Monday, March 31, 2008

What Happened to Modesty?

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly (1 Timothy 2:9).

There is an interesting -- and troubling -- discussion resurfacing in churches these days, namely the debate over what constitutes proper dress for a believer. While the above verse references women, there are at least 46 other verses referencing nakedness and associated shame. Both men and women are required by the Lord to be modest.

Nowadays, whether it's young men adopting the exposed underwear fad of the hip hop community, or young girls wearing overly revealing attire, we have a growing problem, even in conservative churches.

Sadly, anyone who attempts to address this issue often gets called a legalist, complete with Clintonian parsing of words. "What does 'modest' mean?" I can give you a clue, and it's not Modest Mussorgsky.

Be thinking about this for a day or two. I'll have more to say later.


R. D. Bailey said...

We had a modesty situation at our church that my wife had to address with the youth girls several months back. It was not a cultural or style issue, it was merely carelessness on the girls part. They were sitting in the balcony, and a couple of the choir members made the comment that they could tell you what color panties who was wearing. The girls were not aware, and once they were it has not been a problem.

SolaMeanie said...

The kind I am talking about is a bit beyond your example (and thanks for sharing it). This involves people knowing full well that they are really "flaunting it," and with no conscience about it at all.

Ron said...

Being near a Christian university (Cedarville)we have a large contingent of young men and women. Several months ago our pastor addressed this issue from the standpoint of how it could be leading another into lust. From the sheepish looks, it appeared an approach not previously thought.

threegirldad said...

Whenever I encounter the "What does 'Modest' mean?" dodge, I always reply, "Paul and Timothy must have had a common, undisputed understanding of what the term meant; likewise, Timothy and those whom he instructed. Otherwise, the verse is pointless and nonsensical."

Kent Brandenburg said...

If people dressed more like they did in the 50s, we would be better off. ;-)

WWED, What would Eisenhower do?

SolaMeanie said...


I am actually more partial to the 1940s film noir look than I am the 1950s. The 50s are when our troubles started, LOL.

The Doulos said...

This is a huge issue for the church that is usually hard to engage. Most of the time when someone brings it up they are labeled as a "legalist", or told that us Christian guys need to avert our eyes, it's our problem. Sounds a lot like the kind of dodge you hear in the unchurched society regarding appropriate dress, doesn't it?

When my oldest son started college several years ago at a state university, he was in a co-ed dorm. And I have to say, when moving him in I was amazed at the stuff the girls were (barely) wearing. I found the safest thing to do was keep my eyes on the floor. But a couple years ago my son transferred to TMC. Still lots of lovely young women around, but certainly not showing off their goods. But still dressed stylishly, not looking like something from the Puritan Collection. So it can be done, if the motivation is there.