Where I Stand

My regular readers know I don’t make a habit of addressing comments through full-scale posts, but this recent comment buried back under a post about my cape dress experiment requires me to be clear. I will post the entire comment and intersperse my responses.

Hi my name is Christina and I have been working with a missions organization as a Bible teacher since 2002 and I came across your website sort of by accident but having read some of the comments I wanted to post one myself – especially in response to Rebecca’s comment.  First of all I think it is commendable that you all desire to be modest and godly – I believe that is important, but you cannot please God by any action you might take whether it is dressing modestly or anything else.  The only way we please God is through faith in Jesus and the sacrifice he has made on our behalf, and our assurance of an eternity in heaven is also by faith not by works of any kind.  See Galatians and Romans 3:21-26.  This is not to say that godly living isn’t important but it isn’t how we are made right before God rahter we live right out of gratitude to Him for saving us and it is possible because we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

You will find, if you read through my blog, that I do not espouse “earning one’s salvation.” It is not possible as you have correctly pointed out. My desire is to please God as an obedient child. There is certainly nothing contradictory to Scripture in that.

Also I believe that holding up a dress-code from the
1800’s or whatever era cape dresses are from is somewhat misguided and missing the point perhaps.  Yes, modesty is important, but what makes you sure this is what the Bible meant by modest dress?

Again, if you peruse through my blog, you will see my clothing choices have changed. Cape dresses or “prairie dresses” are only one cultural mode of dressing I have tried. Currently most of my clothing is either home made, but not in a cape dress style, or is garnered from thrift stores. I have never taught, wrote, or espoused a dress code. To the best of my abilities I have tried to communicate the development of modesty standards or principles for Christian women. How I choose to implement those principles (or any other woman) is up to her cultural and denominational requirements.

Also this seems to put the blame on women for the problem of lust rather than on the one who is lusting.  Jesus clearly holds the one who lusts as responsible Matt. 5:28.  Also we know from scripture that God is much more concerned with the heart than outward appearance – you can be dressed in a cape dress and be more impure in heart than a woman wearing modern clothes.  The issue isn’t primarily how you dress but are you lusting or desiring others to lust after you.  Also in response to Arshia’s comment about 1st Corinthians – perhaps it is dealing with modesty – I think it is, however I think it was the secondary issue that Paul was dealing with.  In regards to the modesty issue remember he was addressing being modest in their culture not ours.

Two issues at hand. First, Lust: we are responsible for our actions and how they affect others. Modesty (in clothing and deed) is a visual communication device to men stating our respect. I find it difficult to require men to not lust after my body and treat me with dignity if I am not willing to do the same for them.

Second, culture: The wildcard of the Biblical interpretation deck. Every culture on earth, no matter how “heathen” has taboos in dress or action. I take the stance of Christ above culture here in saying, put on clothing. I don’t care if it is a salwar kameez or a cape dress. Cover up and carry on with the real Christian life: Pray, give alms, and repent.

Yes we need to apply scripture in the here
and now, but we may miss the point completely if we try and directly apply everything without understanding context and the historical background.  For example none of us would agree that we shoudln’t tell people who Jesus is, but if we wanted to directly apply Luke 9:20-21 without considering the context & historical background we may do that, ignoring other commands to go out into all the world and preach the good news.  Anyways I think the primary thing that Paul is addressing in 1st Corinthians is that women were trying to dress like men in order to be more spiritual – it was a common pagan religious practice at that time for men to dress like women and vice versa in the worship of some gods as a sign of religious devotion.  Paul is very clearly telling women that they can only pray and prophesy if they are dressed as women – in that culture men and women both wore similar clothes to one another the distinctive part of a woman’s dress was her head covering.  Women don’t need
to become like men in order to “be more spiritual” they already are as spiritual as they need to be and have authority to speak as long as they don’t try and become like men and vice versa.
God bless,
Joy

Quite honestly, I had never heard of that interpretation before. In response to this last bit of comment, I will have to refer Joy and others to the following blog post on the Head Covering. Entirely logical.


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8 Responses to “Where I Stand”


  1. 1 wilkinson4jesus April 10, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Thanks Anna, I enjoyed this post. I believe you put it very well.
    Blessings, Anna

  2. 2 faithforlife April 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I think you explained yourself very well Anna. I certainly never got the impression you were telling women they had to dress the way you did or that you were the only one who knew what modest meant.

    The comment about cultural relevance was very good as well. That particular way of doing away with Scripture we do not like is very common as you say.

    Blessings

    Trish

  3. 3 mirancs8 April 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Wow. Very interesting indeed. It just bugs me when people get on this “works” topic and total take it to left field. I have to one day address this on my blog in more detail because I think people are a bit off on their thinking. Like as if no matter what we do it doesn’t matter… actually it does.

    God Bless
    Christian Hippie

  4. 4 Kristen April 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    A wonderful wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Blessings and Shalom

  5. 5 amberpeace April 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Kudos.
    1) I don’t think you have ever espoused a particular type of modesty. Just modesty in general.
    2) Since I don’t believe in once saved, always saved, it is very important how we live our life!
    3)I have heard of that last interpretation, thought I don’t agree with it.

    Simply put women veiled themselves at that time, in that culture. Not all cultures have veiled women. But they did, and Paul really liked people living in peace with each other. So stick to the norms people, is one of Paul’s big things. I disagre with Paul on that, but a differnt time and place for that opinion.

  6. 6 S. Marie April 11, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    yes, God looks at our heart, but how we present ourselves is an extension of our heart. If we are modest in our hearts, it is a natural extension to dress accordingly.

    I think its a very modernist liberal view to think that us ladies aren’t responsible for mens lust problems. Didnt Jesus say “you are your brothers keeper” ? I want to help my brother keep his thoughts pure. The Lord knows that there are so many temptations to impurity in our day…I certianly do not want to be one of them.

    More souls fall into hell from sins of the flesh (so says Our Lady at Fatima, Portuigal) Do we want to stand there at the General Judgement and have the Lord parade before us a line of men who were condemmed to hell because we didnt want to go against the grain of this worldly age, and dress modestly? No thanks.

    Immodesty and impurity lead to lust and fornication…which leads to abortion and “unwanted” children….a sad spiral of horrible sin.

  7. 7 S. Marie April 11, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Anna- here are some web pages you might enjoy checking out
    http://www.rosamysticamodesty.org/index.php

    http://www.littleflowersfamilypress.com/modesty.htm

    God Bless you and Happy Easter!
    Jesus Chirst Is Risen!

  8. 8 Muhala April 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    VERY well said; don’t think I could have said it any better. I do hope that this reader will come to a greater understanding of what you (and other modest dressers and head coverers like me) are really all about. My hope is that they will clearly understand what we are and are NOT saying. I think one would have to spend a good bit of time perusing our blogs to really find our hearts on this delicate issue. Be blessed, though; keep following this journey of modesty. I am sure that I don’t have to tell you just how blessed you will be.


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