02 January 2009

Modesty in Fitness

I wrote a letter to the author of this article: "Swimming in Modesty", in newsobserver.com. I wrote it after I read the article and the comments which followed. Those of you who are "old fashioned ladies" probably agree: women who are modest are so often looked at as strange, or even "evil" religious leaders who are taking their followers to some horrible end. At least it seems that way. And if that lady is modest AND Muslim, she must be a "wacko" that needs to be sneered at, put down, laughed at, discouraged from her modesty, and pointed out to others that she's trying to take over the world with her religion - just because she desires to dress and behave modestly.

How did this come to be the way of looking at modest women in our "Christian" nation? We Christian ladies and our gentlemen preferred to simply step back and just not swim or participate in sports, because it's just not modest in this day, as far as dress goes. Why didn't our girls and boys who wanted to participate in sports and swimming just wear something more modest anyway, as many girls in the last Olympics did, in spite of the near nudity of all around? And further yet, why didn't we all continue with separated men and women times in public pools and fitness zones? Why did we cave in and allow all of these places to become centers of immodest behavior and dress, when we all know that physical fitness is a good thing? So many of our young ladies are taken in and decide that modest apparel is not important after all. Especially where sports and swimming are concerned. Oh, and weddings and proms. And around the house. And when you're just shopping... do you see how it just keeps on going? What's next - immodest dress and behavior during worship times with other Christians? Yes. That's what came.

Here is what I wrote:

I follow articles like this one from time to time, and I am so glad that you reported it as you did. Readers - even those who still didn't get it after reading the article - have at least been made aware that this is a modesty issue, and not one of religious segregation. I personally am sad that my Christian friends never pushed for things like this - rather, we assimilated with the immodest world, and some are even made to feel like an "outsider" or "weird" for wanting to wear an over sized t-shirt over swim clothes, or for declining mixed swimming parties. Why didn't we modest Christians get together and find a "women's only" time in the pool? I know that some places this actually has happened - there are women's- and men's-only times in public fitness and swimming areas in the US and Canada - and it is not a "religious" issue, but one of modesty and propriety. Why the world cannot see and respect the wishes of this group is beyond me. But, regardless, articles like this which explain the concept of modesty, and attempt to educate the public at large with this "old fashioned" moral concept, is a good thing. If only there had been a more notable reference in the article to other "women's only" places in the country (your state, even) that are not Muslim oriented, perhaps the focus on the Muslim community and the idea that this is a movement of religious separation could have been understood a little more. But all in all, a better handled article than some short little articles on these kinds of things happening in other places, where it truly comes across as religious separation, and not just a modesty issue.

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So, what should we as modest Christian ladies do? We could do as we seem to have done for a long time - just keep our young women from all athletics and swimming because those areas have been "taken over" by the worldly. Oh, how many physically out of shape Christian girls there are. "She strengthens her arms for the times to come..."

We could do as some Christian women have done, and create our own lines of modest swim wear and exercise clothing. They exist. Check my label below for all the articles I have on modesty, and I think you'll find a few places that you can go to find examples of modest fitness clothing (and formal wear too). "Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord."

And as far as dressing modestly in the midst of scores of immodestly dressed men and women, we could go to the management and ask for private times. We ask for it as a religious thing, or we could ask as a matter of modesty and propriety. I think if we look around and ask, we'll find a lot of other people who would like to be modest in these places, but either don't go, or go and give in to immodesty. We need to find each other and encourage one another.

Isn't physical fitness a part of your "new year resolution"? Even if it isn't, it should be a daily part of your day - to take care of that precious and fragile physical body that the Lord has given you.
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