Dressed Down

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from styles-world.com

Today I learned that there are people (apparently mostly men) who are distracted during praise and worship at our church because of how some of the young ladies on the praise teams are dressed. There was a lengthy discussion about how this should be addressed.

This “issue” has always bothered me. How much responsibility should I take for how my clothing makes men respond? In a Christian context, Romans 14 is thrown about a lot – you should not cause your brother to stumble (my very loose paraphrase). But how do I know what is causing my brother to stumble? And doesn’t my brother have to take some responsibility for himself at some point? Isn’t this an opportunity for him to fight a battle against lust? πŸ™‚

In For Women Only, Shaunti Feldham makes a strong pitch for modest dressing because, she says, women don’t realize that when they dress like “eye magnets”, the men who see them are picturing them naked. My problem with this is that she also says that men are mostly visual. So aren’t they picturing us naked anyway? Is the solution to wear shapeless, ill-fitting clothes? (But since men are first attracted to us by what they see anyway – as opposed to our character or personality – how will we ever get one of them if we did that?) Sigh.

My suggestion to my sisters is that we search for the happy medium between hoochie-mama and “fuddy duddy”. And let the men fend for themselves.

[Word count: 246; I have lots more to say on this topic, but I had to stick to my limit :-)]

13 thoughts on “Dressed Down

  1. At this point, I think it’s almost a hopeless cause, because most clothes–and shoes–for women are designed to accentuate their sexuality. A woman would have to go out of her way to avoid dressing sexy (and most choose not to.)
    For men, this is both a curse and a blessing: it’s always in our face (I mean, DON’T look at Halle!), but it also provides an opportunity for us to attain a more perfect victory over lust.

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  2. Hi Mel! I think there have been and continue to be umpteen gamillion conversations about women’s attire and its affect on men all around the world. They tend to focus on what women should do. Or be directed to do. It would make for a nice change is some (well, all, really!) of those conversations focused instead on helping these oh-so-distractable men learn how to.. well… focus. News flash: life is full of distractions. Even in — gasp! — church. Perhaps a workshop on staying focused on say the message in church despite the best efforts of any and all wickedly attired women should be given a try? I’m just sayin’…

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  3. It is so nice to see your blog Melissa. I had to give my two cents. I really don’t see women changing their appearance to appease disgruntled members or to put an end to the conversations on the issue of dress in church. It is a spiritual issue. Men will have to resist the urge to look and lust. “Every man’s battle” a book for men provides skills for men to remain pure, for example, looking away when a woman bends over, using ad block on their computers etc. Btw who says you have to look at the praise team? If a woman is a distraction you do have the option to read your bible instead. Lol I’m just saying. Dwayne Lemon once said we need to love God so much that we hate to hurt him. In addition to using some of these skills mentioned in the book we all need to constantly pray for victory over the distractions we WILL face throughout the day, everyday. It will only get worse but we can have the strength to resist the devil.

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    • Thanks for commenting Karen. Hope you and the family are well. I like your suggestion to look somewhere else other than at the distraction. It’s interesting that most of the commenters have been women. πŸ™‚

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      • No problem Melissa. At Mt. Rubidoux church here there is a sign posted by the pulpit to remind women/men of the dress code of platform participants. This might be the solution to the praise team problem. My comment was more geared towards the way women dress in church in general. πŸ™‚

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  4. Hi Mel, this age olde conversation continues. Adults should be aware of appropriate attire. A woman is aware when the hem line is too short, or the shoes scream, pole ready. My suggestion of an uncomplicated standard for both Christian men and women is “if Jesus were sitting in the front row and could be visibly seen, would I present myself as I do?” The presentation I speak of is the entire being (internal and external), which includes the thoughts appearing to occupy the mind of these ooh so visual men. Would Jesus be pleased with their thoughts…. Jesus is ever present and we are his representatives, this simple, uncomplicated standard should be the benchmark for all we do.

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  5. Maybe curvy women should just not sing on praise team huh? Because unless I wear a literal potato sack, you’re gonna see a curve on me (thanks mama! lol). Every woman who is going up front should have a person to double check the outfit and give their opinion on its suitability – mine is Dwayne. If he smirks when he says “you look nice”, i know to go change! LOL

    Meanwhile, as everyone has said, men need to read their bible (i loved that Karen LOL) or close their eyes and meditate during P&W. As Simone said, we all need to be responsible.

    *dialing my seamstress so I can get Halle’s dress for the next church banquet* lol. J/k

    Love your blog idea Mel!

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  6. As the only guy commenter (so far), let me add this: I don’t think men should be excused for their distractedness/sinful lusting. And I have never been distracted during Metro’s P&W; in fact, if the Spirit that possesses me during Metro’s P&W were to stay with me all week, I would never be distracted!

    But it is my humble opinion–and I speak as a man that has grown up around women all his life, and now has two daughters–that women are more challenged than men when it comes to dress/attire/adornment. Although a few men (metrosexuals) feel the need to “dress to impress” or to dress to feed their self worth, MOST women seem to have that burden. And it may not be PC for me to say it, but “trendy” women’s clothing is generally designed to make them look, and feel, “sexy.” (I call sexy clothing, lingerie.)

    I’m no prude, and I’m no traditionalist/fundamentalist; I’m the other extreme, in some ways, a feminist. I think women should wear what they want and what makes them feel comfortable. And as the father of two girls, I hope that they adorn themselves based on pure, conscious motives; by that I mean, they better be Spirit led.

    I hope I have not offended any woman with my opinions. I know, I’m so old fashioned and out of touch. smh.

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  7. At this point, it’s almost a hopeless cause because most clothes, and shoes, for women are designed to accentuate their sexuality. A woman would have to go out of her way to not be dressed sexy (most choose not to do that).
    For men, this is both a curse and a blessing: it’s in our face all the time (I mean, don’t look at Halle! ) but it also gives us the opportunity to have a more perfect victory over lust.

    Like

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