common practice around here) and have asked them to stop! So, I’m growing… How about you? What are you or will you be doing to walk circumspectly?

Signing Off,

Mom of 6

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  • Mary says on: September 1, 2006 at 9:08 am

     

    Excellent post, Meg! Well written and thought out. I’ve had similar thoughts but never termed them in my mind as casual…

    I remember when I switched from private school to public school. I was in for a culture shock. Here I was in my snazzy cordory shorts, matching sweater and leather slip-ons and the rest of the junior class were in sweats and torn jeans! Plus, they walked all slouched, girls sat with their legs spread eagled so guys could see the torn out crotchs on their jeans…talk about disrespect for themselves and everyone else! I shudder to think what they get away with now.

    And I have room to grow also. I’m with you on the modesty as far as making a change-over. I thought I was modest enough, but there was room for improvement! For instance, I’ve always worn shorts over a bathing suit, but I’m thinking a little more coverage would be appropriate, maybe even a whole new modest-line swimsuit.

    I’m not firm about the Mr/Mrs thing. I always introduce my children to adults as Mr/Mrs so and so, but usually the adults correct me. I’ve never made it an issue. One of my friends, a former teacher (the one I can with all the time ;O) ) has respected this preference and out of all the adults we know, she is the only one who has remained Mrs! As I am to her children. I agree with your reasons behind it though…it does lower the respect level. Our Pastor’s have always gone by their title followed by their first name, so that makes it hard also. Guess you need to make a line somewhere and stick to it, preferably starting while your children are young! Here’s another way titles are changing and it bothers me to hear it coming from young young children…leaving the Aunt or Uncle off and just calling them by their first names! The only thing worse is to hear kids call their parents by their respective names! And that’s too popular as it is.

    We have to give up “hugging”? That is big in our church also, though it’s mostly the older set and they are careful to give sideways hugs. I’d feel uncomfortable with it if it were a man my age. To me, it seems like a fatherly gesture, and it always makes me smile when an older woman snags my dh for a side hug. He’s NOT the touchy-feely type with anyone but me! ;O) He’s getting better!

    Once again, I loved your post, and look forward to more from you!

  • Samantha says on: September 1, 2006 at 9:19 am

     

    I agree with what you are saying somewhat – the idea of personal space and propriety in speech has certainly taken a nosedive. However…

    I disagree with the importance of using titles with names. That is totally cultural. In the Scriptures we hear everyone called by their first name, including the most exalted apostles and Christ himself, who in the gospels is simply called “Jesus”. I don’t know if they had some term of respect that applied to people in general, one for men, one for women – I know a rabbi was called Teacher or some derivative, but whether that was added to his name as in saying “Professor So-and-So” or actually used as a replacement for the name, I am not sure. We need to remember that the very idea of a surname is not seen everywhere and at all times anyway. In many places people are known as “son or daughter of” (fill in father’s name, and occasionally mother’s name) or in some other way.

    Regrding children calling adults by their first name, I am one who has no desire to be called Mrs. I *want* people to call me by my first name. Since this is what I *want* to be callled, to call me Mrs after I have requested that I be called by my first name, is not respect, but disrespect. I can deal with that, and have to deal with it all the time because people don’t seem to hear me 😉 . They seem to be afraid that their children have no innate respect, I think. The fact is that children and adults can easily use “titles of respect” and truly have no respect. Go into any school and see how children talk about their teachers. This is a heart issue. Personally, I don’t feel a closer relationship with people because I call them by their first name. There are actually people I call “Mrs” that I feel much closer to than others I call by their first name.

    The fact remains, though, that respect in general, not only for authority, but for individuals and for life itself is at an all time low in this country, but I think if anything, the lack of titles is a *symptom* of that, rather than a cause.

    Regarding hugging, I am with you…I don’t love to be hugged in general, and especially don’t like it when men hug me, for a variety of reasons. My personal space boundaries are about the size of Texas, and anyway!

    I would also question whether, in a Christian sense, there are topics or subjects that are “appropriate” for men but not for women. I can understand men wanting to protect the ears of their wives from, say, details of a salughter in times of war (whether they *should* protect them is debatable) But as to things that would make a woman blush either now or in the past, I would think that topics of that nature might be inappropriate for men as well, if we are speaking about vulgarity and lewd comments, etc. If you are talking about serious se*xual talk that needs to take place to help someone, I do think in most cases that should be kept man to man and woman to woman. But I disagree that there is a kind of gruffness or vulgarity in talk that is appropriate for men and not for women.

  • Bethanie says on: September 1, 2006 at 11:16 am

     

    Good post meg!
    On the subject of touching. This past weekend we helped move a church members mother. A young man from that family was also helping. When my husband and I were introduced the young man shook my hand and all the sudden I felt very uncomfortable. I don’t remember ever having that with just a hand shake. But I had a strong earge to move as far away from him as possible and avoid him at all costs.
    So I’m even going to go so far as to say not even hand shakes.

  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: September 1, 2006 at 12:31 pm

     

    HEHE… I prefer not to touch other men too Bethanie. Even handshakes, but I do sometimes do this (though I have noticed it is not a very popular thing anymore.)

    Samantha, I think you and Mary may have misunderstood my requirement for the title Mrs. What I mean is that I ask other peoples kids to call me Mrs Logan. I don’t make my kids call other people Mrs. Last name if the other party doesn’t like it. I do usually insist on Miss/Ms first name however. Regarding your comment about if a man *should* protect a woman from news, I really think that depends on the particular husband and wife…and a husband ought to use his wisdom and authority to determine how much information he gives his wife. I know my husband graciously protects my mind this way, and I am grateful for it.

    Mary, why would you want your husband to become more touchy feely with people other than yourself and (presumably your kids)? I woudl not appreciate it if my husband were hugging women, even older women, even sideays. And those sideways hugs make me feel quite uncomfortable. Another thing I would respecfully ask, is if it makes your husband uncomfortable, why would you encourage him to do it? (obviously there are some places where this might be appropriate…) But i think with regards to touching other people, women especially, isn’t it wiser to have more distance than less??

    Nice to see all you ladies here.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • Leticia says on: September 1, 2006 at 5:19 pm

     

    Excellent post. It is a shame that these young girls and women feel that they need to expose every part of their body. What happened to modesty? I find it all too sad. There is a lack of respect for themselves.

    The media has really pushed anorexia-type models and these poor young people are struggling to compete.

    I shutter at the next 10 years.

  • Mary says on: September 1, 2006 at 7:43 pm

     

    Oh, couldn’t you see the smile in my comments about dh? ;O)
    There’s only one older woman who gives him a hug and he actually welcomes it. She’s a darlin, and blind and that’s how she “connects”. Mostly he’s left alone, and that’s fine with me. I don’t “want” him to be more touchy-feely with other women, obviously! Sorry I gave that impression.
    When we first started attending this church eons ago, one of the ushers was in his seventies and would always come over to give my dh a hug. Both dh and I were uncomfortable with it, even though it was obvious that the older man meant it Biblically. He was soooo Godly, and in fact, it was his genuineness that kept us coming back to church (hugs aside!). If there was anything innappropriate in these hugs, believe me, I wouldn’t be so okay with it. As a rule, none of the younger married couples hug each other…maybe we’re more aware of needing space from each other! But a lot of hugging goes on from the olders…and men to men, women to women.
    As for the Mrs., I’ve also had my kids call SS teachers and such Miss/Ms first name, as long as it’s okay with the adult. :O)
    I like Samantha’s comment about how Jesus addressed people Biblically, interesting. My kids will still be the only ones in church to address our Pastor by Pastor last name, vs Pastor first name. I do agree that to force the issue would be disrespectful.

  • DLOGAN says on: September 3, 2006 at 10:25 pm

     

    “Christ himself, who in the gospels is simply called ‘Jesus’ “

    Samantha, can you pull up an example in the scripture were Jesus is addressed as “Jesus”? I know I can not. He is often referred to as Lord, Rabbi (Teacher), Raboni (Master Teacher) etc, but I can not think of a single scripture were someone called him by his name, “Jesus”. To do so would have been disrespectful.

  • MInTheGap says on: September 4, 2006 at 6:54 am

     

    I cannot, off the top of my head, think of a time where they called Him “Jesus”, though I could see where it would be easy to think that since His name is used throughout the Gospels.

  • Samantha says on: September 4, 2006 at 9:54 am

     

    I meant he is *called* Jesus in the Gospel narratives 😉

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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