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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 »

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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Blame: The Game Where Everyone Loses

The Blame Game

The Blame Game

People have been blaming each other for as long as there has been something worth blaming someone else for. Clear back in the Garden of Eden, we see the first man and woman, coming off of the first sin, already explaining why their sin was not entirely their fault. Adam blamed his sin on his wife and on the God who put her on earth with him. Eve blamed her sin on the serpent. Both were seeking to justify their actions based on the actions of others around them.

Neither excuse held any water before the Lord.

Their claims even had some merit on a surface level. Would Adam have eaten the fruit if Eve didn’t do it first? Would Eve had even considered trying it had the serpent not come along?

Maybe, and maybe not. We don’t know for sure. But God did not look at the logical chain and go, “Oh, so it’s all the serpent’s fault then.” He dealt with Adam and Eve individually for the real choice they each had to make before taking a bite. The serpent could not “make” Eve try the fruit. She chose to do so. Eve could not “make” Adam partake with her. He chose to do so. Each were responsible for their own sin.

Most of us are pretty familiar with this concept. But I’ve been considering this lately as it pertains to two pretty touchy areas: body image and lust. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2009 in My Two Cents

 

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