I was really encouraged to find the following over at clashdaily.com, entitled, Christian Fashion Show: Slutty Does Not Mean Pretty. The reason I was glad to see this is because I have wanted to write about women’s fashion in the church for some time. Yet, being a pastor and a married man, it’s hard to evaluate the way Christian women dress and not anger some of my dear sisters in the LORD.
You see, I happened to be a bit old-fashioned when it comes to the way that Christian women dress because I think the Bible has something to say about how Christian women dress. 1 Timothy 2:9 that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation. When you couple Paul’s admonition with Leviticus 18, you begin to get the idea that nakedness is not something that our women should aspire to. In other words, we should not be taking our fashion cues from the runways of the Oscars or Victoria’s Secret. In other words, women are to cover themselves and not show themselves off to the world. Their bodies belong to their husbands or future husband and only he should have the privilege of seeing her body. The same with men as well. Nakedness is a shame, according to Scripture (which is another reason why Jesus hanging on the cross naked was shameful.)
The sad reality is that the biggest transgressors of this idea are those who teach our children in “Christian” private schools. From the cheerleaders on down, there seems to be an emphasis on letting it all out. Why is it that the word “modesty” and Christian private school never meet?
I know there are some Christian schools where this is not a problem, but even the ones that have dress codes give their little girls the shortest skirts imaginable, and no one says a thing. Why? I guess because as Christian men, we like our Christian women looking like… well, 1970s street walkers. The men of the church have so capitulated to the culture around us that when we see a woman wearing less than modest apparel, we just nod our heads in lustful adoration. Yup! See no evil here!
The truth is that the men of the church do need to be speaking out. Do we really want other men eyeing our wives and daughters with lustful intent? Sadly, I know the answer: “well, as long as their wives and daughters reciprocate.”
I must admit that I haven’t come to these conclusions easily or quickly. But I do know that I admire those women who have taken a stand for modesty in the face of our culture.
Several years ago while living in South Carolina, I found myself in a check-out line at the local Publix grocery story. Ahead of me were two high-school couples heading to the prom. I’m sure they were all members of the local Big Church, since most everyone in that culture belongs to some church. However, the girls clothing said nothing of modesty. While they were completely covered, the tightness or silkiness of the dresses they chose revealed everything as they moved.
Contrasted to that were three girls about the same age from the area Amish community. Yes, I know, eyes are already rolling. But it wasn’t hard to figure out which girls had true inner-beauty, the kind that last beyond their honeymoons. The three girls had a certain elegant beauty about them in their modesty that was very encouraging. They eyed the couples ahead of me and I couldn’t help but telling them that they had the true beauty, to which, the blushed.
I know that Paul said be in the world and not of the world. We can argue the fullness of his meaning but given that we are to be different from the world, I feel it’s safe to say that our women, and men, should not be dressing like the world when modesty is absent. Hopefully this fashion show in Florida will help women in the church see that they can dress modestly and still be beautiful. Hopefully the men will rejoice in their modesty as well. There are enough temptations for men in the world already, we don’t need them in the pews around us on Sunday mornings for worship.