My name is Lyndon.
I have a confession to make:
I have a burden regarding the level of theological schlock that is regularly dumped upon my sisters in the Lord. Many of my female friends struggle, far too hard, to find reliable theological resources that deal with issues of concern to them. Because of this, I want to write some women’s ministry literature that has some theological substance.
Sadly, I’m male.
That means, I suffer from typical male proclivities, aptly illustrated in the following:
In other words, I’m not necessarily the best person to write theological literature that women can relate to.
I have a second confession:
I’m not really even going to try. I’m a theologian who is skilled in biblical interpretation, and I’m going to try my best to stick there. I’m going to just write as straight-forwardly as I can, and hopefully it will be helpful.
So what is this all about?
That’s right. I’m going to write some more stuff about modesty. It’s not like the “modesty” horse hasn’t already been killed and beaten two ways from Tuesday. What more could we do to it?
Well, I hope you may be surprised. I’ve written a short series of articles that I’m going to post here, one article at a time over a period of several weeks. I was going to try to put it together as some form of small e-book, but seeing that my previous book has yet to surface on Amazon, I decided to just get this out there. Hopefully it will help sort out some of the confusion that many of us conservative evangelicals have about modesty. Today, I’m going to lay out four categories of Christian women with regards to the subject of “modesty.”
1. The women who want to be biblically modest.
These woman recognize that the standards of contemporary fashion are abysmal but don’t think the solution involves dressing like someone from the era before electricity. They are usually well-intentioned but get overwhelmed (or totally annoyed) at all the confusing and contradictory teaching on the subject of modesty. These women recognize that more often than not, “women’s ministry” books are written by other women who don’t really know what they’re talking about…but they also struggle to find good stuff that sufficiently answers their questions. These women usually give up in frustration and just try to dress respectably by the standards of the day.
In this series, I hope to give these women a substantial biblical exploration of the issue. I hope to answer some of their big questions, dig deep into some of the key texts, and give them a framework to deal with the innumerable little questions that follow.
2. The women who want to be historically modest.
These woman look much like the first group except that their understanding of modesty is far more rooted in history than the pages of Scripture. They often have arbitrarily selected a standard of dress from a period of time from recent history (i.e. the 1950’s or 1980’s) and used that as the standard of “biblical” modesty. These women tend to be rather sentimental about a previous time when people acted more “Christian” and want a return to those good old days when women dressed “modestly”…and wore shoulder pads.
In this series, I hope to give these women a similar understanding as the first group. Also, I hope to give them some freedom to understand that modesty allows a whole lot of diversity of clothing, but also would likely condemn some things that they assume pass for “modest.” I also hope that this any newfound understanding will result in increased influence with younger women who don’t share their tastes in fashion.
3. The women who want to be culturally modest.
These women don’t want to be seen as “immodest” but still want to dress “fashionably” as judged by the abysmal standards of the day. They tend to react with aggression against the teaching on “modesty” that condemns how they already dress and want to be thoughtful of their brothers in the Lord…but tend to blame hormonal and googly-eyed Christian guys for the existence of the issue in the first place.
In this series, I hope to help these women in similar ways to the first group. I hope to help them by re-orienting their perspectives on fashion to be more in line with the Scriptures, and to also give them a healthy understanding of just what’s at stake in their fashion choices. I’m guessing that many will dismiss what I write, but then again, women in this category don’t really read blogs like mine.
4. The women who want to be Christian hotties.
These women are somewhat like the previous group except that they go a lot farther; instead of wanting to dress fashionably, they want to be “sexy”. For some reason, they don’t seem to clue in that “sexy” means “dressing in a way that purposefully stimulates (in others) a strong desire for sex.” These women constantly have problems with “Christian guys” who don’t “act very Christian” and end up dating non-Christian guys because “they act more ‘Christian’ than the Christian guys…” I’m not really addressing the Christian hotties. They’ll likely dismiss this whole series because it’s written by a guy…and because their main problem involves spelling…
In this series, I still hope that these women will be helped in a secondary way. They’ll be helped by the women in the first three groups who will possibly talk with them and pass on the biblical information that they’ve gleaned from this series.
Truthfully, I’m guessing that the third group may have trouble stomaching what I’m going to write as well. That means I’m mostly aiming at the first two groups with this. So what’s first?
In the next post (which will be in around a week), we’ll explore the Biblical terms related to modesty.
I’ll do my best to be clear, but be warned: I’m going to dig deep and get into some heavy bible study. I’ll explain everything as simply as I can, but this will involve a lot more heavy lifting than your average “modesty” talk.
Be encouraged: women can do heavy lifting too!
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “So how many enemies did I just make?” Unger
21 thoughts on “Addressing the Dressing I: An Introduction”
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
I’m really looking forward to this.
I hope it’s helpful…but I admit I’m nervous!
You probably haven’t made the enemies quite yet. I bet you have to write at least one of the posts first. Thanks in advance for this. I am still in the process of raising a teenage Christian girl who also happens to be very attractive…this is an issue of concern and confusion for me.
Awesome! Looking forward to the series.
“So how many enemies did I just make?”
None that you didn’t already have. The entire Christianity Today/Relevant magazine world will hate you for sure. This will be the same crowd who think that every bloody, blasphemous and debased Hollywood production is art and that gender norms according to God’s created order are oppressive and patriarchal.
I have been round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round with these biblical illiterates more times than I care to remember.
I’m tempted to link this a couple places that will have the wailing banshees of permissive post modernism descending upon you like a pack of rabid dogs. Might provide some useful object lessons.
As a rather conservative Christian teenage girl, I’ve wondered about this topic for a while now, prayed about it, and sorted it out the best I could, but I can’t wait to read your series on it. Modest in my mind is not suggesting anything immoral or attracting or asking for attention with your clothing. The bible calls us to have modest hearts too. Its a struggle in this outside-beauty-seeking culture to stay modest, but shopping at Goodwill helps! 🙂
What a refreshing perspective! Your beauty is truly not limited to the outward appearance, but is the hidden person of the heart (1 Peter 3:4). Now, five and a half years later, you may be out of your teens, but I trust your passion for Godly modesty is even more firmly established than ever.
haha, thank you!! I’m now in college and still pursuing modesty of soul and body while experimenting with funky outfits and challenging legalism 🙂 I love the work of Sheila Gregorie (https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/) and her thoughts on modesty (https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2019/03/new-look-at-christian-modesty-guidelines/). Seeking God’s heart for us is a fruitful passion, and 5 years later I’m still going strong 🙂
This weekend a friend woefully lamented that “Charlotte Gambill was back on her ‘Screaming for Jesus Tour’ where while talking about Prosperity Jesus she screams for the entire 42 minutes while flailing her arms wildly in the air in an apparent attempt to get PJ’s attention. She also wears at least 6 in heels to be closer to heaven at all times.” Maybe you will get more women to consider what you are saying if you employ these time honored techniques. That might be hard to do on a blog, but you use a lot of visual aids and have a caps lock key.
I would be interested in anyone’s thoughts as to why this is the gold standard for speakers at women’s conferences? I just heard Christine Caine speak last week. The entire “sermon” was her pacing the stage like a caged tiger yelling really fast and really, really loudly with the occasional long, silent, awkward pause. Gambill, Lisa Bevere and Holly Wagner all do the same. Pacing the stage like a predatory animal in captivity; yelling at machine gun speed, wearing skin tight jeans or shiny pants and ridiculously high heels that they use to clomp every square inch of stage. Can anyone explain what the appeal of this is? Is it regression therapy of some sort? Mommy is screaming at me, so it must be good for me?
Ya know, this does go for us fellas as well. Let’s not kid ourselves, men can dress provocatively and women can lust too.
Oops, I meant for this to be at the bottom. ^^^^^^^
“I have a burden regarding the level of theological schlock that is regularly dumped upon my sisters in the Lord. ” You got that one right! I pretty much avoid women’s sites all together and learn from the men. Not that there aren’t spiritually mature women who can teach sound doctrine and theology, I just haven’t found one.
That being said, I think hearing from a man is the best way for women to understand modesty. As Christians we are to concern ourselves with how our dress impacts others and not seek to please ourselves – Romans 15:1-7.
When my daughter was a teenager and she came out of her bedroom dressed in something that I felt was too alluring, I would tell her. If I got too much flack from her I would call in the calvary. “Boys! Come tell L if you think her outfit is too alluring.” My two teenage sons and their friends would then proceed to give her feedback as to how her clothing affected them. She would traipse herself back upstairs and change. If she didn’t, she was sending a clear message that she wanted to be alluring.
A spiritually mature woman should want to know how her clothing impacts men. But there’s no doubt that this is a volatile issue. I’m glad you’re taking it on!
I just found this blog yesterday while researching women’s ministry leaders after reading this post. I haven’t gotten that far in but what I have read seems solid, so it may be worth a try for you. Elizabeth Prata at http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/
Congratulations on not just telling your daughter to dress appropriately, but for teaching her to think for herself and exposing her to the male perspective. I wish all parents would do that. Unfortunately, parents seem to want to outsource godly mentoring to youth pastors. These are the same people whose job mainly consists of obsessing over their appearance and their youth oriented affectations. They dress in skinny jeans so tight you can see how much change they are carrying. They top those with these absurd u-neck tees that come down to their rib cages so you can see their manly man chests laced with edgy rosary beads and keys on chains. Lots of chains. The youth pastors dress, accessorize and spend hours on their hair, to allure and provoke teenagers in the name of Jesus. Think about that.
Then they talk/Tweet/Instagram about their “super pure” wives who are “smoking hot” and how much smoking hot sex they are having with them. In my opinion, pure women are not “smoking hot” (or smoking haught). They are beautiful, elegant and to be admired, respected and treasured – not be called “smoke machines”. Keep up the good work. Maybe your sons and daughter will grow up to be role models for youth and instill better values in teens then what they are getting at the megas’ pizza parties for Jesus.
Good play on words there with “haughty.”
I do what I can! Thanks Slim!
Always a pleasure!
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