Modesty Part 1

Throughout my life, one hot topic has always been popular: modesty. But what really is modesty, anyway? Usually I hear modesty as it related to dress. And while I do think that modesty and clothing are certainly linked (1 Timothy 2:9), I don’t think its limited to just how we dress. Let’s explore this idea and further unpack the concept of modesty.

I think modesty is decidedly meek. And modesty undoubtedly applies to more than just clothing. Modesty is an attitude of the heart. It is a way that we communicate that there is something greater than us. I think modesty is an important virtue for a biblical woman to aspire to develop. Modesty flows from a heart that acknowledges that there is something greater. As a woman begins to see herself in light of the Gospel (namely, the Jesus Christ made her righteous unto the Father), modesty will evidence itself in her. And this modesty is not just limited to how she dresses; it will be manifest in other areas of her life. She will refrain in her speech, will refrain in her actions, and will refrain in her dress. You will see meekness in her. Modesty is the fruit of meekness, and meekness is a fruit of new life in Christ (Colossians 3:12).

I had a friend in middle school that dressed however she wanted. She wore low cut tops, tight jeans, short shorts, and showed lots of skin. These were symptoms of the condition of her heart, but not the disease. The disease was a lack of communion with the Father. But she was treated like she had the immodesty disease. She was told to pull up her tank top, buy bigger jeans, and cover her midriff. This caused her to rebel by wearing even more revealing clothes than before. Whoever “treated” her was certainly misdiagnosing the disease. What she needed was to be loved unconditionally, to be shown the Gospel, and to be treated with grace. My friend had a Gospel issue, not simply a modesty issue.

And the Gospel teaches us that we are far more diseased than we realize. In fact, we are dead. And Christ is the only cure (Ephesians 2:1-10).

So, to conclude, modesty is a virtue developed through Gospel transformation. Here is the bottom line: pursue Christ and you will understand modesty. You will speak differently, act differently, and dress differently. You will become all about Jesus.

As an addendum: Oftentimes I hear modesty as the only virtue attached to clothing. And while modesty applies to dress, it is not exclusive to it. Thus, other virtues include purity, beauty, self-control, gentleness, respectfulness, and creativity. Thus, I want to display all these virtues in the way I dress.

Stay tuned for more on modesty in upcoming posts :)

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Open Letter to KISS FM

Okay, here is the letter I sent to the producer at KISS FM…

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to voice my concern regarding your current Hand Bra Contest. My name is Anne, a 23-year-old living in central Phoenix. I suppose I qualify for the contest. However, I am not sending in a picture and I want to tell you my reasoning. As a young woman living in the age of “sex sells,” I understand the power of my 120-pound athletic body. I have been told that my body is mine and I can do whatever I want with it. I can seduce any man, convince any authority, change any mind, and win any contest. “They” say that I have freedom to do with my body whatever I want. That message is hard to miss and easy to believe. But I don’t believe it. Because I have sisters in Phoenix who thought they had that freedom, too. Now they do not have a choice. Today they are under the worst oppression ever imagined.

Exploitation starts with the little things like a hand bra contests. When a young woman takes her clothes off for a chance to win a ticket to Las Vegas, she may not hesitate again to take her clothes off for money, for security, for acceptance. Soon she might be forced to not only take off her clothes but forced to actually give her body. Soon she is a slave. I am proposing that your contest adds fuel to the fire of sex slavery in Phoenix, a city poisoned by this crime.

The problem with a hand bra contest is that in one way or other, she is selling her body. Your contest is enabling a norm of behavior for women. What if instead you used your public voice to create a new norm for women in Phoenix? What if you used your voice to speak out against sex slavery? Use your platform to help rescue young girls who are sold into sex slavery in our city. Consider it your duty to cover up these precious girls. They do not have a voice but you do. It is my hope that you would reconsider the ramifications of your contest.

Sincerely,

Anne Warner

..So, we’ll see if anything happens. If you are interested in writing something as well, here is the address:

4686 E Van Buren St.

Phoenix, AZ 85008

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Unbelievable Radio Contest

Heard something on the radio this afternoon that outraged me… The hosts announced a hand bra contest and gallery. Here are the details per the website,

If you’re over 21, send us you hottest HAND BRA pic (think Mariah on Life & Style or Janet on Rolling Stone) for a chance to win a 2011 Billboard Music Awards Party Weekend in Las Vegas! Remember, you’ve gotta be over 21 for this one and all pics must be NON-NUDE (hence the name HAND BRA).

What a horrible contest! Encouraging young women of all ages to send in a nearly-nude photograph of themselves is just so horrific. Upon hearing about it, my first thought was what is this world coming to? I can’t believe this is OK. Wow, what a crazy world I live in. Oh well, there are worse things. So I guess that’s normal. Who cares anyway? Then suddenly I realized, what the heck? That is NOT normal! This is NOT ok! This contest is endorsing soft pornography as a usual part of life. How is this allowed on public radio? It is just completely unbelievable that this is contest is so commonplace. Not only is the event itself outrageous, its implications are far worse. It implies that our society finds this permissible and tolerable. Contests such as these promote the exploitation of women. Here we see history repeating itself. But now, the repercussions are far worse: the normalcy of sex slavery. While your average all-American would say that sex slavery is wrong, he or she may not see that hand bra contests lead to sex slavery. But it does. The connection between contests such as these and sex slavery is deep. When a young woman takes her clothes off for a chance to win a ticket to Las Vegas, she may not hesitate again to take her clothes off for money, for security, for acceptance. Soon she might be forced to not only take off her clothes but forced to actually give her body. Soon she is a slave. This is deeply burdensome. And that is why a hand bra contest is NOT ok.

Dear women of Phoenix,

May I plead with you not to send in a picture of yourself? You are far more valuable than your bra size, body type, or photograph. You are precious. Your body is sacred. Don’t show it to the world. Don’t step down that path; it is destruction. Don’t let yourself be exploited. Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you want to freely show off your body. Let me urge you that the very freedom you think you have to express your body in whatever way you choose is actually making you a slave. Because one day you may not have a choice anymore. And to others of you, maybe you feel like your body has never had worth. Maybe your body was not protected or respected by the men in your life. Perhaps your life is marked by feelings of guilt and pain because your body has been uncovered for so long. Let me encourage you, there is hope! When other men uncover us, I know a man who covers us. His name is Jesus. His blood covers us. He died to take away our shame and guilt and pain. Through Jesus we are made new. He loves and cherishes us. He tells us we are valuable and precious. And he is far more dear to me than the worthless praise of men. Sisters, this is why I keep my clothes on.

And to you perverted radio hosts and voters,

You are enabling women to feel like their body is the only thing they have of worth. You are teaching men to treat women like objects. You make us believe a lie about ourselves, that I am only as good as my photographed body. I am a slave to your opinion. What if instead you, like Jesus, told me that I am worth something? What if you protected me instead of exploited me? What if you valued who I am inside, not my photograph? Women, consider your sisters at risk and imprisoned. Don’t let them walk down that path. Men, be MEN. Let me stand and fall on the merits of my character, not my body image. Would you make it your ambition to protect the women in your life? Show us that you are interested in us as people. Then let’s fight exploitation together. Let’s defend our brothers and sisters. Let’s work towards eradicating sex slavery in Phoenix. I am certain its possible.

*I am working on a letter to KISS FM regarding the contest. I’ll post it once I’m finished. For more information about eradicating sex slavery in Phoenix, visit StreetLight PHX. Maybe we should all send in a picture like this?

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“I Lobe Anne”

You know how parents teach their kids sign language before they can talk? Words like “all done,” “more,” “please,” “thank you,” etc.? Well, I like to teach them something completely unhelpful. I’ve taught Kate, Natalie, and Hudson Taylor to say “I love Anne” in sign language- which is just them folding their arms across their chest to make a heart. Its so much fun. Here is Hudson’s first time actually doing it on command…

That was back in the fall when he couldn’t talk. Now he can. So I made it my mission to get those words out of his mouth immediately! I took a video of it. Enjoy :)

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I can be a “Baby person”…

I never used to be one for babysitting. And I would classify myself as not a “baby person.” It’s always been that way; I don’t really know where it comes from. My friends all took nannying jobs in the summers, and I wondered why in the world they would choose to do that. I felt awkward around most kids. All of that to say, I’ve changed, or, I am in the process. One of my favorite phrases is rhetoric creates reality. So my former rhetoric was, “I’m not a baby person.” Now, its, “Yeah, I can be a baby person! I like kids. I actually enjoy babysitting.” Certainly, this is not an overnight change in thought, but I am working on it.

I have been influenced much by Carolyn McCulley. She talks a lot about being a nurturer, even as a single woman. She encourages women to exercise their womanhood by investing in children—giving life to them, placing value on them, and spending energy on them. She encourages her readers to pick a few families to invest in, and go from there. For now, I’m investing in the Taylors. I don’t think I ever realized that part of my Christian responsibilities as a woman is to nurture children. Uh, how did I miss that? I’m sure my mom tried to teach me this a long time ago… oops :) its all sticking now… So, off I go trying to live out my new narrative: Anne babysits and hangs out with babies… and she likes it!

An easy way for me to practice this is with Heath and Lisa’s kids. They let me live out my new narrative with their 3 (soon to be 4!) kids. Lisa is out of town this weekend, and we thought it would be fun for the girls to spend part of it with me. So Kate, Natalie, and me had a girl’s night. It started at 6pm at the movies with buttery popcorn and Sprites to share. We saw Rio, which was super cute! By the time we got back to my apartment it was bedtime, so they got settled in bed. Attempting to settle them down, I wanted to read to them. Well, here is the thing, I have zero children’s books in my apartment…So I started reading them the story of Gladys Alyward told by Noel Piper in Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God… bad idea, too many big words, too serious, and too many descriptions of the poor children in China she ministered to. Eventually, I lay in between them with my laptop and read Shel Silverstein poems from the Internet. Haha, whatever. Children’s bedtime literature will go on my “Products to increase my biblical femininity” list. Another couple of things to add… kid-proof cups and bowls. They ate dry cereal out of Pier One ramekins in the morning… hehe!

‘Twas a great weekend with these two. Cheers to many more!

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WATCH THIS! Espesh if you are single.

 

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Happy Anniversary(s)!

Four people have most significantly impacted my life. They happen to be two couples. And they both happen to have anniversaries last week: Vince & Dede Warner and Heath & Lisa Taylor. The first, my immediate family… the latter, my second family. One in Illinois, one in Arizona. Here’s what I’ve learned from them…

My dad is a really simple guy. He likes tennis, golf, the Browns, chocolate, peas, country music, hot weather, CAT, pilates, and yard work. And I admire that about him. One time he stepped out of his bubble and went out for sushi with us. He ended up mashing the little sushi bites into a plate of rice, like it was a casserole or something… so funny! Sushi is not his scene. Anyway, he has taught me through the way he lives that I don’t need to master a whole bunch of things to enjoy life or be successful. He also taught me the value of working hard and doing everything with integrity. He doesn’t complain about anything, and I don’t remember ever seeing him angry. He is humble and leads our family by serving us.

My mom has influenced me most on the topic of righteous living. She handles friendships, work, marriage, childrearing, mentoring, discipline, and conflict with certain uprightness. She is controlled, poised, and confident. She is slow to anger and quick to apologize. She is wise in her dealings with friends—encouraging them, praying with them, confronting them in love, and long-suffering with them. I never question her motives. She cares deeply about holiness, justice, and truth. But she is also compassionate and patient.

Heath and Lisa have taught me most in the areas of theology, missional living, and suffering. They have inspired me to live an intentional life and to really care for the people that God puts in front of me. They have introduced me to a number of authors and theologians that have pointed me towards a more full picture of the Gospel. I am indebted to the wisdom they have poured into my life. They live out Biblical roles in marriage, and are quick to give insight on that topic to me. They are also really direct and honest with me. They don’t pretend like their marriage, parenting, and actions are perfect…they show me how to live in a broken world. They love me well.

…So, cheers to 29 and 13 years! When I grow up, I want to be just like you.

 

This picture is of all of us last Thanksgiving :)

 

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