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TRADING ASHES FOR BEAUTY IN CHRISTIAN DRESS
Fundamental Baptist Information Service ^ | April 25, 2006 | David Kidd

Posted on 04/27/2006 6:55:52 PM PDT by Full Court

With nearly every advantage in our favor, and after years of unprecedented opportunity to produce young people of the highest spiritual, moral, and distinctive Christian character, Christians continue to shoot themselves in the foot by allowing the world’s patterns and styles to define them and their children. Like the children of Israel, we have corrupted ourselves with the gods of Egypt.

This is an urgent appeal to Christians, particularly homeschoolers. It will not apply equally to everyone, but I am afraid it applies to far too many. There are many good and wonderful Christian people who may bristle at this, but there is a fire burning and someone must yell. I trust this admonition is gentle, but also firm and clear.

In Isaiah 61 God is speaking through the prophet of his intentions to bring salvation to his people, to comfort the mourning, and to give them beauty for ashes. In chapter 62, referring to His people, He says, “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory unto the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

I have visited many homeschool conventions around the eastern part of the country and know many fine homeschooling families. I work with their boys, fellowship with the parents, and observe their young ladies. There is no other group of people I would rather be around than Christian homeschoolers. However, each event I attend, whether regional or local, leaves me with burning questions: “What are we doing wrong?” “Why do so many of our young people look, act, and talk like the world?” “How can it be that we shelter our youth from public school influences, yet in language, appearance and conduct one could never tell them apart?

We have traded the beauty of being a peculiar people; pure, innocent, distinct, and separate, for the ashes of the world’s fashions and foolishness. Please understand, I realize there is plenty of room for differences in styles of dress and preferences in appearance. I am not suggesting we adopt a “uniform,” but I am asking that you honestly evaluate this intensely personal area in the light of God’s Word and His call for us to be “royal diadems.

I said I would be gentle, but clear. Allow me to be very clear so there can be no misunderstanding by providing a literary montage describing a typical homeschool event:

A young man, perhaps 15, walks through the door of the meeting room. His pants are baggy, dragging on the floor, his outer shirt is open and oversized, with the shirttail dangling mid-thigh. On his head a baseball cap is turned backwards. After a few moments he is reminded that hats should not be worn inside and he removes it, revealing gel-spiked hair. A single earring dangles from his left ear. He fingers it as he scans the room for friends. His eyes brighten as he spots one. An outstretched hand, oddly crooked at the wrist, with a single pointing finger is acknowledged by another similarly attired young man. They greet each other with a handshake. Not a gentleman’s handshake, but some variant form, first with fingers enclenched, then a bumping of the fists. They talk for a minute. It is apparent they are admiring each other’s necklaces. Gel-spike’s is delicate, perhaps of Indian origin. His friend’s is bold and brash, a linked chain, heavy enough to harness a pit bull. Their body language exudes a suave coolness.

From my vantage point I look for the parents of the two lads. There in the corner is the heavy-chained one’s mother. Her hair is short, though not cropped off in a feminist statement. Loosely fitting blue jeans and a wool pullover sweater complete her outfit. As the styles of the day would have it, she looks pretty normal.

Across the way is heavy-chain’s father. He is talking with an older gentleman who is neatly dressed in a button down shirt and beige colored Dockers. His own cut-off jeans, a stark contrast to the neat casual Dockers of his conversation mate, looked liked they lost a fight with his son’s pit bull.

Gel-spike swaggers across the room to a smartly-dressed middle-age woman. My lip reading skills are adequate enough that I know he called her mom. They converse for a minute. She smiles and pats him on the head as he walks away. Her friend laughs and offers her a napkin to wipe her now gelled hand.

As I continue my stealth surveillance, I take mental inventory: 12 women wearing blue jeans, 2 women in long dresses or skirts, 5 boys with gelled hair, 3 with necklaces or earrings, 9 girls in blue jeans, 2 in short shorts, 2 in long dresses. Before I complete my analysis, I notice two young ladies, both perhaps 14. They are not together, except in the sense they are both here. The one stands out because her dress is long and flowing. She approaches a lady that I suspect must be her mother. She is dressed in similar style. Mom long-dress hands car keys to daughter long-dress and whispers something to her. She quickly moves across the room and approaches a young man, perhaps 17 years old, who was just hanging up his coat and depositing his hat on the top of the coat rack. “Her brother, I bet,” I think to myself. Sure enough he takes the keys and goes outside, apparently to fulfill an errand for mom.

I wait for him to return to add him to my mental notes: Cowboy boots, jeans, pull over shirt, no gel-hair, no necklace, no earrings. I scan the crowd. There were a few others in similar, benign attire. I was struck by the contrast in appearance. Everything was here, from a near Mennonite look, to those who appeared to have popped out of “People” magazine.

The other 14 year-old girl that caught my attention was still where I had first spotted her. Her jeans were tight, as though they had been bought just before her last growth spurt. Her shirt was also tight, and short, advertising the fact she was no longer a little girl. Another girl approached, dressed in similar form-fitting, flesh-exposing fashion. Their apparent willingness to flaunt their developing physiques made my heart sink. “What could their parents possibly be thinking?

“She can really kick b_ _t.” I snapped my head around to see where that had come from. Another young lady, perhaps 15, was talking with some boys. I listened for a moment, enough to hear the slang term a few more times. She obviously liked using that word. Her mother stood nearby, either oblivious to the street slang or unconcerned.

“You’re being too sensitive” a voice in my head was trying to shake me into reality. I could not help but notice the contrast. The other two girl’s attire was tight and revealing, hers was loose and obviously, intentionally sloppy. Both were outside my “box” of appropriate Christian attire. I resisted the urge to pass judgment any further.

For the remainder of the evening I mingled with the group, discussing a variety of topics. Mr. Cut-offs mentioned that he needed prayer for a job. Gel-spike told me about his work with children in a child evangelism program. Miss short-shirt seemed to be a loner. The other short-shirt was on the prowl, trying to make herself appealing to any interested boys in the group. None were.

As the evening concluded and we prepared to leave, I scanned the gathering one last time. Heavy-chain was tying his little brother’s shoes. Gel-spike was helping heavy-chain’s Dad set the chairs in straight rows. These boys did not wear the characteristic scowl of a rebellious heart, yet their appearance screamed it loud and clear. The confusing images spun cobwebs in my mind. I had watched the two of them all evening. They seemed polite and pleasant, even somewhat spiritual. “The look of the world with an apparently spiritual heart. How does that work?” “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” The verse spontaneously erupted from my subconscious. “I wonder if what I can see matches what God can see,” I thought.

Miss short-shirt had her coat on now, concealing the bold statement she had been making all evening.  The younger long-dress had her coat on too. She was leaving just behind loner short-shirt. Their coats were nearly identical. But for the fringe of her dress gently flipping around her calf as she hurried outside, you might have thought they were sisters.

“That could never be,” I concluded. Two girls, with such different values and standards instilled in them, and whose outward appearance bears such striking differences could never be from the same family. I was sure of that. They did appear to be leaving together though. I watched as the other mom long-dress came outside carrying one tired little bundled up baby. Short-shirt and younger long-dress were headed for the same van! “It can’t be!” I thought. I strained to see. At the large van, I noticed young long-dress get in. Soon mom long-dress arrived, handing a sleeping bundle to her older son in the van. Miss short-shirt paused for a moment, “coming Mom,” I heard her call, and ran across the lot to the family car. “I was right,” I thought proudly. “Such conflicting values could never co-exist in the same household.

As I traveled home, my mind felt like it had been twisted into a snarled knot. Like watching a movie that has no plot, or reading a book that attempts to weave so many conflicting images into the story that you finish not knowing what it was all about. I was confused and dismayed. “How can it be?” I wondered. Here was a group of Christian homeschooling families. In addition to our common bond of faith in Jesus Christ, we also had a common bond of insulating our children from the worldly influences and a desire to raise a distinctive generation of Christian youth who will one day establish Godly homes of their own.

At least, that’s what everyone says.

“I do believe these people love the Lord.” “Why do so many of the children, and even some parents, look so much like the world?” “Where are the distinctive marks?” “Is it only a spirit of holiness we are after, or should there be a visible evidence of that inner spirit?” “Is purity and innocence an inner quality which may be disguised behind a worldly façade of popular fad and fashion?” Questions swirled in my mind trying to make sense of the confusing menagerie of images I had seen. “Is it possible for such opposing values to co-exist in the same household of faith?

“You’re judgmental!” “Legalism!” “Man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.” “We have freedom in Christ!” “You are in bondage.” “God accepts us as we are.” The accusations and defenses exploded from my memory banks as I involuntarily recalled past debates with others who see the issues differently than I.

As we traveled home, the streetlights of the little town we were passing through illuminated the youthful residents. Some were huddled in small groups, others hurriedly chasing to catch friends. Again my mind made a quick inventory as I scanned the scene. Three of four boys in a group to my left had gel-spiked hair. Two of the four wore earrings. A fifth approached the group. A thick chain around his neck sparkled in the street light. He greeted the others with a handshake like the one I had seen gel-spike and heavy-chain exchange earlier. Two girls from across the street were calling to the boys. They both wore blue jeans and form fitting shirts that were much to short to cover their middle as they raised their hands to wave to the boys. I quickly looked around while waiting at the red light; seven girls, all in blue jeans, and most wearing revealing shirts similar to the two we just passed, six boys, three with gel-spiked hair, four wearing necklaces or chains, two with earrings.

I was paralyzed by the inescapable truth and my inability to reconcile with it. Considering the standard of appearance and action, these were no different than some in the group I just left. Perhaps, like some in our gathering, their heart does not match the look they project, but that I could not tell from my mobile vantage point. I only know that they looked and acted the same. There was one difference. On the streets, I did not see a little miss long-dress or any aspiring Dockers-pants or button-down shirts.

The scenes I just described for you, though not all occurring in the same place at the same time, are not fictitious, but a combination of observations I have made at various home school and other Christian events. If this is typical, and I fear that it is, it is a horrible indictment of our willingness to accept the ashes of the world’s look, in exchange for the beauty of being a sparkling crown of glory and a royal diadem for our God.

When it becomes impossible on a city street to even guess which might be the lost sinner and which is probably the Christian teen, something has gone disastrously awry.  There was a time I would have blamed the church, but it is not the fault of the church, except to the extent that it has served as an accomplice. No, my appeal is not to pastors first, but to Christian parents. Wake up and look at your children!  Your daughters are exposing their bodies, either in flesh or form, presenting an image that reeks of worldliness, carnality and sensuality. Do you not see it?  Do you not realize the nightmare that lies ahead for her if you do not require a standard that marks her as a diadem of God?

Your sons dress and adorn themselves in a fashion that would have shamed even the unsaved a generation ago, for such was reserved for only the most perverse segments of society. Yet today, the church and its Christian parents console themselves, mistakenly convinced that God does not care about outward appearance. Even the most casual reader of Samuel’s evaluation of the sons of Jesse, from which this position arises, should recognize that God’s admonition was not a license for man to overlook the outer flesh, but a limitation of his ability to see the heart, which only God is able to see.

My dear Christian parent, our children are an heritage of the Lord. Why do so many of our youth look, act and talk like they have been disinherited from the kingdom and forfeited to the world, and that without even a noble fight?  A fountain cannot send forth both sweet water and bitter. No man can serve two masters. He/she will either love Christ and look like His, or love the world and look like it. You cannot serve God and mammon. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

I appeal to you for the sake of the heritage God has entrusted to you. Look at your children, especially your youth. Do they look different from the world? Look at the clothing of your daughters and ask yourself, “What message do the clothes she is wearing send?” Does your son look like an upright man of dignity and Christian character, or does he look like he stepped off the cover of a Backstreet Boys CD? What your children will be, they are now becoming.

By now, no doubt, you are in one of two states of mind; either in agreement, you grieve with me, or in disagreement, you have already begun to build a defense. If you are in the latter state, I issue a challenge to you. Build your defense from scripture. If dress does not matter, defend it with the Bible. Subject your view to the scrutiny of God’s truth. My standards need not be yours, but both should be His.

In conclusion, I add this disclaimer. It is absolutely true that dressing up the outside does nothing to purify the inside. A whitened sepulcher is still full of dead men’s bones. The inside must first be washed in the blood of Jesus. Once cleansed however, why would we continue to adorn ourselves in the rags of those who remain dead in their trespasses and sins?

Put on your biblical glasses and examine what you are permitting in light of Whom we represent. With every advantage and opportunity to raise up young ladies in modesty, and decency, and with such opportunity for our sons to model Christian manhood and dignified character, we have traded the beauty of being a glistening diamond of God, for the ashes of the world’s popularity and fashion, convincing ourselves that it is only the spirit that matters, but failing to understand that such a worldly façade masks the spirit, tarnishing its lustre, until finally it is unrecognizable. In our deal with the devil, we lose it all!

May God enable each of us to boldly uphold the glorious standard of our holy God, and may our children reflect that holiness both in spirit and substance. It is not too late.“ Thou shalt also be a crown of glory unto the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

David Kidd is pastor of Bethel Bible Fellowship. He and his wife homeschool their five children in Romulus, NY. The book entitled “The Fall and Rise of Christian Standards: Thinking Biblically about Dress and Appearance” is available from Xulon Press (Xulonpress.com, 866-909-2665).


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1 posted on 04/27/2006 6:55:56 PM PDT by Full Court
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To: Full Court
A Conversation on Dress An Excerpt from Beautiful Girlhood By Margaret Hale

       "Mother, said Jennie Vane one day as the two sat together sewing. Why do you not want me to wear my necklines low?"

       "What do you call a low necked dress?" asked her mother.

       "You know how the girls mostly wear them low like this," said Jennie, with her finger making on her bosom a line that she called low. Mrs. Vane looked to God for wisdom to rightly answer, and to equip Jennie with enough Christian sense to dress modestly despite the popular trend and fashion.

       "I do not require you to make your dresses with close fitting necks, Jennie, but I have reasons which I am only too glad to explain to you why I do not approve such necklines as you've described."

       "I want to know just why Mother, for sometimes I feel a little odd that none of my dresses are made that way."

       "One of the first evidences of a real lady, is that she should be modest. By modesty we mean that she shall not say, do, nor wear anything that would cause her to appear gaudy, ill-bred, or unchaste. There should be nothing about her to attract unfavorable attention, nothing in her dress or manner that would give a man an excuse for vulgar comment. When we dress contrary to the rule of modesty we give excuse for unwholesome thoughts in the mind of those who look upon us, and every girl who oversteps these bounds makes herself liable to misunderstanding and insult, though she may be innocent of any such intention."

        "Shouldn't men learn to guard their thoughts?" asked Jennie.

        "There," replied her mother, "is the very question, put in a little different form, that Cain gave to God about his brother: 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Yes, Jennie, to a great extent we are responsible to our brother's thoughts. But I would not have you think that all men are so weak. There are strong, true, pure-minded men and boys to whom these weaknesses of women are not a temptation. But there are the weaker also, and for them we are partly responsible. Let us suppose that upon the streetcorner there stands a group of men and boys among them being two boys whose minds are pure. You and another girl are dressed with very low necks, very thin blouses and your skirts are quite short. The scantiness of your dress attracts attention to your person. You may behave as perfect ladies, but as you pass the corner your appearance causes worldly minded to think and say vulgar things about you. The pure-minded boys hear, and their minds are defiled. You girls are as much to blame for what has happened as the impure man or boy who said the evil things."

http://www.momof9splace.com/conversation.html


2 posted on 04/27/2006 7:01:24 PM PDT by Full Court (Isaiah 45:6  That they may know)
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To: Full Court; DaveLoneRanger; Tired of Taxes; AlexandriaDuke; bboop; agrace; cgk; ...

Homeschool ping


3 posted on 04/27/2006 7:13:57 PM PDT by Full Court (Isaiah 45:6  That they may know)
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To: Full Court

To all:

Look at the young people in your church.

Do they look worldly and aloof?

If so there is a serious and possibly fatal spiritual problem in your church.


4 posted on 04/27/2006 8:08:06 PM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Full Court

The other day I went to walmsrt to look for a blouse. Almost everything this year is cut too low, or too sheer for my tastes or too ugly for my tastes.

There is a war out there against hetero men, I believe. Tell them they can't learn by trying to teach them like girls, keep them sexually stimulated by having all the women prancing around in things that have no modesty, and attack them if they can't act like eunuchs except when given permission.

Seems like an unholy alliance between the feminist movement and the gay agenda to me, but maybe I'm either being paranoid, or just another factor in that bad dream that the modern world is turning into - and it isn't hard to catch the whiff of sulphur behind it all....


5 posted on 04/27/2006 8:25:29 PM PDT by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum
Seems like an unholy alliance between the feminist movement and the gay agenda to me,

I totally agree. I was thinking the other day that even TV has gone from the A-Team to the Gay team. Men can't be men any more.

6 posted on 04/27/2006 9:50:54 PM PDT by Full Court (Isaiah 45:6  That they may know)
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To: Full Court

There are many home schoolers out there that are not Christian. They home school for a number of reasons including that the local schools don't teach and they don't want to see their kids shot during lunch.

There are not a lot of home schooling associations out there for them to attend so they will probably jump at the opportunity to attend anything that can give them a few pointers.

It is a good chance to let Christ light shine. You never know who or how the Spirit will introduce Himself.


7 posted on 04/27/2006 9:59:50 PM PDT by Liberal Bob (http://biblediscussion.org)
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To: Liberal Bob; Full Court

Thanks for the ping, Full Court.

Liberal Bob,

That's possible. Then again, I've met homeschoolers who dress more scantily but they are Christians, instructing their children in their faith.

On the other hand, our own family is nonreligious, but I tend to cover up and my sons wear "normal" clothes, wherever we go. I try to be even more vigilant at Christian functions.

So, I don't think one can tell by outward appearance. Though, it's possible we're just exceptions to a rule...


8 posted on 04/27/2006 10:32:09 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes (That's taxes, not Texas. I have no beef with TX. NJ has the highest property taxes in the nation.)
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To: Full Court
I have two boys 15 & 13 and I used to get even more "cranked up" about their appearance when they were younger. I'm convinced that some of this is kids just trying to assert their independence and individuality. Also, like most kids they want to "fit in". We solved some of this by sending them to single gender schools that have dress codes.

Bottom line as long as they don't look like "thugs" I'm easier on them. My main concern is all the subliminal messages in the youth culture that are anti-GOD.
9 posted on 04/28/2006 7:20:00 AM PDT by wmfights (Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The WAY!)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum
The other day I went to walmsrt to look for a blouse. Almost everything this year is cut too low, or too sheer for my tastes or too ugly for my tastes.

Every year it gets harder and harder to find age-appropriate clothes for my almost 9 year old. And forget about dress shoes with no heels. We find them, but it's a struggle.

10 posted on 04/28/2006 7:47:36 AM PDT by agrace
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

**..having all the women prancing around in things that have no modesty,..**

Yes, the young ladies not only want to dress like mature women, they want to dress like loose women. I hear it all the time in metropolitan areas on the CB, while driving. From up in the cab seeing the face of car drivers is not easy, but seeing what the car driver is wearing is.

Here's an instance I will share (not word for word, but close).
Once, while following a couple of 'good ol' boy' co-workers through our local city, one said to the other over the CB, "Check out what's driving the little black Honda coming up beside you, bud." (other comments not printable). 'Bud' (not his name), agrees, with other colorful comments. The one says to 'bud' at the next light (the Honda is stopped beside 'bud's truck), "Hey, 'bud', she's trying to wave at you now!" 'Bud' responds with, "(bleep), it my niece! I forgot she has her drivers license now!" I thought, "'bud', you should be really embarrassed right now". 'Bud' explained that the girl was only 16, but looked at least 20 or older.

My wife has a lovely figure. I'm glad she dresses modestly, wearing fairly long dresses and skirts that deprive the truckers from getting a view they desire.

I suggest that women that want to wear tight apparrel, and/or short shorts/skirts, but don't want to be seen by truckers, to keep a jacket in the vehicle to lay across their laps. By doing so, they might prevent an accident.

Years ago, one of our company drivers tailended a car at a light. He tried to claim he fell asleep, but pedestrian witnesses claimed he was looking in the car beside him, when the light turned red.


11 posted on 04/28/2006 9:40:12 AM PDT by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....nearly 2,000 years and still working today!)
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To: Full Court

I am all for modesty, but this guy is focused on all the wrong things. This article was a horrible Christian witness.


12 posted on 04/28/2006 9:43:23 AM PDT by LibertyGirl77
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To: Zuriel
I'm glad she dresses modestly, wearing fairly long dresses and skirts that deprive the truckers from getting a view they desire.

My niece is being raised in a non christian home. Last summer she came to stay a few days with me and we went to a local restaurant. She complained after we walked through the establishment that everyone was starring at her and that it was rude.

So I told her "Hope, if you don't want men looking at your body like that, don't expose it for them to see."

She had on very short shorts and a short tube top. More was showing than was covered.

13 posted on 04/28/2006 10:00:21 AM PDT by Full Court (Isaiah 45:6  That they may know)
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To: LibertyGirl77

His article isn't directed at the unsaved, so please don't think of it as a Christian witness.

It's aimed at one particular group that by and large claims Christianity already.


14 posted on 04/28/2006 10:01:37 AM PDT by Full Court (Isaiah 45:6  That they may know)
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To: Full Court
Both were outside my “box” of appropriate Christian attire.

ROFL.

15 posted on 04/28/2006 10:04:48 AM PDT by M. Thatcher
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To: Full Court

Modesty is a legitimate Chrsitian virtue, and is most often insulted by young women. As for the rest of this writer's hand-wringing, I don't discern any clue in the New Testament that Paul of Tarsus would have dressed or groomed himself differently than the rest of the crowd in the Areopagus.


16 posted on 04/28/2006 10:08:55 AM PDT by Taliesan (What you allow into the data set is the whole game.)
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To: Full Court

I met my wife in a bar almost 29 yrs ago (we were God-fearing to a degree, but were not born again Christians). I didn't have a clue about her personality. I just saw a very beautiful, very sexy young woman, wearing tight form-fitting apparral. Yes, I first saw her as a sexual object, but after talking with her, I was attacted to her even more than any female I had previously met. We began dating. She was a virgin, and determined to stay that way until married. I was fortunate to find such a lady in a very worldly setting. We haven't gone to a bar in 24 yrs, and don't miss them at all.

Looking back, I can say that if a single woman dresses modestly (one can still have a pretty good idea if she has a decent figure, if that is important), she can have a better chance of attacting males that are not 'one-dimensional'.

The obvious is: Live Godly in Christ Jesus, and things will 'fall into place'.


17 posted on 04/28/2006 10:13:27 AM PDT by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....nearly 2,000 years and still working today!)
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To: Zuriel

That was a great testimony!!


18 posted on 04/28/2006 10:18:06 AM PDT by Full Court (Isaiah 45:6  That they may know)
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To: Full Court

There is a problem today where people forget (or want to pretend away) that if you don't want to be looked at, don't dress in the way that is guaranteed to get you looked at.

They also like to pretend away the reality that if you cause another to sin by your actions, you bear guilt for that sin.

(in a day where nobody likes to accept the consequences of their actions, that is a very unPC thought.)


19 posted on 04/28/2006 10:23:18 AM PDT by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

I do feel sorry for my niece though, she really hasn't been raised to believe any differently. Her mom has even posed in Playboy.


20 posted on 04/28/2006 10:25:03 AM PDT by Full Court (Isaiah 45:6  That they may know)
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To: Full Court

Thank you for the post, very worthwhile I stumbled across this argument yesterday, so in keeping with a topic within the post (You're judgmental!) it is passed along. I recognize that how I dress will cause others to form opinion of me.
*****
"Jesus tells us not to judge." ... one must make a distinction between internal and external judgment. When Our Lord says: "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 1:7/DRV), His dictum refers to one man's judgment of another man's internal state of soul. Only God can see the internal disposition: was the external action done out of good or ill, out of friendship or fear, etc.? Man can see only the external result, not the internal intention.

On the other hand, we must make external judgments. We do this every day. A parent judges his child's action unacceptable and punishes him. A judge or jury judges a criminal guilty. We judge that murder is wrong, that adultery is wrong, that theft is wrong. These are external judgments that we must make by God's authority. Otherwise, the commonweal falls. We must judge the external action -- we don't want criminals walking around because they cannot be judged! God gives us that authority, as He established the State with its due authority: "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21/DRV).

This "judge not" is a typical ploy of the Modernists. It's a way of saying that we cannot judge anyone else's morals. We can't say that adultery is wrong, or homosexuality, or theft. Of course, not even the Modernists really believe this. They don't advocate the dismissal of law-courts. They don't advocate the firing of judges. They don't advocate letting murderers, thieves, and rapists go free with impunity. Obviously, even for them, external judgment is just and a necessity. They only judge differently, not in accordance with God's law.

So what does this "judge not" dictum really mean? St. John the Apostle clarifies it for us: "Judge not according to the appearance: but judge just judgment" (John 7:24/DRV). In other words, it is not judgment itself that is condemned, but unjust judgment. Catholic teaching is that just judgment is proper when it pertains to external judgment. For example, it is perfectly acceptable to judge an external act such as murder, to consign the murderer to the courts, and to execute the murderer if found guilty.

What we cannot do, as only God can do that, is judge the internal disposition. Perhaps the murderer was not compos mentis when he committed the murder. Courts can try to infer from external actions what might have been the internal motive, just as a priest can try to infer the culpability of a penitent, but only God knows the true heart as a certainty.

So, when someone gives you that "judge not" quotation to suborn every kind of moral and doctrinal perversion, tell them to go down to the courthouse, dismiss the judges and juries, and lock the doors! "Moral relativism is not only an intellectually bankrupt idea; its real-life consequences can be deadly." Otherwise, we would have no justice in this world -- just anarchy.


21 posted on 04/28/2006 10:28:59 AM PDT by Daffy
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To: Full Court; 2Jedismom; FreedomHasACost; mtbrandon49; DarthDilbert; Peanut Gallery; Restorer; ...


Thanks to Full Court for the ping on this one. I found it a long read, but it raises several interesting points. If I guess correctly, they are points that are under discussion in a lot of Christian and homeschooling homes. Namely, how much of The World is too much in a Christian home?

I've been to a lot of different churches in our family's ongoing search for a good church. Some where the girls of the church (wearing sleeveless, spaghetti-strap or strapless tops) gathered into a clique and then galavanted around the church grounds in a fashion that prompted me to dub them "the Gal-valry". In some, the boys would be flirting with the girls in peculiar ways; such as loading squirt guns with diet coke and firing at the girls. This contituted a bizarre form of abuse, I concluded, and endeavored to put a stop to it. It was a bit puzzling when both the girls AND the boys told me off.

At other churches, the females all wear full-length denim dresses and behaved in a uniform and altogether boring manner. The guys were nothing to talk to either.

On the surface, it seems to be all about who is wearing what, which is no deeper than the latest fashion magazine. But I think this author fights through the temptation to judge everyone by their clothes to peg a deeper issue. How much do Christians meld with the world?

Do we really need Joel Osteen board games and "Christian" heavy metal? Is this really Christendom's idea, or marketing schemes trickling down from the world? I for one feel Christendom is definitely selling out to the world and opening the floodgates for the infiltration of The World.

I'm sure Romans 12:2 leaps to the minds of most when it coms to Christians in the world:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
And also in 1 Corinthians 2:12:
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
In the next chapter, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, Paul talks about what it means to still be worldly:
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
I also find the note in verses 18-19 interesting:
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.
I'm kind of branching out into my own little study/observation just by doing a simple BibleGateway.com search of the term "the world" but I'm finding more interesting things by doing that.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 that "this world in its present form is passing away" and "time is short." In 2 Corinthians 5, the world is equated with the "old man" that we put to death in Christ.

But there is no denying that we still live IN the world. Some took Paul's advice too far, and he had to write:
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
I think Paul recognizes that we cannot be completely divorced from the world. We just have to be living in the world, and not let the world live in us. I recently read part of The Screwtape Letters, where Screwtape (the senior demon) advises Wormwood (the junior demon) about proper tempting techniques, and talks about a man who "feels that he is 'finding his place in it', while really it is finding its place in him."

Paul points out that "though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world." It is almost a concession; yes, we live IN the world, but we're sure not like them!

So who is Dave to be lecturing and giving Biblical disertations on the subject? Absolutely nobody. I just thought I would share some of my thoughts and personal experience on the subject. I think there are extremes on both sides; immersing yourself in the world (the baggy pants or tight blouses look) and divorcing yourself entirely from the world (intentionally dressing in drab clothes to broadcast the message "the world cares about looks; therefore I will not"). Both carry their own dangers, and I feel that both are wrong.

*Sits back with a long sigh* Anyone agree or disagree with me?
22 posted on 04/28/2006 10:32:43 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger ("You're not going crazy! You're going sane in a crazy world!" - The Tick)
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To: Full Court

That is sad. Pray for her, and be her example. All we can do sometimes is to plant the seeds and let the Lord raise the harvest.


23 posted on 04/28/2006 10:36:01 AM PDT by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Full Court

Thanks. I give God the glory. I have no doubt he wanted my wife and I to meet each other. The events leading up to our meeting, and the following first date about 20 hrs later, is a true romance tale that I will have to share sometime. Too many coincidences, and humorous aspects as well.

Gotta go, an unexpected day off means serious reductions to the honey-do list. (a nice nap is not on it, either)

:-/


24 posted on 04/28/2006 10:40:10 AM PDT by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....nearly 2,000 years and still working today!)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
I think your response is a very well-thought-out response. I agree with you (if I understand where you were going) that we have to strike a compromise in life. We cannot be too worldly or risk entering into sin. But we also cannot be too detached.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with Christian heavy metal, as long as it is enjoyable. Generally I don't listen to Christian music because it's not usually well done.

Actually, to get to the root of my feeling about music - I feel that music is an expression of God even when the musician doesn't intend or understand it that way. I think melody and song are divinely inspired. I wouldn't lump all music into this category, but surely some of us have heard a song that on the surface may be unchristian, but the sound of it moves you on a spiritual level.

But I'm getting away from the topic at hand. I do think dress is important, but only to a certain extent. Children should not wear "adult" clothing. Adults should be cautious and mindful when choosing clothing, but to obsess over showing skin seems to me to be unreasonable. I dislike the piercings/tattoos/heavy makeup/unnatural hair the most. The clothing comes second to me to what you do directly to your body.

25 posted on 04/28/2006 10:57:31 AM PDT by Kaylee Frye
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Oddly enough, the example of Jesus may be appropriate for Christians to follow. There is no indication at all in the Gospels that Jesus dressed unusually, unlike his cousin John.

Apparently he fit right into a crowd of other Jews. The content of his message was what was important, and unusual appearance could only distract the audience.

So I think Christians should dress in ways that allow us to blend in, not offending anyone and not by implication aligning us with any particular group.

I guess if you can walk through a crowd without turning heads, you aren't too far off. Obviously that won't apply to some crowds!


26 posted on 04/28/2006 11:16:56 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I think that the author of this article seems to overlook the fact that there's a middle ground between Amish-wear and slut-wear. I wouldn't wear either. Skirts would be inappropriate for my job right now and I dislike them anyway, but I find nothing immodest about a pair of jeans and a nice shirt.


27 posted on 04/28/2006 11:20:26 AM PDT by JenB
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I agree. Dress should not be sexually suggestive but there is absolutely no reason not to look classy as long as it is modest. A good start would be to not have underwear showing, too tight so that the outline of everything underneath is revealed, or not have too much skin. My kids, who are teens, all object to the roll of (usually) fat that is constantly exposed around the middles of girls who look like they're wearing their little sister's cloths.
Girls tend to dress in a way to attract a boy's interest (I know that I did when I was a teen and so did my friends, so I KNOW it happens) but Christian girls ought to consider the message they are sending about themselves and their availability, and the temptation they are forcing the boys, and men, to deal with. It is simply wrong to titillate and then say "Look but don't touch", and "How dare you think *that* about me?" It wouldn't kill some of these girls to cover more skin.


28 posted on 04/28/2006 12:26:34 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: LibertyGirl77

Well, unless you think Pope John Paul II is roasting in Hell, you won't get much out of Full Court's threads.

It's legalism on parade.


29 posted on 04/28/2006 12:30:01 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I am pro-homeschooling, but not pro-bigot. I'd rather not be pinged to Full Court's legalistic threads in future if it's okay with you.


30 posted on 04/28/2006 12:33:47 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I think your response is "spot on" .. laugh..

The real issue has to do with the heart .. and the seriousness we take being "in the world not of the world".

I must say tho I find it a little annoying when people harp on dress. Yes - it can go too far EITHER direction.

I went to a Christian High School - as well as a Christian university that had extrememly strict dress codes for men and women. Truly they were not that difficult to follow - and I always managed to looked reasonably "normal".

I will tell you a story tho'.... I remember when the style of shoes were "Candies"... those high heeled shoes with just a strap across the toes to hold them on. They were quite the rage on campus... I NEVER understood it. They were shoes that off campus truly had a sleazy connotation... at least among older teens young adults in those days. I never did understand the appeal - but that sort of defined "being in the world - but not of it" for me when I refused to wear them.

So .. it doesn't matter WHERE you are - a homeschool convention - a Christian university - or a state school. Your dress PROBABLY will be a reflection of your heart... as your whole appearance is.

That is something I've tried to instill in my sons... THANKFULLY I don't have daughters to deal with ... I think I'd go mad trying to find reasonable clothes for her today.


31 posted on 04/28/2006 12:38:19 PM PDT by pamlet
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To: stands2reason; Full Court

Regardless of Full Court's views on Catholicism, he is absolutely right about immodest dress.


32 posted on 04/28/2006 12:45:53 PM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sancte Joseph, terror daemonum, ora pro nobis!)
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To: JenB

"I find nothing immodest about a pair of jeans and a nice shirt."

I don't find anything immodest about jeans, either. Honestly, I feel better covered in jeans than a jumper. My biggest problem is swimwear. I can't find anything for my 12 year old daughter that doesn't expose a lot of skin. The only other alternative are the swimsuits in some the the homeschool magazines but I think they are to old fashioned looking and would draw more attention to her and embarrass her.


33 posted on 04/28/2006 1:36:55 PM PDT by imskylark
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To: imskylark

I think for swimwear you have to just accept that it's a very particular situation, one in which wearing, basically, underwear is proper attire and then go with the best of a bad deal. It's always possible to find a one-piece; my swimsuit is actually a two piece top and little shorts. I haven't worn it in a year though.

Jeans are wonderful. I can haul around computers or trace wires under desks - which I am called on to do occasionally in my work - without worrying about someone looking up my skirt.


34 posted on 04/28/2006 2:03:46 PM PDT by JenB
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To: Pyro7480; stands2reason
Regardless of Full Court's views on Catholicism, he is absolutely right about immodest dress.

Thanks Pyro, that was very kind of you. And I'm a she. :-)

35 posted on 04/28/2006 6:44:40 PM PDT by Full Court (Philippians 3:2  Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.)
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To: Full Court

What a precious picture!


36 posted on 04/28/2006 7:53:19 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

I found three wonderful outfits that I can use in Europe today. Longer skirts, blouse with sleeves, and overblouse.

Now to get the church veil for my head next month!


37 posted on 04/28/2006 7:55:17 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: stands2reason

Why are you attacking Pope John Paul II and the poster, Full Court.

No personal attacks.


38 posted on 04/28/2006 7:58:33 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: imskylark

Have you tried Lands' End for swim suits?


39 posted on 04/28/2006 8:13:40 PM PDT by mrs tiggywinkle
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To: Salvation

I was defending the former Pope, not attacking him.

Full Court recently posted a screed that lambasted Billy
Graham for, among other things, believing Pope JPII might be in Heaven instead of Hell. I rightly considered the post bigoted.


40 posted on 04/28/2006 9:04:47 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: JenB; 2Jedismom; Peanut Gallery; Alkhin; P-Marlowe; xzins; blue-duncan; jude24

I think there's a big difference between the problem of modesty and trendiness.

Spiked hair, earrings and baggy pants are all trends that will either change or these kids will grow out of. It's part of being a teenager/young adult. Granted, most of them will regret the piercings and especially the tattoos later in life.

I was on the fringe end of the Jesus movement in the 70s. Hair down to my shoulders, jeans that had more patches than the original material. I grew out of it.

There are a lot of freaky looking kids that love Jesus. And he loves them.


41 posted on 04/29/2006 6:49:03 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD: Join the Hobbit Hole Troop Support - http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net/)
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To: mrs tiggywinkle

I just looked. Thanks! The suits are perfect!


42 posted on 04/29/2006 7:26:16 AM PDT by imskylark
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To: JenB; Corin Stormhands

You're right. One thing we have been discussing recently in my hs group has been modest clothing and fashion. One of the biggest issues is the showing skin, and it's not whether you're wearing a dress or jeans.

The moms in the group desire to dress their children (daughters specifically) modestly in shirts that don't raise up (when you raise your arms) to show their bellies or more. They don't want their children wearing the hip-huggers that have come back into fashion because they, again, show their bellies (and backsides). The argument is that those types of pants would be ~okay~ if there were kids-sized shirts their children could wear that were long enough to cover the skin.


43 posted on 04/29/2006 7:46:21 AM PDT by Peanut Gallery
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To: Corin Stormhands
I'm in agreement, CS.

In our homeschool support group one can view a full spectrum of young adults. From the 'rocker' look to intense modesty to somewhere inbetween. The common bond of this particular group is Jesus Christ. They love Him and serve Him with whole hearts.

However, I have to admit I'm thankful my daughter is modest and wholesome in appearance and doesn't follow trends or extremes. She doesn't dress to entice but she doesn't cover up in mock shame either. Just wholesome. :o)

44 posted on 04/29/2006 8:21:45 AM PDT by mrs tiggywinkle
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To: Peanut Gallery

An issue I have is what some of the guys wear: low jeans with boxers showing, taking their shirts off to show lower abdomenal hair, etc. Some are of the belief that girls have no visual temptation challenges. Not true. Modesty goes both ways.


45 posted on 04/29/2006 8:24:55 AM PDT by mrs tiggywinkle
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To: Corin Stormhands
I was on the fringe end of the Jesus movement in the 70s. Hair down to my shoulders, jeans that had more patches than the original material. I grew out of it.

God punished most of those long haired Christians by making them bald.

46 posted on 04/29/2006 8:33:50 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (((172 * 3.141592653589793238462) / 180) * 10 = 30.0196631)
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To: Full Court

I have more trouble with the idea that this guy appears to be spending an inordinate amount of time driving about looking at young people like that. "I'm just doing research for my article on modest dress." Um hmmmm.

There are an awful lot of people in The World dressed in suits and skirts committing horribly godless acts--just go to Washington, D.C. any day of the week, or the UN Building.


47 posted on 04/29/2006 8:49:53 AM PDT by Scothia ( When something important is going on, silence is a lie.)
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To: mrs tiggywinkle

I can see that side too. It irks me to see guys wearing too large pants with the "plumber" look. In our larger metropolitan area you see that a lot. I think though, that in my immediate locality, it isn't as much of an issue for the males to dress modestly. For the most part, they already are.

There are those guys around here who dress vey *differently* but I would not necessarily classify that with being immodest.


48 posted on 04/29/2006 9:07:39 AM PDT by Peanut Gallery
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To: DaveLoneRanger

The author of this editorial is looking at the whole thing from the "glass-half-empty" perspective. He should have just been pleasantly surprised at the modesty of the Mennonites, rather than upset at the other kids.

His whole mindset is too negative. There were probably many positive and pleasant moments at the gathering, and he came away obsessing over outer appearances.

Modesty is a good thing and should be encouraged by parents, but this level of pessimism is unhealthy.


49 posted on 04/29/2006 9:46:27 AM PDT by demoRat watcher (Keeper of the Anthropocentrism Ping List)
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To: demoRat watcher; DaveLoneRanger; Corin Stormhands
You hit the nail right on the head. Rather than rejoicing at being in the presence of other believers, the author took the opportunity to look down his nose at this gathering of God's people and condemn everyone who didn't think exactly as he does about things that have really nothing to do with the essence and meaning of what it is to have Christian Fellowship.

The article says a lot more about the spiritual condition of the author than it does about the spiritual condition of those he so self-righteously condemns.

50 posted on 04/29/2006 9:58:00 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (((172 * 3.141592653589793238462) / 180) * 10 = 30.0196631)
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