State of undress

by Stan Mitchell

It’s springtime already. Signs of spring include flowering trees – the incomparable dogwood in Tennessee comes to mind — hay fever, and, well, people young and old taking off their clothes.

It’s everywhere. Skirts rise to a position above the waterline, and necklines plunge. As Will Rogers declared a long time ago: “I never thought I would see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.”

I don’t think he was thinking of Miami or the Caribbean when he used the word “places,” do you?

Let’s be clear about some things: It is possible for a woman to look classy, beautiful and charming while dressing modestly. I am aware how hard it is for a woman to find modest clothing in the aisles of our department stores. However, I also know that Christian women have found creative ways to cover up.

I appreciate that! It is not necessary to be frumpish in order to be modest.

It should also be noted that men’s shorts (have you seen our kids with the baggie basketball attire?) are much more modest now than they were twenty-five years ago. (Don’t believe me? Google a picture of Larry Bird or Wilt Chamberlain!) Now if we could only do something about the exposure of underwear under those shorts…

Let’s also be honest. Those of us who are adults know what it takes to get attention, which parts of the body to uncover, which items of clothing to make tight as the skin on a sausage. Ours is a sophisticated day when television and the Internet allow us to view actors and actresses wearing little or nothing to such a degree that it barely (yes, I know) shocks us any more.

I mean to be tasteful in my remarks, but sufficiently plain to be helpful. Christian men and women cannot allow our society to dictate what is good and beautiful.

We can be thoughtful and helpful to both our young men and women in the examples we set. When the heat of summer rises, we need also to let our standards of good taste rise.

“Do not let your adorning be the external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in God’s sight very precious” (1 Peter 3:3,4).

The secret of real beauty is, and always has been, the development not of cosmetics but of character.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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