Friday, April 28, 2006

I've held off posting until Archimedes can get back to my previous post as promised, but there are so many theological discussions in the air (besides life) that I think I'm going to just have to go ahead and post anyway. Besides, my new Google comments will actually stay with the blog, so you can always go back. For those of you following the discussion, I'll let you know when it picks up again. Along those lines, though, Vonsus said something at RUF the other day that I thought was worth repeating. He was talking about the importance of the Word, and pointed out that whether God speaks in other ways or not, we all agree that he has revealed himself in Scripture. Wanting God to speak to you in some "miraculous" way and ignoring his written revelation is like God telling you, "I'll meet you at Fourth and Main" and us feeling stood up when we show up at Tenth and Broad and he's not there. A truth well worth remembering whenever we start getting too hung up about "personal revelation."

I've been wanting to blog about World of WarCraft for a long time, but unfortunately I still don't have blognames for some of the major players involved, so my musings on the spiritual side of Sanctorum's, Hkakashi's, and Aya Silkrose's adventures are going to have to wait.

Which is in no way related to the main topic of this post, which is seduction\\modesty. I was at Gaskell's the other day and enjoying the spectacle of people's dress, which of course is a major reason to go to Gaskell's, and I was thinking about different standards of modesty. It was interesting to note that the gowns I found most attractive were also the ones I found the most modest. I found the girls in those gowns the prettiest - and the sexiest - girls at the ball. Side note the first: I hope I hardly need to say this, but let me point out for the record that "modest" does not mean "least revealing" or "least form fitting" or "least fashionable."

I was recently edified by the discussion at Girltalk on modesty, which I think is a pretty concise restatement of the basic principles of modesty and need not be repeated here. But it got me thinking about that Gaskell's experience, and about something the Eldredges have to say in Captivating (thanks to Thayet for turning me on to this book's existence). The Eldredges have this idea of "seduction," which is their name for the process by which a Christian woman invites a man to live as God intended, and which they particularly contrast with "nagging." As they say, "The beauty of a woman is what arouses the strength of a man. He wants to play the man when a woman acts like that."

Acts like that? Well, of course - beauty is active, a lifestyle. And one of its actions is modesty. Modesty, I can say from my own experience, is not just serving your brothers in Christ. It is not just removing a potential stumbling block from their path (what kind of incentive is that, anyway? Who wants to be the girl who does nothing more than sweep the road for the guys?). Modesty is an active edification; an invitation; and yes, a seduction. Which is the point I wanted to add to the Maheny girls' discussion. Modesty is not just attractive. It is attractive, spiritually as well as aesthetically. But it is also seductive ("becoming" is the Natalian term). Modest dress - and more importantly, a modest heart - makes me want to hang out with a girl more than immodest dress or an immodest heart, no question. But it also makes me want to act like a man (yes, I know that wanting and doing are different - but still). This is not just sweeping the path clear in front of me. It's warm and alive and inviting.

Inviting to what? The Eldredges maintain that the central question of the feminine heart is "Am I lovely?" Predictably, there is a segment of Christendom which finds the Eldredges' books little more than thinly veiled humanism. If you will permit me to be tart, those are probably the same people who think Starship Troopers has a fascist government. It's important to keep in mind when reading this book that the Eldredges' central theme is that God and God alone can answer a woman's deepest question (side note the second: I defy anyone to refute from Scripture the proposition that Christ finds his adopted sisters lovely.) A modest woman is not focusing attention on herself at all, but she is focusing attention somewhere: on Christ. Yes, I am looking at her. Yes, I find her captivating. I wish some of you had known the Hawaiian - you would know in an instant what I meant. But when I look at her relationships, or her carriage, or her skirt, or the way she wears her breasts (I don't mean to be rude, but breasts are part of an outfit and you know it), she is pointing me to Christ. And when I answer her question and say, "Yes, my sister, you are lovely," I am saying, "You reflect the heart of God to me." And that is, in a lot of ways, what it all comes down to - fixing our eyes upon Jesus. Which is why I value modesty so much.

Because modesty is seductive. But it does not seduce to the girl. It seduces to Christ.

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