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Here are some interesting reads discovered in the past couple of weeks:

It Is Never Right to Be Angry With God, HT to Challies.

What Our Stay-at-Home Mom taught us About Human Dignity, HT to Challies.

What to Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby.

When Mother’s Day Isn’t a Celebration.

Celebrating All Mothers by a Not-Yet Mother.

How to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian.

Unity About Modesty Among Differences of Opinion and Practical Considerations About Modesty, 3 and 4 in a series.

What’s Too Violent for Christian Readers?, a discussion with several authors. Pretty much agree with these points.

Animal Expressions, HT to Lisa. These are so cute! Especially the lamb and the baby gorilla with its mom.

And finally, some smiles, found on Pinterest:

I actually do that kind of thing sometimes….

Happy Saturday!

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Laudable Linkage

With the 31 Days With Elisabeth Elliot series going on every day, I wasn’t sure whether additional posts during the week might be a bit much to keep up with; on the other hand, I don’t want to have an excessively long list of links to share at the end of the month, because I know that can be a bit much, too. So here are a few things I found of interest in the last couple of weeks:

How Your Bible Study Shapes Your Theology.

Hand in Hand, Heart Linked to Heart. A sweet piece about C. H. Spurgeon and his wife.

Why Modesty Scares Me.

Why Christians should Paint, Dance, Quilt, Act, Compose Music, Write Stories, Decorate Cookies, and Participate in the Arts.

The Pinterest feed changes: How to see more of what you want to see. And why you’ll never see all of it. If, like me, you have been frustrated with changes at Pinterest, this article shares how to fix a couple of them, and the powers that be at Pinterest seem to have reached out to this blogger with an interest, so maybe some of the comments there will reach the ears of someone who can and will do something about it.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

It’s been a couple of weeks since I have been able to share some interesting reads with you. Here are some standouts from my recent web reading:

The Memorial Service of Tom Craig, Our Pastor. Brad is a member of our church who has been chronicling the journey of our pastor and church every week since our pastor’s cancer diagnosis, and here he describes the events on the day of his memorial service as well as the service itself. Our church originally had a fundraiser that had been scheduled that morning weeks before, and there was much discussion about whether to postpone it since the funeral was scheduled for the same day. Thankfully they decided to go ahead with it, but that’s what the description of the run and bike rides are about. A recording of the memorial service is here.

Losing the Language. Apt analogy about getting away from church and the things of the Lord.

10 Ways to Exercise Christlike Headship, HT to Challies.

What People Who Are New to Your Church Want to Know.

To the Girls in the Pew Ahead of Me.

That Day I Wore Yoga Pants: 5 Myths About Modesty. Most posts/articles/books about modesty tend to lean either toward the woman’s responsibility to watch how she dresses so as not to cause others to stumble or the man’s responsibility to guard his eyes and heart. I thought this one was nicely balanced.

A list of things you may not have known about paralysis from a fellow TMer.

5 Things You Must Do To Protect Yourself Online.

10 Things I’ve Learned After 30+ Years and 70+ Books.

Dear Pinterest, We Need to Have a Talk About Bookshelves. Loved this fun, incredulous look at how people decorate their bookshelves with something other than the best thing: books.

I Quit Liking Things on Facebook For Two Weeks, HT to Kim, shows how what we click that we “like” affects what we see there. I’m not going to quit using the like button, but I am conscious that whatever I “like” feeds into algorithms to give me more of the same.

My friend Lou Ann sent out a survey to readers about decluttering and has posted a series about the results. My favorites are Finding Balance in Decluttering (it’s so easy to get off-balance even in good things) and Disadvantages of Decluttering (did you know there were some? There are! Or at least can be), probably because I rarely see anyone discussing those aspects. Other posts in the series are Advantages of Decluttering and Systems for Decluttering.

I think I have shared this before, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s the story of the pilot who was originally scheduled to fly one of the planes that was highjacked on 9/11:

Laudable Linkage

Here is my Saturday collection of some great reads discovered in the last week or so:

When God Does the Miracle We Didn’t Ask For.

15 Reasons I Stayed in the Church.

O Zion, Haste. How missionary work offers not only help for eternity, but also for the here and now, and some reasons why that is.

My Take: DIY, Pinterest, and the Rise of the New Domesticity. This and the two links directly above are all from the same blog. Someone put a link to one on Facebook and I really enjoyed looking at some of the other posts as well.

Use Your Words to witness as well as your life.

5 Things Modesty Never Taught Me.

25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband.

Five Lies About Your Body.

Sometimes Valentine’s Day Is About the Moldy Drywall. Loved this.

Tips for Possible Power Outages. Glad we didn’t have to use these during the last storm, but it’s good to review them occasionally.

Happy Saturday, or as my son said, “Happy Discount Love Candy Day to all! ” 🙂

Laudable Linkage

I don’t usually do one of these every week, but the past few weeks have been filled with good reading. Here are some posts that spoke to me this week:

A “Good Girl” Wrestles With the Gospel. “My sin nature seems to be super glued to me. Being a good girl doesn’t dissolve its adhesive effect. Following the rules doesn’t make me righteous. Acting like Pollyanna isn’t the same as having a pure heart.”

Nowhere Else to Go. This really touched my heart.

What Seems to Be. “If the characters in the story could step back and see what the storyteller sees, they might not despair quite so keenly.  They would trust the twists and turns as part of the greater narrative.  May it be so for me, and for all of us.”

5 Churchy Phrases That Are Scaring Off Millennial. We shouldn’t throw out a true phrase just because someone objects to it, but we do need to make sure what we say  is truthful and appropriate.

Modesty Matters: The Heart of Modesty. I’ve read so much on modesty that I wasn’t terribly excited when I saw this title, but I appreciated the balance and the focus here. This is the first in a series.

The Silent Suffering of Miscarriage. Helpful and not so helpful things, from one who has been there.

Undercover: How book covers come to be. Thought this was fascinating.

Free ESV Online Study Bible, for a short time, to celebrate Crossway’s 75th year.

God's care

Laudable Linkage

Here are some noteworthy reads from the last couple of weeks:

Two pieces on the historicity of the first Adam, a current hot topic: Our Make-Believe Parents: When Adam Becomes More Fiction Than Fact and 19 Resources on the Historicity of Adam.

Grace Incognito. “I may like the idea of portraying the strong Christian woman weathering adversity with a brave face, but I don’t get to choose the scene of my martyrdom that will show off my good side. But what if the point isn’t sprinting across the finish line in record time, but knowing God in every halting, baby step along the way?”

One Step. “One step — one cross-shaped, trusting step of faith in a loving, good, and sovereign God — gives purpose to pain, turns mourning into dancing, and transforms everything (yes, everything) into a gift…And I have a visual of grace that I will never, ever forget.”

Savor “Every” Moment? This humorous piece reminds us that young moms in the trenches need more from us than the admonition to savor every moment because it all passes so quickly. They need to know we remember the trenches and survived them.

How to Criticize a Preacher.

Distinguishing Between Truth and the Bearer of Truth. This kind of goes along with the one above. I’ve had a possible blog post percolating in the back of my mind along these lines, but no time to write it out.

A Concerned Mother’s Letter to Teen-age Girls.

Thinking Evangelically About Tim Tebow. “I fear that the Tebow-mania is just another manifestation of the way evangelicals think cultural cache and celebrity influence is vital to the cause of Christ. When I read the Bible, I see the opposite, actually, how God uses the low, the weak, the despised, the cultural cast-offs to further his kingdom. I am not against Christians in the entertainment or athletic spotlights, of course, but I am against the idolization of these people, which I think much of our fandom becomes. To be clear: The cause of Christ is not dependent on Tim Tebow’s success in the NFL. And, by the way, neither is his witness!”

Can Oyster, the “Netflix For Books,” Be Successful?

Hope you have a great Saturday!

I think frumpiness can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder

(Forewarning to male readers, of which I have a few: some of this is more explicit that what I usually write here, so you might want to bypass this one).

Let me say at the outset that I don’t think stylishness is a sin. Like so many other things in life, there is a balance. We don’t have to look like we stepped out of the Little House on the Prairie books to be godly and modest. But on the other hand, chasing after and striving to keep up with “the latest” fads and fashions can be too time-consuming and expensive and can be a misplaced priority.

It seems like lately on many fronts I have seen parts of or references to shows, blogs, and assorted experts who take it upon themselves to tell women what’s “in” and how to dress. I guess in one sense it’s nothing new, but the multiplicity of media available these days makes this topic seem like it’s everywhere.

I started watching some of the fashion-advice shows on TV that I had seen reference to. Usually the people involved really benefit from the help. Often they’re either stuck in sloppy over-sized t-shirts and jeans, or they are at the opposite end of the spectrum and, in an effort to be flamboyant and different are too revealing, and the stylists do help to achieve some balance. I was actually pleasantly surprised that they do advocate classic rather than trendy styles generally, and a lot of their tips for camouflaging certain body flaws and making the most of your best features do make sense.

However, as a Christian I object that the goal (or at least one main goal) on these shows seems to be sexiness. Now, of course, I know these are not Christian shows and don’t operate under Christian principles, but I am evaluating the principles as a Christian viewing them after seeing so many Christians advocate them.

I don’t believe a Christian woman’s goal in dress and appearance should be sexiness. If the Bible warns men not to lust, I think it’s implied that women shouldn’t dress in a way to entice lust. I don’t think a Christian woman should ever show cleavage publicly. After all, what is cleavage but showing parts of one’s breasts? No one needs to see that but a husband and the doctor.

I Timothy 2:9a says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.” I know modesty is a complicated issue: I’ve read various Christian message board discussions where people try to hash out exactly what it means, and good people differ on exactly where to draw the lines. And, as I said earlier, I don’t think modesty means a woman should always wear turtlenecks or prairie dresses. Nor does modesty equal dowdy. But I think we can agree there should not be an over-emphasis on certain womanly body parts in our dress.

Even on those shows, I have a problem with a man discussing a woman’s chest or bottom and waving his hand around those areas to demonstrate what he’s talking about.

This post is not about modesty per se: I am going to link to some good posts on that subject at the end. But it has to be mentioned when Christian women consider fashion.

At the other extreme, I don’t think it honors the Lord for us to be sloppy. Look at His creation. I mentioned recently in regard to decorating that I used to struggle with wanting things to look pretty and thought maybe I should just concentrate on functionality, until I realized that God could have made the universe just functional, but He also chose to make it beautiful. The same is true in our dress: it’s not wrong to want to look the best we can within our means. The Proverbs 31 woman “maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple” (verse 22). An unkempt appearance seems to indicate that no one cares, and that’s not a good testimony.

So, as I said at the beginning, there is a balance.

However, I don’t see that what is sometimes considered frumpy or “old” actually is.

Holiday sweaters are considered big frumpy age-adding garments, but I don’t know why. Even on a game show recently they were mentioned scornfully. Sure, they can be overdone and over-embellished, but I don’t see what’s wrong with them as a general concept. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was wearing them, from children to young moms and all the way up. How did they get relegated to senior-only wear in the eyes of the fashion world?

I even heard a beautiful floral jacket referred to as “old” or “granny wear” just this week.

I’ve also heard and read “granny panties” mentioned as frumpy. Well, you know, what kind of underwear anyone wears isn’t really the fashion industry’s business, but I’d much rather have granny panties than the kind that come halfway up the bottom leaving an indention that can’t help but draw attention to one’s derrière (which is actually why some people wear them). And thongs….let’s not even go there except to say that unless you’re very young and firm, if all you have is a piece of fabric from your dress or pants between you and the world, you are going to jiggle, and, in pants especially, you’ll reveal much more than you want to. I’ll take granny panties over that any day.

The following list of clothes that supposedly should be removed from closets is from How Not To Look Old by Charla Krump, which I have not read but I have seen reference to in various places:

  1. Holiday sweaters with bells and appliqués (reindeers, teddy bears, bumblebees, pumpkins).
  2. Granny necklaces that tell how many grandchildren you have.
  3. Souvenir T-shirts.
  4. T-shirts with meant-to-be funny sayings.
  5. Overalls.
  6. Acid-washed jeans.
  7. Ripped jeans.
  8. Shoulder pads.
  9. Flannel shirts.
  10. Muumuus.
  11. Photo handbags (the older you get, the more sophisticated your accessories should be).
  12. Flesh-colored hose.
  13. Penny loafers.
  14. Oversize blazers.
  15. Mommy robes.
  16. Thin gold chain necklaces.
  17. Elastic-waist pants.
  18. Granny undies.
  19. Baggy sweats.
  20. Bearlike, full-length fur coats.
  21. Short shorts.
  22. Cargo pants.
  23. Stockings with reinforced toes.
  24. Three-piece suits with vests.
  25. Backpacks.

Now, some of this I agree with: baggy sweatpants, unless you’re doing laundry or jogging, short shorts, ripped jeans, muumuus. But flesh-colored hose? So what do the fashion mavens advocate instead? Some years back it was stylish to wear ivory colored hose, which I thought made ladies’ legs look like they had no circulation in their lower limbs. And I always thought it looked kind of funny to wear “suntan” hose when no other part of the body looked suntanned. I always thought flesh-colored hose looked the most natural and least noticeable. Actually I don’t know too many ladies who wear hose any more.

And thin gold chains make one look “old”? So I am supposed to dispose of my beauitful, delicate, feminine jewelry and get big, clunky stuff, even though I don’t like it, just to be “in”? Does that not seem silly to anyone but me?

Really, though, my purpose is not to nitpick all of these points or to rant against any one program, author, or expert. I just want to caution us against this judgmental, condescending attitude that certain neutral items — and the people who wear them — are frumpy. To me frumpy means sloppy and unkempt. It’s ok to strive not to be frumpy, but I don’t think we need to strive to be fashionistas who chase after every fad and live by what the current fashion experts say, either. It’s not wrong to wear something that is currently in style, but it’s not right to think of everyone else who does so as “in” and anyone who doesn’t as somehow defective.

Balance. It all comes back to balance.

And grace.

Other good blog posts abut dress and modesty:

How Shall We Then Dress by Mrs. Wilt at The Sparrow’s Nest.

Three Cheers For Modesty at Biblical Womanhood.

Dress Codes by Nancy Wilson at Femina.

Clothing and the Christian Woman at Faith and Family.