by Stacy McDonald of Ladies Against Feminism -The New Barely-There Modesty
I recently read a disturbing article by a pastor who verbally rolled his eyes at Christian modesty. In his blog post, he was responding in protest to Jessica Rey’s video about the history of the bikini. I’m hoping his attitude doesn’t reflect a trend, but after the defensive attitudes I observed when Soul Surfer was released, I have to wonder.
This “relevant” pastor (who is also a husband and father) was basically saying it shouldn’t matter what anyone wears (or doesn’t wear) swimming, and that he loves the fact that most women at the beach “feel comfortable” enough to parade around in front of him and other men in their bikinis.
He goes on to talk about his wife’s “black and gold bikini,” which he admits leaves “little to the imagination”…as well as her “double D’s” (as he refers to what’s “hidden by those triangles of fabric”). He extolls her right to display herself at the beach, while condemning any man who may be tempted to lust after her in response. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to mind the thought of his own daughters being gawked at. He says:
“There were several women I noticed as beautiful that caught my eye. Observing these pretty, God-created beings brought a smile to my face as I imagined my own daughters grown up, laughing and strutting down a beach such as this, blissfully enjoying the beauty they’ve been blessed with.”
Sadly, Isaiah 3:16 kept coming to mind. He also described the way one of the “most stunning women” on the beach that day couldn’t seem to keep her red bikini bottom up, as she innocently romped in the water. Seriously. And he wasn’t complaining. Rather he was using her as an opportunity to brag about his effortless self-control, exposing, if nothing else, his spiritual snobbery.
This young pastor was trying to make a point that, though he noticed plenty of half-naked women around, he was never tempted to lust after them—that men who do so are behaving like “animals” and that we should all just relax and enjoy the “beauty of God’s creation” (i.e. one another’s near-naked bodies) without getting hung up on how much breast or back sides we’re forced to view.
On one hand, he is right; a mature, Christian man should have the self-control and focus to be unexpectedly faced with a naked woman without lusting after. Lust is a heart issue and there is no room for blame when it comes to our own sin. A man should respect his wife enough (as well as women in general, clothed or naked) to guard his thoughts.
But to say that we women have no responsibility to use discretion in how we dress around others is immature thinking. To imply that public nakedness is no big deal is to ignore Scripture and the Christian’s call to chastity. And it’s unloving. But what’s love got to do with it, right?
If I force you and your husband to participate in my nakedness by publicly parading myself, the only person I’m loving is me. I’m satisfying my own comfort, convenience, or desire for attention. I could care less how it affects you. And if I blog about the freedom I have to offend you, I’m rubbing your nose in it too. But, hey, it’s my Christian liberty, dontcha know?
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QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce