Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lamentations - Part Two

During the past several months, going to church has been more of a burden than a joy. I used to prepare for worship with my fellow believers in great anticipation of glorious fellowship and corporate praise of our heavenly father. Yet, lately, I believe that God has not been glorified by our gatherings. In fact, He is likely disgusted.

The issue that comes up in my mind week after week is the manner of dress of the young ladies. Their immodesty cannot possibly please the One who created their bodies to be covered and protected, guarded carefully for the man who will someday be their husband. These are not harlots off the street who come to Jesus begging for salvation; these are daughters of the pillars of the church who have heard and given lip service to the gospel.

Modesty standards have been delivered to them by the youth pastor, yet they ignore them, choosing instead the fashions of the flesh, wanting to portray the harlot with plunging necklines revealing whatever cleavage they have, skirts and tops so tight every curve is accentuated in their come hither struts down the aisle, bare midriffs with low-slung, tight jeans that reveal every legal inch of skin below the navel, even mini-skirts and short shorts with something printed on the posterior that begs for every male in the congregation to read and admire.

Why is this immodesty tolerated? It’s the age-old reason, expressed in a variety of ways. The church has a low standard of holiness. They accept sin in many forms, not wanting to exercise discipline, because such a practice will likely reduce their numbers. Since their measure of success is usually in units of bodies and dollars, or they fear retribution in the courts, they are unwilling to risk obeying God because of their fear of man.

Maybe they want to appear “with it,” in tune with this generation of youth, fearful of losing both the kids and their parents should they dare to revert to an “old-fashioned” morality. “Hey, everyone’s dressing this way. I don’t want to look like a geek.” Popularity trumps prudence, and fashion overwhelms feminine virtue. Girls sell glances at their skin for a smile from a passing guy and acceptance from their peers.

But what does marketing their flesh really buy? A sickened soul. A lost innocence. A corrupt conscience. At first, the exposure was a daring gambit, and though their consciences were pricked, the excitement of allure or the pressure of peers took over. Soon, however, their hearts become callous, and now they no longer feel an inner prodding that begs them to cover and protect what is holy—their virtue.

As the Lord said, “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed, and they did not know how to blush; therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time of their punishment they shall be brought down.” (Jeremiah 8:12)

Yet, these ladies come to the front of church and offer prayers for their non-Christian friends at school, acting like there is nothing wrong with their own northern and southern exposures. And why shouldn’t they be comfortable in their nakedness? They are told that all is acceptable. No matter what they do, their sins will be forgiven. So why not enjoy acceptance in the world? You get to go to heaven anyway, right?


But what does God really say, “But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these detestable things?” (Jeremiah 7:8-10)


Alas! They have chosen the idol of fashion and sexual desire. They have followed the Baal of peer acceptance. They have burned incense to the god of fleshly pleasures.


So, while I hope for a change, I weep in my pew.

O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes; Mourn as for an only son, a lamentation most bitter. For suddenly the destroyer will come upon us. (Jeremiah 6:26)

Behold, listen! The cry of the daughter of my people from a distant land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not within her? Why have they provoked Me with their graven images, with foreign idols? Harvest is past, summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken; I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored? (Jeremiah 8:19-22)

May God bring a fresh wind to our church and true exposure to the daughters of our flock, a rushing, fiery storm that will expose their dark hearts and provoke repentance that will usher in true salvation.

7 comments:

pam halter said...

Unfortunately, the same thing is happening up north in our churches. I'm trying right now to teach my 7th & 8th grade Pioneer Club group about modesty, but the ones who need to hear about it most don't attend. It's very sad. Girls need to know how boys are wired. That they are visual creatures. Girls should not make their brothers stumble by the way they dress.

I pray for the Lord to have mercy and give them understanding.

James Drury said...

We have been concerned with this for several years - even more so since my daughter was born. It's easy to blame "society" but as you point out, the problem is in the church as well.

Yet there are many families where the young ladies dress well while modestly and the young men also. I know families where even the boys swim while wearing t-shirts (even in a boys-only crowd).

Secret Keeper, The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh sounds like a promising book about dress for young ladies. I've not read it yet, but it is on my short list of books to purchase.

Dagnod said...

As a young man I know how hard it is to resist the temptations the girls even at my church put out. I really wish they would dress modestly to take that temptation away.

DIOM and OOF are my favorite series. I really admire your writing. I still marvel at the thought of how you come up with all of those poems and stuff. I am trying to write a book and wonder if you could give any tips or pointers.


-Ryan Hill

WayneThomasBatson said...

I agree completely that young ladies, and mature women for that matter--bear huge personal responsibility for how they dress, how much flesh is revealed, and how they handle their bodies.

But personally I cast a large share of the blame not just on hollywood, modeling, and popular music--but on the fashion industry as well.

This Christmas season, being the wonderful, dashing, thoughtful {ahem} husband that I am, I went to look for a few outfits for my lovely wife. I couldn't believe how difficult it was to find something that wasn't either see-thru or had a neckline that plunged to the navel region. Seriously, I could not find a single woman's top, not a single woman's top, with a modest neckline.

Now, granted I'm not shopping in the granny clothes section. My wife is very stylish, so I look for something that compliments her personality. I looked in several stores, and there was just nothing. I ended up buying one that I "thought" was decent. My wife put it on, and I about fell over. Back to the store it went.

I wonder if letters to big department stores like Kohls, Macys, Hechts, Gap, etc. would do any good.

It's ridiculous that women who want to be modest and yet don't want to dress like Grand Ma Ma, can't easily find fashions that are stylish AND modest.

Clefspeare said...

True about the stores, Wayne. They make it hard on women, young and older alike.

I have found that some of the catalog stores have modest clothing, like L. L. Bean and Land's End. In those catalogs you can see how the dresses and tops fit real women in photos, and the pix are almost always tasteful and modest.

Clefspeare said...

Dagnod,

Thank you for your comments about my books. The blog isn't a good place for tips or pointers. Please send me an e-mail, and I'll see what I can do.

Clefspeare said...

James,

I haven't see the book you mentioned. I'll look for it next time I'm browsing a Christian bookstore.