CRAS: Nudity

If you’re not familiar with my term “CRAS” go here for an explanation.

Clothing demonstrates to others our character. What we do or do not wear projects our character to the world. As Christians we should strive to project Godly character with what we wear. We do not want to give a false impression of God’s people to the world. We should be humble but also project joy. We should dress according to occasion. Somber times (and corporate worship) call for somber dress and somber face. Joyful times, such as weddings, call for more joyous dress.

But what about nudity? In my quest to become more Biblical in my thinking and less influenced by culture, this topic has come to mind any time a discussion of “modesty” comes across my newsfeed.

What we wear can demonstrate to others our openness or reservedness. Nudity is to be fully open and exposed. Which is why people generally do not like it. People do not like to be vulnerable. Sins and scars can be hidden with clothing. 

While nudity equalizes us and removes classes, every habit is demonstrated on the body. Abuse from self and from others is displayed. Such things are shameful and the desire to cover them is great.

Is simple nudity sinful? Some say lust and sexuality make nudity sinful. Some say the dress requirements given to the Old Testament temple priests prove nudity is sinful. However, I conclude that simple nudity is not a sinful state. Would God have created Adam and Eve in a sinful state? In spite of the unclothed state of man, God declared Creation “Very Good”.

Some say that certain passages in Leviticus 18 and 20 define nudity as sinful. However, it is clear from the context that “Uncovering the nakedness” is a condemnation of sexual immorality. Literal readings would mean we cannot change our children or bathe an elderly parent. We could not care for others in any way that might require exposing their bodies.

These passages do not condemn simple nudity, they condemn sexual acts among relatives or between non-married people. There is also a condemnation of rape found in these passages. “Exposing the nakedness” in this case is an aggressive act of embarrassment and objectification. In the story of Ham, the bible does not condemn Noah’s nudity, just Ham’s exposure of it. Noah cursed Ham’s son Canaan for drawing attention to his compromised situation.

Some say we should always wear clothing because it is symbolic of Christ’s covering of our sins. This was certainly true of the clothing God created for Adam and Eve. Is there reason to believe God’s clothing of Adam and Eve to be prescriptive to us? When He provided their skin coverings God could have outright declared nakedness to be sinful. However, He simply provided coverings to them as an act of mercy and as a protection to the new harshness of the fallen world. Nudity seems therefore to be acceptable morally in some if not many and most situations.

Some say that the command to “clothe the naked” implies that nudity is sinful. However, if we take this approach to other commands to care for others we would have to assume the state of poverty is sinful, being hungry is sinful, being imprisoned is sinful, being a stranger is sinful, being thirsty is sinful, and being sick is sinful.  All of these states of being would be preposterous to declare sin, so why declare nudity sinful?

We clothe the naked as a protection against the elements and to make the person socially acceptable to the culture they reside in. We do not clothe them because we are making a statement that the body is inherently sinful. Because of this I do not think it’s a requirement that we should clothe cultures where nudity is normal. Indigenous people getting dressed after being converted show us less that nudity is sinful than that the culture that brought them the gospel is “superior” and they are showing respect and admiration for it. Many missionaries did not concern themselves with forcing clothing on the natives, even where they noted the nudity in their journals. The gospel was first and foremost on their minds. We should be more concerned with spreading the Gospel than in making sure people are clothed according to our cultural standards.

Some say that nudity is only appropriate in certain circumstances. They argue that nudity in the garden was only between spouses. I have a few problems with this position. The proponents of this must be reading into scripture an assumption that Adam and Eve would realize the sinfulness of exposing themselves to others outside of their marriage once they started procreation. This is patently absurd. God gave one rule in the Garden and it wasn’t “cover up when  you start having kids.” 

I suppose I cannot say they are accusing God of creating Adam and Eve in a state of sin, since these folks say nudity in marriage is not sinful, but the command to take dominion and procreate was given before clothing. This to me demonstrates that nudity would have been the state of man even after procreation. Had man not fallen, he would still be naked to this day. The only reason he might have gotten dressed was for protection from the elements outside the Garden. But that is speculation as well, and I’ve already condemned the speculations of others so I’ll move on.

While it may sound special and spiritual to claim that the sight of one’s body should be reserved for one’s spouse (and I do not condemn those who feel this way), I do not believe it is a Biblical mandate. If it was inherently sinful to expose ourselves to others besides our spouse, one would be sinning by showering and changing in a public locker room or by exposing ourself to the nurses and doctors at the hospital. There are no exceptions for sin. If we cannot find Scriptural support that says seeing or exposing our nudity is sin outside of marriage, there are certainly no verses excepting doctors, nurses, or old men at the gym.

We should reserve sex for our spouse, but the body is not itself sex. The body is a sin-scarred image of God, not inherently sinful in itself, but marred by one’s spiritual condition.

Does this mean we should all strip off and preach the Gospel in the nude (as Isiah did)? No. We should be offending others with the Gospel itself, not in our appearance. We should adhere to the dress norms of the culture we are reaching.

Does this mean we should have naked church services? One place perhaps that we could be safely naked would be church. But, clothing is symbolic, it does demonstrate a level of humility before our God that we should cover ourselves in His presence. Unless Scripture tells us to remove our clothing (like God telling Moses to remove his shoes) we should wear clothes to church. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 demonstrate that what one wears in church is important to demonstrate our holiness to the world around us. Again, we should be offending the pagans around us with the Gospel, not with our dress, if certain parts of the body offend the culture around us, we would be right to cover them up for the sake of our witness.

So when should we be naked? I do not think that’s the right question, it is not a matter of “should” it is simply a matter of “is it wrong, can I condemn someone as a sinner for doing it?” We cannot Biblically condemn nudity as a sin, but we should be careful in how we approach it. We should not violate our conscience or the conscience of those around us. We should not offend our culture with our bodies, but with the Gospel alone. We should be careful not to project a false image of ourselves, clothed or naked.

Can we go naked here, there, and everywhere? I don’t see why not. “Should” we? It depends.

Be careful what you wear or do not wear, it says a lot about you to the world around you.

Modesty: An Unconventional Take

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Appearance can be accurate in its description, or it can be a lie. One of the most obvious and immediate aspects of our appearance is our clothing. What we wear or do not wear says a lot about us to those we meet. Clothing, makeup, and hygiene can accentuate one’s character, or they can grossly distort it.

In 1Timothy 2:9-10 Paul says,

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

There are innumerable blogs out there telling women what they can and cannot wear “biblically” . Nearly all of these blogs are concerned primarily with the sexual signals a woman’s clothing conveys. If she uncovers too much, or shows too much shape, or uncovers the wrong part, it is assumed she is giving notice to men about her sexual availability.

The dress-code writers often use the word “modest” to describe a woman “properly” covered up. However, “modesty” in these verses has little if anything to do with sexuality.

“Modesty” in these verses is concerned with the outward expression of the inward condition of the heart. That is a mouthful but it essentially means one can be modest wearing anything or nothing or anything in between. Despite what the Christian sub-culture in the West has decided to call “modest”, there is not a spelled out dress code in scripture. The closest we can find are explicit dress requirements given to OT priests, but those are commonly understood to be ceremonial in nature and applied to the priests, not necessarily to the lay people and most certainly not to those in the New Testament.

Christians should be willing to dress according to who we are reaching. Christians should be “all things to all people” meaning that we should dress down for the poor, dress up for the rich, and overall dress according to the culture one is preaching to. If we adopt the clothing (and manners for that matter) of the culture we are evangelizing, it projects a loving attitude towards those we are hoping to reach with the Gospel. If we choose to ignore their culture it can display to them a lack of charity and love. We should not change our character or violate our personal consciences or Scriptural commands, but we are allowed to conform to the acceptable outward appearance and customs of other cultures to reach them (Timothy and circumcision).

Modesty and decency differs according to culture, where nudity or near-nudity is the norm both are “modest”. In a culture where it would be considered improper to expose a head or a thigh, it would be immodest and indecent to do so.

Does that mean we go naked to reach the naked? Isaiah went naked to make his point. Other prophets did so as well. It would not necessarily be wrong to do so. Is it required or recommended? No. We should only expose what our conscience allows.

In a less dressed culture, one should be willing to dress down as far as they feel comfortable in their own conscience, and in a more dressed culture one should be willing to dress up as much as they need to in order to prevent offense. If the culture you are reaching insists on head coverings and long sleeves, we should have no reservations about adopting both, no matter what our personal liberty allows.

What about make-up, jewelry, and shaving for women? In the 1 Timothy passage above, Paul specifically mentions hair and jewelry and seems to imply that women should have none of it.

Right or wrong, our culture values the appearance of “put togetherness”. Many women shave and wear makeup to feel “put together”. Many women will not leave the house without doing either. Culture has convinced them that to neglect either one is at worst a sign of rebellion against the good order of society,  or at best an overt expression of slovenliness.

In our culture, when one neglects certain hygiene practices, such as shaving, it conveys a message of looseness and slobbishness. There is no doubt a double standard in this for males and females. Culture requires women to put a lot more thought into their appearance than men. I believe this has much to do with our over-sexualization of the (primarily female) body. Much of the “modesty” subculture actually increases the objectification of women by hyper-focusing on the sexual and nearly ignoring any other application of the word.

The male body is not nearly as critiqued as the female body. Men can get away with athletic wear or pajama pants where women are critiqued for it. Men can gain a beer belly and it is barely noticed. Men can also uncover more of their bodies and be socially acceptable.

Is it a lie for a woman to wear make-up or jewelry or to shave her body hair? Does it promote a false witness to others about who we really are? Again, as I said before, our outward appearance is an expression of the inward heart. If a woman feels beautiful inside I see nothing wrong with her expressing that beauty on the outside with the use of nice clothes, jewelry, or make up. The outward expression of her inward self can take many forms.

What does this say about the woman who does not do such things? It can tell us any number of things. Either she feels ugly and unkempt on the inside, or she feels that the normal cultural expressions of outward “beauty” are contrived and she can better demonstrate her inward condition through her smile or through her words or acts of kindness.

Sadly, because of feminism, many Christians would try to label her as a rebel against God. They assume she’s trying to push back against gender norms and trying to be male.

Maybe she is just a rebel against a godless culture which objectifies and over-emphasizes youth and sexuality in the female appearance.

Am I saying that all women who do such things are objectifying and over-emphasizing youth and sexuality in the female appearance? Not at all. They just value and prefer the culture’s preference for “put-togetherness” and do not want to give a false impression to others who may think by their appearance that they are internally wretched. They are presenting themselves externally to the world according to what they believe they are internally.

Many of us cover and hide our natural appearance with clothing and our scent with deodorant or perfume. Is this a lie? Or is it simply deference to culture? The culture should hate us for the Gospel, not for what we do or do not wear.

In 1 Timothy,  Paul was writing to culture filled with pagan practice. Hairstyles and jewelry worn by the temple priestesses had no place in the Christian church. We ought to be careful to make sure our church clothing honors God and does not cause others to stumble back into their pagan roots. We ought also to project an appearance of humility in church. We do not want to offend the poor by showing off our wealth, nor do we want to draw attention to ourselves at the expense of the Worship of God.

We ought to be modest in more than simply clothing or adornment, we ought to be modest in our attitudes and treatment of others. Our clothing should reflect our inward person and project a love towards others that cannot be rightly opposed. Our appearance can be accurate in its description, or it can be a lie.

Be careful not to distort reality with your appearance.

Worthless and Worthwhile Words

What passes for civil discourse these days.

Words words words. It is an understatement to say modern political discourse has devolved into vulgarity and platitudes. Of course, politics are simply following culture. Our culture finds entertainment in sex and poop jokes. It thrives on pornography and degrading, dehumanizing violence. It is telling to me that the most viewed page of this blog so far has the word “butthole” in it. A lot of people entered that word and the word “wife” into Google to get to it. For the record, don’t actually do that…
This is nothing new really. All cultures display some level of their depravity in a public way. Unlike many commentators, I will not lament the downfall of our civilization. So many people, and sadly, many Christians, think that what our culture does is completely new and unheard of. This is laughable when one considers history. Our culture is no more depraved than the Romans or the Greeks. Our culture is merely showing signs of age. Cultural dementia typically sets in around the 200 year mark for advanced civilizations like ours.

However, it’s not just dementia for our culture, it’s schizophrenia. We are perfectly willing to accept depravity from certain people, but if someone not on the approved list shows the least bit it’s to the chopping block for them.

Language use is the most telling sign of this schizophrenia. We laugh, smile, and dance when certain people use certain words or phrases. When non-approved people use the same words or phrases our culture warriors call for their heads.

Now, do not think that I am squeamish when it comes to words. Firefighters swear worse than sailors most days. There are words and phrases used on the fire line that would make a sailor blush. I’m not one to get wound up about words. However, there is a difference between words used to make a strong point (as sailors and firefighters use them) and words used exclusively for shock value and offense.

It would be nice to see some words that are used exclusively for vulgar or profane purposes removed from our common vocabulary.

Certain words for female genitalia for example. I do not care if it is feminists or if it’s Trump, certain words are degrading and disrespectful to women no matter who uses them. Making a “cute” hat and giving it a vulgar name does not win people over to your opinion, it mainly makes you look like a jackass. And no, the word is not vulgar because genitalia are vulgar. It is vulgar because it has been used as a derogatory term for weak people for years. It used to describe a wimp (scaredy-cat basically) and eventually became a term for female reproductive organs. Using the term for your genitalia is essentially agreeing with those who call women weak and useless. If you want to reclaim your genitals, at least use correct terminology and proper names (i.e. stop calling the whole area your “vagina”; learn the correct words).

The “N” word. Can we either tell rappers to knock it off or allow white people to say it too? It’s a word reserved for a special group, and this is hardly fair (isn’t fairness what everyone wants today?). Throwing this word around does not make black culture respectable, it just sets it back several generations.

In fact, it seems there are a long list of words and phrases that are perfectly acceptable for some but not for others. Rappers, pop singers, movie stars, feminists, and certain politicians get a free pass to use many of these words. Anyone outside of these specific groups gets lynched (can I say that?) and demonized if they dare even hint at them. Either the words are offensive all the time and should be eliminated from use in civil company, or they are not and should be freely used by everyone. Don’t be hypocrites; either stop using these words entirely or stop demonizing the “unapproved” list of people when they use them.

By the way, your reckless use of words will lead to an even worse world than the one you were protesting. Continuously using degrading language cheapens you and those who you claim to support. When you make certain words a common part of your vocabulary, you make those words more acceptable to use by your enemies. If you think you are somehow winning a word back from bad people by making it more acceptable in common speech, you have to accept the fact that you are also making it more acceptable as a derogatory word. Eventually, when people become numb to hearing these words, harsher, more degrading words will be substituted in.

If you are going to use strong language, at least learn how to do it right. Screaming expletives or using vulgarity just to be shocking is not making your point; it’s making an ass of yourself. Using certain words as the only adjectives or metaphors in your vocabulary just makes you look ignorant or at the very least uncreative. Fighting vulgarity with even stronger vulgarity is an exercise in stupidity. Learn to use pointed words at the right time. Offend people with your ideas, not the vulgarity of your language or actions.

Also, if you are going to use “big” words, learn to use them correctly. Take out a dictionary before you start spouting off. For example, a “bigot” is someone who will not tolerate others having a different point of view. To tolerate means to allow. Most of the times I have heard the word “bigot” lately the only real bigots were the ones throwing the word around. People hopelessly ignorant of their meanings throw around terms like “Racist”, “Hate”, “Fascist”, and “Phobic” in the hopes that they will strike a chord somewhere. Listen, it helps your case if you know what your words actually mean. If you just go around using emotionally charged words because they sound scary or “intelligent”, your message will fizzle out and nothing you fought for will remain.

I expressed an opinion on Facebook answering a post about abortion. I was very quickly called a misogynist, a jerk, and all kinds of unsavory words. I’m not sure where this got the woman who slung these insults at me. She knew nothing more than a script. “If someone disagrees with you, throw these terms at them”. I asked her to be civil; she called me a Nazi. This kind of rhetoric makes words meaningless. I eventually walked away from the conversation because there was no reasoning with that kind of crazy.

If you protest, choose your words for effect, choose them for meaning, and choose them wisely. Offend people with the radicalness of your ideas, not the vulgarity of your language. Most of all be kind. There is no sense in being a bully to others to make your point. If you can’t win them over with rational, sane, simple kindness, you’re probably not going to win them over anyway.

Avoiding the CRAS 

​“GRAS” is a government label which stands for “Generally Recognized As Safe”. Many things are labeled as GRAS but are only safe to a certain point, or are not safe at all. But the government is too lax to change the label, so the products or compounds continue in public use.

I propose we create a label for things that are commonly called sin that really are not sin. “CRAS” would be a good acronym for these things. Things “Commonly Regarded As Sin” include drinking, dancing, long hair on men, short hair on women, nudity, being drunk, use of birth control, saying certain words, anger, telling untruths to evil people, women wearing pants, men wearing anything but pants, and on and on.

Some of these things are sin after a certain threshold is met, or under certain circumstances, or when done by certain people. But the church and church culture at large is too lax to discriminate and to stop labeling these things as sin. So people continue to fight them even though they’ve never truly examined why they are so opposed and the people that engage in them are still labeled sinners.

I won’t argue that ALL people can do ALL CRAS things. Each of us have our own struggles with various sins. For some of us alcohol is a stumbling block, for others it’s nudity in art or temptations to lose our temper sinfully. Anything can be sin to depraved people, honestly. 

A few of those things I list probably surprise a few of you. Either you regard them as sin at any level and think I’m being antinomian in saying they are not, or you have never heard them called sin. All of the things listed above I have read and heard called sin. Some of them have been the topic of heated Facebook debate, with me usually on the minority side.

Each of us need to listen to our conscience and follow what it says we should and should not do. But we need to be careful not to bind the consciences of others over things that we cannot call sin scripturally. We should be gracious to those who can handle the things we can’t and stop calling them out for adiaphora.

When pointed out that there are people in scripture clearly doing the very thing they are calling sin without consequence or even at the command of God, CRAS defenders will commonly resort to saying there are exceptions. Samson’s long hair, Isaiah’s nudity, and David’s (almost naked) dancing are often explained away as exceptions to the Rule. God somehow suspended His holiness and granted permission (and command) to violate the law. 

Perhaps I am too black and white, but when there is an exception, a rule is no longer a rule, especially when it comes to sin.

People also like to change the meanings of words in scripture and say Jesus made and drank non-alcoholic wine, Isaiah was wearing underwear, or Samson’s hair wasn’t really THAT long. When pointed out that some things are relative, like hair length, they’ll say something like “well, you know what long is.” This applies to women’s dress as well with “It’s obvious when the skirt is too short” or “When too much skin is showing” or “Low cut is low cut.” 

Alcohol is also a fun topic. Some say any level of alcohol consumption is evil. Some say it’s a sin to be drunk period. But what is “drunk”? At what point does being drunk become “addicted to much wine”? How many drinks equals “drunkenness and carousing”? “Drunk” is a relative term. Do we think the wedding guests were stone sober when Jesus made the best wine in large quantities so the party could continue?  I have pointed out to some anti-drinking folks that the wine in Jesus’s day was made extra potent so that it could be mixed with water to kill microbes so the “best” wine was really the strongest. I was told that Jesus only drank heavily dilute wine. Heavily diluted wine seems to defeat the antimicrobial point of the wine in the first place.

Sinful things clearly listed in scripture as sinful are always sinful without exception. Murder, lying, theft, adultery, idolatry, incest, homosexual acts, immoderate use of food or drink, these are all obvious things listed as sin in scripture. But with CRAS things folks often have to jump through hoops to prove a sin where there may or may not be sin. Where scripture speaks, speak, where scripture does not speak, do not put words into its mouth.
The other side of “sin is sin” is “not sin can sometimes be sin.” Things not listed in scripture as sin can be sinful in certain circumstances to certain individuals. This is where the CRAS stuff falls. If it becomes idolatrous or harmful to one’s self or others it becomes sinful. If by doing it one would be violating other law (i.e. causing a brother to stumble or making a false witness of themselves) or one’s conscience (one feels x is sin, but does it anyway) then they are sinning. 

We should not take our Christian liberty to be an “anything goes” type of freedom. Those who have no problem with CRAS things should refrain from them if they are with a weaker brother or sister who cannot handle those things or around non-believers who would be turned off to the Gospel if they witness participation in such things. 

If our conscience tells us not to do something, even if scripture may not back it up, we should not do it. But we should also make sure our conscience is not left in ignorance. We need to educate ourselves so that we do not fall into the CRAS traps described above.

The bottom line with all of these things is: stop calling people sinners who may not actually be sinners. Be careful when labeling things as sins when there is little or no scripture to back you up. Don’t think that just because your conscience feels pricked by a certain thing that it is sinful for everyone. Maybe it is sinful for you because of a weakness in your character or just a spiritual struggle you’re not able to overcome. Don’t heap guilt on others just because you can’t control yourself. And don’t think that just because you are able to do them that you should do them with reckless abandon and ignore the consciences of others.

The Transgender Illusion 

I don’t believe transgenderism is anything more than a delusion. A man cannot “feel like” a woman, he has no objective understanding of what it feels like to be a woman. 

​Just a few more thoughts about the Ryland post. I don’t believe transgenderism is anything more than a delusion. A man cannot “feel like” a woman, he has no objective understanding of what it feels like to be a woman. 

Ryland does not know what it feels like to be a boy. She has never been a boy, she has no true concept of what it feels like to be a boy. She knows she has preferences and desires that match what culture tells her a boy would have. She knows that she fits the stereotype of a boy more than the stereotype of a girl.

Given that there is no objective meaning to the term “gender”, how can we tell someone who’s struggling with gender disphoria that they are actually the opposite of their genetic sex? 

We should be telling them “no, you are what you are. Accept reality and make it the best you can.” We should not mutilate and manipulate the physical reality to make it match their delusion. That is cruel and inhumane. 

We wouldn’t tell a person with multiple personality disorder that they are in fact multiple people and then go about creating identities (driver’s licenses for each identity, families for each character, separate lives for each etc.) for them in the physical world just so they don’t have to confront their delusions. 

This is exactly what we have decided to do for the gender confused. We would rather not hurt feelings so we let them live a lie and we try to mold the physical world to fit those lies. Rylands parents would rather not hurt her feelings, so instead of saying “No Ryland you really are a girl, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy ‘boy’ things.” they bend over backwards to make the physical reality match her delusion. 

This is perhaps one of the worst symptoms of the empty philosophies of the postmodern movement in the 20th century. If there is no such thing as objective truth, who are we to tell people what reality is? 

Reality is whatever one wants it to be. If I want to be a female, despite my biology, I can just declare myself one. If we can create surgeries and pulls that can make me phenotypically one, great! 

It’s only a matter of time before “doctors” attempt to create a surgery to turn children into whatever animal they are currently pretending to be. Call this an exaggeration if you want, but some are already calling for doctors to amputate limbs to “help” those who “feel they are disabled.” It’s not much of a stretch to say that self identified “cats” will want tails installed. 

In all seriousness, telling children that their feelings dictate reality is a cruel joke. These children need help, or at the very least they need parents who will allow them to go through their phases without encouraging them to embrace whatever “reality”  they are creating in their developing minds. If your kid said he was a dinosaur would you say “oh yes, you are a dinosaur. God made a mistake and trapped you in a child’s body.”? No, the healthy thing to say is “Dinosaurs are cool. Do you want to look up dinosaur videos on YouTube?” 

If your boy says he is a girl, ask him why he feels that way. If it’s because he likes pink or wants to paint his nails, explain to him that those don’t have to be “girl things.” Offer a compromise if you’re embarrassed to be out with a son with painted nails. Maybe paint one nail, or paint them at home. Chances are it’s a novelty that will wear off pretty quickly. 

If he insists that he is in fact a girl, then I believe the humane thing to do is to get him counseling to correct his wrong thoughts. We should be treating gender disphoria as we treat any other mental illness. This is not popular in today’s “feels” driven culture, but it is right. 

 

Stop Implying That My Wife Isn’t A Real Woman

All you need to know one’s gender is what’s between their legs. 

Now that I got through my sidetrack about marriage, we can return to the previous discussion about gender norms and the nonsense views so many folks seem to have about them (though that marriage theme is far from being fully explored).

Previously I talked about how gender is not a spectrum. One is either a male or a female, behavior, tastes, preferences, or personality traits do not determine gender. We live in a culture that wants to make a big deal about these things. We no longer accept that tomboys are female or (insert word for the male equivalent of a tomboy)’s are male. In our world, they must be somewhere in the middle or are in fact the other gender. 

This woman perfectly describes this change in our culture. She grew up a tomboy, rough and tumble, doing “boy” things. Her parents didn’t read into it anymore than they had to. They didn’t lash out and push her into a more “girlish” mold. They accepted her as herself and let her eventually grow up to be (surprise surprise) a well adjusted and clearly female woman. 

It’s funny to me that she specifically points out her preference for being unshod. When growing up I didn’t know any men who enjoyed being barefoot, only females, so my preference for it led me to think I was slightly girly. 

Which leads me to this point: even our stereotypes are different depending on the family we grew up in. Those who grew up in more “conservative” homes are going to define the genders a bit more black and white than those who grew up in less strict atmospheres. 

Unfortunately those conservatives are the ones who write the Christian mommy/homemaker blogs. Those blogs tend to make women who don’t fit the mold feel marginalized and a bit less of a woman. “You mean you don’t worship your perfect kids or make your husband feel like royalty?” “You have an interest in deep theological matters and think rationally rather than living by emotions?” “You’re not a multitasker who can handle cooking a big meal and hosting a dozen other women once or thrice a week, and then cleaning up after them, all while homeschooling your eight beautiful children and ensuring that your husband’s bedroom needs and laundry requirements are met to a ‘T’?” “What do you mean, you don’t really like spending all your time with your loinfruits?” “You don’t shave? You don’t like makeup? You’d rather not get dressed up to go shopping? You don’t like shopping?!!”

Even when these aren’t explicitly stated, when one reads enough (and I have) one begins to sense a trend. If you (or your wife) doesn’t live up to these perfect women’s standards, perhaps they aren’t women at all. Perhaps God made a mistake, He made them with the wrong parts. These women are describing “Biblical womanhood” are they not? 

It’s not just women who get fed this steady stream of “if you’re not like this you aren’t Godly”. Men too have to endure the world of “Wild at Heart” and are always the subject of conferences pushing them all to be bold leaders and macho men of God. I personally get whacked with these stereotypes all the time. 

Often it comes in the form of “men do x, while women do y”. Roughly 75% of the time in my marriage we are completely the opposite. The most recent example I heard was a description of how men and women pack for trips. Men pack only what they need. Women… Well. They pack for every possibility.  I’m not saying the generality doesn’t fit the rest of the world. I’m saying we need to stop making those outside the generalities feel like sinners for being a little different. I am not trying to be a woman because I tend to overpack any more than my wife is trying to be a man when she leaves for a week with a Walmart bag of clothes and probably no toiletries. 

I tend to be emotional, my wife rational. I tend to be social and extroverted, my wife is very much an introvert and has social phobias. Neither of us are too keen on shopping though she is probably more of a shopper just because I am a miser. We both hate sports. She is a bit more mechanically inclined than I am. I clean better, cooking is a draw, and she’s the disciplinarian of the children. She likes video games and cards, me not so much. Her mind is much more focused and she tends to be the one sucked into a screen or a book while I am panicked over the kids. 

She hates makeup. She doesn’t shave. She does knit and crochet She hates cooking, but loves baking. She likes lifting heavy things. She likes spiders and reptiles. She is not a fan of mice but does not panic about them. She keeps a cool calm head under pressure and is quick to jump into leadership when a group is faltering. She often craves sex more than I do. She likes to work on cars. She detests the idea that a woman serves no other function than be a pretty decoration on a man’s arm, completely dependent on him and always concerned with appearance above all else. 

Looking around the internet at most of the Christian blogs one gets the impression that all Christian women are monolithic. There is just not a variety out there, at least not when it comes to Reformed women or women that write blogs. And those who don’t fit the mold end up being the odd woman out so to speak. 

I’m going to put this out there. My wife is all woman. Just because she doesn’t fit some cultural idea of how a woman should be doesn’t mean she is not a woman. And just because I don’t fit the typical male described on these sites does not mean I am not a man. 

Watch your implications, folks. Those who write, don’t imply that you are the definition of a godly woman. Those who read,  don’t let those implications  make you feel less like a godly woman. You are a woman. Your non-stereotypical husband is in fact a man. 

All you need to know one’s gender is what’s between their legs.