Sunday, June 11, 2006

Is It Sexism, Or Are My Boobs Really That Intimidating?

This is a boob post. Mom, you may wanna skip this one, or at the very least, do NOT print it out for Dad. (You may also want to not have read the below post, especially when I say the phrase “Afterglow.” )

I have boobs. Most chicks do. On their own, they’re not really impressive, not the way my ass is. My ass goes around unassisted, and gets unsolicited comments ALL THE TIME. I suspect my ass is winking at people behind my back, actually.

So no, my boobs are not that great on their own. (I think my Mom’s are bigger. But then again, she’s breast fed two kids with hers.) But then I discovered the joy of the push up bra. (A secret joy! 1 and a half!) Suddenly, my shape matches in the way that Pop Culture says it’s supposed to match. My shadow on the sidewalk sticks out in the front and in the back. You have no idea what this means to a chick, and before you leave a comment about how I shouldn’t let Pop Culture dictate what I look like, and enjoy what nature gave me, you should understand that YOU probably have bigger boobs than I do. Because most everyone does. (Also, every time you judge me, I get a free set of steak knives in heaven. It’s TRUE!)

Yes, I’m tying this to religion. In separate instances this year, I have heard pastors in 8:45am church and 11:00am church plead with the ladies in their congregations to please please PLEASE dress appropriately. And they’re not just talking about in church, but all the time.

Which makes me wonder, Holy Crapola, what are these women wearing that would prompt a statement like that? I’m no Hoochie Mama, I probably have a higher sense of decorum that comes from being from Alabama, but I like d├ęcolletage as much as the next chickie, since mine is so hard to come by. I don’t let it hang out, but I have a few V neck and scoop neck shirts here and there. So he must be talking about ME! Both pastors explained in general terms, that men really can’t help themselves when it comes to suggestive stuff, whether on billboards, on magzine covers, or standing on two feet in front of them, so “Ladies, help us out.” And wear not-revealing stuff so that, I’m guessing, when they look at you, they see you, and not your boobs.

This irked me. See, I don’t ask the hotties sitting in my row at church to put a bag over their head to prevent me from staring at them and letting my imagination run away with all the supremely naughty things I would like them to do to me involving vanilla massage oil, and a rock climbing harness. No, no, I exercise discipline and restraint by not looking at them. Okay, I look at them once. Maybe twice. But then I focus on the music, and the Jumpers, and then I SHUT MY EYES.

Is it so much to ask for guys to do the same thing? Exercise discipline and restraint without me having to constantly second-guess my wardrobe every time I pull something out on Sunday, “Now, is this too much cleavage? Is this considered inappropriate? Will wearing this hella cute empire waist shirt from The Gap cause an uproar in the Pastor’s imagination?”

Oh come on, Amy! the hotties can’t do anything about their face, but you can make choices about your boobs! It’s not even the same thing!

Here’s the thing: To ask ladies to cover up because it makes men’s thoughts run wild like a stampede of elephants at a peanut butter factory instantly reduces women to mere body parts. Cover Up Your Rack. It Makes Me Feel Naughty. There’s a brain attached to this rack, see. You just acknowledged that when you look at me, there’s a possibility that all you see is my boobs. I appreciate the honesty (though since you’re a guy, I probably already knew that about you), but I also appreciate you trying harder on the self control thing, and acknowledging me as a whole complete person with eyes, ears, nose, and albino legs, as well as boobs.

The 8:45am guy also said if you’re a woman, don’t hug him from the front, do one of those side one arm hug things. He’s married, after all. Huh? I once attended a church (in L.A., by the way) where the pastor said very forthrightly that he doesn’t go to lunch with a female where it’s just him and her, because he’s married, after all. Huh? Are we TOXIC? No, no, the men just can’t help themselves, see. Your outfit, your boobs, your mere presence, is DANGEROUS, and may lead them into temptation. Nothing you can do about it. It’s them, not you. But they don’t want your hugs, and they don’t want your singular presence across the lunch table. They probably don’t wanna talk to you unless there’s another person around to take the pressure off.

I’ve never heard a female pastor say anything like that about a guy. Because guys don’t have boobs. They can BE boobs, but they don’t have them. Because women have more self control. Because men can’t control themselves and women can.

Shouldn’t the guys try harder? That’s all I’m saying. If they can’t control themselves, shouldn’t they TRY to control themselves? Isn’t that what they’re supposed to go to God for? As opposed to putting restrictions on the women around them? And, oh, I don’t know, maintain eye contact on my face, not below my neck? Because they’re not THAT impressive. They’re just boobs. But apparently intimidating. Which makes me giggle. After I’m done being irked.


Malnurtured Snay said...

Not that I want to provoke an argument or anything, but have you never heard of "moobs", or as they're more commonly referenced, "man boobs"?

Fat men need to wear bros!

Gib said...

Women DO NOT have such great control!

There are extentuating circumstances explaining the attention women's northern slopes receive in comparison to male anatomy...

Guys have dicks. Guys have booties, too.

But God didn't put dicks or booties just ever so slightly below eye-level. The geography is inherently a temptation.

For instance:

"Oh, hey, there's Amy. What a nice smile, I like talking to her. Hey, what's that there? Nah, I shouldn't look, but well, it's only a quick glance below her chin and her chin is practically her smile and it's ok to look at her smile, and of course eye contact is great, so if I just look down for a second... Wow. Nice melons. Gosh, why did she stop talking. Oh, hi! Yeah, I'm still here. Did she notice? I don't think she noticed. It was only a micro-second. What a sweet smile. Right above her chin. Which is right above her. Yowza. She filled out since I saw her last week. Gosh, why is she talking faster and louder and gesticulating like I don't understand English all of a sudden? Especially when I'm so happy to see her? Her lips are pressed so tightly together. Makes her chin look like it has a dimple. That dimple is only a little bit north of.... vvvvvery niiiiice. Damn, is she upset about something? Why is she walking away? Oh, well. What a nice toosh she has."

Men's clothing is also pretty frumpy while women's clothing -- even conservative women's clothing -- can be sort of humpy.

Clothing can't change geography.

Just below eye-level, I tell you.

Midlife Virgin said...

Don't even get me started with the cabillion things that are wrong with a pastor telling you this. A MALE FUCKING PASTOR! Sorry, had the soap box out earlier today on abstinence only with Mr. Tatum and haven't seemed to be able to put it away yet. As my recent boob-grabbing experience shows, men don't have control, whether you're buttoned up to your throat or hanging your boobies in their faces. It doesn't make it right. It makes them pigs. Sure, I hate women with shorts so short you can tell which kind of waxing she's had but I say, more power to her to show off her... um... whatever you want to call it. It's so sexist and evil and awful that the pastor brought this up. I could go on but I won't. Dress your boobies up and your bootie up and be proud you've got a winking butt that people comment on. Ignore the dumb ass who tells you otherwise.

Midlife Virgin said...

Sorry but had to add - you're right - God gave you the boobies and the bootie so....

J said...

Excellent post. My comment is way too long to post here, so I'm going to do it as a full-fledged post on my own blog. Join me at the Soda Fountain for a continuation of this topic, if you're so inclined.

Richard T said...

It is now and forever one of the great double-standards of our time. Women have unique external and internal parts and men are hard-wired to connect to these things in very particular ways. Period. And to say that it doesn't go both ways is to say that people are not (even a higher form of) animal. No matter what your Creation Belief System, we matter when we got put here, or landed or developed.

But since Western Society is run (on the surface, certainly) by men, it has been decided that men should force women to behave in ways that suit the self-perceived male needs. It absolutely takes the onus off those who run things. It is utter cowardess.

It is philosophically no different from a spouse-abuser pounding the daylights out of his or her other half, all the while screaming "I wouldn't have to do this if you didn't MAKE me!"

It is now and forever crap. Everyone--inclusive--should be able to dress how they want to without anyone--inclusive--telling him or her whether it is appropriate or not. "Appropriate Dress" is a concept created by them who are easily offended and refuse to take resposibility for their own feelings and behavior.

Because, really: where does it end? Can't wear short skirts or small tops. But can't wear pants (LADIES don't DO that, right?). So long skirts are fine. But you know what: all that HAIR is an issue--too sexy. Better cover that up. Funny--suddenly women are all wearing burkas and so much for Western Society. (No offense toward any Muslims; I'm talking about supporting a *choice* in what you wear).

It will always go on and on and on until no one in power is offended by being turned on in a NORMAL, HUMAN way.

It is a double-standard invented by those uncomfortable with themsleves and their basic human sexuality. The minute we all as a culture get over this Puritan notion that Sex = Evil (and by extension anything even mildly sexy, sexual or sexually appealing) we will all be much better off.

It's all related: the clothes, the attitude toward sex and that unique element of the human condition.

Anonymous said...

Spunkyselkie here:

Ok I agree and yet also disagree with the "man pastor" or "churchy man" opinion here.

As a teacher - I can tell you that girls/women in this society are expected/pressured to dress sexily all the time. Boys are not. So before you go lambasting someone telling you how not to dress, bear in mind the pervasive pressure already there telling women/girls how TO DRESS. Victoria's Secret has a whole line of it - "very sexy" underwear. I have also found myself in church, looking around at the female congregation and saying to myself (good grief, you are not going out to a club, you are in church). yes, I am also from the south. But I do think that while casual attire in church is a healthy thing, I don't necessarily think that super-sexy attire (very short skirts, plunging necklines, etc.) are "right" either. We have dress codes in school for this reason - these clothes distract everyone, send messages, and undermine what we as educators are trying to accomplish. Yes, Boys/Men should "learn" to discipline themselves. So should girls/women. Dress for the occasion, not so that you will feel Victoria Secret "very sexy" at all times. Think about the flip-feminist side of this - what does it say that women feel the need to present themselves as sexual objects all the time? I think that is equally objectifying as being told I am an object of lust and must therefore wear a burka. Is there a middle ground? I think so, but this is where I disagree with being told what to wear......where is that middle ground? It could be different for everyone. I certainly don't want to give up sandals because I was once told I have sexy toes. So, anyway.....

The other thing I understand is the not-eating-lunch-alone-with-a-member-of-the-opposite-sex-if-you-are-married thing. Lunch, dinner, a ballgame, I don't care what the circumstance, I think that this is a very dangerous habit to get in to. Many infidelities begin because of a seemingly innocuous "friendship" which becomes something more. Of course, there are many obvious exceptions to this - many instances where it would be fine - but I do think that it is a potentially dangerous situtation which should generally be avoided. It has nothing to do with trust and everything to do with intimacy. I know I am not doing this "explanation" any justice, but I understand the general concept the married man was getting at and I typically conduct myself with that same rule, as does my husband. Of course, you can probably guess that my male friendships have pretty much been absent since leaving college (everyone moved and grew apart) so this is not a hardship for me. Ditto for my husband, so it's not like this is a burden or something we "struggle" with.

I know this is a long comment, but one more thought on the clothing issue: I was thinking of all the sexy man-parts and how they are or are not on display through clothing and the only "sexy" items of clothing I could think of for a straight man were tight jeans and a muscle shirt (but only if the fella has nice arms/etc.) And that outfit is still more "modest" than the short-short skirts and cleavage tops which many girls wear. Don't get me started on maternity clothes. I have never dressed with my cleavage showing at all - with the exception of 1.) going to clubs to dance (rare even then) 2.) My friend's wedding where the bridesmaid dress plunged 3.) formal strapless-dresses (ie: prom - and that was minor). Well, let me tell you, maternity clothes are ALL ABOUT THE CLEAVAGE. I have yet to find a maternity top which doesn't plunge. Towards the end of the school year, I had no other alternative but to start wearing a few of these tops to work. I don't dress with any cleavage showing at work typically because I think it is unprofessional and since I am a teacher of junior high boys (and girls) I think it distracts them - not to mention I bend over desks all day long so even in a button-almost-all-the-way-up-blouse you get some cleavage on display...Anyway, point is - I noticed a shift in the way I was treated when "the girls" came into view.....less eye contact, more surreptitious glances...etc. So strange that expectant moms are dressed in overalls, horrible ruffles and puff sleeves, and PLUNGING necklines!

Sorry so rambling!

GW said...

Nice tits.

Crap. Now I hafta punch my eyes out. Again.

Rachel said...

Wow, Amy. I can't believe your lack of respect for this issue. Let me tell you something that you may not realize.

Church is the house of GOD.

I'll repeat that.


Church is not the place you need to go to show off your "empire waist whatever". It is simply the place we go to worship God, and yes meet other believers (who hopefully have the respect to not dress like prostitutes).

God deserves respect, worship and reverence. So do all of the Christian brothers that go to our church, because YES, it is hard for them!

Church should be a SAFE place for all of us to go. I was about ready to throw up on my computer after reading all these comments above until..thank God, the anonymous/Spunkyselkie gal spoke some light into the situation.

Amy, read the bible and see all the scripture about the way we are supposed to dress. It's NOT ABOUT YOU! It's about God! Last Sunday at church, there was a chick that was nearly naked, looking like she was going clubbing. It made me angry because a lot of my Christian brothers and friends struggle with sexual sin, and they come to church to be safe. Don't you see that?

If you have such a problem with our "11:00 pastor" asking women to dress with purity and God in mind, then stop coming. Just stop coming, Amy. I mean, give me a break.

"Will wearing this hella
cute empire waist shirt
from The Gap cause an uproar
in the Pastor’s imagination?”

Have some respect, Amy.

I completely understand why a pastor should not go to lunch with a woman. They are under a microscope (as is evident with your blog and others). They need to be careful with every decision that they make. The pastor is responsible for leading an entire church of people and also will have more responsibility on the day of judgement from God. Leaders are given a greater amount of responsibility than anyone else in a church, and the higher you are, the farther the fall.

I could go on, but I don't think you are going to get it until you want to get it.

How about this: Prove you aren't just a "rack", or "body parts", dress modestly, and don't give guys a reason to have to look below the chin. Work towards captivating them with your kindness and gentleness and maturity. Sorry, but these qualities seem to be lacking in your post.

RichardT said...

Rachel, here, seems to have missed a few important aspects of the points she makes above.

1) Church is a house of people. God didn't build any church anywhere. Not one. Human Beings built them strictly for their own use in worshiping God and building a community of people who believe the same thing. So more accurately, churches are houses FOR God.

2) If you believe in God, then you believe that God made us, one way or the other. Therefore He **knows what we look like**. No one is offended by what he knows is there. It's the *not knowing* that makes it tantalizing. Who is offended, then? The people inside, who create and follow socital dicums about dress which change and vary from generation to generation. I promise you that whatever Rachel is wearing at this very moment would DEEPLY offend someone from 1906. Now, if you don't want to possibly offend the others at your church--that's one thing. But let's not dump this on God. If you want to argue "respect", maybe church-goers should respect each other more. Which would include, it would seem, not bitching about their dress if that's who there are. Reminds me of something about a First Stone....

3) Yes, indeed--the priest, clerics, ministers and rabbis of any place of worship are, in fact, looked at as the guiding lights and leaders of that place. Therefore, they should behave accordingly... and teach their congregations to think for themselves as individuals--as, after all, God made us, right?-- and not tell them how to behave. He doesn't want to be seen with another woman? Absolutely his prerogative. To actually *insist* that others do as he do is merely at that point a matter of ego. Are there good reasons not to go out in any situation with a member of the opposite sex? Sure. But then, as the world is filled with them and the clergy have many of them in the flcok, it might be wize to get to actually know them. It's part of the job, I believe.

4) Finally: when this society begins to teach people how to actually respect each other, they might (and it's a big "might") start to treat each other as mere body parts. Having parents who teach you that is a big step. Having partent who can talk to their children in a mature way about SEX is an even bigger step. Perhaps if we all treated sex in a resposible way--as a part of being human--the body parts would not become such a big deal and dressing for God would not be an issue. After all, as I understand it, we do not get denied or admitted to Heaven based on how we **dressed in church**. It is on the content of our character (to steal from MLK--a man of God, by the way). Souls do not wear clothing.

And perhaps Amy perceives herself as more than body parts, which is why she wears what she likes and what makes her feel good. She in fact takes responsibility for the way she dresses, just as ANY ADULT needs to take resposibility for any action he or she takes. And sorry for anyone who wishes to deny her that, or--for that matter--her preferred experience with God.

RichardT said...

Heh. little correction.

In point 4: Finally: when this society begins to teach people how to actually respect each other, they might (and it's a big "might") start to treat each other MORE THAN mere body parts.

Silly me, not using the edit function.

GW said...

Oh, God bless America.

No seriously, PLEASE bless America. I hope the above comment is a joke of some kind. Nothing better represents any church's desire to bring sinners into the flock than the following:

"If you have such a problem with our "11:00 pastor" asking women to dress with purity and God in mind, then stop coming. Just stop coming, Amy. I mean, give me a break."

Perhaps "Just stop coming Amy" will soon be a sermon over there.

A pastor can't have lunch with a parishoner because of gender? huh? What if Christ had deemed it inappropriate to hang out with whores and criminals because of APPEARANCES? Geez, we would've missed out on some real tasty parables had that been the case. But at least then the Bible would have been squeaky-clean and totally P.C., and possibly appropriate for children.

I also appreciate "rachel's" little special note about how she's got you in her heart and that she's praying for you -- huh? there's nothing like that? Oh. It's just a judgmental tirade. My bad!

Rachel said...

I knew if I came back on, there would be angry defensive comments in response.

Am I saying that I am perfect? No.

A note for GW:

A) If I HAD said I was praying for Amy and had her in my heart, you would have attacked that too. And you know it.

B) As you said:

“Perhaps "Just stop coming Amy" will soon be a sermon over there.”

Amy is already a Christian. I am not trying to “bring her in”. She knows the truth. Repeatedly, in the Bible, (mainly 1st Corinthians) Paul talks about disciplining those IN the church, whose actions can spread discord through it like a cancer and harm the church, and to not judge those outside the church, but love them. If Amy wasn’t a Christian, I would never say that to her. But she does, so I will tell her that. The church is full of Christians complaining. “I hate this, and I hate that.” “The pastor said this and it made me so mad”. So I say, leave if you hate it so much! Find a church that fits into your idea of what God should be. No one is forcing you to stay at this church. Foolish.

C) I’m curious as to where you get your “wisdom”. Yes, Jesus did hang with prostitutes. Alone? No. In crowds. At dinners with the disciples. (such as the woman in Luke 7) And furthermore, there is a crucial fact you left out here: Jesus NEVER sinned! Us? Humans? Married pastors? We sin!

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect was tempted as we are, but without sin.

What a terribly weak argument you brought.

D) Judgmental. Of course you would react with that. People always use that accusation when they are convicted about what the judgment is on. It’s always

“Don’t judge me!” “How dare you” “I am my own person!” “I’m an individual!” “I can dress like a prostitute at church because I have the grace to do whatever the heck I want!”

It’s all foolishness. It’s people who want to bend God to fit into their life, instead of bending their life to conform to God’s way. And let me tell you, that you judged me right back. And Amy’s blog was a judgment. Do you really not see that?

I’ve come to a conclusion about bloggers that blog about their lives, complaints, thoughts, and criticisms. They like being in their safe world behind the computer judging everything else instead of getting involved and doing something worthwhile. It’s the soapbox. You guys seem to like the world you have shaped for yourselves, and obviously don’t want to change or be a counterculture.

Christians should be set apart. Be something different. Our God is something to boast about. We should be transformed by his presence in our life. I John 3:3 And all who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

I wish my first post had been written more in love, but I was so righteously angry at what Amy felt she had to tell the world. I responded too quickly. You can respond with your fireballs to me, but I promise you this, I am NEVER coming back on here again. There is no point. I’ve wasted enough time already. I’ll leave you to your fun.

Amy, feel free to talk to me anytime. In person. Face to face.

RichardT said...

Re: Rachel, yet again.

Stay with me, here, as I lay this out.

The Bible was not written in English. The Bible was poorly translated for hundreds and hundreds of years, and edited (especially the New Testiment) to bend to the will and attitudes of those in power in the Church.

This is a simple fact, requiring no faith, but a little research.

Therefore: based on a belief in the Bible, Rachel has no better idea of what God wants--and as an extension, what the Church is supposed to be--than anyone on this planet. Churches and what is taught inside are based utterly and completely on the beliefs of the people who create them. As such, every place of worship has necessary differences. Therefore it is entirely irrational and incorrect to claim that there is something wrong in that, as Rachel puts it, "It’s people who want to bend God to fit into their life, instead of bending their life to conform to God’s way." What she is calling for is a *complete denial* of the very definition of organized religion. If Rachel can prove to anyone what "God's Way" is in an absolute way, I'll buy her dinner. In public. (Although, as a married man I'm not sure if that's good or bad, as she argues that Jesus ate with sinners in public--and as such was NOT incurring suspicion--although priests doing the same would be judged with suspicion. Jesus being "perfect" lets Him off the hook, it seems.)

But, my point: "God's Way" is entirely a matter of faith. Everyone IS different, like it or not, and as such everyone's FAITH is different, by necessity. So...what's "God's Way", exactly??

Last: as to people getting defensive and maybe even a little derisive about Rachel "judging"? Let me see, now, how does that go...? Ah, yes: "Judge not lest ye be judged." I also seem to remember something about a mote in one's brother's eye not being removed before one removes the plank in own's own. (Fun fact about quoting the Bible as proof of ANYTHING: pick a topic--any topic--and you can find a quote to suit any arguement you want to defind. And that's God's honest truth in English, Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin or the language of your choice.)

Ooh! Last last: Jesus was perfect, as no one since, yes? So quoting Paul as proof of how to run a church? Awfully fallable, no? As indeed we all are. So perhaps while judging is human, it does seem DEVINE to forgive it, or dressing too casually in Church. Again: the reason for churches is to attend to our souls, and not our clothes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe using scripture here will bring some clarity. That's if scripture is your final arbitrator. I assume that it is. If not, don't continue reading cause it will just be foolishness to you. Otherwise if you have the Holy Spirit, you will seek the scriptures and allow God to speak to you.

Paul was apostle to the gentiles. His letters were letters of teaching and correction relating to the abhorent behaviors of the "Christian" believers "in the church" and in the home.

Just because you become a Christian does not make you an untouchable who stands behind the protection of the "judging", "speck and plank" and "stone throwing" verses. All of those pertain to some form of final judgement with exception to the "speck" issue that has to do with removing your sin "prior" to correcting your brother.

The church has a rich history of mature leaders in the church leading and correcting the congregation. The sum total of Paul's letter to Titus affirms that from the start.

I'm interested what the above posters think of this:
1 Tim 2: 9I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Clearly there is a set-appartness that Paul is addressing here. Paul talks in Galatians about a special revelation he received from Jesus for the Gentiles. He then writes letter after letter instructing the gentiles about proper conduct for those that are beneficiaries of the message that Paul received, that the Gentiles are included in "Israel" through "faith" in Jesus.

There are a few posts above that sound a bit off to me. The Christian life is not about Freedom to do things your own way. Its about being a slave to righteousness because we are no longer slaves to sin. I hope that the statement "and teach their congregations to think for themselves as individuals" was an oversight. We are to think with the mind of Christ, not with the mind of sinful man.

Lets look at some verses:
1 Thes. 4: 1Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.


Romans 6:15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.


Galatians 5:16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.


Ephesians 5:1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them. 8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Do I really need to go on? Thats not even mentioning Phillipians 3:12 and on, Col. 3..there's more..

Maybe you are saying but thats not Jesus talking.

Although Jesus was primarily talking to Jews I think Matt 18 sums up Jesus' thoughts on the subject regarding humanity and our perspective on sin.

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! 8If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

I'm interested in someone intellegently using scripture to support the idea that:

- We should not "help our brothers out"
- That because we have "boobs" "dicks" "booties" we should show them off.
- That we, left to think on our own, will make "good" decisions.

One more thing.. If the pastor asks or says something you disagree with, it seems like a Christlike thing to search the scriptures, and if you find support for your opinion approach them about it and have a conversation.

Flaming them on blogs is pathetic and cowardly, especially when they are often sacrificing family time for you and the hundreds of other people that come each week.

Anonymous said...

I assume that Richard T. is not a Christian??


This is ludicrous and unintelligent if you believe that God is absolute, which i don't think you do:
"But, my point: "God's Way" is entirely a matter of faith. Everyone IS different, like it or not, and as such everyone's FAITH is different, by necessity. So...what's "God's Way", exactly??

God's way is Jesus. He is the centerpiece of the gospel. You make it sound like God is subject to our whims of who we think he is.

I'm really curious about your faith. All of these conversations are silly if you are not a follower of Jesus, seeking first the Kingdom of God.

RichardT said...

Actually, anonymous proves my point entirely. To whit:

Jesus is God's Way. Yes, absolutley. If you are a Christian (or, say, a Jew for Jesus). Unless you're not. In which case, He isn't. Which actually puts Christians in a minority in the world. But let's stay with Christians. Cathlolics say you can't divorce. Episcopalians say you can. Which is God's Way? Are they both right? Now explode this idea into the literally hundreds and possiby thousands of denominations that one can find across the continental US.

My point is merely that there is SO much conflict as to the nature of what is "absolute", especially in context of The Bible--most especially in the New Testament...and yes, I can quote plenty of scripture on this, too, but there are reams of books on the subject by wiser folks than I--that it becomes an exercise in futility to claim that any ONE thing is right all the time. Not to mention that there are several variations on translations, some of which change a great deal of (and I mean this in a strictly literal, non-pejoritive way) handed-down Christian thinking. You can be a Christian and believe that there are such conflicts. I have been in the company of MANY. Devout believers, all. Boiling it down: there is not now, nor has there EVER been ONE kind of Christianity in the absolute terms mentioned as a response to Amy's original blog post. And to use a repeated phrase of the reposters: anyone who thinks so is merely foolish. They should walk down the streets of Waco, TX, and see how many churches with different beliefs you can have in one town alone--all of them SURE they are The Only Ones.

The bottom line is that none of it matters except to the people who attend the particular church they have devoted themselves to. So let's get back to Amy's original point: that she doesn't like being told how to dress by her pastor. This is not a matter of faith. This is not a matter of being Christlike (which, if I'm not mistaken, is what I was always informed by many serious Christians was the *goal* of being a Christian. Which includes turning the other cheek, and NOT flaming, does it not?). This is a matter of preference and societal norms. Again, I reference history: what's considered "too much"?
Yes--Amy could have had a discussion about this with the pastor. But then she would not have posted a blog about it. This is, after all HER BLOG. (But if she had had a discussion with the pastor in his office, say, in PRIVATE...wouldn't that have been suspect, as Rachel points out? At least going to lunch with a female congregant would be in public. But I digress.)

The fact of the matter is that the pastor could have had this converasion with the offending women, and not slapped with whole congregation with it. Likewise, Amy could have just said "Eh--he probably doesn't mean me, as I feel like I dress in an inoffensive way that makes me feel good" (I am betting, actually, that despite his comments a number of the women thought that). And Rachel could have simply gone to Amy directly--as it seems she can--and discuss this with her. But the fact is, the pastor had the right to say those things as leader of the church. It's just that in doing so to some degree he is just a victim of the mores of the society he lives in--he could have easily turned it on its head and said that when the women of his church dress that way, perhaps it is incumbant upon the men to behave like adults and focus on Christ. And perhaps not put the blame entirely on the women for being their own kind of victims of society. Perspective.

All I am asking for is perspective. You want to yell or flame at someone for not having respect for your church--put it in its proper context and not dump rationale and personal preferences on God. Is there scripture to support it? Sure. And yet, here we are, roughly 1500 years after Christianity *really* got rolling as a religion and my, how the dress code has changed. Even in churches. All the hundreds and thousands of churches, each one with their own thinking on the matter--as ALL churches have had since time immemorial (you think Christians are the first ones to get upset about this stuff??). So how far is REALLY too far? Again: perspective.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: let's not attack a woman for having an opinion about her church's pastor. Especially one who goes to the functions and helps out in the shelters and repeatedly gives back to her church, all the while in a quest to find her God. I wish EVERYONE did that, let alone Christians.

And to them what asked: I was raised a Quaker. If anyone thinks that means I drive around in a buggy and wear a big hat and eat oats, I recommend you look it up.

Although I do happen to like oats.

J said...

OK. It looks like the only way to resolve this heated conflict is a good old-fashioned cage match. Or maybe mud wrestling.

Personally, I'm putting my money on richardt. He grew up a Quaker, and everyone knows Quakers don't quit until the job is done.

Plus he eats oats. He's health conscious and regular.

In all seriousness...

Everyone here has some valuable points, and certainly respect that. Rachel, I'm truly sorry you're not ever coming back to the blog. Your views and opinions have opened up a great dialogue.

It did seem like most of your comments were posted in anger, whether that was intentional or misunderstood by us. Sometimes it's hard to write passionately without coming off as angry or defensive or whatever.

You know, I'm not a very good Christian. I have my struggles. I encourage everyone who's passionate about these topics to remember that accepting Christ is only the first step. Next comes the long walk with Christ, which is slower for some than others. (Me personally, I'm a particularly slow walker. I'm more "ambling" with Christ than walking. He hasn't left me yet, though.)

Look, I don't agree with everything that everyone wrote. seeing how my faith is a "personal relationship" with Jesus, I'm still figuring some stuff out with Him and our relationship is growing as it does. Sometimes I think with the "mind of Christ", sometimes I fail to do that. I am thankful that there are people like all of you in "the church". Because we all stretch each other to grow.

One final note to Rachel. If you stopped by the Soda Fountain and read my post following Amy's, I probably was offensive to you. My intention is not to offend but to lay it out as I see it. I have a very un-airbrushed Christianity.

The rest of y'all? The walk ends when the mind closes. It is my opinion that you become a "dangerous Christian" when you think you've finally got it all "right". Those that are offensively different in their views and opinions may still have some nugget of wisdom to pass on to you.

OK. Group hug.