Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What is the ideal "Christian" woman....?


I included in my last post a link to a ministry that is connected with Sovereign Grace Ministries they hold the same views as people like Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill movement. They represent a very virile group of mission minded people, biblically conservative and generally culturally liberal...but these issues seem to bring out their more hard fundamentalist edge.

I and many I pastor and journey with...don't fit to well in these one-size fits all man/woman role perimeters. The language, the look, the perspective, the theological bent, the Complementarianism view of man over women, the "stay at home with the babies only" message...all start to feel very culturally isolated. It sometimes feels like modern folks trying to be Little House on the Prairie. Not that I dont think the values represented aren't often godly...but it always seems to be a way of living that is more comfortable for people who live white, pink and pastel lives. I'm not sure how to translate these ideas, to a people who don't speak that language or have those life experiences. I wrestle with the message itself...if it is even a fair representation of the ONLY way to live out modesty, family and holistic sexuality.

On the 'Girls Talk' site, they give this definition for modesty/propriety:
"The avoidance of clothing and adornment that is extravagant, showy, and sexually enticing.”

The actual dictionary definition is more broad and less narrow:

Modesty: freedom from vanity or conceit

Propriety: correct or appropriate behavior


I see a lot more room to outwork these words in the actual definition. The one they offer, seems to play into the way they see womanhood. Not that I oppose anyone who desires to model or follow that vision. You are free to do so...but isnt there room for creative and moral freedom in those words...maybe an alternative expression of modesty, that would be attainable to the woman represented in the first picture of my previous post?

I think there's a danger in people swinging to far away from their old lifestyles when they come to faith. They imagine that "the opposite" of all they did or was...is the answer for living this new life. It's easy to latch onto legalism or moralism to try to self-clean or self-sanctify....we try to become something different through radical lifestyle changes. We go STRAIGHT-EDGE not as a expression of some true change within but in order to show we are serious about being different. In the end...it might be sad to discover that everything you did to be "moral, good, different, traditional or even biblical...was really vanity. So in the very act of trying to be Modest...you betrayed the very spirit of modesty.

It was the failure of the Jewish leaders that Jesus sought to enlighten...and it is often the failure of moral based religious zealotry.

Many times it can become an act of sowing fig leaves to cover our shame...instead of trusting in the blood of God's ultimate sacrifice.

We find ourselves back in Eden...naked and...and still ashamed.

Painting is "Minerva" by Rodin
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