11 February 2008

Definition of Modesty, & etc.

From Elizabeth Elliot's "Gateway to Joy"(please read the full article at this link for the context):

What does modesty mean? Well, it means placing a low estimate on one's own merits, not being forward or showing off. It means unpretentious. Modesty means to be free from undue familiarity, from indecency, from lewdness, pure in thought and conduct. Speaking of modest apparel, it means decent, seemly. The opposite of modesty is conceit, boldness, immodesty, brazenness, lewdness.

Let's think first what immodesty says about us women before we talk about what its effects may be upon others. What are your Christian standards? Do you seek to be noticed, to make a splash when you come into a room? Or do you seek to be simple, humble, gentle and quiet in spirit and not wearing the very latest fashions nor looking frumpy by wearing something that's way out of date. We do have to conform to a certain degree, but there're always classic clothes. Those are the ones that I try to stick with because they last for many years. I have a suit now that I think is 17 years old and I just wore it about a week ago. I wear things, which are tailored and simple and classic.

But we're talking about these low-cut dresses, sleeveless blouses, see-through blouses and the slit skirts. Does a man's thought life have a problem? Well, of course. As both of these men recognized, it is their job to stop looking. Don't look the women up and down. Don't fall for the types who are dressing like prostitutes. But is it right for us women to be thoughtless in these areas? Is there an earnestness about pleasing the Lord? Have we taken His yoke? Are we learning from Him? Are we gentle and humble in heart? Are we walking worthy of the Lord, looking and acting and speaking differently from the Lord?

The Bible says that we're supposed to shine as lights in the world. Christ lives in me. Does that make any visible differences? Will it correct my thinking? Do I pray that God will purify my desires? Prostitutes dress obviously, so as to draw attention. It's their business, isn't it? The last thing that a Christian woman is thinking of is being like a prostitute. But here is some very frank talk from two different men in two different places, and it's not by any means the only letters that I've had from them. It is a very difficult and a very delicate question.

What would the Lord have you do? Look like a frump or look like the vanguard of the fashion magazines? Flashy or sober? Are you pregnant? Are you overweight? Do you try to dress in such a way as to minimize those things? Are you too old for short skirts? I see a lot of women as I travel around who I would certainly say are too old to be wearing those short skirts. And if you're 16 years old, how short a skirt can you wear if you want to be responsible before God in the presence of young men?

Neat or messy? Wildly and deliberately messy? I see some hair-dos, which I think of as wildly and deliberately messy. Feminine? There are many ways of drawing attention to yourself without your once thinking about it. Think. Ask the Lord's guidance. We older women must be willing to take the risk of making someone angry and speaking to her about the way she is dressing. We have to take responsibility. It is our fault that we have not been teaching younger women modesty.

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In other news: "On Sunday, April 20, 2008, the Pure Fashion Show, an annual faith-based event, will hit the runways again in style, as it has in Atlanta for the past nine years. This year, guests will enjoy a fabulous show at the Georgia World Congress Center sure to cause a positive stir in the fashion industry. With an emphasis on modesty – mirroring the ‘Modesty Movement’ that says girls can wear cute clothes and still maintain their dignity – Pure Fashion includes more than 60 teen models and stresses that real models are role models who know who they are and know that they can ‘change the culture one outfit at a time!’"

Pure Fashion is an international faith based program designed for girls 14-18 to help young women re-discover and re-affirm their innate value and authentic femininity. Pure Fashion is a character formation program that enhances not only a young woman's external appearance, but more importantly, her interior beauty and balanced self confidence. The organization’s goal is to emphasize a young woman's inherent dignity and therefore create in her a desire to dress and act in accordance with that dignity. Understanding that many young women today are losing their sense of innocence at a very young age, Pure Fashion aims to reverse this trend by offering a fun, exciting and effective virtue formation program that can impress the hearts and minds of young girls at a very critical stage in their lives. www.PureFashion.com

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And in other places: Harding University's Marriage and Family Therapy program and Counseling Center will sponsor the 14th annual Women in God's Service (WINGS) conference Feb. 22-23 at College Church of Christ in Searcy.

The WINGS conference encourages women of all ages from all over the region to come together and study topics both timely and helpful to Christians. This year's conference, “What's Real? Finding Truth in a Reality Show World,” plays off of various television shows, making creative spiritual applications.

. . .

The last track, “The Ultimate Makeover,” will feature spiritual perspectives on modesty and beauty. Classes titled “What Not to Wear” and “How to Look Good Naked” will feature panel discussions, report on men's thoughts on modesty, and share women's struggles with appearance.

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And yet there is trouble in some places: "Students Reject “V-Monologues” on Catholic Campuses"
The V-Monologues play by feminist author Eve Ensler seems to be meeting more opposition on Catholic colleges and universities lately. The production, scheduled to perform on 20 Catholic college campuses in the next few weeks, is sparking renewed protest from groups upset over the play’s vulgar content.

According to Tradition Family Property Student Action, a Catholic group with members on 719 college campuses nationwide, the play is objectionable because of its “lewd and graphic descriptions of sexual encounters, lust, and lesbian behavior.”

“The play tramples purity, modesty and degrades women. It openly flaunts sins against nature, and thus subverts the order established by God,” said TFP Student Action director John Ritchie. “This scandalous play offends every good Catholic and has absolutely no place on Catholic campuses. Students, alumni, and parents should call for the play’s immediate cancellation.”

The group is encouraging Catholics to sign an online petition featured on its web site at www.tfp.org/sa. When visitors sign the petition, simultaneous letters are instantly e-mailed to every Catholic university president where the play is planned.

Together with the Cardinal Newman Society, TFP Student Action has protested “The V-Monologues” in the past. As a result, several Catholic institutions have canceled showings of the play including the College of Saint Scholastica, Assumption College and Carlow University.

“I can’t understand why any Catholic institution of higher learning would stoop so low as to allow this play on campus. It explicitly condones sin, promotes the abortion mentality and fuels sexual anarchy,” continued Mr. Ritchie. “This immoral play is the antithesis of Catholic morality. What the world needs today is purity, modesty and respect. So we invite all concerned Catholics to protest, to call the universities and urge them to end the scandal.”
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