Dress Like You Mean It, Part 1

Taken me a while to get back to this… but here’s a bit of thinking to keep everyone busy till I get back from England 

I was stunned by the volume, clarity, and quality of comments my “preamble” post generated on the Facebook version of this conversation. I recommend checking them out before you keep reading…. because there’s some amazing stuff there!

Before the conversation gets too far derailed by specific dress code issues, I’d like to park on the theological corner of “modesty” for a few posts.

BACKGROUND: “On These Hang All the Law & the Prophets”
At NCS, we joke that we have three basic rules: 1) Love God. 2) Love your neighbor. 3) Don’t hurt the building (which is merely a restatement of rule #2 for the benefit of our building manager).

Amazingly, those 3 “commandments” really *do* cover the heart and soul of interactions within a school community.

Name me a problem that arises during the school day, and unless it’s a procedural issue regulated by the state of South Carolina, our “rule” most likely grows organically from an application of the Great Commandments.  I used to type up a giant list of classroom rules/policies and hand it out at the beginning of every year. Now I hold a running conversation with each of my classes as needed, usually commencing the first week, to discuss the specifics of loving God and neighbor during the 45 minutes I call “English class.”  Every problem, every conflict will emerge out of one or more people (including me) ignoring God’s basic framework for Life In The Kingdom.

I will fight for this view of a school rulebook. I hope ours remains thin.  We should cap it at 50 rules, and as soon as someone insists on a new one, we can’t implement it until we throw out one of the old ones.

I’m not saying that schools can’t (or shouldn’t) have more specific guidelines suggesting particular consequences for certain behaviors. Sometimes we are bound by law to react in certain ways to a student’s threat against his classmates, or someone’s cry for help. Sometimes it’s wise to at least set up a framework for how the school expects to handle typical classroom problems.

I am saying that, as sinners, our sinful hearts LOVE RULES.  We loooooooooooooooooooove them.

We clutch at the chance to define righteousness by marking a line in the sand: “Here, and no further” or “As long as you don’t ————–” or “I’m righteous as long as I’m doing ______.”  We will straight out gnats with tedious precision just to avoid mentioning the giant camel (or elephant, in the modern proverb) standing over in the corner.

We misunderstand the very heart of goodness. I hope each NCS graduate will always be able to recite Coart’s maxim, “A ‘good kid’ is not the kid who stays out of trouble. A ‘good kid’ is one who does good [deeds].”  In  Scripture, goodness is active. Righteousness results in right actions.  Salvation produces a heart that loves andkeeps God’s commandments.  Yes, we might “stay out of trouble” a little more, but that’s not the definition of our goodness.

I’m not righteous because I avoid certain people, places, music, books, words, movies, or actions.

My righteousness comes from my Savior and Redeemer, Christ, who obeyed perfectly and died willingly. He gives me everything I need for this life of godliness. I can’t add anything to the pile.  Paul says in Colossians 2 that no human law has any power to restrain the sin that’s within my heart.  Only Grace.

*Only* Grace. 

So why bring this up in a discussion of modesty?
 Next time….

 

~~~~Addendum, 6/23/13

So…. I never got around to writing the rest of this series. Sorry.

Here’s a teaser, though, for good thoughts to keep you going….  A link and a conversation

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