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Archive for December 1st, 2011

A cross has a special meaning for the Christian woman.  It is a reminder of a love so great that it was willing to endure ridicule, humiliation, pain, and even death.   The cross — hanging on her bedroom wall or on a chain around her neck — reminds the Christian woman of the amazingly  unselfish love of Jesus.  The “look” of Jesus’ love is one of humility.  The “behavior” of Jesus’ love turns away from self to others.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross  (Philippians 2:1-8).

Not long ago, I was with my husband and several male members of my family at a restaurant.  The woman who served our table was wearing a cross necklace which hung deep between her partially-exposed breasts.  When the men at my table looked (can I deny that they did?), what do you suppose they saw?  The cross — or something else?

The woman who served our table most probably had no intention of being a temptress.  She probably gave little if any thought to the partially-exposed look of today’s woman.  After all, from kindergarten through high school, girls are encouraged to be comfortable with their bodies.  Their “sexuality.”  This woman — like many of us — intended no harm.  But, perhaps she was uneducated.  Perhaps no one cared to explain to her how sin distorts a man’s visual appreciation of a woman’s body.  Or, perhaps she did not understand the look and behavior of the cross and her responsibility to lead away from temptation.  At that moment, the Christian men of my family were called to turn their eyes away from the woman and, instead, focus on the cross of Jesus.  This meant acting like gentlemen who are respectful of women.  (A Christian man finds wisdom in Job 31:1; Proverbs 4:14-15; Ephesians 6:10-11; and Luke 11:4).

The world’s look and behavior of love boldly screams: Look at me!  God’s look and behavior of love tenderly encourages: Look at the cross!  Jesus’ look turned outward toward others.  Jesus’ behavior placed the well-being of others ahead of His own.

For a number of years, Judy Hayen and I traveled the country with the purity lifestyle show called Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up.  We transported a collection of vintage clothing from Oklahoma City to Chicago to Detroit to help us illustrate what the first Fashion Designer — God — has to say about clothing.  On one of our journeys, Judy encouraged me to write a Bible study for girls and their moms to use at home, church, or a girls’ sleepover.  A pastor’s wife used portions of the study at volleyball camp.  One of the ten lessons is titled “The Look and Behavior of Love.”

Other lessons are:

  • Fig Leaves Aren’t Enough
  • Jesus Covers Our Shame and Embarrassment
  • Embarrassment on a Windy Day
  • Worldviews in Conflict
  • My Body, My Choice…or Is it?
  • Is Clothing a Language?
  • Beauty at Any Price?
  • Living in the Presence of God
  • The Perfect Dress
  • Dressing for Life… the Secret is Out!

At this time, the study is available as a reproducible PDF from Lutherans For Life or Concordia Publishing House (#LFLDFLWEB – $12).  However, with growing interest, ezerwoman may be encouraged to publish in a different format.  Hmmm.  What thinkest thou?

Do women need to know why it’s so great — not only to cover-up, but be covered?

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Some of you have great respect for C.S. Lewis.  The men in my family have been greatly impacted, most especially, by his book Mere Christianity.  As for me, I read portions a little at a time.   I chose to take the book with me on a recent flight and turned to Lewis’ chapter entitled “Sexual Morality.”  Here’s what Lewis had to say in 1943:

. . .[F]or the last twenty years [we] have been fed all day long on good solid lies about sex.  We have been told, till one is sick of hearing it, that sexual desire is in the same state as any of our other natural desires and that if only we abandon the silly old Victorian idea of hushing it up, everything in the garden will be lovely.  It is not true.  The moment you look at the facts, and away from the propaganda, you see that it is not.

“They tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up.  But for the last twenty years it has not been hushed up.  It has been chattered about all day long.  Yet it is still in a mess.  If hushing up had been the cause of the trouble, ventilation would have set it right.  But it has not.  I think it is the other way round.  I think the human race originally hushed it up because it had become such a mess.  Modern people are always saying, ‘Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.’  They may mean two things.  They may mean ‘There is nothing to be ashamed of in the fact that the human race reproduces itself in a certain way, nor in the fact that it gives pleasure.’  If they mean that, they are right.  Christianity says the same . . . Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body — which believe that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty, and our energy.  Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion . . . But, of course, when people say, ‘Sex is nothing to be ashamed of,’ they may  mean ‘the state into which the sexual instinct has now got is nothing to be ashamed of.’

“If they mean that, they are wrong.  I think it is everything to be ashamed of.  There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips . . . There are people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us.  Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance.  God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome.  What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.

“. . . Our warped natures, the devils who tempt us, and all the contemporary propaganda for lust, combine to make us feel that the desires we are resisting are so ‘natural,’ so ‘healthy,’ and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them.  Poster after poster, film after film, novel after novel, associate the idea of sexual indulgence with the ideas of health, normality, youth, frankness, and good humor.  Now this association is a lie.  Like all powerful lies, it is based on a truth — the truth . . . that sex in itself (apart from the excesses and obsessions that have grown round it) is ‘normal’ and ‘healthy,’ and all the rest of it.  The lie consists in the suggestion that any sexual act to which you are tempted at the moment is also healthy and normal.  Now this, on any conceivable view, and quite apart from Christianity, must be nonsense.  Surrender to all our desires obviously leads to impotence, disease, jealousies, lies, concealment, and everything that is the reverse of health, good humor, and frankness.  For any happiness, even in this world, quite a lot of restraint is going to be necessary.

“. . . Many people are deterred from seriously attempting Christian chastity because they think (before trying) that it is impossible.  But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility.”

“. . . Virtue — even attempted virtue — brings light; indulgence brings fog.”

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