Hopefully this will be my last post on this subject. In the future, instead of whipping up a brand new screed on modesty, I’ll point folks here.
I’ll be honest with you. After I wrote my notes for this post, I felt a sense of déjà vu. A search revealed that I’ve written about Christianity and modesty more than once. (If you don’t feel like reading any further, this post best summarizes my thoughts.)
So why mention it again?
A few nights ago I was involved in a social media discussion on modesty. Someone that I follow posted a link to an essay entitled “The Trouble With Christian Cleavage”. I saw it, and…I lost it.
Moments later as I went to bed, I started questioning myself. A part of me wondered if I was being a horrible person. After all, the person who wrote the article is just another human being. I know what it’s like to want to express yourself and have the words not come out the way you intended. (The author expressed this sentiment on his Twitter feed.) As I look back, I realize that in my first couple of tweets I may have sounded like I was angry at him. I’m not.
Rather, it’s the ideas that he was perpetuating.
In his post, the writer followed a familiar formula. Honestly, at this point I’m surprised there isn’t a test out there called The Christian Modesty Argument. If there were, I know the steps that would help people pass it:
1. Use pseudo-spiritual language in an attempt to manipulate women. Take a gentle approach, and yet…Leave your sisters with the impression that the way they dress is ruining the very fiber of men, other women, and Christendom itself.
2. Rely on a description of men that makes them sound utterly stupid.
In response to the now-deleted post, I read a host of tweets. Among them was a link to this essay by Nate Pyle. In an imagined discussion with his son, Mr. Pyle reminds his readers of the truth: that men are responsible for how they perceive what they see. This concept deserves to be popular in Christian circles, yet it isn’t. A part of me does not want to imagine why.
If nothing else, can we please abandon the notion that “men are visual creatures”? I’ve seen that phrase used multiple times. It’s horrible. Firstly, I resent the way it refers to men as “creatures”. I need to use a dictionary for a better definition, but in my mind, a “creature” is an animal—and not an intelligent one.
Secondly, I know the phrase is meant to convey the idea that men are visually stimulated. However, as far as I’m concerned, it might as well be saying “women don’t have eyes.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Women notice the way men look. If you don’t think so, you need help–and lots of it.
Really, at this point I think I’m just using different words to say what I did in the piece linked at the beginning of this post. Christians’ ideas concerning modesty need to progress. I look forward to the day when the plague of dishonesty ends for good.