Sunday, July 11, 2010

turtlenecks for everyone

We love to try to be the Holy Spirit. Especially for other people. It seems like it's some sort of civic duty for Americans or something. Or at least it's a guilty pleasure.

There were times when I was growing up when so many people were bossing me around that it completely drowned out the Spirit's voice in my life. And, sadly, that's the truth. It's hurtful. And it's judgmental.

There are a bunch of Christians, mostly male, who love to tell women how they should dress. If you're a father and the woman is a child and is your daughter, it's probably okay that you have some input, as long as you're not a jerk about it.

If the above situation doesn't apply to you, then hush.

Being homeschooled, there were always things like this going on. I even remember going to retreats where, and yes, this actually happened in the 90s, girls' swimming was first, mixed swimming next, and boys' swimming last, even though two-piece swimwear wasn't allowed. Thankfully, the term "mixed swimming" was preferred over the more baptistic "mixed bathing." That would have been an uncomfortable explanation.

Anyway, I have heard a lot of men complaining about this, even recently, and saying things like, no joke, "I should just paint the bottom half of my glasses black when I'm talking to a girl these days, so I can't see below her neck."

Or, you could just not look. That choice is on the table. The sanctifying work of the Spirit does give freedom from lust, just like every other struggle.

Check out the book of Romans. It's one of my favorite parts when Paul tells them, "hey, if your conscience lets you, eat a nice juicy steak." "If it says 'no,' then don't."

I know the Bible says to dress modestly. But there are a couple of issues with applying this here. First, we need to know exactly what the Bible is talking about. Second, it doesn't say "women who don't dress modestly should be sternly rebuked and judged by men."

Here's another issue. Where do we draw the line? What is the ratio of body to exposed skin that does us in? Last I checked, that's not in the Bible, either.

Let's face it, it's not our job to draw the line for other people, anyway.

See, this issue is one of Christian freedom. Just like drinking and TV-viewing and carnivorous eating. It's a matter of conscience.

The whole "women should cover themselves up so they don't cause men to stumble" argument has, at the very least, one major problem. Men should be able to control themselves. Don't shift responsibility here.

So, if people you come into contact with aren't covered up enough, don't look at them, don't hang out with them, whatever you need to do.

Just don't tell them they need to cover up.

Part of the problem is the whole "Every Man's Battle" phenomenon. Sex addiction is not every man's battle, nor is it "Every Woman's Battle" or "Every Young Man's Battle" or "Every Football Fan's Battle" or "Every Apricot Miniature Poodle's Battle."

But even if it is some guy's battle, that's his battle, not everyone else's.

And you might not want to go publicizing it if it is your battle.

Oh, and women can lust, too. Just thought I'd point it out.


Chuck King said...

Jonathan, I'd like to read more about teh Apricot Miniature Poodle's Battles.

You know, just an idea for a future post.

Carry on.

jaigner said...

I'll explore that one somewhere down the road, Chuck.

As always, thanks for reading.

E. A. Harvey said...

Great post! More than once when a Christian man comments on how women need to dress modestly to keep their brothers from sinning, I've said, "Oh yes, I agree. A burqa would be so much more appropriate."

That usually shuts them up. :-)