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