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Should Christian women look different?

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  • Should Christian women look different?

    jamaica-gleaner Flair



    We're in the swing of the silly season - more parties, more social activities, thigh-high styles, and make to please. Some Christian women may be facing a dilemma on how to look hip and still maintain their wholesome values.

    SHE TOSSES her mane of hair like a thoroughbred and dismisses her critics with a sneer. Years of carping have flowed off her back, leaving her conscience untouched. No one will make her change her love for short, body hugging dresses, makeup, jewellery and sleeveless tops that show off her slim-at-40, soft, yet sinewy, arms.

    She is a Christian.

    "I live according to my Bible not worldly traditions," this Sunday School teacher who asked to remain anonymous tells Flair, insisting that far too much focus is put on what women wear and not enough on how they behave. She will be present at all the season's parties, dressed in her best.

    There are many who agree with her. While women in some other cultures are apt to display their religious beliefs through their manner of dress, those in the West, and especially Christians, are less likely to do so.

    Locally, apart from the occasional "I love Jesus T-shirt" we usually cannot point out a Christian just by the way she dresses -- unless she is on her way to church or is a Pentecostal. Locally, Pentecostals are known for avoiding the hairdresser, keeping legs and arms covered, and turning up their noses at makeup and jewellery.

    HOULD "REAL" CHRISTIAN WOMEN LOOK DIFFERENT?

    Is this the way that "real" Christian women should carry themselves? Should those who believe in Christ have a "look" that is different from the rest of the world?

    Some Christians believe that Pentecostal-type strictures on dressing are taking Christianity to an extreme, and only make women unattractive -- not more virtuous.

    The text in Joel 2:13 which begs the reader to "rend the heart and not the garment," is frequently quoted by those who dress as they please. Scholars, however, point out that this verse is incorrectly used, as rending relates to outward acts of contrition and not to the general matter of dressing.

    Of better use is the text in First Timothy which appeals to women to be modest in their appearance: "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." 1 Timothy 2:9-10, NIV.

    However, what may have been meant by 'modesty' is hotly debated. Reverend Carmen Stewart, overseer of the Pentecostal Gospel Temple in Kingston, admits to the confusion in the interpretation of what constitutes Christian modesty. "People vary in their description of what is modest. A fashion can be in that's long, you wear it long, no one says its long."

    Rev. Stewart adds that the practices of her church are based on the text in Timothy which demands that women seek inner beauty, not outer beauty. She adds, however, that this does not mean that Christian women should not be 'well put together'.

    She also notes that her church's avoidance of makeup, jewellery and the preference for natural hairstyles is based on the desire to 'develop natural beauty' instead of adorning oneself with other things.

    "God made you beautiful."

    'EVEN THE ISRAELITES WORE MAKEUP'

    For others, natural beauty is not enough and they state that there is nothing in the Bible that says they cannot enhance what they have. Pat Cushnie, a youth leader in the Church of God International, is fiercely opposed to the Pentecostal practice of hiding their women under lots of material and adjuring them to keep their faces scrubbed clean.

    "Even the Israelites wore makeup," she observes.

    She reveals that she wears short dresses, makeup and jewellery and adds: "You should not judge people on the outward. I live my life solely off the Bible. I will never live according to what others say."

    Another woman, a deaconess in the Church of God, who does not wish to be identified, says that it is her opinion that "short skirts restrict you. Although, they fit me better, I don't believe we should be so restricted in service." Skirts that have too deep a split also make her too self-conscious, she states.

    She is also concerned about the effect of some garments on men. She observes: "Some say that men should control themselves, but we should as Christians shun the very appearance of evil and we should not be stumbling blocks in our brothers' way. If he sees your leg and it looks sexy he might start lusting. We should be concerned about how we affect each other. Our Christian principles need be borne out in our lives."

    Rev. Devon Dick, Pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church, in Kingston, has no such concerns, however. "You don't know men," he comments. "Anything can provoke them, even a broomstick. Cultural practices also vary," he says. "In Israel, the women cut their hair so they would not look attractive. Here, if you cut the hair, it is attractive."

    The Reverend observes: "The Bible counsels modesty in dress, but as you are well aware, it has various interpretations according to taste and custom. There was a time when women would not wear pants. Now they are doing it."

    Rev. Dick adds that these matters are not the essentials of the faith. "They are non-essentials. It's all in the mind. A man will see a homeless woman naked on the street and he does nothing. But, he can see a women who is well clothed and all sorts of things go through his mind."

    IT'S WHAT IS IN THE HEART

    What do Christian men think about their sisters who are more liberally clothed?

    Clive Clarke, a member of the Church of God, comments: "I am happy. Variety is the spice of life. I have no problem with short skirts. Some knees (I look no higher) look prettier than others."

    D. Kelly, of the New Testament Church of God says, "Personally, I think (long skirts) are not attractive. Still, skirts should not be so short though that if they bend you see everything. If you choose to wear splits and other worldly styles, I personally have no problem -- not because I am a man, but because I have always been taught that it is what is in the heart that matters."

    He, however, has some reservations.

    "Christian women should leave 'bottom riders'...leave that to the world. One must be able to differentiate between [those] who should be living a certain type of life and [those who are] living another kind of life. You can't have impressionable young men coming to church just to see what you will be wearing this week."

    DRESS AS A REFLECTION OF VALUES

    The appeal to make Christian dress a reflection of values is perhaps not so unreasonable when viewed from the perspective of other religions.

    People from many religions use dress as a sign of their faith. Sometimes a special type of dress is required by the religion, while other times it is a matter of custom.

    Islam requires both men and women to be modest not only in behaviour but in dress. Some Muslim women wear modest dress, or a hijab which covers most of their head and body.

    Sikhs followers of Sikhism in India also keep their heads covered. Sikh men wrap their heads in cotton turbans, while Sikh women may wear turbans or headscarves.

    Buddhist nuns and monks wear robes in a variety of colours from grey to orange, depending on their region and their tradition. In many cases, both nuns and monks in the Buddhist tradition shave their heads.

    The Amish and Mennonites dress in simple clothing that reflects a devotion to traditional ways. Men often wear plain hats and long coats, and women wear simple dresses and aprons.

    ... and not the garment
    What's your opinion?
    Each one, Teach one.

  • #2
    Re: Should Christian women look different?

    It's what's in the heart and mind that's supposed to count. When yu ded an rattin noh yu spirit spose fi goh a heaven - so why should the outward appearance (within reason for gosh sakes) be so important.

    Keeping in mind that a certain amount of dignity must exist for the body which is the temple.
    When Miley Cyrus gets naked and licks a hammer it's *art* and *music* - when I do it I'm *wasted* and *have to leave the hardware store*.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Should Christian women look different?

      Well, I have fairly strong views on this topic. The Bible is clear that women are to dress modestly (notice I said modestly not dowdily). I have discovered that to do this is the kiss of death for modern Christian women....the men ignore you. Whether it's a youth pastor, Bible study leader or song leader, when you see who is on their arms it's a woman with a clingy T-shirt with a V neck showing lots of cleavage, tight jeans, a dress with slits. It's not the way it should be. Even worship leaders (female) dress like that and the pastors say nothing. Earlier this year, I got tired of being overlooked and treated like a piece of the furniture. So, sadly, I must admit that I too have started to push the envelope on how I dress. I now wear lower cut tops , tighter jeans and shorter skirts than I would have at the beginning of the year. This weekend, for the first time in my life, I wore a gown showing some cleavage. Am I proud of this? No. I definitely feel I had compromised my values. However, it beats being ignored all the time. As Black woman, I need all the help I can get. Most of the men I know have made it CRYSTAL clear that they don't find Black women attractive. I want to make sure that the few who do pay attention to me instead of the woman next to me. Sad but true.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Should Christian women look different?

        What I find kind of sad is that women feel the need to "sell" their bodies by showing them off to men.

        What ever happened to "it's what's inside that counts"? Do we really want a man who cares if the dress is tight or low cut so much that he would ignore us without those things? What kind of relationship is going to result from that?

        I'm all in favor of women dressing as they please to but I cringe at the thought of dressing a certain way for someone else.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Should Christian women look different?

          Personally speaking, I am all for modesty; classy but modest. I tend to ignore the lower cut tops , tighter jeans, shorter skirts, and so on, as they are not a proper representation of the person I want to be with. Given my role in the Church, I find that kind of dressing rather embarrassing.
          aka ChurchDude. I want that moniker back! Until then....

          "Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to"
          ~ Anon

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Should Christian women look different?

            While I agree with you in theory, NYer, it's just not practical. Unfortunately NYer, ALL the Christian men I meet think this way regardless of how spiritual they claim to be they want a young, curvy blonde with skimpy clothing on their arm.

            CEW originally posted:

            Personally speaking, I am all for modesty; classy but modest. I tend to ignore the lower cut tops , tighter jeans, shorter skirts, and so on, as they are not a proper representation of the person I want to be with. Given my role in the Church, I find that kind of dressing rather embarrassing.
            Oh that there were more who think like you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Should Christian women look different?

              NYer, we may be wired to both display and respond to, various body parts. Meaning we are not as evolved as we like to think.

              How else would one explain beauty contests ?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Should Christian women look different?

                "ALL the Christian men I meet think this way regardless of how spiritual they claim to be they want a young, curvy blonde with skimpy clothing on their arm."

                Like that's a bad thing [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Should Christian women look different?

                  Rollincalf:

                  I DO see it as a bad thing for a man who professes to be a Christian. It puts a lot of pressure on Christian women to compromise their values in order to get male attention.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Should Christian women look different?

                    Originally posted by Tropicana:
                    [qb]While I agree with you in theory, NYer, it's just not practical. Unfortunately NYer, ALL the Christian men I meet think this way regardless of how spiritual they claim to be they want a young, curvy blonde with skimpy clothing on their arm.[/qb]
                    I hear you...but is this the kind of guy you want to be with?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Should Christian women look different?

                      Well Tropicana, any man, Christian or otherwise, who tells you that he does NOT find a young woman in revealing clothes attractive is lying to you. As I was trying to tell NYer, there are certain biological imperatives, ( God given ?) that have not changed despite the advances of what we call "civilisation".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Should Christian women look different?

                        in response to the question posted in the subject line, yes i believe Christian women should look differently. just as someone stated "modest but still classy"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Should Christian women look different?

                          Originally posted by RollinCalf:
                          [qb]As I was trying to tell NYer, there are certain biological imperatives, ( God given ?) that have not changed despite the advances of what we call "civilisation".[/qb]
                          I know there are biological imperatives....but they seem to vary from guy to guy. I'll admit I'm married, we just celebrated 11 years last week, so who am I to comment on what single women should be doing I guess, but the guy I married was interested in me no matter how I dressed (jeans and t-shirts were my staples when we met and not tight either), whether I wore makeup or not (rarely did, still rarely do).

                          I guess we all find what we're looking for [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Should Christian women look different?

                            By the same token, does being a non-Christian mean I have license to dress like a...(trying to think of appropriate word)...what I mean to say is that you dress for the type of attention you want to attract.

                            I'm casual, don't always wear make-up, and I found a person who knows what I really look like and likes me anyway. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] Tropicana, it can be dangerous (to your own self image) to advertise one thing while you want something different. It can set false expectations.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Should Christian women look different?

                              Originally posted by Tropicana:
                              [qb]Rollincalf:

                              I DO see it as a bad thing for a man who professes to be a Christian. It puts a lot of pressure on Christian women to compromise their values in order to get male attention.[/qb]
                              I do agree with you, but I am wondering what does it say about the sisters who give in to this kind of pressure? To compromise on the clothing in the first step in a life of compromises, and I cannot fathom what next he will want her to change or compromise on so he can be proud of his "trophy". Sure he may be the envy of his peers - for all the wrong reasons - but is that the kind of Christian male that a committed Christian sister would want to be with? I hardly think so.

                              The other thing I am wondering about is this: For the sisters who compromise on the clothing to get the attention, what frame of mind are they in when they go to Church to worship? Are they hoping they get noticed or do they go to get blessed? Lifting hands in praise might be a no-no because Lord knows what might pop out. Heaven forbid, there is a move of God that provokes tears and a messing up of the make-up! Then again, they may be too busy looking around to see who is noticing them so they might not be praising anyway.

                              It seems a part of the problem is that godly Christian men have a hard time finding godly Christian women, and what is in between are trying to find opposites of what they are.
                              aka ChurchDude. I want that moniker back! Until then....

                              "Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to"
                              ~ Anon

                              Comment

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