A link and a conversation

Around these parts, you’ll hear me say a lot about defining sin correctly, and living our lives much more graciously when it comes to the way we relate to others who see the world differently.

Awhile back, I took a shot at writing about modesty in the context of a school dress code (link coming, but for now look here and here for the unfinished series).

“Modesty” for the Christian woman is an area where our desire to give (usually other women or girls) lots of answers and rules with more certainty than the Scripture would support leads to plenty of misunderstandings, judgmental attitudes, hurt feelings, and hypocritical stances.

A friend of mine pointed out this fantastic article on the blog Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings:  “In Which I Weigh In On The Modesty Debate”

It’s a kind and compelling call to women to lay down our arms against one another in the war over what modesty is supposed to be.  There’s a fundamental misunderstanding lurking in the shadows of the modesty debate, a tendency to locate blame for wrong actions and attitudes on the wrong shoulders. And that makes the entire debate emotionally charged and dangerous.

And I also loved this comment, which nails the connection between rightly defining what’s “sin” and what’s personal preference, and how a life lived in the Gospel calls us to a much tougher standard than following “rules”:

Real modesty is not drawing attention to yourself by how you are dressed. Whether that is by either letting it all hang out or being completely covered from head to toe.

There is more to being modest than wearing dresses/skirts. Being modest is an attitude that reflects Christ. It is an inward beauty that has little to do with looks. Man looks on the outward appearance, Christ looks at the heart. It does not draw attention to oneself by being outwardly different, but is noticed because of the reflection of Christ that shines through behavior and actions. It is a woman who is made in the image of God reflecting that image in how she carries herself and conducts her daily life. [Meg, June 16, 2013 at 4:50 PM]

The ‘Good Enough’ Life

Enjoyed this piece by Elsa Walsh of the Washington Post on women being truly happy with the “good enough” life because balance is more important than raw achievement.

“Why women should embrace a ‘good enough’ life”

Walsh discusses her personal journey in American feminism from a loyalty to breaking barriers at all costs to a different definition of success.

“In my lifetime, very little has changed to improve the lives of working parents and their children. In fact, almost all of it has become worse since I was a young woman of 22, then a new mother of 38. And this is the most depressing measure of the women’s movement. Women like myself thought we had won feminism’s big prize — equal opportunity. But in our excitement and individual victories, we failed to demand the structural and cultural changes needed to make it work. In that, we have failed our daughters.”

And

“For a woman to say she is searching for a “good enough” life is not failure — it is maturity and self-knowledge.”

Any life lived solely for its own success will ultimately be a failure, regardless of the gender of the human involved, because it will be an empty life.

Great thoughts on how our priorities change as we grow into full adulthood.

PS. Walsh also makes this great point: “There is no real safety net for working mothers.” Or any single parent really. Our modern work culture demands our full worship–all our time, all our energy, all our attention. And for anyone in the median class or below, working moms won’t have the money to afford adequate child care. It’s a vicious cycle, an area for the Gospel to redeem.

A Snippet of “Unapologetic: Why Christianity Makes Surprising Emotional Sense”

A Review of “Unapologetic: Why Christianity Makes Surprising Emotional Sense”.

I want to read this book ASAP.

This part of the above review had me hooked:

The narrative of Christ is its own apologetic. No system of theodicy can withstand an honest look at the world. The sharp and spinning gears of history grind up every justification and explanation. We have no answer but “God with us.” Spufford is right: we don’t have a solution, we have a story and a person.

 

Good reads

A few articles that deserve your attention

Finally, the response to military sexual harassment that I’ve been waiting to hear.

If you’re going to start a startup, don’t get snagged by all the hype and myth and glamor. It’s just a start up…. and startups grow up to be corporate America.

An article I think I disagree with about creative people having the right to say no to anybody anytime about anything. OK, that’s not really what it says, and the author IS making a valid point about guarding your creative time. But I think the “cult of the creative muse” needs to get taken down a notch ….and I’m saying that as someone who really truly values creative energy by purchasing art, supporting local artists & filmmakers & musicians, and making art myself.

A ridiculously creepy piece about the leftover possessions of mental patients in a frightening asylum.  Sad.

Ron Paul & I agree for once! His take on the NSA spying scandal nails it.  Bugs me how post 9/11 Americans think the government exists to keep us safe. Hogwash. 

And two to make you feel happier about the world:

A teenager developed a better cancer diagnostic tool because (among other things) some wonderful educators taught her a course in 7th grade on futuristic thinking, which kicked off her AI/coding career. Awesome.

And this fellow in China is building amazing prosthetic limbs….because he had to.

Religion vs Gospel (Quote from Steve Brown)

“Whenever religion becomes leverage, it ceases to be the religion of Jesus. The gospel of God’s grace take away the leverage. Why? Because if I’m forgiven without condition, you can’t make me feel guilty. If God loves me, you can’t manipulate me by threatening to take away your love. If God knows my secrets and doesn’t condemn me, then you can’t use my secrets as blackmail.”

 

“It is so freeing to realize that we don’t have anything to prove or to protect. We don’t have to fix anything. God doesn’t need any help. He did fine before we came along and will do fine long after we’re gone. The great thing about being a Christian is that you can forgive, love, and encourage ’em all, and then let God sort it out.”

 

“I sometimes fear that many of us (and I include myself) find our definition by our obedience, in our ability to persuade others to be like us, and in our ability to win the battles. There is a lot of ego involved in being good, in being right, and as part of the battle, having others know that we are good and right.”

~Steve Brown, The Scandalous Freedom