RSS

Tag Archives: Christian living

A Better Reference Point for Modesty

I’m writing this post as part of the #ModestyRules Synchroblog. (Image source)

So many voices, so little clarity, so much needless hurt

Modesty is, and always has been, important to me. Perhaps it’s because of my cautious nature and reserved personality. Perhaps we could find a more spiritual cause. In any case, as young as two and three years old, I was averse to showing my belly button. When I became a teenager, and a whole new world of clothing options opened to me, I was petrified of ending up in something indecent. As an adult, I now minister in contexts that regularly put me on a stage, in front of a class, or even in front of cameras — all of which require a conservative dress code.

I say this to affirm: I like dressing modestly. It’s my default. I find no “freedom” in the idea of wearing skimpier, flashier things.

Yet even so, as I think back over the messages I was taught about modesty in my teens, and the sort of messages that get blogged and reblogged today, I’m troubled. Any teaching about modesty must, of course, first define what it is. When you strip away all the lists of rules, the hemlines, the necklines, and the spaghetti straps, what exactly is modesty, and why do we care about it?

The answer to that question, almost universally, has been this: Modesty means adequately covering up your body so that you don’t cause your brothers to stumble.

I would suggest — in fact, I would insist — that this definition is a problem. A big one. There’s a lot that could be said about this, but for the sake of time, I want to focus on four reasons we need to change our reference point:

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements
 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

30-Day Humility Challenge

I’ve still been thinking about body image. A lot. I just can’t shake how important it is that we declare war on the superficial, appearance-based value system that our world so loves and promotes. I’m burdened with how all-consuming this thing gets if we let it take root in our hearts, and how drastically it impedes our ability to love and to receive love (from God and others). I feel more strongly than ever that, especially as believers who value the fasted lifestyle, we have to be clear on this in order to stay safe. We daren’t spend the fast either hoping we lose a lot of weight, or else worrying that it might slow down our metabolisms and make us fat.

This is not only important for those people with diagnosed eating disorders. This is not just for people who are already “just fine” and shouldn’t worry about their looks (“unlike MY tubby/pale/pimply/wrinkly/otherwise ugly self,” we might think). This is for any one of us who ever looks in the mirror and sighs unhappily about what we see. Read the rest of this entry »

 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Heart Stuff

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Great Equalizer, Illustrated

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “equality” lately. You can’t do even a cursory study of the gender debate without running across this word a lot. There are so many arguments about it — what groups are actually equal with each other; what groups need to be; what groups claim to not have equality, but really do; and, “well, what is your group to tell me that my group doesn’t need it anymore?” etc. etc. There are tons of ideas of how to achieve equality, countless articles searching for the cause of its absence, and lots and lots of finger-pointing and/or self-pity regarding those who get the short end of the stick. It is such a dicey subject.

On one hand, I definitely agree with the overall concept of equality. We in the church are supposed to love, honor, and submit to one another in Christ, so we really should not be seeing vast swaths of people who are being systematically oppressed. We need to treat even unbelievers with kindness. Defending the oppressed is biblical, and it’s a great thing.

But on the other hand, it’s hard to justify by the Sermon on the Mount how it’s okay for any of us to stand up and demand our fair and equal rights. Although it’s right for us to be treated well, it’s not our job to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure that happens. The Bible actually seems to assume that we’ll be mistreated (Matt 24:9; John 16:33; 2Cor 4:8-11; 2Tim 3:12; 1Pet 4:12…just to list a few)! And then it tells us to do ridiculous things like turn the other cheek! But shouldn’t we stand up for what’s right?

Holy ideological minefield, Batman! What do we do now?

As I was mulling over this topic the other day, it struck me how I was coming at it from completely the wrong angle. The Bible actually gives us a really clear picture of what Christ-centered equality looks like. And it looks something like this:  Read the rest of this entry »

 
7 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Theology, Women in Ministry

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Entitlement Precludes Justice. Always.

I’ve been thinking and praying about Haiti a lot since the earthquake about a month ago. I was recently alerted to this article explaining the present housing situation for those who lost their homes. Click through to see full details, but I’ll summarize: The international aid community had originally been planning to give tents to tide these families over until more permanent shelters could be erected. That plan, however, has been deemed too expensive, so in lieu of tents, the Haitian homeless will receive… tarps. As in, the plastic blanket kind of tarps. As in the, “Here’s a plastic blanket; have fun through hurricane season” kind of tarps.

Basically all because it’s too expensive.

Now, I’d believe it if I was told that there are other reasons that shaped the decision to scrap the tent plans. The optimist in me really hopes that it didn’t simply boil down to the bottom dollar. Of course it is crucial to get something to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. But I cannot fathom why it seems okay, at any level, to stick people outside with nothing but a tarp and feel like we did them much of a favor. Sure, a tarp is better than no tarp, but a tarp is just barely a step up from nothing at all.

I then thought about how victims of hurricane Katrina were relocated into not just tents, but trailer homes. I wondered what the news reaction would have been if FEMA had tried to make our U.S. citizens tough things out in un-air-conditioned, electricity-less tents — much more so if they would have handed them a sheet of plastic with a shrug and advice to get creative with how to stay dry under it.

I’m pretty sure the media would have had a heyday with that one.

So what’s the difference? Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 16, 2010 in justice

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Consider Him Who Endured

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Hebrews 12:1-3, emphasis added)

“Consider Him… lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” I love this verse. Perhaps it isn’t terrifically obvious at first glance how this works. After all, I don’t think anyone walked out of a showing of The Passion of the Christ pumping their fists, ready to take on the world. At least for me, thinking about blood, torture, and humiliation doesn’t generally fire me up for action. So how does considering Jesus’ endurance of suffering give our hearts strength?

There are lots of  potential answers to that question. In fact, there are lots of right answers to that question. But one in particular has been striking my heart lately — and here’s a hint: It’s not about inducing a guilt trip. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Role Modeling Made Easy

Recently, while researching different viewpoints about women in ministry (a subject I have not abandoned, by the way), I ran across a certain preacher who was taking potshots at Wonder Woman. He was decrying her as an invention of the feminist movement, which she is. But he especially took offense at how she acts too much “like a man”. Now, admittedly, I’ve never read the comics, but I would seriously doubt that to be the case. If her costume is any indication, I’d say “butch” is not exactly what the comic creator was going for.

I was discussing this with my mom the other day, and we got to talking about role models for girls in the media. The course of conversation brought up another fictitious fighter, Xena the Warrior Princess (who also received a derogatory mention from the above preacher). She’s another example of the entertainment industry’s attempt to offer girls an alternative role model to delicate wallflowers and fainting damsels in distress such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and the like.

The secular media loves these superheroes, because when it comes to role models, it means girls no longer have to choose between being a princess and kicking tail.  In the past, in movies and stories, girls have generally been cast in the roles of: cute, boring, basically useless sidekick who gets captured and needs rescuing; delicate, lovely princess who needs rescuing (or at least has the handsome princes falling all over themselves to woo her); or — if she’s useful and has the ability to hold her own — the plain, spunky tomboy who nobody falls in love with but everyone likes to keep around anyway, because she’s just “one of the guys”. The message was fairly clear. Dainty and delicate was the way to go if you wanted to be an attractive, successful woman.

From a purely secular standpoint, Wonder Woman and Xena seem a little refreshing after that kind of stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

 
21 Comments

Posted by on December 1, 2009 in Knowledge of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When Unprofitable Servants are Served

If you read this blog, I imagine you have been keeping up with the awakening meetings taking place at IHOP-KC. If by some remarkable chance you haven’t heard, the Holy Spirit has been moving on us (especially on our student body) in an unusual way lately. You can watch live meetings Wednesday-Sunday, starting at 6pm (Central), as well as watch some amazing archives and testimonies, at www.ihop.org/watch.

You can read the explanation of what is going on at the IHOP website. Plus, you can go read a couple of great posts by Zack Hensley and Randy Bohlender  with some further thoughts on the meetings. As I consider what has already been said, along with what could be said, and how much I’m still trying to get my own bearings on things right now, it is hard to decide how to write about this. At one level, I have to say something — we are having healings, deliverances, and salvations breaking out after all — but at another level, what can I say? (Except for: “Seriously folks, if you haven’t tuned in to any of it yet, get on www.ihop.org/watch sometime this Wed-Sunday.”)

This has something to do with the pronounced lack of blog posts so far this month.

Yet as I was reading through the book of Luke recently, I was struck with two passages that exactly speak to what I’ve been feeling about this season of awakening. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,