Monthly Archives: July 2014

Short-Term-Missions-Vacation

If the sending out of the twelve in Mark 6 is a short-term mission.  We really need to rethink our short-term missions.

First of all we need to start in our own home town.  In the previous verses Jesus ministered, or tried to, in his own home town.  The people tried to push him off a cliff the first time and mocked him the second.  So he went to the next level, sending out his disciples in the surrounding villages.  Overall the pattern is consistent with the Acts mission; Jerusalem, Judea and to the ends of the Earth.  Whenever Paul went to a different place he went to the Jews First.  But ministering to your own people or people in the next town is hard.  We like the trappings of overseas missions.  There is the romance of going to a different place. And going somewhere as an American these days is like being a movie star.  I have experienced it, being from Montana, in Pennsylvania. In other countries people gleefully come up to you and tell you the English that they know and they just want to be around you.  This is very difficult to deal with, that was sarcastic, it is basically the opposite of the treatment you get by telling your family you have become a Christian or if you start preaching in the next town down the freeway.  No one really cares back home or they try to stone you.  And for the people sending you it is also and ego boost, we are doing something all the way over there!  Look at us!  Who knows what that person is actually doing over there.  They might just be living like you do, or escaping to nicer weather, or enjoying living like princes and having someone else pay for it.  But it’s over there so we don’t really know.

What if some other country sent missionaries to America?  It sounds a little silly.  I have heard that many other countries pray for our oppulance, and we need it.  And the Muslims seem to be sending jihadists here, we don’t need that. There are also some conservative denominations that are doing church planting.  That even sounds odd, at least it did to me the first time.  There are churches everywhere, why do we need more?  But we do.  And we need to minister to the people right next door.  If we don’t who will?  Which brings us to the Mormons.  They do missions right next door.  The go out two by two.  I wonder where they got that idea, oh it’s right here “he began to send them out by two” Mark 6:7.  Maybe we should do that too.

Jupiter and Mercury in the house of Philemon and Baucis, Adam Elsheimer, c1608, Dresden.

Jupiter and Mercury in the house of Philemon and Baucis, Adam Elsheimer, c1608, Dresden.

Another characteristic I find very interesting is the fact that they were to be totally dependent on the people they were going to.  We see the same thing with Paul who always worked making tents, wherever he was. He had business and life relationships with the people.  Today the fancy American church tends to do missions like the in-laws who come to town and stay in a hotel.  They think they are saying “we don’t want to inconvenience anyone”  but really they are saying “we don’t like the hide-a-bed or the company of your spouse”.  And they miss out on really getting to know you.  That is an important part of real-life fellowship.  I am really trying to hypenate as many words as possible here.  There really is nothing like humbly accepting hospitality.  Allowing someone to host you really is unifying.  In the ancient world it was a special sort of act.  It was part of the Greek ideal.  You take care of the sojourner in the land.  The theme is also in the Old Testament, and even other nations are judged for not doing it.  I wonder if this was not sort of a basic test of acceptance.  If these people don’t even treat you by the worldly standard then don’t waste your time.  The tradition also carries up into medieval and pre-modern times.  The inn-keepers from the literature of those time are almost always depicted as scoundrals, taking advantage of their guests in every way.  Maybe that’s why we don’t have inns in the U. S..  We do have those Airport stores, however.  We are not above price gouging.  But we do miss out on the ambience of the inn and we miss out on the mutual blessings of hospitality given and received.  I have grown very close to lots of friends by entering, submitting to, their world and couch.  I think we would do well to follow this model of Jesus as we go about our missions.  Couchserfing for Jesus.

“shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them”

This seems really odd.  But it’s probably because we don’t understand how sacraments work.  We are not big on connections between the physical and metaphysical worlds.  We like to keep our religion theoretical and personal and the rest of our physical, ‘actual’, lives to ourselves.  But God always crashes heaven and earth together.  Physical signs are very common to the Old Testament prophets.  Hosea married a prostitute. Jeremiah was told to bury a loincloth. Jesus often does the same thing by using surrounding or putting people in situations to reveal their hearts.  He thinks it’s fruitful.  In a sense every situation we are in is designed to build our character or reveal it.  The physical is a platform to reveal the spiritual.  What we do here matters.  Eating bread and drinking wine together matters. Baptizing people into the Church matters.

In keeping with Mark as the Lion, that is the book detailing the workings of the King, I wonder about this mission.  It doesn’t exactly look like a military mission.  I wonder how they would have viewed it.  The disciples had to be confused, Peter is probably disappointed that he doesn’t get to take his sword.  James and John want Jesus on their team.  So we are going to conquer the Romans by going from house to house?  The answer is actually ‘yes’.  Rome was used to judge Israel, in the proper time.  But then it was conquered by Christendom.  It fought the Christians, lion’s tooth and claw, for 300 years.  But then Christendom won. Rome is gone, Christianity is spreading.  Even the name ‘Rome’ now conjures up connotations of the central city of western Christendom.

I am tempted to form some sort of conclusion here but really I just want to count the number of hyphenations I was able to almost-casually insert.  That and I want to go on a short-term mission this winter, hopefully somewhere warm and distant.  I dreamed about going on a short-tem mission once, you can read about it here. Also, it never says the disciples were given the power to heal miraculously.  It just says they were healing people with oil, in the normal way.  I think we can do that.  I think we can do all of this, but will we?

How Did We Get Here?

I like to play a game called ‘how did we get here?’.  This game is really just another name for the study of history.  I think most people like to play it too.  Only without a knowledge of history it becomes a game of ‘what if’.  I saw there is a new show coming out called Utopia, something like Bio-Dome of the 80′s, basically just a closed system social experiment, that is supposed to reveal something about these what ifs.  Now you have all these stupid shows like Survivor or Lost exploring groups of people cast into the wilderness.  But this has all already happened for real. It’s called American History.  Cast members signed contracts with the King of England, Spain or France, then they got on a boat and sailed over to the wilderness to try and make a go of it.   Instead of getting voted off the Island, if you were an idiot you straight-up died.  There were a million ways to die in the west, Indians, animals, disease, starvation or winter.  In addition they wrote accounts of what happened.  You can go and read them, they are very good because these people were far more literate than we are today. They tried communism and socialism, and constitutional monarchies and democracy.  A variety of different groups came over and gave it a try.  You can watch spoiled London elite men crash and burn and meek Christians families flourish.  You don’t have to play ‘what if’, and you can learn about our heritage.  Oh that’s right modernism told us that we are more evolved so we can throw out history, what was I thinking?  Oh, I was thinking.

How did we get here with health insurance?

Once upon a time Abraham Lincoln needed money for his illegal war against the South so Government decided to invade our lives with Income Tax. It kept getting higher and higher and the exceptions kept piling up as politicians fought over handouts. Then FDR promised everyone a cushy retirement plan and Social Security was passed. So they started taking it out of your paycheck with your income tax withholding. One exception to this mess was benefits employers could give to their employees without having to take out social security and other BS taxes. One of these benefits was health insurance. So people became dependent on their employer for insurance. Then Clinton and Barney Frank decided that everyone deserves a house even if they couldn’t afford it. So they required banks(due to federal reserve law banks are basically government) to give money to people who had no chance of paying it back. So then the housing bubble grew and then popped, and then wrecked the whole economy. And people lost health insurance with their jobs. So then comes Obama with a 30 year old 360,000 word mess to ‘solve’ this new problem. Now the law forces even more people to lose their jobs, or be cut back to part time. And millions of existing insurance plans are being canceled. Not only that but now doctors are retiring and many are refusing obamacare patients. Then the Democrats paint this as a good thing, unemployment will give you more time to water your plants and hang out with your kids. And your healthcare plan theoretically gives you perfect care but no doctors will accept it. Oh what a wonderful utopia.

 

How did we get here with the border mess?

Well we all know that colonial powers got wealthy by stealing from and enslaving the noble savages all over the planet.  And nowhere was that more prominent than in what is today South America and Central America.  The Spanish mixed the savage culture with their culture while loading up ships full of gold and copper.  They wiped out millions of these peoples and so today South and Central America are so prosperous that everyone from North America and the rest of the world is flocking to their country.  Wait a minute, something is wrong here.  Perhaps raping and pillaging isn’t responsible for civilization.

In reality, theft never results in prosperity because the sin of theft is usually coupled with the sin of consumption an that of sloth.  There are no pirate hordes because they blow it all when they come to shore on wine, women and song.  The same reason there are no lottery winners on the Forbes top 100 list.  Instead there is the Sudden Money Institute to help people fix their lives after they are destroyed by large inheratances or winning the lottery.  Successful civilization is the result of hard work and the rule of law based on biblical religious conviction.

And closely related: How did California become so liberal?

I was surprised to hear it, California has always been liberal in my lifetime.  But it was not always the case.  The state overwhelmingly elected Ronald Reagan as governor twice and President twice.  Ronald Reagan, that guy who the left and half of the right think is too right to be right. Then a little piece of legislation known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act was passed in 1986, by that same Reagan, who was tricked.  It was sold as the solution to all of our immigration problems.  It was suppose to allow for cheap labor and stem the tide of illegals coming into the country.  Sound familiar?  Of course all it did was fast track the illegals that were already here to citizenship, and the border was never secured.  It changed the demographics of California from a conservative producing state to a haven for Mexico to export it’s lower class.  As a result L.A. is by all accounts a  third world city.  The rest of the state is suffering from liberal policies and deflated pension funds.  When economies are growing, passing out huge pensions seems like a great idea, until demographics and hight taxes forces the middle class to move out of the state.  Many stay because they like the weather, and the scenery, but at heart the state is broke.  Resources are off limits due to environmental worship and taxes are high in order to pay for the welfare state.  Also, Republicans never get elected.  And now the Democrats are learning from history, they kind of like the way California has turned out.  If only we could turn the whole country into California.  And so it’s happening, by Presidential fiat.  The southern border is gone, amnesty has been granted and illegals are being shipped to conservative neighborhoods near you.  All without even passing a bill this time.  The lesson of California is only 28 years old but it might as well be ancient history, with the caliber of history education, but at least we teach Spanish.

We are not a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of immigrants who became Americans.  We came here for various reasons but we all subscribed to the idea.  America is an idea, unlike most countries.  Chesterton playfully mocked our immigration forms of a hundred years ago, for the questions they asked trying to understand your adherence to our idea.  Other countries don’t ask you such questions because they are not about ideas.  If you come here and undermine that idea, how much longer will we remain America?  Many immigrants from Mexico are not interested in becoming Americans.  As exhibited by the anti Americanism in California.  They wave Mexican flags on the 4th of July and they think California is theirs and that we stole it.  And so they have turned much of California into Mexico.  Should we let them do it to the rest of the country?  Siestas and poverty all around.

Further Reading:

The Light and the Glory, Peter Marshall, David Manuel

Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford

Democracy in America, Alexis de Toqueville

Rejecting Prophets

The story of Jesus rejected in his home town seems to be a microcosm of the Messiah’s rejection by the Jewish people.  But why is it so easy to reject people so close to you?  Asking it like that almost makes it clear.  The people you are close to are the people whose faults you see for what they really are.  It’s easy to idealize someone who is far off, but the reality comes home when you actually have to live with the person.  The American people are coming to this realization right now with their President.  The campaigns and theories sounded so good, ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’.  Who could oppose that?  The President successfully erased his past, so everyone was left to draw him however they wished.  The media went along painting a portrait of a messiah which post-modern, humanist America would love.  He would unite racial divides, heal the earth, clean up Washington, and do everything the opposite of Bush.  But then the reality came home, we had to live with this guy and all his crazy ideas.  And we are all worse off.

 Jesus's teaching rejected by his own townsfolk in Nazareth by Hole, William Brassey c. 1905.

Jesus’s teaching rejected by his own townsfolk in Nazareth by Hole, William Brassey c. 1905.

But with Jesus the problem was the opposite.  They knew him, or they thought they did, he was one of them, he grew up with them and there was his family, right over there.  Yet they heard rumors of all his successes around Israel.  He had conquered demons, disease, and death.  And that brought them to a crossroads, they were forced to decide which story to accept, the one they had observed or the one that was pushing in from all around them.  In fact they now at this time observed the latter, they saw his wisdom.  Yet they chose the first, they chose to write him off.  I think this is a very common thing. If you grow up with someone and share in all their experiences and they turn out successful there is a tendency to dislike them.  It’s called envy.  It’s almost a worldwide virtue these days.  The most popular economic theories are based on it, if someone has something it must be because they took it from you.  Envy is basically wanting what other people have without the hard work.  It is a mix of sloth and pride.  Who are they to have this or that?  So we invent all kinds of justifications.  Oh well they went to this or that school.  Their parents were this or that.  They got lucky, were born with a silver spoon, or fate shined upon them.  Really we just want to excuse ourselves.  There is also an element of  God’s providence that we would like to reject.  God does bless whom he chooses, who are you to complain when it happens?

We do the same thing in the church.  Oh he is special because he did this or his father was a pastor or he went to the right school, but I couldn’t be expected to live to that standard.  He has lots of followers and his books sell millions of copies he must know what he is talking about.  He went to he right schools and got all the fancy degrees, so I can listen to his generic self-affirmation.  But when my buddy down the street confronts me with my sin, “what does he know” “he hasn’t walked in my shoes” “he doesn’t know how hard it is to be me” “he’s not a professional”.

Then there was Jesus.  His life was just like the rest of the people in Nazareth.  The Bible is always making this point, he was tempted in every way as we are, yet he didn’t sin, Hebrews 4:15.  He is just like us, he is fully man.  He grew up as a normal human, next door.  He didn’t go to any fancy schools or train under any fancy teachers, unlike the Apostle Paul.  He was just a carpenter (or he followed some other lowly trade and this was a derogatory term). So what does he know? Yet he obviously has this great wisdom, it’s not fair.  So rather than humbly admit that they had been lazy.  Rather than realize that they had been foolish in overlooking him all these years.  They decided that he was just the bastard child of some guy named Joseph. And they tried to push him off a cliff.

That’s where our society is today.  I have had it said to me countless times that America is different than it once was.  The self-made man was once the goal of everyone.  Today the successful and wealthy are treated with distain, that is envy  And that is the first step to success, admitting that you can be better and that you need to change.  In the past titles and position didn’t mean much.  We mocked the rest of the world for it’s caste systems and aristocracy.  Respect and success were built on what you could achieve not your title.  But today we are going back to the old system. Titles and classes are coming back.  We invent titles and create experts for things like raising children, eating, walking, you name it we have an expert for it.  You can get a Ph.D. in the Beatles, Puppetry, or Psychic Abilities.   Yet as we specialize and hand out titles, we are increasinly less capable of raising children, eating, or doing all the basics of life.  But we like it because it exempts anyone from any change.  We only have to worry about our little piece of the assembly line without confronting areas where we need work.  Nothing can ever really change because the powerful people with all the titles over there, are responsible.  And as for those people, they love the power.  So we lavish praise on the titled and hope one day to become one ourselves.  Instead of the day to day reality of living with ourselves as complete humans.

My grandfather was basically a self-taught civil engineer.  He designed expansive canal systems that water thousands of acres in the Columbia River Basin.  He had a degree in English Literature.  The only Architect most people can name, Frank Lloyd Wright, didn’t have a degree in anything.  These are the people that built our country, they didn’t take out huge loans and go to all the right schools, they just did the hard work and got it done.

But as Christendom fades, and people become less humble, only the correct certification will get you anywhere.  And that will only exempt us from letting in the people who can really change things for the better.  When those people do show up we can just write them off.

“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”  -Mark 6:2-3

The visionary and the prophet are very similar.  Both bring us to repentance.  It takes humility to recognize that cars are better than horses.  It takes humility to recognize that electric lights are better than gas lamps.  And the same is true of every tiny bit of technology that we all enjoy.  It is true of every flaw in our lives. There was a time when we humbly accepted these men but now the words of Christ ring true.

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.”     - John 7:7

Voted off the Mayflower

Remember those stupid value judgement test from back in government school?  You know, you are on a desert island and there are twenty people and only room for five on the life raft, who do you kill?  And this is supposed to accomplish something?  This is stupid humanism at its best. You are supposed to pick the sailor, the carpenter and the fisherman and of course yourself and leave the friar and the prostitute, or some such.  This is so absurd, because this never happens and contemplating the social value of each person is sick. It’s what Hitler did, and since some people didn’t have enough value they got gassed.  It’s what all post-Christian Darwinian pragmatists do, It’s what Obama care death panels do.  Oh sorry, you are too old and don’t have enough value points to justify the surgical operation, here are some pain killers and Dr. Kevorkian’s phone number. 

This never happens because God never puts you in a situation where you have to sin.  It seems like it and the Devil would like to make you think you have no choice but to disobey God but it is never the case.  Real life situations are generally the opposite.  You are going into battle with 32,000 troops and God tells you that you have too many.  So he makes a value judgement that only people who drink with their hands are good in battle, now you are left with 300 men who wipe out the entire enemy, Judges 7.  Or you have 5000 people in the desert who are hungry, don’t worry God says five loaves and two fish will feed everyone.  Back to the desert island, God puts two people, the prostitute and the tax collector, on the 5 person raft and they get married and live happily ever after and the rest of the people are saved by captain Nemo, except for the Atheist who stays on the Island and tries to build a raft out of videotape and volleyballs.  God’s version always shows overwhelming bounty and it makes a good story.

Which shows us the danger of empiricism.  Empiricism is the belief that the only valid form of knowledge comes by what we observe with our senses.  This is very common today in our modern world.  Science can make cool technology so we think we can apply science to every area of life, to people that is psychology, to groups of people that is sociology, religion etc..  Science is a wonderful thing, or it can be if we use it responsibly.   But there is a lot more to the world than what we can observe.  Truth can be imparted to us by our creator, truth can be derived by logical reasoning.  Observing what happens on this earth can be a powerful emotional argument in areas of theology and philosophy but they are often wrong.  We observe pain and suffering and conclude that God, if he exists, must be evil.  Instead of concluding that perhaps we don’t have a clue what we are talking about.   There is a lot more going on than we can see.  Or we observe nature perpetuating itself and decide that the reason for nature is to perpetuate itself.  So we worship it instead of God.

praise youInteresting, the number of situations that have already happened in history.  History is another form of truth apart from empiricism. We don’t have to play ‘what if’ like a bunch of children, we can read what past humans have done and learn from their mistakes and successes.  Despite what modern academics say the United States is the biggest success story around.  The rest of the world gets it and so they want to get here.  You have probably heard of the Mayflower which planted the first successful colony in New England.  But did you know that there were two ships?  As they started out their journey the second ship began to leak and they had to leave it behind.  This meant leaving precious supplies and people behind for the dangerous journey.  Yet they chose and always had the work of God and his word in their minds.

“Those that went back were mostly such as were willing to do so, either from discontent or fear of the ill success of the voyage, seeing they had met with so many crosses and the year so far spent.  Others, owing to their weakness and having many young children, were though least useful and most unfit to bear the brunt of this arduous adventure; to which work of God and other judgment of their brethren they were contented to submit.  And thus, like Gideon’s army, this small number was divided, as if the Lord thought these few too many for the great work He had to do.”  William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation,

We have iPods and fancy cars but do we have a clue how to see the world this way?  Do we write beautiful accounts of his faithfulness, or do we just talk about how we are going to praise him and going to worship him in simple worship choruses?  What are we praising him for?  These people knew, they wrote new songs praising him for rewarding their faithfulness and hard work with a country that was better for their children to the 4th generation. Pragmatic value judgements and all of modern education puts the focus on us here and now instead of teaching us that we are but a drop in a great river.   It’s not all about us and what we feel about what we observe.  It’s about a greater work and we can be part of it or wash away like sand.  The more we try to manipulate things to work our way, the more they fall apart in our hands.  These great men built on their forefathers wisdom and planned for their children’s future.  Shame on us.

Embarkation of the Pilgrims, Robert W. Weir. c.1837

Embarkation of the Pilgrims, Robert W. Weir. c.1837

Further Reading:  Of Plymouth Plantation

Flat Praise

What if we talked to our spouses the way we sing praise songs?  It might go something like this.

“Honey I love you.”

“For what?”

“I love you, I love you, I love you.”

“Why do you love me?”

“I have come to love you.”

“Ok, but why?”

“I am here to love you.”

“Well that’s nice but it looks like you are here to watch TV.”

“I will give you all my praise.”

“Praise for what?”

“You alone are worthy of all my praise.”

“This is just annoying.”

“I will bow down and love you.  I will sing of your love forever.  All I need is you. ”

“Well stop telling me you are going to do it and do it already!”

I bet

Death of Death

I was really struck by the reality of Jesus’ victory over death.  It’s hard for us to imagine because this is the world we have been born into.  We have enjoyed 2000 years of:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting”  -I Corinthians 15:54,55

We enjoy the fruits of death being conquered.  In the days of Mark chapter five the people had only fear of death.  Jairus ran to Jesus for the sake of his dying daughter.  He knew the power of Jesus, everyone did.  This was the man who could heal any illness.  He spoke with unparalleled wisdom, silencing the religious leaders.  He could heal a woman who merely touched his garment.  But then, Jesus took too long.  He delayed talking to this healed woman, and his daughter died.  All hope was lost.  It seems that Jesus had actually healed a widow’s son earlier, as recorded in Luke 7:11-17. But the people knew that this was not common.  And perhaps word of this previous resurrection had been suppressed or written off, as the people were struck by awe/fear.  Because this was the culture before the Resurrection.  Death was a feared enemy, death was the end.  Especially with many Jewish leaders teaching that there was no resurrection of the dead, Matthew 22:23.

But then Jesus died and was raised.  The three people he raised before were a foreshadow of Jesus’ victory over death.  Though a little unclear apparently many were raised from the dead at the crucifixion or resurrection of Jesus, Matthew 27:52-53.  But this had happened before Elijah had raised a boy from the dead. But now it was obvious that Jesus had raised himself from the dead.  He was alive, and thousands of people saw him, despite conspiracies to cover it up, the fact was obvious.  And many believed it.  They carried down that legacy today.  And what began to pop up shortly were people who proved they had no fear of death because they gave their lives for their faith in Jesus’ resurrection, as martyrs.  I’m not sure that history recorded any martyrs before Jesus.  God had never written such a story and Satan is certainly not creative enough to think of such a story.  In fact he killed Jesus thinking it would be his final victory.  Instead he was showed to be the fool and a deeper magic was activated, the sacrificial death of the perfect man.  Satan still didn’t get it after the crucifixion as he began trying to wipe out the church with persecution.

Starwars has a lot of bad theology in it but even boy George can’t resist the martyr motif.

Ever since, Christians, with no fear of death, have been giving their lives for others and for their faith.  They have entered death with calm quiet eyes, throwing themselves into the fire.  Often they converted their executioners who took a place at their side sharing their faith and fate.  The history books are full of their stories.  And realizing the power of this repeated narrative Satan soon began his counterfeits, though being a total fool it took him three centuries to figure it out.  Jesus told us there would be many fake Christs and so there has been.  Every nutcase fool in the world, struck down, becomes a martyr for their respective false religions. Satan is just a boring counterfeiter.  Before Jesus the posture was fear of death and even worship of death as being the ultimate  Yet death was defeated and now peoples the world over clamor to prove that they are not afraid of it.  This is a major shift.  It is false security for those who should rightly fear death and a comfort for those who rightly seek to give up their lives following their savior.  We see this false security taken to the extreme with the view that there are many ways to heaven and it doesn’t really matter which creed you follow they all lead to the same place.  These people really should fear death, but they are swept up in a Christianity taking over the world, that believes death is dead.

King Jesus really did conquer death.  It’s a blatantly obvious historical fact. There is really no other explanation for so many people changing their belief and proving the change by the their actions, by becoming martyrs.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs, Title Page to the First English Edition.

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Title Page to the First English Edition. c.1563.

Bikini Brained Christians

This is in response to this article, by Rachel Held in Contempt:

I am kind of tired of this woman, there was some other article going around about something else a while ago and I blocked it out because it was so obnoxious.   She herd a bad sermon, so, of course, the only remedy is a worse blog post.  This woman is just a populist, she just says stuff that makes everyone feel good about what they already think and don’t know.  Oh she used a Greek word, she must know what she is talking about.  It actually makes me think of something that would require me to pardon my French.

“While popular culture tends to disempower women by telling them they must dress to get men to look at them, the modesty culture tends to disempower women by telling them they must dress to keep men from looking at them.”

What in the world? She basically is saying that all women have is their looks, while the remainder of the article attempts to bash the evils of objectification.  If you dress frumpy you have no power, and that’s like– heaven forbid–living in the past!  Oh my!

She makes it all about the woman and their feelings and sense of empowerment.  ”So my advice for women looking for bathing suits this season is this: Don’t dress for men; dress for yourself. “  In Christendom, women and men used to dress out of respect for other people, this is really loving your neighbor.  She makes it all about you and your objectification in a different way, it’s still selfishness.  Why not try respecting the culture you live in, instead of trying to distinguish yourself with clothes and hair and piercings?  Today wealth may not be of utmost value but individualism is.  Way to bash yesterday’s evil while being totally blind to your own.  But hey at least everyone gets to feel warm and fuzzy in their sin, until it consumes them.  Sex is out of control in our culture.  The demand is pushed up by nudity flaunted everywhere and the only truly responsible way of meeting that demand, healthy marriage, is also under assault. It’s a recipe for disaster.

When you read the Bible looking for the commands for other people you miss the point.  Worry about that log in your own eye.  Women, don’t worry about the commands to the men, worry about doing what you can to stop your own sin, and ways you can look out for your brother, or sister.  We all have enough sin to go around.  Sin is serious, Jesus tells us it would be better to cut off our hand than sin.   Wouldn’t you want to do all that you can to prevent it?  Is some silly notion of self esteem more important than preventing sin?  Today it is.  Which brings us to culture.  All cultures are not the same.  Just throwing up the ‘all cultures are different’ line as if it were an argument could be a justification for anything.  Immoral cultures on the verge of being wiped out or backward people who have found a comfy place below civilization, i.e. indigenous peoples, shouldn’t be our role model.  Our role model should be vibrant Christian culture, like that of the middle ages or the Puritans in America.  They dressed modestly and colorfully.  They loved sex between a husband and wife and they didn’t tattoo or pierce or walk around naked.  This responsible culture grew and flourished.  Oh Europe has nude beaches, so we are supposed to learn something from that?  Why don’t we try to take whatever culture we have and make it better?  Instead of throwing up our hands, throwing out modesty and just opting for pleasing ourselves.  “each man is different, so it would be a fool’s errand anyway”  Well, fatalism is the real fool’s errand.

Showing off your body and showing off your money are the same thing and you should be ashamed of them both.  Since when did shame become something bad?  ”Just seer your conscience woman because overcoming it is the most empowering thing in the world, nothing bad will happen” said the snake to Eve.  But I think we can conclude that she missed this story and it’s modesty message.  Women with hot bodies showing them off because they can is the same as women showing off their money because they can.   Isn’t this obvious?  Not when you are trying to justify doing whatever you want. Popular culture even calls women’s bodies ‘assets’.  Hello?

Oh no you have a habit of trying to be too modest?  My goodness you better get to therapy right away.  I bet a good hypnotherapist can cure you.  Some day everyone everywhere will break all those pesky traditions and then, and only then will we live free. . . as the cave man.  You should thank God for all the habits of our civilization it’s the only thing holding it all together right now. As we squander all the capitol given to us by 2000 years of Christianity with our pursuit of lusts, it is those habits that guide us to sanity when we would choose something destructive.  I just can’t believe she gets this so wrong in every way.

As a man I have traveled in Muslim countries, and it’s very refreshing, on this front.  I could do without the calls to prayer and the general abuse of women, but the modesty is refreshing.  I had a Turkish man ask me via our translating friend, what I thought of all the covered women.  I told him it was better than all the naked women running around in America, and it is.  I notice it every spring as the women are forced to go naked ‘because it’s so hot’, yeah Montana, brutal.  But as someone who works outside, I have learned that light white long sleeves and pants actually keep you cooler than being naked.  So much for the pragmatism.  I like women, I am probably the only person in the world to write a letter like this to the editor.   Large fields of flesh are distracting and annoying and it takes a lot of effort not to look.  Looking is only the first step but we all know how sin works it starts small and progresses, if we let it.  And even when we don’t want to let it.  But I guess this Rachel person is too busy looking for her self esteem amongst all the archaic practices that were foisted on her by evil white patriarchy.  So ladies do me a favor and don’t go out in public in your underwear, I mean bikinis.