Tag Archives: Modesty & Covering

Practical Reasons for Modesty

Modesty ~ synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners.  In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace…unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of  female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.

– Noah Webster 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

What was once considered pornography is now brazenly displayed on the magazine covers that assault our eyes at the grocery checkout.  http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/artman/publish/Femininity_amp_Modesty_16/Modesty_and_the_Christian_Woman_132100132.shtm

This is another; yes another, post about Modesty.  This is a discussion of why modesty really matters; not in theory but in practice.  Why does discriminating behavior and dress really matter.   On a day to day basis, in the real moments of your life, at PTA and at the store, how do the choices you make about what you where effect you, and those around you?

There is always a thin line between legalism and liberty and I am going to attempt to walk this fine line as biblically as possible.  http://anunveiledface.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/modesty-and-christian-women/

(an AMAZING article I wish I had written.  Please take the time to read it.  it is long, but well written and presented and full of good meat to consider)

Modesty is the voluntary personal responsibility to behave & dress in such a manner as to not purposely draw attention to oneself.  This is crucial for a Christian woman; first and foremost because we’re representatives of the LORD Jesus Christ; but it goes beyond that.   How you present yourself, how you dress, how you act, directly effects the interactions that create your life.

I put a high level of importance on modesty.  I cover my body and endeavor not to dress to attract attention.   I do this not merely because of my faith in God and my respect for my husband.  I seek to dress unassumingly for many practical reasons also.

1. My body belongs to me, God and my husband not to the odd man of the street looking at me. I protect myself for myself and husband.   I do not want to be leered at; I do not want to be watched.  I control my body and that also means I control who sees it.  I do not want to play a role in the unclean thoughts of some random man-on-the-street.

2. I do not seek to make another stumble; yes I have the right to go around with my breasts hanging out, but if that makes another struggle what have I gained by exercising that right?  Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.  Doing things just “because I can” is a very immature attitude and not one befitting an adult, much less a mature Christian.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with  shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1 Timothy 2.9-10

3. I want to be respected for who I am, not for what I look like.  I want my mind, my intellect and my experiences to speak for me, not my clothing.

and possibly the most important reason for modest in my daily life  (after, of course, my respect for my God, myself and my husband), one of the most practical arguments for discretion I know of:

4. I do not want to interject sexual tension or a sexual aspect into peer relationships.  I want to have a good working relationship with my co-workers that are based on personal and professional respect.  I want to feel at ease with friends’ hubby or my husband’s co-workers.  I do not want sexuality or sexual feeling or thoughts to be a white elephant in the situation.

Think about it…

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Proverbs 31:30 ~ Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Many in this world would promote a general understanding that to be equal to a man in daily matters once must act like a man.  Unfortunately many Christian will spout the same misguided silliness.  As believers we know, or should know, this to be a lie of the devil, but sadly too often allow ourselves to be dragged down in to worldly mud slinging between the genders.

I saw this quote recently, and loved it, it really resounded with me.  “Egalitarianism has tried to convince women that dressing like a sloppy man is a compliment and a privilege” .

Thus motivated, I am picking up my old saga of musings about modesty and head covering and their relation to faith and application in daily functional life.  This is an area I feel God’s call on me; I freely admit I am not where I feel God wants me on this topic, but I am struggling to get there (and dragging you, dear reader, along for the bumpy ride).

I’ll state again that I am in no way a teacher, nor a Biblical scholar.  I am a believer, a Daughter of the King.  I share my thoughts and that is all I have to offer.

If you’d like to see the back-story – here is a collection of my previous posts, and one amazing guest post https://scribinglife.wordpress.com/tag/modesty-covering/.

As I have stated before I am frustrated by how often Christian writings about modesty and personal appearance are met with hostility, even from other believers.  It is deeply saddening to see so many Children of the King used as pawns of the devil.  The Jewish writing that I have read seem about to address questions of personal accountably to God and modesty in a much more honest and simply manner.   They seem much more able to address God’s commandments regarding modesty without the destructive and worldly, baggage about gender.  We need to stand against the world and the devil, and not against each other.

Ephesians 6:12 for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

I am fully confident of my equality in life and before God.  I do not need to argue or protest or ‘fight’ for my equal footing with other believers.  I do not have to dress like another, act like another or “fight”.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 38.  God said it is so, it is so.  I have reason to achieve what is simple fact.  I stand as an equal heir to the Kingdom of God, my Father with all other believes.  As Christians, God wants us to view both male and female as equally important, not inferior and superior.  Remember we are charged not to be unequally yoke; if men and women were not intrinsically equivalent all yoking would inherent be unequal; God’s command would not be possible, and we all know God’s commandments for us are possible, by the very nature of God.

Merriam – Webster dictionary defines equal:  (1) : of the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another Also:  equivalent b : like in quality, nature, or status c : like for each member of a group, class, or society <provide equal employment opportunities>  Also : regarding or affecting all objects in the same way

Equal is not indistinguishable or ‘the same’; read the definition again – equivalent not identical.  I stand equal to all men as God’s creation and as a female believer.  However I am not identical or interchangeable with any male; I am not a duplicate of my husband or father.

As women of Yahuweh, we have a very special dignity and glory that we should treasure and protect.  We have a royal status to uphold.  Our glory and dignity that is growing inwardly, needs to begin to show forth outwardly, by the way we dress.  The clothes we wear have far more importance than many of us realize.   … As women, we have the great honor and unique privilege of displaying many of the qualities of the Bride of Messiah.  http://www.thewayprepared.com/studies/kings-daughter.html

I am a daughter of the King, I am woman and I am given roles and responsibilities, challenges and gifts that are unique to my gender.  I also have been given command for living my life that are relevant only to me as a female; and they are part of my relationship with God Himself, not any other person.  Our differences are fundamental, intentional and by design. In like manner also, that woman adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.  1 Timothy 2.9-10

G.K. Chesterton:  “I WOULD give woman, not more rights, but more privileges. Instead of sending her to seek such freedom as notoriously prevails in banks and factories, I would design especially a house in which she can be free.” ~GKC: ‘What’s Wrong With the World.’

I am angered that too many believers follow the world and accept as true that somehow following God’s commands for her life; that makes her less of a person.  It is a distraction of the Evil One to make us fight and deny or true selves thus preventing us reaching the levels of glory God has for us.   I am supposed to believe that; somehow I am on a more equal footing with a man that is staring down my tight low cut shirt rather than engaging with me in real conservation.  These old arguments (that we must be interchangeable with men to be equal or that there is freedom in flaunting your body like a room for rent) do not promote equitable gender relations; they are tools of the devil to distract and divide.  What could we achieve with we chose not to listen to the lies of evil and set ourselves to walking rightly with the Lord and accomplishing all He has for us.

Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

 

 

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“The King’s Daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold” Psalm 45:13

Yes, I am back at it again.  I note, again, I am far from perfect and will remain far from perfect until I meet The One that is Perfect.  I write, not to preach from on high, but what I need to read most of the time; I write what is on my mind, what I am think about regarding my life.  I am on a “rabbit trial” of reading about modesty again.  I admit, freely, I am trying to challenge myself to a better relationship with God and myself.

We, as believers, are called to set ourselves apart from the world, to be in it as a shining light, but not to be of it.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect willRomans 12:1-3  how much more clearly can it be stated.  God wants you to minister to the lady next door, but not necessarily to be like the lady next door.

We are challenged to set ourselves apart and shine as a light to the world around us in ever aspect of our lives; not just our Sunday morning activities.  We all know the old saying “who you are speaks so loud I can not hear what you are saying” this is frequently applied to parents, but I believe it applies even more strongly to our Christian Walk.  It is not what you preach, it is how you live.  How you live in the quick and simple moments like running back to the store again for the 3rd thing you forgot.  As a Christian woman, you and I are showing the watching world a bit of who Jesus is.  We show who we are in Christ, we show Christ though us.

Our bodies are precious because they are a gift from God. They are attractive because God made us in His image for His pleasure (and if we are married, to please our mates as well).  However, God never intended us to flaunt ourselves or exhibit our bodies in an immodest way.  He wants our bodies consecrated to him. “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom. 12:1)

Worldly dress is quite revealing.  It revels much more than skin and shape: first and foremost it reveals a worldly heart.  It clearly shows to who you are looking for guidance, God or the latest red carpet appearances.  It also reveals wrong priorities and areas that are not yielded to God.   What you wear, or don’t wear clearly reveals who you are dressing for; who’s opinion you value.  It is evidence of what you think of your self, what you value about yourself.  Our speech, vocation, dress must be submitted to what God’s will is for us in this life.  If you worry more about your makeup than your heart, that shows.  More than showing to the public we have to enter into it; it shows to our children.

Reading more about a call to modesty I found this (it is written by and regarding Orthodox Jewish women, but the fundamental concept I feel applies to all believes; and that is our relationship with God and how our lives demonstrate that relationship).  I should note that the Jewish faith seems to address questions of personal accountably to God and modesty in a much more honest and simply manner.  Jewish reading doesn’t seem to be wrought with this same conflict and is able to address modest, head covering, and dress without the weight and baggage about gender abuse inherent in most Christian writings (be it author or critic).

A mitzvah (commandment) is a communication between the ‘Metzvave,’ the Commander (God), and the person who has wisely chosen to observe His expressed will, thereby forging a personal relationship with the Master of the universe. Society and the people around us are merely incidental and peripheral to the process…Bottom line, the concept of Tzniut cautions us that to get seduced by a culture that is obsessed with externalities is to abandon our very core and essence…..The hair, which is a woman’s ‘crowning beauty,’ is covered when a woman leaves the confines of her home. In a sense, her full beauty is reserved exclusively for her husband. The foreign object, be it a hat or wig, no matter how attractive, is foreign, nonetheless, and constantly reminds a woman to focus on the inner beauty inside of her.

http://www.aish.com/f/rf/48944771.html (an amazing read that I wish I had written)

and this comment … The first note of clarification needs to be that the objective of God’s commandments is not the betterment of society as a whole or how we might appear to others, but rather how the mitzvot (commandments) speak to us personally, and how they enhance and promote the requisite spiritual growth of the individual who observes them. … is a very apt one as well. …… We are not called or challenged to compare ourselves to others on this earth merely to His Call on our lives.  Not everyone is a preacher, or a teacher; but that doesn’t mean God has not ordained Bankers and Police.  Our accountability and relationship are with Our Father.

Like I have said before a covered or modestly dressed woman reminds herself of God and her relationship with, and accountability to Him, constantly.  She shows the people she meets that she is not looking to the check-out-stand tabloids to order her life, but to God Himself.  If she stops and stands still for a moment she can feel God holding her.  She speaks this to those around her in her action and her deed, leaving words unnecessary.  This commentary portrays living a modest life as evidence of a personal connection to God; an aspect of your self, a reflection of your heart and your personal relationship with God.  It reflects what is of matter to you, God and your relationship with Him; not what is of matter to the world

On the level of theory few seek to argue these faccts.  Philosophically, we all acknowledge a fundamental struggle between focusing on the external things in life or the internal dimensions.  Day to day life vs God.  We have to live in the world, but we do not have to judge ourselves by its standards.

Too often we make small compromises; in the books we read, in the TV we allow the kids to see, in the playmates we permit, in the clothing we wear, in our actions and activities.  It is too much of a fight to NOT allow our child to play a certain game; it is all too easy to go to the store in a pair of jean intended for house cleaning. But little choices because big habits.

It is a simple fact:  compromise in beliefs in one area leads to compromise in other areas of Scriptural commands as well.  Maybe that strikes you as unnecessarily harsh; does letting your kids play ONE game, or wearing that holes pair of jeans one time, really matter?  It does.  Our life is made up of small choices.  Each choice matters.  Each choice sets us on a path.  It human nature; human as lazy; we are sinful creatures programmed to seek the easy route.  We are programmed to look for the easy, for the mostly pleasing to our physical body.  Sin is real, evil is real, and human nature is flawed.  Think about this:  you skip the gym today because of a late meeting at work; what happens tomorrow, do you site “extra tired of that late meeting last night?” and skip the gym again?  Then what:  we both know, the more you skip the gym, the easier it gets to skip the gym.  Ah yes; human nature.

God doesn’t call you to compromise; God calls you to stand; to fight and to run the good race.  2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (Not I have picked my battles, I have mode it most of the race and I have kept the faith in the important issues).   Only perseverance will please God.  Glations 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

What is God calling you to today; what are you sowing in the choices you make today?

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Guest Post — a reason for covering

Today my blog is very blessed by an anonymous contribution from a dear dear personal friend of mine, one that writes so much better than I ever could: 

(note images added by me, not the author)

Brown tieschel with a brown cord. Navy headscarf with navy trim. A brown plaid triangular scarf. A large electric blue scarf. A burgundy tieschel  with ivory cording and pearls intertwined. These are the headcoverings I have so far. I have not been covering for long, one to two months or so; the calling, however, has been present in my heart since 2004. At that time I had wanted to, but my husband was not really for it, and my spiritual director/confessor told me not to do it. The calling has remained steadfast in my heart, and has proven not to be a whim, or a passing phase. Whether I will have the courage to respond to this calling long-term remains to be seen, but for now, I am.

I am not of the opinion that all women should cover; I am of the opinion that those whom God calls to covering should respond in the affirmative and with courage. Indeed, we live in a society in which if you wear a headcovering, you will have assumptions, usually incorrect ones, made about you. What do people think of me when I am out and wearing a headcovering? “She’s a Muslim.” “She’s Jewish.” “She’s Mennonite.” “What a showoff.” “Holy Roller.” Who knows. Who cares! I guarantee you that not one person who sees me would be able to peg me by looking at me, especially when out with my eight children.

I am a thirty-five year old woman, with, as I said, eight young children, ranging in ages from four months to fourteen years. I am a practicing Catholic, in love with Jesus Christ, and the Church that He founded. I am not an ultra-orthodox traditionalist, nor am I a kumbaya cafeteria Catholic. I am a faithful Catholic, striving for holiness in my daily life, cultivating my faith in, and knowledge and love of, Jesus Christ. How does covering my head fit in with this? Let me give you a little theology, and then some background.

Jesus Christ redeemed me by shedding His blood for me upon the cross. Through this action, He restored the life of grace to a fallen humanity and opened for us the gates ofParadise. This grace is the very life of God within us. By it we grow in holiness so that we may follow Jesus’ command to be holy as the Father is holy. When we sin, we can wound that grace in our souls, or if the sin is unto death, i.e. mortal, we can kill that grace, that life of God in our souls. We must continue to run the race, to fight the good fight, likeSt. Pauldid. We must work hard in our spiritual lives so as to strengthen our muscles of faith, our virtues. We don’t believe in “salvation by works” but in salvation by faith working through love.

When we sin, we wound the Body of Christ, the Church. We receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, but the wound is still there. It must be repaired through penance. If I broke your window, and apologized sincerely for it, in tears, even, and you forgave me, I would be so very grateful. Your window, unfortunately, is still broken, and needs repairing. I must repair that window, even though I am back in your good graces. It is only just. And so I sacrifice to replace your window and make it like new. This is a very simple explanation of the Catholic idea of penance and reparation.

Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross was once for all. He could have done everything and just given us our salvation with nothing in return, not even faith in Him. But he didn’t. We could never appreciate the gift, nor prove that we really wanted it if that were the case. He wants our participation in our redemption, like the mother who wants her child’s “help” when baking cookies. Sure, she could have made the cookies without the child putting the dough on the pan, or without helping to stir, or pour in the flour, but those cookies mean so much more to the child when his participation in making them is sought. He could never make the cookies without the parent, who provided everything, including the directions, but after he has stirred the dough, he is proud, and says, “I made cookies!!” You know who really made the cookies, but wow, what a special thing those cookies become to the child, and the experience has improved the bond between parent and child. When the child gives his sister the cookie and says, “Want one of the cookies I made?” the sibling is happy, and feels gratitude towards her brother, although of course, we really know where that cookie came from.

So it is with our salvation, and what we call the “economy of salvation”. Just as Jesus died on the cross for us, and merited for us, his brothers and sisters, the sanctifying grace which saves us, so can we as members of the Body of Christ, the Church, do things which spiritually benefit our brothers and sisters in Christ, and all children of God. Let’s say I broke your window again. You forgave me, but for some reason it would be really difficult for me to replace your window. My friend then steps in and says, “I would like to replace the window for Hester, here.” Voila. I am forgiven, and the damage is repaired, although by someone other than myself. So it goes in the spiritual life. There are times we may be too spiritually bankrupt or injured to make just reparations for the damage we have done. Sometimes we are too bankrupt to even be sorry. We need a grant, a grant of grace for the work in progress that we are. The grace is there, being obtained by people all over through prayer, through good works done in faith, through sufferings united with the suffering of Christ.

The life of Grace in us, like the Holy Spirit, is not static. It is alive, dynamic! We are either gaining in grace or losing in grace at any given moment. When we do what we do for Jesus, and we offer to him the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of our days, we turn our days into prayer, and everything we do becomes an offering to him. Everything we do wins us grace, because we are doing it for love of Him. We may pray that the grace He bestows on us for the good we do would be applied to us, or to others. This opens us up, as Christians, to a whole new life where we can be Christ to others not only by what we say, or by helping them out or whatever. We can become Christ to others by suffering for others, for making reparation for their sins. We can, in effect, step in and replace the windows they broke. We can put the cookie dough on the pan, and then give them the cookies as if they had made them. We can spiritually lift our brother up from the depths of a personal living hell when they have no strength to do it themselves. We do it by prayer, works, and sufferings all offered to Jesus for this specific person, or that specific intention. Our prayers, our sufferings, our works, when joined with the Salvific Action of Jesus Christ on the Cross,  become in their own small ways redemptive. And so we can do penance for others. We can rejoice in our sufferings, likeSaint Paul, who made up in his body what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

“But I thought this was about head coverings.” Well, it is.

I wear my headcoverings as both an act of penance and an act of reparation. I believe God has asked me to do this. Let me explain.

Thirteen years ago, for a time, I entered and was fairly active in the world of internet pornography. I do not wish to expound on it too heavily here, although I suppose it provides much “jucier” reading than does my expounding on the “economy of salvation.” In any case, I was beautiful, young, lonely, and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I needed an outlet; I needed connection to people who would give me what I thought was positive attention, and I wanted to “have fun.” So I did. A friend sent me a digital camera and I was off and running, not only posting very risque photos of myself to a porn site, but spending a lot of time chatting with the “star” of the website and with all the men who watched her cam and wanted to chat with others. For two to three months, the pictures ensued, one after another. And I was most definitely “making connections” with others, beyond the website, to the point of nearly ruining my marriage, another marriage, and yet another relationship. My selfishness progressed to the point where I was considering sterilization so I could pursue an open marriage without any “ramifications”. To those who know me, contraception is terribly out of character for me, for I wanted many children and never believed in birth control, not even as a sexually active fifteen year old. Sex, to me, always meant a complete 100% self-donation to another, and it included the donation of my fertility. But there I was at 22, suffering from very traumatic events which concerned the birth and first couple of years with our sick daughter. I was devastated and too afraid to go that route again. I was saved from my path of self-destruction by my second pregnancy, which occurred as I was waiting to begin the birth control pill. Hallelujah. This child was the catalyst which brought about the rebuilding of my marriage and our return to Jesus Christ and the Church He established. That is not to say I have been perfect since, but it was certainly the turning point towards a better life.

I have struggled with this period of my life. I am forgiven, yes, but I broke many windows. The cruel thing about internet porn, is that when you have long since renounced your part in it, you know your “material” is still out there for the viewing. Sure, the website I was on is down now, but I know for a fact that some of the members saved my images. I can only pray they are all gone now, but I would suspect that at least one or two people have them. And even if they are all gone, these images stay burned in the mind of the men who have viewed them. I have greatly sinned in my treatment of my body, but also in leading others to sin. I WAS the “other woman” to many men. They spent hours chatting suggestively with me and “enjoying” my photographs instead of spending that time with their wives and children. And there I was, basking in the attention of it all.

I don’t call this guilt “Catholic guilt.” I call it my conscience, and perhaps one of the only “decent bones” in my body. No pun intended. So why a headscarf? Because I am covering more than I would normally need to cover as an act of penance for those times I did not cover what I should have. Sometimes I wear sleeves in very hot weather. That is not as noticeable, but it certainly has the desired effect of giving me a little suffering to present to Jesus, to add to His Divine Suffering.

It can be annoying at times. Do I look more attractive without it? Certainly. But I still have internal issues with pride and vanity and perhaps it is better that I render myself a little less attractive to others.  Also, I have to fix it and re-fix it throughout the day. But when I feel it on my head, I remember who I am, and Whose I am. I am His, and I am giving Him my all.  I feel it, and remember what I have done to feel called to wear it, and I offer my interior suffering to Jesus. It is my prayer that in my acts of penance and reparation, I might not only repair the windows I have broken, but repair others’ broken windows, too. The cry of Our Lady of Fatima was to pray and make sacrifices for sinners, for most people who go to hell do so for sins of the flesh. The angel of the third secret ofFatimacried, “Penance! Penance! Penance!” I have a special place in my heart for the Fatima apparitions and Our Lady of Fatima, and I take these messages to heart profoundly.

I offer up my sacrifices for the men whose lives I touched. I offer it for the men I know now who struggle with pornography. I offer it for the healing of the women whose husbands were giving me attention instead of them. I offer it for the healing of their children. I offer it for my husband’s healing, for he put up with much from me. I offer it for my children, who are unknowingly being raised by a mother with such deep scars and dark skeletons. And I offer it for myself, because there are still times I have to tame this wild heart of mine.

And so there you have it. There will be many who see me and roll their eyes at that “holier than thou” over there. That’s okay. I offer it up. Jesus knew humiliation and misunderstanding, also. I am not holier than thou. I am the one at the back of the Church beating her breast saying, “Lord having mercy on me, a sinner, ” because, I am a great sinner in need of Christ’s mercy.  I praise Him for His great mercy, and for the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist which fill me with such peace and grace, and enable me to keep forging on this tough road that is the Christian life. I thank Him for not only allowing my verbal prayers to positively affect the lives of others, but also my prayers of action. To this end, in addition to my headcovering, I add a weekly fast on Wednesdays. I am fasting only on bread and water on Wednesdays, to the best of my ability, for the specific intention of a very dear friend struggling with sex addiction, and for his wife. When he can, he fasts with me. Some sins can only be routed out through prayer and fasting, so I add my fasting to his, and we present that to Jesus with our prayers. How can our dear Jesus refuse to hear our prayers? He cannot.

Again, I wish to stress that I believe covering is a calling. Just as not everybody is called to have a large family, and not everybody is called to homeschool, not every woman is called to cover her head. Not everyone is called to fast, certainly not the infirm. But all of us are called to holiness, and all of us are called to unite our sufferings with Christ for the sake of His Body. We are all called to love each other as Christ loved us, and He loved us to the death. So do not be afraid to die to yourself for your fellow brother and sister. TheFatimachildren went without meals, and put rocks in their shoes. Some saints kept difficult hours so they could put in extra prayer time. Some people wear hairshirts to render themselves a bit uncomfortable amidst all the comforts of our modern day. For some, spousal submission is a sacrifice in itself. Our Lady of Fatima said that in our day, simply performing the duties of our state in life would be penitential. How correct she was! Although conveniences have vastly increased, it seems increasingly difficult in our society to discern how to be a good wife and mother, and how to accomplish that. We are a distracted and confused generation! I pray that you take the time to pause, and listen in your heart to where in your life Jesus might be calling you to join Him on the cross. Every little bit of grace you earn for those of us struggling through life now, and those who have gone before us, brings great joy to the heart of Jesus. When you accept suffering into your life with joy, Jesus will look at you and see….Himself.

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle , in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.” Colossians 1:24-29

God love you.

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the pool and a couple of thought on bathing suits

First I’ll address the issue that’s obvious given all my previous posts on modesty.  BATHING SUITS.  I feel beyond the merits of modestly as a life choice, a more modest suit allows for more movement, more freedom, more enjoyment; especially for an active mom playing with and chasing kids, not sunning for the guys on the pool side.   The pool and other bathing occasions also gives a person a very unmistakable opportunity to make a visual statement about their “stance on modesty”  It is easy to talk about modest suits, but then what do you choose to buy or wear?  Summer is a real chance to make a testimony with our choices; do we stick to the guns that are so easy in winter, or do we get lazy?

 

 

 

Ok, MY suit:  I freely admit that I am not really happy with it.  I got it in 2004 and have worn it though 2 pregnancies and nursed 2 boys in it.  I’d love a swim-dress more like this – but they are expensive and I try not to spend a lot of money of clothing and so on for me; also they’d be special order (that is bought on-line or something) and I hate to buy clothing that way especially something that needs to fit like a bathing suit.  In general I do not like buying clothing I can’t try one, and since I am tall and have a long torso getting bathing suits is particularly challenging.  Not something as elaborate as this but something more like a skirt like this http://www.hydrochic.com/rubadowask.html but INCLUDING shorts.  Maybe the JULEIT option here: http://www.becomingswimdress.com/??  I really LIKE these suits: http://www.swimmodest.com/modestswimsuits.lasso.  BUT I do not like the fabric; I’d choose a solid color myself.  So, anyhow I have not made that investment.  Also considering “UV Clothing” a nice ¾ “rash guard” shirt  would be perfect if I could find a nice skirted bottom for it.

I have yet to make that investment; but I will, I think, next time I get a suit.  I am pretty happy with the skirt I have on my green suit, it is longer than any of the other suits a with skirts I have tried on, so that is nice and the bottoms come up to my waist, they do not just hang on my hips.  The top is a problem.  It just doesn’t fit like it did when I bought it, it doesn’t cover my tummy as well as I’d like as I play with the boys and I’d like the neck line to be higher.  Now that Little Brother rarely nurses out and about, and I do not need to worry as much about access as much (I miss that, to be honest).  I think I am going to try something new.  I have a one piece bathing suit with a much higher neck, better coverage at the arms and on the back, it is black; it did not fit when I was pregnant and did not offer the necessary access for nursing; so I have not been wearing it.  I am thinking of wearing it and the green swim skirt over it for this year.  I need the skirt; I feel the bottom really needs to be covered.  Nevertheless I’d like better coverage up top.  So that is my plan, then maybe for Christmas or next Birthday I’ll ask Hubby for a new bathing suit (after all it has been since 2004, I did get one at target in 2007 but it doesn’t fit well and is in practice less modest than the green one). 

Last year was the first year for the remodeled aqua center here in our local little town.  I did not brave the pool alone with both boys last year, but we’ve been twice this year.  I decided to get a family membership after our first visit.  The children’s shallow area is really big; there is a zero entry area and a AMAZING water slide for the littles’ (that parents can go on with them too).  The slide falls into one foot of water and has a pad under it.  Both boys can do the slide and keep their head out of the water, if they choose, but both feel comfortable enough to ‘go under’ at the bottom and pop right up without fear.  Little has to go for the first time on my lap, but after that he is off like a shot.  Both boys love the slide, but especially Little Brother.  Little Brother is the Energizer Bunny down the slide, over, up the steps, down the slide, repeat, repeat, repeat, practically non-stop. 

 

 

 

Yes my boys wear swim shirts and the longest trunks I can find them.  Not just for sun protections either, the boy’s bodies are no more for public display than mine or any girls’ is.  I desire for my boys to take care of, respect and protect their body just as I would want a daughter to.  They are there to play and have fun, not to have to worry about their bodies or their clothing. 

I plan to get to the pool at least once a week and would be happy to make it 2 or three times.  Big Brother has gotten to play with kids he knew from classroom and Little Brother has gotten to interact and play too.  Both really enjoy it, and the set of the pool allows for me to play and enjoy too, not just chase kids and battle wills all the visit.

Photos all thanks to Auntie Roo.  THANKS

 

 

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Head Covering — rubber meets the road

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man

As most of you know I have been reading and writing a lot about head covering and modesty.  I do not mean to teach or preach to anyone else, I am by no means qualified to do THAT :)  but I find this a fascinating topic, the material is so rich (if not varied) and comes not only from the Christian schools of thought, but the Muslim and Jewish schools as well.  The approaches, the paths, are diverse and the roots of the practice are so interesting.  If nothing else, it is mental exercise for me, challenging and engaging and worthwhile. 

Here are my previous blogs posts on this topic, you will notice that there has been a bit of a stir about my thoughts and my observations on life as reflected in the discussion of modesty and covering.

A good friend, after reading my last post and a few of the comments asked me “well what did you decide, what are you doing?”

Oh, yes, I guess looking back I have never actually spelled out anything about reality, only thought and my constant reading.  Ooops :) .  So the point this short post is to give you a glimpse of reality, how my current reading, studying and thinking (and praying) is impacting my daily life as a wife, as a mom.

A couple of points:

I have never in my life heard a teaching / preaching / sermon or Homily on either the practice of covering (in general or in church or pray) or on 1 Cor 11:2-16.  I find this fact amazing.  I am well over 30; and I grew up in the Church and have been in one church or another most of my life (a couple of years off in college, you know how that goes, I am not proud of it, but it is the reality).  If you take 30 years (given I was not paying attention as a small child) and assume one sermon a week for lets just say 45 week a year (and that is a under-estimate since for at least 2 years I attended service 2x a week, each week and for at least 3 years I attended service 3x a week each week) – that is 1350 sermons.  I have been to retreats and Bible conferences and other such activities, and again never heard a word about I Cor 11; not even as part of another message.  I am amazed and stunned at how seemingly intentionally and carefully the subject is avoided.   I am actually would love to ask our current pastor about it, but I can’t think of any way to do so without appearing to be looking for conflict. 

My hubby is not in favor of me covering, honestly he is more opposed to it.  His reasons or feeling on the matter:

  • He does not think I look attractive with my hair all pulled back from my face, says he makes me too harsh looking.  He likes me to look nice when I am with him.
  • As far as covering as an element of modesty:  Hubby feels that covering attracts attention rather than ‘defecting’ the attention as an article of modesty should.  He feels that given where we live covering would be more ‘drawing’ notice than ‘actually covering’.

So neither Hubby nor church, needless to say, are a driving force behind my covering, or my path to modesty, and really Hubby is in no way a proponent of me choosing to covering, and actually is somewhat opposed to it.

Again, so what is the practical application of all this? What am I doing? 

  • I have been covering about 80 to 90% of the time I am not with Hubby.  I find it a great reminder.  A visual sign outwardly than convicts me inwardly.  I remember a pastor’s wife once talking about how much more of a courteous drive she found her self to be driving the church van.  I think it is the same thing, covering is a visual ‘talking the talk’ and so it makes me more accountable to walk to walk. I am a better parent and a more controlled person when I cover. 
  • I do not cover with Hubby. (so I currently do not cover at church, ironically enough)

I am not sure long term what this is all going to look like for me.  I am trying to be lead and not take the lead in that, and that in and of itself is a growing process for me.  I am not at a place where I can call this topic done, but I am trying to diligently apply to my actual life the learning and thinking that I have been occupying myself with. 

This is still a topic very much on my heart, I have more research to share, more reading I am doing and wish to do. 

I am excited that I got a copy of Glories Seen & Unseen: A Study of the Head Covering of my very on coming, I got it off paperbacksvap.com.  I have had it on my wish list for a long time (I read it of ILL) and find it a nice coincidence that I got the e-mail today saying that it had been posted and I could have it. 

 

 



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Modesty (#4) and headcovering as a reminder

Many of you know I am been reading, researching and seeking about head covering and God’s Perfect will not for His Creation as a whole but for myself in particular.  I am no scholar out to define God’s word for the greater community; I have enough trouble explain how wind works to a 5 year old. 

I am not qualified to make Biblical interpretations; I do not pretend to be.  This Blog contains only my contemplations and my comments on the reading I am doing; my impressions.  This is an on-going conversation and “thought process” for me I invite you to see the first three posts:

I continue on that path, but I am finding myself more and more drawn to head covering in relation to modesty and an entire life approach vs. simply covering the head for service or pray; more drawn to the consideration of modesty in life rather than a particle practice for pray. 

I have been lax in my study and pray regarding this and need to get back to it, the pull on my heart remains.  The more I read, the more I pray and the more I study the more I find – modesty and head covering all around me.  Makes me wonder how I have missed it all about me before.  (now really I have read enough of John Holt to recognize this phenomena for what it is).

It seems to me that an important element of modesty (and head covering), maybe the most important, is the denial of self and focus on God and on the good (the fruit) not the look, not the appearance.  And more so, maybe, the danger of ‘getting by on your looks’ in effect the danger of relying on self and not God and of looking at the tree and not the fruit.  Denial of the self and looking to God.  “Don’t look at me, look at what I do in service to Him that made me”. 

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him”. Colossians 3:17

Ezekiel 16:15-16″But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur.”

Many look good, and in this current culture looking good is a billion dollar market, but is there substance under that look?  One has to ask if someone is trying so hard to look good to take care of the outside, to present a pretty face or sexy body; how much time, effort and focuses is being placed on the more important aspects of life; faith, God, good works even parenting and home or education?  I am not talking about being clean, looking professional when needed or nice or ‘put together’; but there is a point when the effort and time put into looking good, or the style of look is obviously detrimental to other aspects of one’s life. 

1 Timothy 2:9-10 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array: But with good works”.

Of dressing modestly (and potentially covering one’s hair) — serve as a powerful medium to raise our consciousness and maintain our awareness that we must be inner directed.  Our lives must be directed towards God and the realities of life not towards the current fashion trend.  A dear friend commented on her head covering, that during a traumatic and challenging time in her life emotionally her head cover reminder her continually of God’s presence and His reality for her.  This moment to moment reminder of God’s presence in our lives is the truest beauty of any active and conscious choice to dress modestly and / or cover your head. 

The internal world is the world of the spirit; our souls the location of God in our lives. Its voice is quieter and its demands on the human being more subtle and sadly easy to drowned out by the loud clang of external pressures. But to ignore the needs of the soul is to ultimately deny one’s raison d’etre http://www.thefreedictionary.com/raison+d’etre  — the reason for being on this earth.  A choice to listen to the internal to the exclusion of the external is to choose to step away from the world and the worldly view of beauty to focus on God and allow Him a place in our every day lives. 

Practically speaking, this means that our behavior in speech, dress, and in the way we carry ourselves should continually remind ourselves, and convey the message to others that I am valuable and I have purpose.  I do not live by the standards of the world, but by the standards of God, accountable only to Him. 

I see choosing to cover (head) as one aspect of modest dress, as a personal statement, as a personal reminder.  I feel that for a woman to cover her hair, her ‘crowning beauty,’ is to be constantly reminded to focus on the inner beauty and God and what He would have her do, not what the world would. 

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Modesty, Dignity and Head Covering And their relation to my personal faith walk

Up to post 3 in this serise if you are counting.  :) 

I have said it before; I am going to day it again:  I am not qualified to make Biblical interpretations.  This Blog contains only my thoughts and my comments on the reading I am doing; my impressions.  This is an on-going conversation and “thought process” for me I invite you to see the first two posts:

 

These posts are in no way intended to be a lesson, merely my thoughts, and my on-going evolving thoughts at that.  As I have said before if God convicts you, or speaks to you via me or used me to sharpen you (Proverbs 27:17  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.), I praise Him for it, it is Him and not me.  I am still praying, seeking God on this subject and trying to find my way.  I feel a hunger deep inside me, I feel a call, but alas the path is not clear or easy.  I continually pray for my boys that God’s path for them shall be clear and easy to discern; I do not ask that it be easy to travel, only that the correct path be clear and distinguishable for them.  I pray this for myself too. 

 I feel pulled in to almost a whirlpool — and I see many observers, some I really like and enjoy my time with standing by, unsure – unsure of what is going on, unsure if I am floundering or what.  Some seem to want to rescue me; others think I am simply caught up in a fad, some I suspect think this is the work of one other than Him we serve.  Part of me does want to reach out for a branch of the old normal because “letting go and letting God” is a very anti-establiment thing and it is uncharted territory.  Frankly I feel alone seeking God.  Stepping out away from normal and routine, towards God; stepping out of the boat – that step of faith is a tough one to take, the boat is safe and known.  Ask Peter.  (Matthew 14:22-33

I can be honest enough to say I do so wish I had a community where this was normal — a Christian version of the Jewish Orthodox community if you will.  A Christian community living a strong faith life, a more moment to moment life a place more removed from the world.  I know that makes me a wimp, but it is hard to feel like I am walking alone, no clear path and no clear or reliable mentor.  I trust God, I desire to serve God and to follow Him as He determines, but even The Rock upon which to Church is Built doubted and fell, how much less am I?  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:14

 

I have been reading more about Head Covering and about 1 Cor 11:2-16 and also about the “idea” of our choices in dress as a sign of respect for God and especially His House and Table when we are in Church.  I am deep in thought about how I dress, how I present myself; in and out of service. 

 

I have a ton more to read, sitting here on the counter, waiting for me.  I am by no means at a point of discernment, or a place of understanding, a place of clarity.  This is an awakening for me.  The journey is just beginning for me.  Honestly this is confusing, challenging, exhilarating and enlightening, and having finished Dressing with Dignity, and Glories Seen and Unseen; I am excited to jump into the next one. 

 

There is a very real difference between dressing attractively and dressing to attract.  Modesty is not just about how much skin you show or do not show; it is about form showing.  Nevertheless the opposite of immodest is not frumpy; there is no need, no mandate to hide ourselves.  “Femininity is a supernatural assignment from God; it is how God created us”. (Dressing 49)  Men and women stand equally in dignity, but separate in function.  Adult women understand fully well what they do when they dress to attract and manipulate; no woman can dress like she is for sale (or at least rent) then be honestly shocked or offended when she is ogled; no matter how she wants to pretend or act, she knows and every female reading this realizes that is true. 

 

My new favorite quote is from G. K. Chersterton  (a great thinker and man, whom some dear friends plan to name their next son after) “No one starting at that frightful female privilege, can quite believe in the equality of the sexes…”  The fact is, yes women have been mistreated, belittled and marginalized over time, but by individual men, not by God and not by Faith (Dressing 21).  “The Christian faith has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”  (also G. K. Chesterton)  The problem is not what Christians do, or the Church does, the problem is what many may have done in the name of the faith or the Church; that is a grand differenceAll humans are mortal, sinful and fallen; but the sins of men can not be used to condemn the Creator; and the actions of some should not be assumed to correctly reflect God and His order and plan.   

 

I have been very convicted by this simple passage:  the church is a special place- heaven on earth.  We should be careful not to offend the holiness of the Church. (Glories 32) God tells us clearly that our modesty is our true ornament (Glories 24).  I am realizing I, too, have fallen in to a lazy “everyone else does it” mindset regarding my dress both at Church and in public in general.  While I have not gone so far as to start shopping in my pajamas (I am not, after all 6) I really understand I have slacked off to an unacceptable point.  I love how God can Teach and Convict and really make a point, but do so slowly and kindly.  I am anxious to see what else is to be revealed to me, about me, in the next few books I have picked out. 

 

The real nervous tension I am feeling is related to the understanding I need to convert all this thought and learning into practical life changes; that is exciting, trilling and anxiety inducing all at the same time.  Reading is one thing, stepping out of that boat is another all together.  All precious things are veiled, hidden, and difficult to get to by God’s design: the Holy of Holys right to a pearl in a clam; and that is very exciting to me (Dressing 19).    

 

As I have said before, at least once, I have been prayfully considering head covering, and waiting on a clear lead from God, as well as a way to respect my husband’s thoughts on the matter at the same time.  I really struggle with the fact it seems so clear in the Bible but then I don’t see anyone doing it.  That just doesn’t make sense to me.  Also, it clear, was the practice for thousands of years, but now is not?  God and His word does not change?  Again, I really face conflict over this. 

 

1 Cor 11:2-16 clearly instructs women to cover in times of pray.  I know many resist this.  I never specifically thought much about covering while I was younger.  But I too have been guilty of having a hard heart against Paul’s writings in general.  For a long time I struggled against God’s expression via Paul, but I have come to understand that my conflict is with Paul and his tone and apparent attitude towards females and not with God or Hid word.  My challenge, personally, is to get past the writing style.  I know he is writing God’s words.  In my opinion – he could have caused much less consternation “in the ranks” if he had been more clear in his text.  However, I have to accept that God used Paul as God chose – and maybe the very fact you have to dig to get the meat of Paul after the sometimes bitter presentation, is the gold of the text.  You are forced to think and to search; and thus learn more than had Paul spelled things out clearly. 

 

As we know God does not change, so if He gave the instruction, via Paul, once then that instruction still stands.  Mal 3:6   For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.   God does not change his mind; (interesting read http://www.letusreason.org/Onenes2.htm). 

Loving Christ and having Christ’s sacrifice does not in any form nullify God’s Commandants (see http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/26684/eVerseID/26684 for and interesting read).  Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.   A women’s choice to cover in pray demonstrated an agreement with divine order, her personal subjection to God.  That is as true in 2010 as it was in 1910 or 1810. 

 

I can not recommend Glories Seen and Unseen by Henderson strongly enough; I really wish everyone would read it, Henderson does such a better job than I can hope to.  I requested it inter-library-loan.  As I have read, and re-reading; a few things finally have because clear to be with regard to the head covering mandate. 

 

First consider this, it is still today common practice for a man to remove a hat during a pray (think of a public pray on the anniversary of 9/11 and people standing outside, or think of a pray before a football game – all men remove their hands).  This practice is accepted and continues till “now” so then the question is why is it somehow viewed as “out dated” or “inconvenient” for a woman to cover her head at the same time?  Both practices, two halves to the same practice, were accepted for thousands of years, but since about 1950 one practice has been deemed outdated, and the other not?   

Next, the basis for choosing a behavior that honors God is a submitted will, and not coerced behavior; and choose it we must since we are creatures gifted with Free will, and creatures given our salvation freely at the cross.  1 John 4: 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  Our salvation comes from the cross it is freely given to us, not based on any merit of our’s.  Nevertheless since we have that gift we choose to submit ourselves to God’s Law and God’s will; or we should.  A chose we make freely since it ‘earns us nothing’ and is purely an avenue for us to show our love of God and our submission to him.  A forced “choice” mocks God’s order and His Divinity; God longs for a spirit of submission to truth, not bitterness.  A friend expressed it beatfully in a conservation she and I had about obedience beyond the Cross.  I freely wear my wedding ring, a gift of love and devotion.  Not wearing the ring doesn’t make me any less married, but it does hurt my husband’s joy.  I can stand on the cross alone and refuse God’s call beyond that, but what does that say about my love and my relationship with God?

 

Henderson summarized it this way:  Head Covering is not required at all times, but it must be worn by believing women when engaged in the serious work of pray or teaching….the glory of God is evident for all to see.” (Glories 99)

It does not honor God to delay obedience by arguing what we understand.  This is the point I have reached, a point requiring personal action due to personal conviction.  James 4:17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.  We need to have a submitted heart; it is what one does for love of Christ that shows the true condition of a heart.  It is in our smallest choices that our obedience to God is most clearly demonstrated.  Nevertheless, this addresses only those that God has convicted; if God has not called someone personally to a choice then they are not accountable for that behavior.  Read James 4:17 again:  Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.  You can not be accountable for what God has not revealed to you yet. 

 

Nevertheless I desire to challenge you to just think the blessing the church would receive experience if Christians would just embrace the plain truth of Scripture in lieu of spiritualizing or rationalizing God’s word into obscurity.  All Scripture was God breathed and given for a purpose (2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.)   

A few Bible verses for consideration:

  • Deu 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.
  •  Matt 5:27-28  27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’[a] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  •  Gal 5:22-23  22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
  •  Proverbs 7:10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
  •  Rom 12:1-2  1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  • 1 cor 3:16, 17  16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple

 

And on a practical note a dear friend and fellow walker referred me to this site:  http://www.halo-works.com/product/HW006SF/Ladys-Chapel-Cap—HW006SF.html

I found these sites and  am excited to look at it more. 

Two books quoted here:

Dressing with Dignity by Hammond 

And

Glories Seen and Unseen by Warren A. Henderson 

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Modesty (part 2) and Head Covering

Again I want to clearly state I am not qualified to make Biblical interpretations.  I do not teach, all I strive to do is share my personal thoughts on faith and reflect on their impact on me, their application to my life.  If God uses me to convict you, to challenge you, or to feed you I Praise Him for it is truly Him and not me; I am merely stumbling along the best I can.  I invite you along with me again as I ponder living our faith, not merely talking it or reading it.

As Christians we are called again and again and again not to be of this world, to be set apart.  Not to live as the world lives; not to conform.   Again and again we are reminded we are in this world but not of this world.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? And ….be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

Think about this, with consideration of dress in general, the church is a special place- heaven on earth.  We should be careful not to offend the holiness of the Church. (32) God tells us clearly that our modesty is our true ornament (24).  Look around next Sunday.  People attending the Lord’s Supper in sweat pants?  People in gym shorts and flip flops in processionals?  Is the Pastor the only man in a suit?  Adults in gym shoes?  What else do you see?  Are the people you see truly respecting the holiness of the site?  Are you?  Am I?

I have been prayfuly considering head covering, and waiting on a clear lead from God, as well as a way to respect my husband’s thoughts on the matter at the same time.  Again the challenge to set apart: to be God’s person in my daily reality but with out drawing undue attention; the challenge to be obedient.

Recently, it struck me if you accept that 1 Cor 11:2-16 tells women to cover their heads at time of pray, and then you consider we are clearly instructed to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  It seems apparent that we should cover at all times to remain in pray at all times; or to allow us to be in pray at all times.  Seems simple, almost too simple and causes me to wonder where the fault in my logic is – so I have been digging deeper.  Reading the words of many much more educated than I.  I don’t understand why; if it really is that simple, most women, most Christian women don’t cover?  Why didn’t I grow up covering?

I have been devouring reading Glories Seen & Unseen: A Study of the Head Covering and I am blown away ….very convicted.  The arguments are clear and easy and make one really think.

Researching this post, in an effort to make my thoughts clear, I found this blog http://www.wendysmodestdress.com/id17.htm and I and anxious to dive more deeply in to it.

Fundamentally it is important to remember for most of the history of faith (both the Jews in the Old Testament, and New Testament believers also) the traditional practice was for women to cover their head (their head and hair, not necessity their faces as some other faiths do).  In Glories Seen and Unseen; Henderson discusses the history of head covering though the years.  Starting with the Old Testament Jews and continuing to Vatican II and the modern day it is clear that the practice of head covering has been an accepted spiritual exercise though out history.  Not until the 1930’s do you see a marked decline in the behavior and expectation.  “in two generations a Christian practice spanning two millennia vas generally lost”  (34)  “1 Cor 11:2-16 is one of the most neglected texts of the Scripture.  Most modern day preachers shrug it off…seldom is an honest, literal and contextual explanation given”  (49)  Henderson suggest that as the why behind the action was lost the “what” of covering was lost; as it began to be seen as simply a custom or convention and thus it was quickly “advanced” away from and forgotten.

Watchman Nee (1903-1972)  a man that died in prison for his faith, makes maybe the clearest and easiest statement:  “the meaning of the head covering is: I submit myself to God’s government: I accept God’s appointment position: I dare not nullify His government by the grace I have received…Someday the world will know Christ is the head of all men…today it is known only to the church”  (25-26)  Deliberate on this in light of 1 Corinthians 6:12  many will quote the first part of the verse where Paul tells us that: “All things are lawful unto me” but very few like to consider the completion of that verse “but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any”.  Head covering, then while a Biblical mandate is given to us as ours to willingly choose when we choose obedience.  Something we ought to do, but as we stand as New Testament believers we must choose to obey.

One might question why head covering, such a small detail of personal behavior, is important.  The argument could be, and has been made, that the practice of covering does not impact anyone beyond the woman making the choice.  In reality the end of the practice is as important as the act of covering itself.  Covering is a chose, an example of obedience.  It is a small personal choice, but it is visible to all.  Many of the choices to be obedient we have to make are not visible; and often sin is actively hidden.  “History has shown that when one aspect of Scripture, such as head covering, is ignored it then becomes easier to ignore other teaching of God’s word” (page 42)

Nikodim Kamenskikh put it this way “Just as a large river begins with a small stream, so every violation or neglect begins with something small and almost imperceptible” (page 34).  I think we can all testify to this in our daily lives.  The house is clean, you are keeping it clean, and you are feeling good about it.  One night you allow yourself to watch TV and not scrub up the kitchen, and what happens the next morning, the next nights?  How about with your kids?  They are polite, on their manners, once they sass a little and you fail to respond, then next time, and the next time and a month later how is their tone and attitude?

I think this is clearly the case, look at the world around you; lack of head covering for women is not even in to top ten of “God’s word” broken that you can list quickly.  We live in a very immoral world.  All you have to do is look at the causal acceptance of flagrant adultery and casual pre-martial sex to see just indeed how true this is.  Bill Clinton anyone, or Tiger woods? How about the Kardashians?  Even Kennedy, or Valinteno?  Did the neglect of one perhaps minor instruction make breaking the next rule that much easier?  If sex is causal how does that effect abortion or divorce?  If there is no shame in babies born out of wedlock, how does that affect the stability of the family?  Humans are mortal and thus have a sinful nature, but what effect would a constant reminder of God’s Law have on choices?  Silly maybe; but would Kennedy or FDR or Clinton have boldly cheated if the woman had been covered?

I love what John Calvin preached in at least three sermons on 1 Cor 11:2-16.  Written in the 1500’s his thoughts are an eerie, powerful, and sad commentary on life in 2010:

So if women are thus permitted to have their heads uncovered and to show their hair, they will eventually be allowed to expose their entire breasts, and they will come to make their exhibitions as if a tavern show; they will become so brazen that modesty and shame will be no more…so when it is permissible for women to uncover their heads, one will say “well then what harm is uncovering the stomach also” and after that…something else.  “if woman go bareheaded why not bear this and bare that”  Then men for their part will break loose too.  In short there will be no decency left, unless people contain themselves and respect what is proper and fitting.

Go turn on your TV, go to the store and pick up any popular magazine.  What do you see, not so much bare heads, but bear breasts and a total lack of modesty and shame.   Hummmmmmm

Luke 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man

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Setting yourself / myself apart

Part 1

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

We are called again and again and again not to be of this world, to be set apart.  Not to live as the world lives.

And ….be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

Do not conform to this place and time, do not fit in, set yourself apart for God living according to His design.

The challenge is to be separate from this world while being in it; the day to day practical challenges – clothing, vocabulary.  Holding yourself apart, but not making a show of it.  A thin line to walk; set apart, but without drawing undue attention in the effort not to fit in; where that line is, that is the daily question we all have to struggle with.  Reaching the world, ministering to the world and bringing in the harvest but not being incorporated into the world.

This is a topic that floats in my head often, I sit and nurse and my mind wanders to the bigger questions of a practical Christian life. We live in a rural location that requires a good amount of car time to go and do normal life stuff, and the boys are not much for conservation yet.  I think, some times I feel lost with my thoughts.

I do not have the answers, but I do have a lot of not-quite-random thoughts.  Solid thoughts and rabbit trails.  Glossier thoughts that are vague feelings and elude good text.  I am reading with thirst and pray about this.  I spent this summer making a conscious effort to dress more modestly and make the very difficult choice to give away or send to Goodwill many tops I genuinely like and think I look nice in because of the lack of sleeves or “better coverage”.

Books I have on my reading pile –

I also have a very long wish list on this topic.  This is not a new conviction or consideration to me, but an area of interest for a long time.  A quiet nagging, if you will.  Something that returns to me again and again.  But, alas something I have yet to find a good resolution to.  Books on my wish list

And before anyone asks, YES I’d actually love to read all on them, and yes I do read THAT much.

I have been prayfully considering head covering, and waiting on a clear lead from God, as well as a way to respect my husband’s thoughts on the matter at the same time.  Again the challenge to set apart: to be God’s person in my daily reality but with out drawing undue attention.  I am hoping to get Glories Seen & Unseen: A Study of the Head Covering also on paperbackswap or inter-library-loan.

Again I want to clearly state I am not really qualified for Biblical interpretations, I am not that educated or studied.  All I strive to do is share my personal thought on faith and offer out to the world at large thoughts for consideration.  I invite you along with me again as I ponder the Bible some more and how we can apply commandments directly to lives of sippy cups and picture books that we live moment to moment.

Luke 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man

Many people like to quote the FIRST part of 1 Corinthians 6:12 where Paul tells us that: “All things are lawful unto me” but very few like to consider the completion of that verse “but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any”.  Many people, Christian and other try to use this verse, or at least the first part, to justify or permit any worldly choice or behavior.  But in reality Paul is challenging us to make better personal choices.  He is saying it is lawful – that is the authority is not going to set the policy for you – but it is not beneficial; that is it is not a good choice.  But consider that – you and I are given the option to make any choice, we are challenged to make the good choice on our own, thus to own that choice, no “rules” to fall back on.  I used to stay with a teen while her mom was out of town, a great kid, trustworthy.  I told her, “use me as your excuse, peers will pressure you since your mom is out of town, I am you out” God’s word, via Paul does not give us a crutch like that.  We are required to make our good choices out of all the options presented.

How we present ourselves to the world is a reflection of our souls.  It shows our choices.  How we dress, how we act, how we speak is a visual report of our decisions.  It shows what we think it important.

More importantly you never get the chance to make a 2nd first impression.  You may actually be a great Christian Thinker, have a heart of gold and be a great person, but if it takes a stranger 2 years to get to know you then what purpose are your serving to God and the Kingdom?  Why make someone work to know you and to see God in you?

Like I said; I do not have the answers – merely a lot of thoughts and questions and vague ideas.

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