Thursday, 2 October 2014

Modesty lost?


Some thoughts in response to Kevin DeYoung’s recent article on modesty.

This article seems to trip over itself to miss the point that modesty is a heart attitude, and is not about 'dress' in the same way that worship is about the heart not about 'singing'.

1. Modesty protects what is intimate:

Then address the behaviour of the men who encourage the women to send ‘shots’ of themselves for their titillation. Sexting is immodest, but it’s the men that drive that. Deal with THAT behaviour, and address their need/want to be sensually stimulated without mutual responsibility/care for each other.

2. Modesty accepts that our bodies also live in community

I agree we do live in community, and the secular mantra of ‘please yourself’ is not helpful for Godly living. However that doesn’t give cause to reduce the argument to one of ‘feminism’. No-one should deliberately cause anyone else to struggle. Agreed. However, if we’re not explicitly tackling men’s lack of self control and objectification of women, let alone their dishonouring of them as co-heirs in Christ, our sisters, family.. etc.. then we should NOT make it the problem of women to ‘compensate’ for our lack good leadership in attending to this long standing issue.

3. Modesty operates with the Bibles negative assessment of public nudity post-fall

My biblical theology of nakedness is admittedly weak, but Adam and Eve were ashamed not because they were naked, but because they KNEW they were naked. That was the consequence of their sin. Everything in the garden was naked, why would their nakedness suddenly be shameful? It is interesting that in Kevin’s examples apart from Eve, all the others were men. Ironic then that he’s attempting to control women’s dress.

4. Modesty embraces the strong biblical admonition to refrain from sensuality

I agree with his general comment that pursuing sensuality is counter to pursuing holiness. Yet, our bodies were made, by God to enjoy sensuality. Whether it be a great view, a wonderous smell or a touch that makes all the hairs on our neck stand up, our senses interact with the world around around us. Does it have to be rejected, or can it be redeemed? If it has to be rejected, let us cut off our noses, block up our ears, gouge out our eye’s and wrap ourselves in bubblewrap.

5. Modesty demonstrates to others that we have more important things to offer than good looks and sex appeal.

Timothy’s admonition to let beauty come from within is again dealing with a core issue for Christianity, that IT’S YOUR HEART THAT MATTERS!!!! He is quite right that the key question here is are we radiant with Christ. But his twisting to suggest that we should judge a persons heart by their dress is banal, let alone entirely minimising the construct of things he recognises later (culture, conscience and context). To glorify God with our bodies is not to hide them away, but to subject them to the will of Christ. To use them to do good works. To feed the poor. To serve and love our neighbours. To work to provide for ourselves and our kin. And to worship. God created us. Male and Female, and he said we were good. Everything God creates shouts the praise of his Glory. We seriously need to think differently about our hang-ups and repressions and stop trying to control other people and work harder on controlling our self.