MInTheGap

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

But Women Don’t Wear Hats Anymore!

July 5th, 2007 Viewed 8904 times

One of the most difficult things to address in terms of modesty and what to wear is the fact that fashion and what society wears changes over time.  We’ve previously discussed the concept that men have not always worn pants, and the cultural bearing on what we wear, but I’d like to look deeper into what’s going on in our world today.

The Sexualization of Society

I find it interesting that the very first thing that happened when Adam and Eve fell was that they found out that they were naked.  Certainly this had to be a strange thing for them– they probably expected to die from eating the fruit, but instead they were overcome with shame and wanted to cover their bodies.  This is one of the things that I find interesting about evolution.  If we’re all descended from animals that don’t have shame nor do they cover, why do we?  How did we evolve shame?  But I digress.

From that time until this, people have had a natural desire to hide their shame and cover their bodies.  Now, granted, each time period has things that they want to show, for different purposes at different times, but that doesn’t stop the natural inclination to cover up.

There has been, through time, clothing that indicates the intent of the heart.  As early as Jacob and Tamar we see that if a woman covered herself and wore a veil that it signified that she was a prostitute looking for “work”.

Today we have seen sexual desire– a very powerful and good thing within marriage– being used to sell beer, cigarettes, auto loans, Internet domain names, and even used to get people to church!  It seems that sex sells everything– and it’s gotten to the point that the image of the woman that is baring it all is reinforced from all corners.

Beauty vs. Body

The difference is that every woman is given a body, but not every woman is given true beauty.  You see, just like Tamar looked the part of the harlot– which attracted Jacob physically– she could also dress the part of the widow and carry sobriety and reflect her true person.

What you wear has the effect of telegraphing the message of what you are inside.  Just like the bride’s gown shows that she’s about to or just has gotten married, what you wear and how you carry yourself have a big impact on what you are advertising– more so than you would imagine.

You see, to me, a lot of the conversation in this area has to do with “how long a skirt should I wear”, “how tight is too tight” and “does this blouse go down too far.”  Those are really the wrong questions.  For one thing, if it’s so close that you’re asking, don’t wear it!  Secondly, a lot of things that could be borderline can cross simply by who you are on the inside.

This is why you get questions like “Can Pants be Considered Modest?”  The answer is more obvious than is seems– it depends on who the woman is that is filling them.

Attitude is Half the Battle

Brunette ModelTake, for instance, this picture on the right.  By all accounts this could be considered to be a modest top.  The sleeves are capped so no shoulder is showing.  There’s no obvious cleavage, though it does show a lot of chest.  This would be borderline in my book.

And yet look at her eyes and her face.  Obviously this is the look the woman was going for– a “come hither” look.  And that’s what makes something that could be considered borderline go over the edge.  Now this picture says to me that the girl is teasing, and is going too far.

But I’m Just Trying to Stay in Fashion!

Have you ever really taken a look at what’s coming down the runways.  I’m sure there must be a blog somewhere poking fun at some of the more ridiculous things that people wear that’s declared high fashion.  Some of it I’m sure they’re only able to squeeze into once!

But I know what you’re saying.  No woman (or man for that matter) wants to look like his clothes are frumpy.  However, we must have these things in mind when looking at clothing:

  1. They’re selling clothes to make women think they are sexy.  They are selling the tease.
  2. They do not care whether or not you are modestly dressed, whether it fits, or what body parts are displaying.  They are interested in sales.
  3. We must search for things that are modest without question.

If we keep these things in mind, and cultivate a pure heart, we will be radiating the beauty from within– and any attention that we get will go to the One that made us.

Hey, Check Me Out!

June 28th, 2007 Viewed 9419 times

There are many events in a person’s life that they will never forget.  Times where they want to look their best.  Times when they want pictures and the memories to last forever.  It is at these times that we think most about what we wear.  We spend days searching through catalogues trying to find the perfect dress.  We spend money on a suit that we’ll only wear for a short time.  We make sure our teeth are cleaned, our hair just so, and our nails polished.  Well, if we’re a girl.

One of these events that we want to remember is our wedding day.  This year, my brother is getting married, and just like any other bride, his wife will spend lots of time and money (and already has) making sure the special day is right, but nothing compares to how much time and “surprise” is built into the dress.  Why else would it cost so much, need alterations, and does the groom be told that he can’t see it or her in it until the wedding day?

In other cases, it’s the prom, the graduation, the special dinner out, the anniversary dinner– it’s at these times that we actually stop to think and consider what we are wearing and what effect it will have.  The problem is that we should be paying attention to what we wear every day– not just on these special occasions.

We Cannot Effect How Our Clothing Impacts Others

There is an inherent problem with a conversation about modesty.  Primarily, that clothing effects people in different ways depending on the culture, sex, sensitivity.

Times change, and the culture changes with it.  It would have been common in the Old Testament period for men to wear skirts, and long flowing robes.  Even as early as the Middle Ages we see men in what would look like skirts.  Times have changed to have men now wear pants and ladies skirts– just look at the non-written indicators for restrooms– but that is not to say we should just absolutes purely based on culture.

Whether you are a man or a woman has a lot to do with how clothing effects you.  For a man, clothing can react in an attraction way– it can appeal to lust and cause temptation.  The same article on the person could be simply repugnant to the woman.

Modesty SurveyAnd sensitivity is one of the key factors here.  If you check out the Modesty Survey besides finding some really interesting answers to questions you will see a common theme repeated.  That even in the questions where an overwhelming majority find something modest, there will be a group that disagrees.  Now this can partly be explained by the fact that answering a dry question versus seeing an article of clothing on a person can be two different things, but I think that it is also the case that each person has their own sense of what is modest and some may be more conservative that others.

My point is that we can dress in such a way that some think is modest, and yet still fail to be modest by someone else’s standard.  Ladies can dress in long flowing dresses and wear a vail or head covering, and men may still fantasize about them.  We have no control over what others do in their minds.  We do have some control of how much we give them to look at, and whether we encourage the glances, but that cannot be our only reason to dress modest.

Inside a Reflection of the Outside

Modesty must first come from within a person.  It springs from a heart of humility– one that desires someone else or something else be elevated.  It’s a heart that yearns for attention not on self, but on something or someone else.

Take a quick look around the Internet or mall and you’ll see why modesty is such a big problem.  Humans are born with a desire for attention.  From the smallest baby to the oldest adult we want people to notice us– and for a majority of the people that we come in contact with they will only see how we look.  And there is much attention showered on those that will show, that will tease, that will display their bodies.

But there is also freedom in modesty.  A freedom that states that who you are as a person is not judged by what you look like, but for who you are.  It’s more about how you think than how you can put on makeup.  It’s more about your passion than displaying body parts.

That’s what Peter is talking about when he says:

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of [braiding] the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

A. W. Tozer has something great to say about this passage in his book I Call It Heresy where he states:

[T]he teaching is plain: don’t let your apparel be your true attractiveness.  Don’t try to substitute gold jewelry for the true beauty of the being!

Peter and Tozer are both saying the same thing– you should be more interested in your character– on your inner man/woman– than you are in your clothing and what you look like.  For some of us, that would take some doing.

So, Then How do I dress?

The point is not that we should dress in sack-cloth and ashes, but that our dress should not be the thing that draws our attention as much as it is a reflection of who we are on the inside.  We should not neglect showering or wear smelly clothes because “it’s the inside that counts,” but the point is also not to seek to draw attention because we’re baring our navel, wearing expensive clothes, or showing off our muscles/cleavage.

Tozer sums it up in four words: “clean, neat, modest, appropriate.”

We’re not to dress to draw attention to our form, to our looks, or toward the outward appearance.  We can’t control what others will think of what we wear, but we can control what we show them.  And we should attempt to be modest and show our inner person, not our outer.

Modesty: A Look Into What We Wear and Why

June 21st, 2007 Viewed 11770 times

What are you wearing?  No, seriously, stop to think about what you are wearing and how you chose the outfit you are wearing today and how you select what you will wear from the store.

What we wear says a lot about who we want people to think that we are.  The colors, styles and fit say more about us than we think– even if it says that we don’t think!  Because your clothing is what you are wearing at any given point in time, and since most of us have chosen what to wear since we were at least a teenager, we pick how we face the world.

With this new series we will be taking a look at the following topics:

  • Clothing’s effect on us and those around us.
  • Modesty and the cultural shift
  • What Bible passages challenge us to be modest.
  • Dual responsibility when it comes to temptation and sin
  • How to define a modest outfit
  • Modesty in more than clothing
  • Modest Clothing Resources

Wanted: Teen Girls to Exploit for Gain

June 7th, 2007 Viewed 14238 times

We live in a sick and twisted society. In the name of free speech, porn peddlers have been able to make millions of dollars trading on women and men that are willing to bear it all, engage in acts that, at best, should be kept in the bedroom, and prey on the weaknesses of men and women anywhere.

But it doesn’t end with those that officially peddle porn. Yes, porn has gone mainstream– as something that anyone can get into, and now you can get for free. And it’s through all media.

Ann Althouse muses about the Internet taking the profit out of pornography by quoting from the New York Times which states that since you don’t need a lot of “quality” and anyone can now produce this stuff, more people are getting into the market for the thrill of it, for the attention, and for reasons other than making the big bucks.

Rob at SayAnything talks about how there’s a new reality television show to help virgins get sex

My question is, how is this not prostitution (which is a question I’ve also posed with regard to pornography)? Basically the show would consist of a bunch of “johns” paying the show’s “pimps” with strange antics (which will serve as content for the show) in exchange for a sexual tryst with the girl the pimps are pimping out.

On Craigslist, a popular classified ad site, Two were charged with pimping teen girls.

“The actual use of Craigslist for prostitution-related crimes has increased dramatically,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Thursday. “Even the street prostitutes are getting involved in this.”

Founded in 1995, Craigslist carries nearly 200 categories of classified ads, including job openings, items for sale and personal ads. The “services” category has a section labeled “erotic.”

During an investigation by the vice and child exploitation units of the Cook County Sheriff’s police, officers responded to ads offering women 18 and 19 years old. Monday, they arranged an encounter at an apartment in the 4000 block of W. LeMoyne. An officer picked up the girl and determined she was 14. The girl offered sex for $250.

And it’s finding its way into every day life. Michelle Malkin brought the way dolls are concieved back around Christmas, asking when the doll section turn into a porn shop? And then there’s the case of the substitute teacher convicted of exposing Seventh Grade Students to pornography.

It seems that no matter where we are we cannot escape the influence of porn, or being exposed to its wake. As pron charges ahead with more daring things to try to make their money, the clothing gets more risque, the “free” content gets more risque and those that are impacted by it all get more numerous. And the worst part is that, as it becomes more prevalent, it numbs us to it all. We get less influenced by what we see, and start to view the end point as the worst.

And the other part is that those that use the teen girls to make their content and market their clothing are perverting their ideas of femininity and womanhood, and make it harder to be modest and pure in their lives going forward.

Godly Husband: Using Your Perspective

January 11th, 2007 Viewed 4278 times

olderhusbandandwifeheader.jpgOne of the most difficult things for a lady to do is to be inside of a man’s mind– and saying this, I’m sure I’ll get the women out there to agree that they don’t really want to see everything there. In the case of how a woman’s form effects a man, I think that women know the extremes, but not necessarily where the line is. Sometimes what separates something acceptable for a Godly woman to wear can differ on how tight, how low, or how much skin is shown– and because there are no hard and fast rules, it’s up to you as the husband and father to pay attention to what the women in your house are wearing.

If you’re looking for specifics on what to wear, ladies, you’ve come to the wrong place. The best set of rules I came across for lady like apparel was at college, and a lot of those rules were more practical than Biblical. Dresses must touch the knee, must wear stockings at all times, no pants unless you’re doing some physical activity– that kind of thing. However, you have a great detector for what men think about in your home.

You see, men, she knows what she is trying to do with her clothing– and there is the first battle. If you have a young lady or wife that is trying to get sexual attention, that is one thing. That woman needs to be corrected and instructed in Biblical precepts. However, in this current culture and desire to at least look modern, some women can come across entirely different than they want to. But you know exactly what they have put on is saying.

There are three different challenges, men, in helping our wives and daughters determine the modesty of their clothing:

  1. Training them not to buy things that are immodest so you don’t have to deal with having something in your house and what to do with it.
  2. Catching something that, while modest, is worn in at an immodest or inappropriate time.
  3. Knowing when that article of clothing you like seeing your wife in is not appropriate for daily wear– is she going to be seen by children or others in a way that is “for your eyes only?”

Not easy things in the slightest– but we need to be engaged. The earlier the better. We need to be helping our wives be good role models of clothing to our daughters. We need to keep our daughters pure in their outward appearance. We need to help our sons to see what a godly woman looks like. Not an easy thing, but a necessary thing.

Wearing the Sunday Best

September 13th, 2006 Viewed 3185 times

German SistersWe’ve discussed before what type of clothing should be worn to church, so that is not necessarily what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about how the culture has affected how we come to church as a person– outwardly and inwardly.

First let’s look at how we come to church outwardly. Here I will briefly touch on what we’ve talked about before, mainly, how we prepare for church means a lot about what is going on inside of us. Personally, I feel that if I’m not giving God at least the respect as far as in how I dress as I would an employer then God really must not have that much of an effect on me. This is separate from the issue of whether women should wear head coverings, because it relates to the amount of effort I put into my external appearance for God.

Fashion’s Effect on Men and Women

August 31st, 2006 Viewed 41425 times

Warning- You may find the original photo offensiveIt is no secret that the culture today is pressing onto men and women a certain look— and that look is not one of inner beauty, but it is an appeal to the carnal desires of the world. God made men and women to be appealing to one another to look upon– for obvious reasons. But ever since the fall, there have had to be barriers put into place to protect us from inappropriate desires and to lead to sexual thoughts and sin.

Indeed, for as long as there has been modest clothing, there has been immodest clothing. If we take a chance to look back through history we will find that prostitutes (no, it’s not the world’s oldest profession, since Adam could be considered a farmer or engaged in husbandry even before there was a woman on the face of a planet) were identifiable. Why these women chose to do this is a discussion for another time, my point is that they dressed in a way to advertise what they were selling, and it was clear what they were doing.

Head Coverings

November 24th, 2004 Viewed 13359 times

Say Your PrayersWatching any of the good old westerns, you’d no doubt see the hero (and sometimes the villains) take off their hat when entering a building– or at least in the presence of a lady. Today we have trouble having our children and adults ever taking off their hat, even for the national anthem or prayer (though the national anthem usually gets more respect).

In I Corinthians 11 we have an interesting passage of Scripture. In this passage, Paul is talking to the Corinthian believers about what head gear, if any, they should have when prophesying, preaching, or praying.

Some look at verse 2 and claim that it’s an ordinance that Paul is sharing, and give the following commands about head gear the same weight as Communion and Baptism. I think the plain reading of the passage does not give clear weight to that, since Paul states, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” The following “but” seems to say “Yes guys, you’re doing a good job keeping up with the ordinances, but there’s something I have to tell you…”

Must Women Wear Skirts?

November 23rd, 2004 Viewed 18955 times

Young Girl in GrassFor this Christmas, my wife said that we were overdue on getting new clothes. I think that it’s easy to neglect this area (especially being a man) unless circulation between parts of your body is being cut off! So, we’ve been shopping online and at the mall together to try to get at least her wardrobe more up to date. In doing this, she has expressed the desire to add to her collection of feminine fashion in the way of skirts and blouses. That’s what brings me to today’s entry talking about the Biblical commands for apparel.

A lot of the discussion centers around a command in Deuteronomy 22:5 in which God through Moses states that it is an abomination to the Lord for a man to wear women’s clothing and for women to wear men’s clothing. In essence, God created them male and female and He wants them looking the part. (Contrast this to current society’s desire for genderless bathrooms, cross dressers, etc…)

I guess I should start with the men. This means that, guys, you’re going to have to take to liking skirts and stop your sisters in Christ from wearing that which pertains to a man, since further down in the same passage God commands: “A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.” (Deut 22:30) One web author goes on to say the following (I did the linking):

There are many more Bible verses for men wearing skirts than women wearing them! The Bible speaks of men’s skirts twelve times (Dt 22:30, Dt 27:20, Ru 3:9, 1 Sa 15:27, 1 Sa 24:4, 1 Sa 24:5, 1 Sa 24:11, 1 Sa 24:11, Eze 16:8, Hag 2:12, Hag 2:12, and Zec 8:23).

Now, obviously I’m attempting to shock you into thinking! I’m obviously not advocating that men should start a new fashion trend. What I am saying is that you can’t determine a specific article of clothing from this passage. This passage does not say that women have to wear a dress or a skirt and cannot wear pants.

There is a good principle in there, though, which I’ve alluded to before. There should be a difference in your dress than the opposite sex. Now, many people have different opinions of what this should be. An opinion is fine, but falls under what we talked about earlier in the Romans 14 passage about Christian Liberty. For sake of discussion, I’ll talk about some of the main ideas:

Mrs. Alta Jorgensen has some definite views about women’s clothing. She worked temporarily in fashion design and illustration and has some drawings on her site. Her argument is that the fashion designers are trying to make women look like men intentionally, and don’t flatter women’s lines. She encourages women not be sucked in by current fashion trends and to be feminine.

Having attended a conservative Christian University whose dress code was for women to wear skirts/dresses most of the time, I can attest to the fact that going to the mall was quite the adventure “women in jeans!” Does this have an effect on men? Sure.

M. Thaxter Dickey talks about modesty in his web article. He has five reasons for being modest in dress stating that when women dress provocatively:

  1. It is unfair to men
  2. It is a dangerous threat to Chastity
  3. It is unfair to women
  4. It is an indicator of uncertain character
  5. It reflects poorly on one’s vocation as a Christian

There are others, and I’ll give links of need be, but I think you’re seeing my point. God wants a difference, and he puts high value on modesty. Compared to the one passage about looking different, modesty is everywhere in Scripture. There are groups that are willing to make their members wear skirts, but don’t care how modest. We need to be concerned about modesty first and foremost.

* Correction made before the five points– spotted by Red State Rah Rah.

MInTheGap

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