PODCAST: Noticing, Lusting, and the Yoga Pants Debate

by | Aug 15, 2019 | Uncategorized | 100 comments

Podcast: Noticing, Lusting and Yoga Pants
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Are yoga pants actually pants?

Maybe that’s the wrong question! It’s time for a new episode of the Bare Marriage podcast!

I hope you all will listen, but if you don’t have time, I’ll have some links and rabbit trails below so you can read all you want as well!

And consider this podcast “extras”. If you want to go deeper into what I talked about in the podcast, here are some more things to help you.

But first, here’s the podcast:


Main Segment: Clarifying My Thoughts on Attraction and Lust 

It seems that no matter what we talk about on the blog these days, we get into the modesty debate in the comments!

This week on the blog I wrote a post with 10 things female sex and marriage bloggers wish were taught more when it comes to sex. And instead of focusing on any of the other points, the conversation once again revolved around modesty. Which I would argue is not actually even the most important one! (I’m not upset at the commenters here, by the way; I just think it’s interesting that that is the debate that always seems to be stirred up). 

So I hope this podcast helps clarify some of those issues around lust and modesty, and please do check out the rest of the post because I think there’s some really important stuff in there! 

Check out the post: Top 10 Things Female Bloggers Think Pastors are Missing about Marriage and Sex

Millennial Marriage: Should Yoga Pants Be Banned?  

In the first half we talked about the men’s side of this: attraction and lust. Now in the second half of the podcast, I wanted to tackle what is often seen as the women’s side of things: what clothing items are/are not modest, since that was also being debated in the comments.

This week I had Rebecca and Connor on the podcast to get not just the millennial perspective on this, but also the male perspective since we’ve had men on the blog tell us, “You simply can’t understand because you’re women.” We’d argue that truth is truth regardless of gender, but to appease people who wanted to hear from a man, we got a man on the podcast! 

The takeaway: the problem with lust is not yoga pants. It’s lust. If yoga pants were banned, something else would be the problem if someone has a problem with lust. Listen in to hear Connor’s perspective, and also some thoughts he has on how we can encourage and help men who are struggling in this area!

Oh, and just so you can picture him, here’s one of my favourite pictures of Connor, taken last year when he and Rebecca came with us to a children’s home in Kenya!

That’s it for this week’s podcast!

We skipped the reader question and the comment of the week section because our main segment and millennial marriage segment were based on reader questions and comments already. Plus, they were running a little long and so we thought we’d be kind to Connor and not make him edit a 2 hour long podcast! 😉

In the next few weeks we’ve got some great podcasts coming out that discuss how to reclaim female sexuality in your marriage, how to feel sexier, and why what’s killing your libido may not actually be what you think it is. So keep an eye out for those, and let us know if there’s anything you’d like to hear on the podcast! We’re always on the lookout for great ideas, and most of our podcasts are inspired by comments.

So let us know: what do YOU want to hear us talk about on the podcast? What were some of your favourite episodes so far? Let’s chat about it in the comments! 


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Jim N

    The podcast was really good. A full grown guys perspective was a great addition.

    While you brought up God can equip her, I was hoping you would directly link it to the Bible. I would have loved to give this woman hope by bringing up Timothy. He was a well rounded man used by God to do great things! The only people in his life that are mentioned in a positive manor was his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.

    I believe it mentions his dad at one point as a Greek gentile, but that was the extent of my memory serves me well.

    What a great testimony to single mothers.

    I think the reader cares enough to research the things that may arise as she asked this question so I won’t go into some things I may think could help as many others say it much better than I.

    I’ve very strongly have taught decisions to my kids. That no matter what someone else does that the decision on what they do is on them. Along side that i try to show that emotions are NOT sin. Anger isn’t sin. Be angry and sin not the Bible tells us. It’s whats done after that is what matters.

    I think the choices matter will be the hardest part of this issue as he will have a pull from a worldly parent (from what was said).

    It is true that males learn the best from males on certain issues, it is not impossible for a woman to teach them. Also remember that no matter how much data is shown about absentee/bad fathers, the aspects of a man to be a man are best taught from the father, but a very Godly man can also be a substitute to teach kids! Pray for your Sunday school teachers, bus route workers and all the like to show this to your children. This also mimics what Sheila said in that I hope she is in a good church.

  2. Rachel Jernas

    I totally agree that we should be able to see a beautiful person and be able to acknowledge that they are beautiful without it being sin. My concern is that Christian women seem to not care what they are wearing. I feel like a woman who wears more revealing clothing is not showing themselves respect. By what I wear, I teach others how to respect me. First impressions matter. How is my 15 year old son supposed to build friendships at church? I see not only teens wearing these things but even women into their 40s….. It is a big concern for me. Where are the men (husbands and dads) saying “I’m sorry but you shouldn’t wear that in public.”?

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      I do think, though, that the mentality that 15 year olds aren’t able to make friends with people because of what they are wearing is part of the problem. Many, many, many boys have wonderful, platonic friendships with girls who wear crop tops, leggings, short-shorts, whatever. So why is it that our Christian boys aren’t able to do so? That’s the question that we have.

      The issue at hand here is not what women should or should not be wearing–it’s about how we need to equip our sons and the men in our congregations to see them as full people regardless of what they wear. There’s definitely a place for the other side of the conversation–but we can’t control whether or not every woman will be dressed a certain way or not in our churches, schools, workplaces. The only thing that men CAN do is learn how to treat all women as daughters of God and see them as people first, not focus first on what they are wearing. And it is possible, but I am worried that this mentality of “How can my 15-year-old make friends with girls when they are wearing immodest things” actually makes it MORE difficult for him to see women as whole beings and contributes to the problem MORE than what the girl is wearing. Again, because in non-Christian circles it is perfectly normal to be platonic friends with girls who wear these things (and non-Christian boys don’t suddenly have less testosterone than Christian ones!).

      • Ina

        I complement agree with you, Rebecca, but also want to point out that non-christian men also feel quite free to look at porn, hook up, etc without much shame. Saying that they can clearly do it so come on Christian guys completely ignores that objectifying women is largely a cultural problem that is encouraged by society and not just a church problem. I know my husband and my brothers were shocked and sickened by some of their first working environments and the easy objectification of any women near by. Though it is definitely a church problem as well and I agree that we need to be teaching our men and sons to be able to treat all women as daughters of God.

      • Becky

        Rebecca– I’m curious about whether HOW to raise our boys to see past what a girl is wearing is one of the things covered in the puberty guide? Honest question, since my oldest boy is only 4 so I haven’t thought much about puberty prep, but I would love some practical resource for how to approach this before it becomes a potential issue.

        Rachel- I do agree with you that parents should take a role in encouraging daughters to think about the impression they’re sending, but how to handle this in a wider church context should probably be handled with more grace. I can clearly remember an incident from when I was around 16 where the male worship team leader at my church called me out for the dress I was wearing that day, saying it was too short. This particular dress, incidentally, had been acceptable for the Homecoming event at my Christian school. I’ve still never forgotten how humiliating it was to be lectured about the way I was dressed by someone nearly twice my age, and I never wore that dress again. (Nor did I fail to notice when, years later, his teenage daughter regularly wore dresses shorter than the one I got lectured about while singing on worship team.) If an isolated incident at a church I’d attended for years hurt that much, I can only imagine how it would feel to a woman who is seeking answers or connection at a church to be seen as nothing but what she’s wearing. Especially since clothes that are modest, affordable AND stylish can be difficult to find in the average store. Just look at any post about the average shorts length for even preschool boys vs girls.

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          Becky it isn’t currently in the course outright but the messages about seeing women as people first and not as potential dating partners/sexual objects is in the course. But I LOVE the idea of adding that–I’m going to put it on a list of resources to write for parents in the next course update! (We tend to update it about once a year with new material).

          And I really appreciate your insights about the church and how it handles modesty, too. I honestly think it is always inappropriate for a man to tell a woman what she is wearing is sexually inappropriate. First of all, I think most of the time it’s not even a necessary conversation to have because cultural and generational differences are often partly to blame for what is seen as “immodest.” But if it needs to be done, I think it should ALWAYS be done by a woman with a previous relationship with that girl. Otherwise it’s incredibly uncomfortable and can make the girl feel unsafe in the church (“Grown men are looking at me like that?”).

  3. Natalie

    Another great podcast.

    To answer Sheila’s question of can men look at a woman without listing after her? YES!!! My husband is one of them. He and I were talking recently about this. Since he grew up watching porn and did it almost every night before going to sleep, I assumed he was a typical man who lusted after most hot women he say. He’s been porn-free for almost a year already, so maybe his views have changed (though he was never truly “addicted” to porn. He just used it to jack off and fall asleep, and was introduced to it through his dad’s porn stash). But I genuinely think it’s a personality trait. I think some men are more innately wired that way than others. As long as I’ve known him, even though he was watching porn, he was never lustful in a degrading, superficial way. He never looked at other women when he was with me, and if he did, it was the type of woman we both noticed and discussed after she passed (like the many plastic surgery addicted ladies that live in my native Southern California). While his addictive behaviour is taken out in his eating habits, porn and lusting is just not one of his major struggles that he fights daily. He explained this to me when we talked about it, and honestly, I had a hard time believing him at first cuz I’ve been under the impression for so long (mostly based on the things I learned in church growing up about male sex drive and modesty) that all men lust. He said he has periodically in the past from time to time, but since he’s been with me and has a beautiful woman of his own (aww shucks, honey🥰) he finds he very very rarely if ever looks at other women like that. And concerning porn, he says that since installing Covenant Eyes and removing the temptation, he just doesn’t desire looking at porn anymore (once the habit had been broken which took a couple months for him). He said installing Covenents Eyes was like not buying cookies and leaving them around the house: if the temptation is removed, he loses the desire to give in to that temptation. He’s been working on his transparency with me (cuz he used to lie a lot mostly about his eating), & I find I have way more trust in what he says now that he’s making a point to tell me the truth. I asked how recently he remembered lusted after a woman & he said he legitimately could not remember (then again, he has a TERRIBLE memory lol). I think it comes down to the fact that he’s a very respectful man who has an innate desire to protect and care for the women in his life. He’s an extremely nurturing man, probably the most paternal man I’ve ever met in my life. Even when he watched porn, he was into very very basic stuff (which would explain why he’s fine now with a fairly monotonous sex life and I’m the one who seeks out variety) and the slightest hint of any disrespectful kink turned him off.

  4. Natalie

    Also, fascinating study about priming!!! Anyone that knows me knows I LOVE analysing people’s bodies and faces (not in a lustful or judgemental way or like I’m comparing myself to everyone, but more in an analytical, mathematical, artistic way). And I do that to both genders equally. So I guess that means I naturally gravitate towards local processing, which I’d say is probably true of my life overall. And I know for a fact my husband is way more about global processing than local! He’s not detail oriented at all! 🙈
    And side note: my husband was not raised in the church, so he didn’t get all the messages of “don’t lust”. In fact, quite the opposite. Most of his male family members have serious problems with lust and objectifying women. Maybe his views are in contrast/reaction to that family of origin dynamic. 🤔

    Connor’s intentional disinterest is a great strategy!!! That’s actually what I do subconsciously.

    Also, I think it’s so funny people think one piece bathing suits are supposed to be “modest”. The only thing they cover more than a bikini is the stomach, and even then, it’s not like we all can’t see the shape of your torso. I mean, c’mon, it’s frickin’ spandex! 😝🙈 The only thing you’re leaving to the imagination is the skin color of your stomach, and based on what we can see from the rest of your body like your fully exposed legs and arms and chest/face and probably a good portion of your back, we already know that color.

    And great points on modesty! Also, I think it’s funny that hunky gym-rat guys who wear VERY tight t-shirts and fitted shorts never get any flack. Maybe it’s just that my own husband is quite large and you always wants what you don’t currently have, but I definitely notice guys like that and have to be very conscious about my thoughts in situations like those.

  5. Lindsey

    I didn’t see the big debate until today, and haven’t been able to listen to the podcast yet, but I did want to mention the one commenter who said that women like men in suits because of money, status and power – and that’s not sexual. He then went on to say that men like women in their early 20s, with shapely figures.

    What he failed to do was follow his observations through to their obvious conclusions. Sexual attraction is based on reproduction and survival – women are attracted to men who seem like they can provide and protect well (on a shallow surface level this is what most women find sexually stimulating), men like women who appear youthful and fertile. If one is obviously sexual, the other is as well.

    • Natalie

      Oh, suits are MOST DEFINITELY a sexual thing too. Sure, they symbolise success and money, but they also just make the Male body look fantastic too: they emphasise the broad shoulders, slimmer waist, slim hips and legs especially if the pants are on current trend, etc. Undressing my husband from his custom suit on our wedding night definitely a sexual, erotic experience I enjoyed. 👌🏼

      • Emmy

        Just a matter of taste I guess. I don’t like suits at all. They are not sexy or attractive, and I can’t figure out who on earth invented such an unpractical set of clothing. You can’t even wash it yourelf. You can’t put it into the laundry machine. You can’t tumble dry it. You need a professional to iron it.

        But if a lady experiences aesthetical pleasure by seeing his man in a suit, well, by all means, let her enjoy it. I’m not against it.

        • Lindsey


          Just as an aside, A lot of the time you can delicate wash a suit on cold and hang dry without damaging. Just use common sense – cotton, poly, and blends are materials that are safe to get wet all other occasions, so why not a suit? Obviously wool shouldn’t get wet, but many suits hold up well to an occasional (quarterly is normally all that’s necessary) delicate wash.

          I don’t necessarily prefer men in suits, I’m more of a uniform or jeans with no shirt girl myself (I feel that this is because those convey a masculine strength and/or protectiveness) but I acknowledge that the suit appeal is at its core an attraction to position(power) and money(providence). This is inherently attractive to women – in whatever form we recognize it in – because we are hardwired to look for those things in a mate.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire


    • Arwen

      Bingo Lindsey! If you don’t want women to be shallow then don’t be shallow as man too. Do unto others…..

      • Christine

        I agree that women should be seen as whole people. However, I think it is a bit extreme to say that men who are guarding their eyes and hearts are seeing women as dangerous. They are actually wise because they acknowledge their weaknesses and limitations and are making no provision for the flesh. Personally I appreciate that my husband as a former porn addict (side note I was also addicted for 15 years beginning at age 10) acknowledges his past struggles and purposes to guard himself from falling into the same traps of lust and porn, etc. such as being cautious about what kind of shows and movies we watch by researching them first, etc. Modesty is a whole different animal, and is more of a heart issue. Is your clothing honoring to God is what we as women should be concerned about.

  6. Arwen

    Wow! What a great podcast. Another one that needs to be listened to over and over again. It’s very obvious to tell who listened to understand vs. who listened to respond.

    No matter how much you try to make someone look “Christian-ese” on the outside if they’re not regenerate on the inside they’re just white washed tombs. Since the Holy Spirit is the only one that can change hearts we must always start there if we want to change them on the outside.

    Jesus made it clear it’s out of the heart ALL things flow outward. Recently I watched a documentary (I’m a documentary fantastic, I have seen thousands in my life. It’s an addiction) on the hear hunting tribe in India who are all followers of Christ! 90% are Baptist. The missionaries didn’t start with telling them to stop hunting because they understood it will turn into an argument between Indian culture vs. Western culture.

    Instead they reasoned with them from the scripture the ultimate authority. And the missionaries watched as the Holy Spirit changed their ways. And later they found out that the women didn’t even like walking around naked. Pressure from the men and culture kept them in bondage. Absolutely amazing!

    Just thought I’d share.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s awesome! I love reading about remote tribes that embrace Christ. One of my favourite books is Eternity in Their Hearts–it’s an oldie now, but I found it so fascinating as a twenty-something.

      • Jim N

        There was another book that I wish I remembered the name. I keep thinking it was called The Love Child (a play on what the exchanges kids coined term was). It was truly sad, but it relayed Christ to a tribe with such a sad tradition.

        Warring tribes would make and break temporary treaties. When they created a treaty each tribe would give the other an innocent (young baby) to the other to bind the tribes. Their custom was then to consume the child in order for the child to be part of them. He begged and pleaded with them, he loved them, he gave everything he had to compel them but nothing he said would break their tradition or mindset. It was their own free will that he understood he could not bend.

        So instead he found a way to reach their heart by relating to them. He carefully taught that Christ came to a tribe that was not his own, died on a cross to bring peace and rose again to forever be with us.

        I keep trying to look up the book but can’t find the title. It’s been so long since I read the book. Maybe someone else can findit

        • Jim N

          Nevermind found it by remembering the missionaries names, the Richardson’s

          The book is called The Peaceful Child by Don Richardson.

          Such a great book!

          • Jim N

            “The Peace Child” not the Peaceful Child is the book I am referring to.

            Man I wish I could just edit the comment

    • Joanna Sawatsky

      Just to complicate matters slightly – it is very, very possible that the ethnicity in question embraced a western lifestyle and clothing because of the Bible.

      However, they also could have done so in an effort to see “like” the missionaries, who I presume were clothed. As their spiritual mentors, that would be a rather obvious signal. Combine that with the simple reality that missionaries often come with material benefits for native people and I could see there being undue influence that was unstated.

      Again, I’m not saying that the scenario I just laid out is what happened, but I’m just wary of simple stories in general when we’re talking about missionary-national relations. There are always power dynamics and it’s nearly impossible to disentangle them

      I just think it’s really important that the Bible doesn’t really comment on which culture’s dress is the ideal one.

  7. Karen Greenfield

    When I was 14 or 15, I was a new Christian and I went on a youth event with a local church. They had to discuss whether I could use the bathroom in the church before we left because I was wearing jeans. And I know an older woman who was asked to leave a church because she was wearing pants in the 1950s. Women and clothing are a big deal.
    “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3: 12

  8. Arwen

    I think it’s important to discuss why culture, secular culture especially manufactures clothing for women that are tighter, shorter, and see through. The same isn’t true for men. They have far more range of clothing that women don’t. For us it’s either look like a grandma or a sexy 18-19 year old. Even little girls outfit are sexualized! Bikini on toddlers!?!?!? I see it at my local pool all the time. Why can’t she just wear a short like the boys. She’s just a child like them. Why are you putting a bra on 3 year old. What on earth are you covering?!??!?! Let her swim topless with shorts like the boys.

    I really loved this podcast.

    • Becky

      Or maybe give the little girls more options for swimsuits that have those swim shirts like I can get for my boys! We need sun protection, too! (Speaking as someone who burns like an unattended marshmallow at a bonfire.)

      Now that I’m expecting a girl, I’m doubly thankful that my mom taught me to sew, because I’m fully expecting to need to sew clothes for her as long as she’ll let me. And then she can have all the pockets, too! But I know that’s not an option for most moms.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Seriously, I wear rash shirts every time I’m at the beach. I burn so, so easily. So does my youngest daughter. Sometimes it’s not modesty–it’s just plain safety and not wanting to be in pain! 🙂

      • Joanna Sawatsky

        I’ve actually been amazed at how much better girls swimsuits are now than I’d remembered! I got my daughter the cutest little rash guard – and I see lots of other girls wearing them. I’m grateful for a trend towards more sun protection and, frankly, more practical swimwear for little girls!

    • EM

      Just to offer another perspective, and because I think it’s so interesting how much cultural background plays into this…I don’t think bikinis on little girls are “sexualized.” When I was 5 years old we went to Hawaii and I got a lavender bikini as a souvenir. As I mentioned below I’m from Southern California so bikinis were totally normal. My mom and aunts always wore them on our trips to the beach. My little bikini allowed me to be just like mom who I adored, and reminded me of happy memories of our trip. Nothing sexual about it! And if some adult man thought otherwise, that is most definitely his problem!!

  9. Madeline

    Yes!!! I love this podcast so much! Its not that there is no place at all to talk about modesty, I think that the issue is that when we put *so* much emphasis on what women are wearing, we only create more problems than we solve. I really think its that simple.

    Thank you thank you thank you Sheila, Rebecca, Connor, and the rest of the team for this. Your message is so freeing! I wish I had more to add for the sake of the comment, but you really covered everything!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, thanks so much, Madeline!

  10. Kyra Brown

    (this is Jason threatening us because we took down his comments earlier)

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Jason, the reason we took your original comments down was because they were damaging to abuse survivors. We engaged with you for a very long time before it crossed that line, but when it did it was time to stop the conversation because the safety of abuse survivors is, frankly, the highest importance on this website.

      We have been blocking you since then because you continue to threaten us. In the future if you see a post of ours and you wish to have a real dialogue, feel free to post a comment and if it is not something that could damage someone who has been a victim of abuse, rape, or assault and does not directly threaten us we will be happy to discuss it as long as it doesn’t re-hash topics that we have already debated to death, because doing so does take away from other’s ability to engage in the comment section. Regarding the previous discussion, we’re not going to convince the other. And that’s fine. So we are not interested in re-hashing that conversation because we both were able to say our bit already and that conversation is over. Not all debates need to end in someone’s opinions changing. At some point, we can also simply agree to disagree, and that’s the place where we are on our end–we’re happy with you having your opinion and us having ours.

      • Mel

        Thank you, Rebecca and Co. Great properties and community building!

      • Judy

        Discussions of modesty/lust almost always devolve into women feeling objectified and men feeling disrespected. This is necessarily so, because the two subjects are not supposed to be the same discussion. The Bible addresses modesty, and the Bible addresses lust, but never together, or even part of the same passage. It’s bewildering how this seems crystal clear to us on any other topic, but on these we lose our collective minds. Three examples:

        1. A large corporation which dominates commerce in a small town grievously underpays its employees. One of these disgruntled employees decides to swipe some nice items from the office and sell them on eBay to supplement his insufficient income. He’s caught on camera and called to the office for firing. “I know it is wrong for me to steal,” he explains, “and I’m responsible for that, but you need to understand what you’re doing by underpaying me.”

        2. A father has an ill-mannered, obnoxious, disrespectful kid. The father fights the temptation everyday to completely lose it with him. One day he fails and lashes out with abusive words. The child crumbles, crushed in spirit. “Son, I’m so sorry,” says the father. “I should never have spoken to you that way. But you see, kid, you can’t act like you do and expect I won’t be affected by it.”

        3. Two friends: one lives a lavish lifestyle, and the other lives in a fixer-upper with a broken-down washing machine he can’t afford to replace. He feels deep jealousy of his friend, what with the indoor sauna and the Lear jet and the yacht. His resentment seeps out of every pore. “Friend,” he says, “I’m just struggling with the sin of envy over here. I know it’s my own problem, but can’t you see how all the things are putting a stumbling block in my path? Maybe just get rid of a few of them?”

        All the above are ridiculous, not because there is nothing to be said for employers paying fair wages, or children behaving respectfully, or followers of Jesus living lifestyles consistent with their professed values. But not in the ways listed. Never a good idea, and we all get that…until we talk about modesty and lust.

  11. Lea

    I wear rash guards at the beach too and it has nothing to do with modesty, pure sun protection.

    So why, when women similarly wear shorts or tank tops or what have you because it’s 100 degrees outside, or they are exercising or what have you, should that be a problem? IMO it isn’t.

    The problem with the entire debate is that men center themselves, as the REASON and JUDGE of what women wear and do. We cannot decide what is modest based on what a man finds attractive. That is no standard, and it is too changable too individual to make any sense.

    Also, Yoga pants are pants. It’s in the name. How amusing and maddening that people have chosen an item of clothing that covers a person completely to complain about! This is a perfect example of 1. Some men found this hot so obviously it’s immodest. That’s not how it works.

    • Jim N

      I agree that a floating standard wether made by man OR society isn’t good, But what if you could base it on what God thought?

  12. J. Parker

    Yep, my next-gen sons don’t even understand all of the hullabaloo over yoga pants. They were ubiquitous in their social circles, such that if they couldn’t be around a girl in yoga pants without lusting, they’d have to stop being around girls. It REALLY wasn’t an issue to them, and I wonder sometimes if the argument from certain men is generational. In which case, the biblical answer is that we must learn to be Christ-like in any culture we’re in—the onus is on us and we can’t blame others.

    • EM

      I was wondering that too. I think so much really is cultural. I grew up in Southern California so it was just completely normal to wear two piece bathing suits. My youth group did not even have a one-piece bathing suit rule, and we had beach & lake events often. I think we all used common sense to not wear ridiculous ones, but it just wasn’t really an issue. And I think that saved us girls a lot of grief from feeling objectified!

      • Rebecca Lindenbach

        I think much of it is generational, as well. And I think that we’re seeing even more of a generational difference because Generation X was the first to really be in the middle of the modesty/purity culture debate. I tend to find that it’s people (not just men!) in their 40s+ who were raised in the church who have the biggest problems with how women dress–not non-Christian men from that generation, and not younger Christian men.

        (None of this is meant to be derogatory of GenX, btw–it’s just interesting that I have seen that the generation who was most told purity culture and modesty messages and who were the voice of it for MY generation that tend to be the ones who have the most problem with what women are wearing these days.)

      • Natalie

        EM, I too am from Southern California (southern OC) & very much grew up in the beach culture. This was in the 90s-00s. However, our church camps in the mountains & youth group beach events still required girls to wear one pieces to those events. Most of the girls I knew wore two-pieces regularly & then had the one standard one-piece that they wore to church events. So I don’t just thinks it’s regional/cultural. I think there’s very much a Christian/church standard involved too. And I grew up in a non-denominational, pretty average church, so nothing crazy or ultra conservative.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think it is generational, J. And I think it’s not just from men but from women, too.

      • Lea

        Definitely there are generational differences.

        I look back at the stuff my mom was wearing the 60’s and all the skirts were short short short. Much shorter than we were wearing in the 90’s. Fashion swings, I think a lot of people act like it’s this constant. It’s really not, even within christian groups.

    • Jim N

      I think this topic has two distinct and separate issues that correlate to each other but are distinctive also.

      I think many of these comments don’t separate the two issues as two different aspects.

      Lusting is an aspect. This has been largely what us been discussed here.

      Modesty is an aspect. I don’t think this has been discussed so much here. Only in the way that modesty relates to lusting.

      Both affect the other but they are not dependent on the other.

      It’s what I’ve tried to say throughout my posts. But probably not elegantly.

      If I want to I can lust after a woman or man in the most covering of apparel. As seen from men with the sexually derogatory comment to women in a barqa or the movement of woman sexualizing a man in a priests robe or firefighters suit.

      What CAN be sexual is actually well documented in the Bible. Surprisingly it mimics lots of what this board. It well documents that a person can find sexual pleasure (or excitement, enticing etc) in almost every aspect of a person. Read Song of Solomon. It describes hair , teeth, cheeks, neck, stomach, arms, breasts, legs, thighs etc. And almost everyone of those described about each other.

      So we determined that we can lust or sexualize over almost any body part and also wether it’s covered up or not.

      Likewise, a woman or man can draw unneeded attention to an area that needs not be drawn attention to.

      The question then arises, what is alright to draw attention to and what is not. Is it ok to use makeup to accent my cheeks (hey they sexualized cheeks above so I have asked that question, the answer seemed easier than others) Who or what determines that? I would say as Christians we first need to seek God’s perspective. What does God say? Does he say anything about certain body parts that are private or should remain for a intimacy? Which is why I asked the question further down.

      Secondly what does drawing attention to that area imply? Does it mean only skin showing? Does it mean skin tight clothing? Does it mean tight clothing (I do understand there are tight jeans and extremely tight pants/shirts for both men and women)? Does it mean something in that area that draws attention to it (like lettering, jewelry or tattoo)?

      • Lea

        Just because men sexualize any part of the body does not mean ‘drawing attention to it’ is immodest.

        I ask not what is ‘modest’ but what is appropriate. And that has to do with the situation, not with men, or what they think, or what they want.

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          I like that, Lea–asking what is appropriate I think is a good way to talk about respect for yourself, for others, and for the situation at hand. (E.g., you could wear a very modest jeans and a t-shirt outfit if you were going to a business meeting but it wouldn’t be appropriate.)

          • Ina

            YES! I honestly think that this is the best way to discuss topics like this. We don’t need to bring boys and sexuality and shame into it all. Teach our children (both sexes) to ask the question: “what context and setting am I walking into? What is the appropriate outfit for the occasion?” I will definitely wear my leggings as pants taking my kids to the park, but the flowy skirt that gets in the way on the at the playset is perfect for church etc.

            I can remember two modesty talks from my youth distinctly. One left me sick and prepared to break up with my boyfriend (now husband) because I was terrified of marrying an animal. The second was about being an ambassador for christ and that our identity in him. The second one was so empowering and every girl was falling over herself to thank the speaker at the end. Take sexuality out of modesty and you can actually reach the young women in your churches instead of alienate them.

          • EM

            Yes! Our school district takes this approach with their dress code and I appreciate it so much. It applies pretty equally to boys and girls (no professional sports logos or camouflage, for instance) and the emphasis is on what’s appropriate for the situation, not on body shaming girls. I think one newsletter from the school even said “A swimsuit isn’t appropriate at a wedding, and a tuxedo isn’t appropriate at the beach!” The point being that wearing leggings with a crop top
            isn’t morally wrong , but it isn’t appropriate for a learning environment.

      • Rebecca Lindenbach

        I see what you’re saying, Jim, but I still don’t see what you’re hoping comes from those questions. Because I don’t think that it’s wise to create a list of what is and isn’t appropriate to wear because that just sounds really, really legalistic (creating rules that we call biblical that aren’t actually found in the Bible.)

        If anything can induce lust regardless of how much or what we wear, as you said, I don’t see any point in asking what specific thing is appropriate to wear and what is not or what is appropriate to draw attention to and what is not. Because it’s all contextual. A bathing suit (even a one-piece) would be incredibly inappropriate in a restaurant. A woman’s breasts being visible because she is breastfeeding is totally fine–pulling out a boob when you’re not breastfeeding is uncomfortable for everyone.

        As well, when it comes to what you want to draw attention to, women all have totally different bodies! It’s not wrong for one woman to want to emphasize her waist and others focus more on their legs. Otherwise we get into calling one body type “holier” simply because it’s less inherently sinful. I personally really struggled with the unintended message I was given that because I’m curvy, my body is inherently more sinful than my more straight up-and-down friends. What you’re saying and the questions you are asking lead to the kinds of messages that taught me I was inherently less “good” because of how God made me. How is someone with fuller hips NOT supposed to bring attention to them? They just exist and as such, they get attention. Nothing I can do about that.

        I think the better questions rather than “What is alright to draw attention to” is “Why am I wearing this and what message does it send.” Because that gets to the heart of the issue (being respectful of others and ourselves) but anything else and I really think we end up back in legalistic territory when it comes to clothing.

  13. Jim N

    I have only got to hear the first 10 minutes of the podcast but got to see the video earlier.

    I was also the one that pointed out the yoga pants. But to be honest (and I’ll concede maybe it was the subsequent posts after mine) people largely disregarded my original comment. I said that Yoga pants ARE sexual to guys and gave a reason. Why did I say that? I explained after, because my wife didn’t even understand that they could be taken that way. She has and does a very good job at defining a line of modesty in clothing. She merely couldn’t understand how it would be until I explained it to her. She only saw something sexual if it revealed skin. After explaining and giving how it was perceived outside myself that she at least understood what I was talking about. At that point she could then make a proper determination of her actions after.

    I wanted to write this comment to start the talk about an alternative to determining what is modest and what is not that is not based on society with an overtone of the Bible. Instead what if I challenged you to create what is modest based on the Bible with an overtone of society. Is it possible?

    To add this disclaimer, everything I’ve heard so far is pretty spot on for the guys side. We have to learn to not see women as a collection of parts, to see them as Gods dear children and be able to learn to not lust even if they choose to draw attention to areas we want to lust on. I’m not trying to deny this aspect.

    What I am challenging is instead of using society as a standard, can we use Scriptures to find a standard (not just for women but men also!)?

    Let’s focus less on items of clothes and instead on the mind process going into determining. I believe God at least gives us a guideline to all things in the Bible or a way to think when considering all things in the Bible, shouldn’t this include clothing? So we could start the discussion on what does the Bible say on parts of the body. Are there certain parts that God considers private? If you give an answer, can it scripturally be backed up?

    I’m intrigued to see how this might go.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      I see what you’re saying, Jim, but I DO think that most of this is cultural/generational and not a sin issue necessarily. But I think that focusing on the mindset (which I agree we should do) wouldn’t actually lead to what you seem to want: women to stop wearing these types of clothing.

      In Canada/the US, there is nothing culturally wrong with wearing yoga pants/leggings because that is what is normal these days. Individuals may have issue with it, but culturally it is perfectly appropriate and does not send any message like “I’m available.” So if a woman is wearing something that is culturally appropriate, I really don’t think there’s any biblical statement that would say she is wrong to do so, and asking different questions wouldn’t lead her to put the yoga pants away because, again, they are culturally appropriate!

      On top of all of that, I live in a multicultural city where much of what is considered “modest” in Canadian culture is incredibly scandalous for the people in my neighbourhood who come from more conservative countries. Am I responsible to dress to their modesty standards? No–no one would expect me to wear floor-length skirts and always cover my arms even though I do have neighbours who have those standards themselves. All I can do is dress to the best of my ability in a way that is appropriate and reasonable for the culture I find myself in, understanding that there will be some people who consider it immodest and some people who find it prudish because we all have different backgrounds. Like you said, the heart is more important than the clothing–and there is nothing in the Bible that expressly tells us what type of clothing items are inappropriate because cultures and societies are all so different, but are all capable of serving and worshipping God, even if we look and dress differently.

      I love that you talked about focusing on the mindset more and we actually totally agree on that–but would you be OK to you if that mindset didn’t lead to women not wearing yoga pants?

      Because from your comments, it doesn’t really seem like it. It seems like you believe that if people were asking these questions they would stop wearing leggings. But that is putting your own personal opinions of what is appropriate or not on someone else, even though they’re not actually in the wrong. They’re the ones who are biding by what is societally appropriate. Since the Bible doesn’t give specific standards for dress other than to dress in a way that is societally appropriate and doesn’t draw undue attention to oneself, logically they’re dressing biblically if their heart is pure and they are simply dressing like normal people.

      • Jim N

        I’ll apologize for this incoming multiple posts as I would like to be complete.

        @rebecca I’m saddened that you seemed to skip over my main point. You even said you “don’t think” there is anything in the Bible talking about clothing.

        I specifically stated to try to not think about clothing but if the Bible referred to certain areas that should remain private. My challenge seemed completely overlooked.

        What I am saying in this comment is to assume nothing about lust, but instead focus on does the Bible refer to any body parts differently than others so we can define modesty outside of lust?

        Do you agree with the following three points below?

        1)Lust is an issue

        2)Modesty is an issue

        3) They are not the same but do intertwine or interact with one another.

        In my comments I’m asking to take lust out and focus on modesty. Wether a person lusts or not is on that person. So I’m asking to take a look at modesty.

        God didn’t tell us “you can’t use Cocain” but he did tell us about mind altering substances and anything that takes us away from being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

        Likewise I do believe the Bible tells us a few areas that are different than others on the body. People usually only think of the male parts and female parts.

        You asked the question if I minded if that meant that this led to women still wearing yoga pants. The thing is that it’s not me that minds. In all honesty, as a Christian, Who cares what I think or you think or what culture thinks. My challenge is what does God think.

        I would hope you have a bit of hesitancy when have given an opinion as a teacher here above yet stated “I don’t think” when referring to the Bible. This isn’t meant to demean what you do think, nor do I hope that you get defensive in me stating this. I don’t know how much you researched or haven’t. I will fully accept it may just be a false red flag on my part.

        I only asked instead of viewing it as societal dependent, can we view it a different way with God the focus?

        I don’t believe my above comment alluded to anything of my personal beliefs in clothing. In the above all I posed is a challenge to study the scriptures on regards to modesty, not lust.

      • Jim N

        In order to take that challenge it would take time and effort to define things according to what God defines them and NOT what we have been taught or what society thinks. That means start at the basics, just like you did with teaching men about lust.

        In regards purely to modesty, God covered Adam and Eve because of sin. We still live in that sinful world so hence, Biblically speaking, we do NEED to cover up. Question now resides in what that entails. What does God say a man should cover and what does God say a woman shall cover? If it doesn’t have a specific, then does it give us guidelines? One of which guidelines MAY be While it may not say “the shalt cover the penis” does it refer to any area as reserved for intimacy that are not to be shared with another.

        This is how I tackled this subject. I first looked to the details on what the Bible said. People here seem to be setting me up as attacking or having to defend their personal choice. You included to an extent Rebecca. Which seems to be missing my point. I am only stating that as Christians, let’s look and work together.

      • Jim N

        No one has answered this question yet, Why base our viewpoint on the world then see what the Bible says? Why not base our viewpoint on the Bible first then see what the world says?

        Here’s an example to contrast the two. You’re viewing Yoga pants as the cultural norm so it’s ok. You viewed covering your shoulders as the cultural norm in Europe so that’s what you did. Why would you then have an issue with the norm in some European countries to be topless at the beach (or you could say naked tribesman hunting or naked olympians when the olympics first began)?

        What has told you that women’s breasts are any different than men’s? Men can go shirtless. Culture? What happens when that culture shifts to accept women shirtless? Will you adapt? Or will you take a stand? On what would you take a stand if you did?

        To contrast this I’m asking the opposite. Let’s define ourselves by Gods standard. Why not first define what is honoring and not to God by delving into what He has given to us. Let’s set those standards first. Then take into account what Paul says in Corinthians 10:23. In this instance my standards are set prior to going to Europe. Wether those standards include covering my shoulders or not I can still make my standards higher than what I have found in Gods word by covering my shoulders as not to offend them. But just because their culture deems covering my shoulder necessary, it doesn’t mean I’m adapting to ALL there cultural norms (like going topless or naked or whatever). I am not changing my standard at all, instead respecting them as Corinthians tells us while I’m in their presence. That is also a choice that I would choose or not.

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          I actually AM basing my viewpoint first on what God says in his Word–my view about modesty is that we are to dress appropriately for the situation in a way that makes us accessible to others and isn’t coming from a place of malicious or selfish intent. To me, that is biblically what I am instructed to do in order to dress appropriately.

          I think we just disagree on what we should do after that. God doesn’t have standards necessarily for what is “right” or “wrong” when it comes to particular pieces of clothing. And so when it comes to those questions, they are influenced more by the culture around me than by the Bible, yes, because the Bible doesn’t say if I can wear shorts or not. But the culture I am in dictates whether or not it is appropriate for that occasion.

          I hope that makes more sense. If I were in a culture where the women were shirtless, I wouldn’t personally go shirtless because I’m not comfortable with that and we shouldn’t go against convictions we have, even when it’s not a sin issue (e.g., Paul talking about eating meat sacrificed to idols–it’s OK to do, but if someone feels uncomfortable don’t make them do it.). But I also wouldn’t try to get the women to cover up because in a lot of places, it’s honestly not that big of a deal. Our personal convictions are not always the same convictions someone else needs to have (again, the example of eating meat sacrificed to idols). That’s all I’ve been trying to say–we can’t force our own convictions on other people because that’s not right, especially when it’s not a sin issue but is a cultural difference.

          The reason I keep pushing back is that you keep saying we need to get to the heart of it but then start talking about specific clothing choices again. Why can’t we just say let’s all dress appropriately for the situation within what parameters we are comfortable? That way we would each dress appropriately for the current situation/society but not feel pressured to show more skin than we feel comfortable with. From what I read in the Bible, that’s the biblical ideal for dress.

          • Jim N

            So at what point are we to teach vs to accept?

            I understand that we are to love an individual, to seek the best for them and to show Christ. But Christ was not opposed to pointing out wrong and telling them to stop it.

            You say the Bible doesn’t point out shorts being wrong. All I asked is have you looked into if there are guidelines? I never pushed my agenda on you, but you seem to very strongly be pushing back against what you perceive as mine.

            I will contend when the Bible has talked about covering nakedness that it has talked about covering their loins down to the covering of their thigh in the latter half Exodus 28. This is when God was creating attire that He deemed acceptable to His elect group of priests the Levites . Oh and for those that don’t read it this was in regards to MEN. I hold the same standard to my boys in this aspect as my girls.

            In the New Testament (Rev 1:6) it makes the distinction that we are priests and Christ is our High Priest.

            To that effect, if Christ calls me a priest and God created an attire for what a priest should look like, do you fault me for wanting to follow that? And before we get into “well why don’t you wear an elaborate ephod or linen robes”, I told you that I believe there can be guidelines in what the Bible has. If God specifically addressed nakedness and then proceeded to say cover to their thighs, then I do view that as a guideline.

            Alongside the other times it talked about the thigh it was sworn on as an holy oath.

            You are welcome to accept it as cultural, but I contend that the Bible does talk about attire and also the mindset of it. Just many will not search for it or simply write it off as “cultural” of that time. Which is obviously your choice.

            All I’ve asked is to actually look into it. You’ve said there isn’t any references, I’ve given you one above. There are other instances like these that I base my attire and beliefs around but I’m afraid if I bring them up without people being open to them I will be seen as promoting “my agenda”.

            Just because people have heard it one way for so long does not make it right or wrong. You made this point with lust. Again, as a Christian I would think we first want to base our model on what God says first as the base and not fill in what the world says as the base.

          • Jim N

            You’ve done a good job skirting around the issue of sin vs modesty. Do you have ANY convictions in attire that would be called sinful?

            If it were legal and I walked into church naked. Yes love me first as Christ loved the sinful. But if I were a Christian seeking what God said in a culture that is fine with nudity, would you tell me that being naked was sinful? If so, why did you choose that standard? If not, then why did God have to cover Adam and Eve?

            This isn’t meaning to judge a new Christian or an old one. Im not saying to use this to suppress or shame. I’m trying to purvey this aspect to the Christian that is maturing and seeking for knowledge. I’m using scripture to back up my perspectives and am asking to see what others think within scriptures rather than culture. Basically I think people come here to LEARN. I know I do, maybe I’m wrong. You seem to think if I saw a woman in a skirt that half her butt is hanging out that I would ask her to leave or dress differently. We’ve had that. We loved them to see them, to Gods glory, be saved. They then started to grow and asked why we dressed the way we did. We were able to provide Biblical answers to her. We didn’t say you have to dress this way to become a member bla blah blah. We said this is what Gods word says, here are the verses. That’s how I would like to portray it here.

            By using a cultural standard of dress are you not also asking men to break the cultural standard of lust? In culture what you speak so highly against is the accepted norm. It is well within the 40% curve if we matched up what people’s perception of what it’s ok to lust on vs what is not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard WIVES say “well he can look as long as he doesn’t touch”. How sad! You are asking me to break the model culture has deemed acceptable for lusting, yet strongly dictate that I use a cultural standard for clothing. Am I wrong I’m seeing something off with the logic here?

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Jim, I don’t think this conversation is going to go anywhere. All I”m saying is that appropriate dress is about wearing things that are societally and culturally appropriate for the occasion that are respectful of your self and others.

            That line is going to be different depending on situation, context, and culture. You can be naked in a steam room, but you shouldn’t show up naked to church. You can be naked in the presence of an opposite-sex medical professional, you shouldn’t just show up naked to your next board meeting.

            If you showed up naked to church, being naked isn’t the problem. It would be that you were naked in the wrong context. It’s about respect for others, not modesty. Similarly, if a woman is wearing something perfectly acceptable in a widely agreed up on appropriate context (e.g., wearing yoga pants to grab a Starbucks drink), but a man has a problem with what she is wearing, that is an issue of not seeing the plank in your own eye for focusing on the speck in someone else’s.

            We are all called to break the cultural standard of lust, yes. But I would also argue that outside of the church, men are not expected to lust after the everyday women in their lives if they wear something more revealing the way that men inside the church are. And I believe we are called to dress appropriately, yes. But that doesn’t mean we go against everything culture does with dress. It means we have to wrestle with our personal situations, contexts, and convictions to find what we need to do in order to stand with a clear conscience before God.

            It would be easier if we could make rules, yes. And I understand the desire to do so–I think it’s one of human’s most basic drives to define and put things into neat little boxes so we can be sure we’re doing everything “right.” I did that with modesty for a very long time as a teenager and it honestly led me to a lot of serious body image issues that were NOT of God. But these rules that you seem to be trying to make would be legalistic and not helpful. I would urge you to listen to the women who have been commenting here talking about their experiences in modesty culture and how it has been damaging to them.

            I’m not saying that we are all able to just wear whatever we want and not be held accountable. But what I am saying is that we need to be slow to make judgments of others, we need to make sure that we aren’t trying to police each other by legalistic standards, and we need to be aware of the nuances that generational changes, culture shifts, and societal norms do change this conversation (and that those are not necessarily bad things).

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I think the other issue is a far more basic one: Can you trust that the Holy Spirit will lead the Christian women in your lives in the right direction? Like can you allow the Holy Spirit to police the Christian women in your life, rather than feeling as if you have to do it yourself? Because if you do feel like you have to do it yourself, then what you’re really saying is this: “I don’t think the Christian women in my life are mature enough to hear God tell them things.” I would suggest that we start trusting that God will convict those around us of things that they need to be convicted of.

            I have very definite convictions of how I should dress, but I also know how much those have changed with culture. And my personal convictions are different than my daughters’ because I’m in a different social culture than they are (and Joanna, who works on the blog, would likely dress even more conservatively than me because of her own personal convictions!). And I trust that God is speaking to them, and speaking to me, and it’s all hunky dorey, because I know that we all love God.

          • EM

            Jim, I’m trying to reply to your last comment about the 40% rule applying to lust vs. fashion. There actually is a huge difference because lust is defined clearly as sin in the Bible and it is a matter of the heart, which is always Jesus’ first concern. Wearing certain styles of clothing is not specifically outlined as a sin in the Bible so there is much more latitude there. Again, it’s a matter of the heart. What each woman wears is between her and God and should flow from her desire to please Him. And due to cultural, generational, and other factors, you just can’t legislate it with scripture. I believe having some freedom in how I dress is much more pleasing to God than me going around in a state of fear over whether I’m causing someone to lust. I think you’re frustrated because we won’t give a definitive answer, but the reason is that there can’t be one.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Totally agree, EM. Jim, I’m honestly not sure what you’re trying to do here. You’ve asked the same question, over and over again, and claim that people aren’t answering it, when really they are. There isn’t a biblical standard of what’s okay to wear and what’s not. Cultures are different. What matters is, “are you being culturally appropriate? Are you accessible to others? Are you respecting others and yourself?” That’s what I’ve said in all my modesty posts. I know you want us to say some definitive guidelines, but there aren’t any. What you wear to work is different from what you wear to the beach which is different from what you wear to the gym. What you wear to the beach differs based on where you live (Europe is very different from California which is very different from Pennsylvania). I think trying to create definitive answers is actually quite problematic, and goes against what the gospel teaches. The reason we have the Holy Spirit and not the law is so that we learn how to listen to the Spirit. Some people will be more convicted on some things than others, and some things will mean more to some than others, because of what God is doing in their lives. It’s like what I’ve said before about physical involvement before marriage. Some people will wait for the wedding to kiss, and some will kiss passionately before marriage. Neither is right or wrong; it depends what God convicts you of.

            I’m curious, though–why is it so important to you that all the women here declare that there should be definite rules? Do you see that there could be a parallel there to those in the early church that were trying to go back to the law? Any time we try to get rules what we’re really doing is trying to live by rules rather than the Spirit–we need an outward sign that we’re “in the in-crowd” and doing things right. That’s not how God works. If there were rules, we wouldn’t need to listen to God, and we wouldn’t need faith.

            So, again, God asks us to abide by the principles in 1 Timothy 2, which is to be accessible to all as much as possible, and not to turn people away from the gospel. I firmly believe that in today’s culture, you’re far more likely to turn people away from the gospel with stringent clothing rules than you are without those clothing rules.

          • Jim N

            @EM God has deemed nakedness needs to be covered. This isn’t what we are debating correct as God did this Himself in the garden?

            So then what does nakedness refer according to God?

            I gave you scripture reference where God called something nakedness and gave how the attire should then be used to cover their nakedness.

            If one was looking to please God, shouldn’t we look in the Bible for where God actually states; the priestly line of Aaron that’s sole job/responsibility was to please God and be closer than any other tribe to God, gave an exact description of an aspect of attire that pleases God, should we not consider that guideline as something that pleases God? Alongside heed that God himself said that this guideline will cover their nakedness. In which nakedness was deemed should be covered in the garden of Eden?

            Again I am trying to use the Bible here and am using relevant scriptures. I have heard many say that “God says…”. I’m open to listening. Please show me where God says it doesn’t matter what you wear? That’s all I’m asking. You’ve asked me to show where God says and I have given one reference point. Like I said before I have others but feel that if I write them (even with scriptural backing) it will turn to be me oppressing or shaming. That is not what I am trying to do. I am merely trying to bring what God says in the Bible into it and discuss that. Again I feel like I have to add explanations, I’m wanting to DISCUSS, if you feel you see something in scriptures post it. I want to seek what God says and love challenging myself to rightly divide the truth.

            Proverbs 11:14
            [14] Where no counsel is , the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

            Is it possible that like many men bought into culture saying lust is perfectly alright and you are trying to show us differently because it is what God says (which I commend)

            That likewise I am here saying that you (you meaning both men and women) may have bought into culture likewise in you’re attire (both men and women). That God does have a standard and I want to show verses.

            What I was trying to correlate with the 40% rule was that this site has proposed we not accept culture in regards to lust in they should not be our guideline because they do not line up with God.

            I am stating the same thing about our attire. That we are basing it on a culture that I don’t think lines up with God. Yet the responses I’m getting are referring to accepting culture should be our guideline. That is the correlation I am trying to make.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Jim, here’s the thing:
            You’re asking for a verse that talks about what clothes are and are not OK. Those simply do not exist. You can argue that the linen ephod verse says one thing, I think it can be said that it means we shouldn’t show our genitals in church. OK. But if we make it a “rule” that it’s wrong to show genitals, then can I not have a male gynecologist? Obviously not.

            That’s why these rules don’t work. It’s about CONTEXT, not body parts, clothing items, etc.

            The verses that I have to back this up are “Everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive.” 1 Cor 6:12. Then we also have the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 that talks about appropriate attire during worship. It was all about wearing what was culturally appropriate to wear so that the men and women were being respectful of the current cultural climate and not giving the wrong impression. It’s again, not about any particular item of clothing as much as what was culturally appropriate (and is why we don’t wear head coverings in most churches now, despite there seeming to be an explicit command to do so). Finally, the main verses about attire for women talk about not being overly flashy or making others feel “less than” by what you are wearing (1 Tim 2), not about what is inherently sinful to wear. There is nothing actually sinful with wearing gold or braided hair. It’s about using clothes as an equalizer, rather than flaunting your wealth over those who have nothing since in the church in those days, you would have a wealthy person worshipping right beside a slave.

            You keep saying that I am not using enough scripture, but you haven’t actually provided many verses for your point of view, either. And we have multiple posts on this website that delve into the scriptural basis for our stance on this. You’ve really only given one or two verses yourself, both of which cannot be used in all contexts to dictate what people should wear.

            This, to us, is an issue of discernment. And unfortunately, you can’t dictate someone’s discernment. We have to be able to trust that the Spirit will lead us, and if there is a serious issue of course we can go to individuals and voice concerns! That’s part of community. But creating rules out of scriptures that don’t actually say those rules is, frankly, legalism. And it misuses scripture and dulls our ability to listen to the Spirit because we focus on man-made rules more than the conviction of God.

          • Jim N

            @sheila thank you for at least listening to me. I am unsure at how to take the comment “can you trust the Holy Spirit to lead the women in your lives in the right direction?”

            You run this site to help bring light to things that you would hope to teach women and men Biblical principals, which I’ve done nothing but try to praise you for, because I think there needs to be teachers. I have great respect for you trying to disciple other Christians.

            Yet your comment implies that if I see something that is based in the Bible and have a voice to bring it up, that I should just accept that if the Holy Spirit wants them to learn then He will show them Himself.

            Would you accept this of yourself when you bring up being able to free the next generation from thinking they have to give into lust? No, you’ve proven that you’re willing to help set them free if they are willing to listen. You’re not imposing on setting them free by putting the info out there. You put it out there in hope that they take it and come closer to God

            I haven’t tried to police anyone in here. I’ve strongly stayed away from mentioning any specific clothing attire (sans the discussion I had with my wife and that was not originally brought up in this topic).

            I did say the comment about less clothing to which Rachel responded there wasn’t enough scatterpoint data. Which I do have some more, but she asked that we stop those comments so I respected her wishes.

            If we have to just trust the Holy Spirit then why do you run this site? I thought it was to be able to share what God has laid on your heart to others and hopefully bring them to the scriptures.

            Am I wrong in wanting to do the same in any small capacity that I can? Am I wrong in asking you to possibly listen to a differing opinion that is based in scripture and to search yourself to see what I am referring to in the Bible itself? To put out the information in hopes that people will search what I’m saying out in the Bible.

            I’ve constantly tried to revert everything I said back to scripture because I believe that’s important. It takes myself out of it

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            I don’t think it’s wrong at all that you’re trying to sort this out, Jim! And I honestly hope you understand that none of us think anything negative about you personally from this, I also want to say! You’ve been wonderfully fair I think throughout this, and I apologize for not having said that yet.

            The difference between how we approached lust and how you’ve been approaching this modesty conversation is that we’re not putting rules in place for how people can avoid lust or specific rules to make sure you’re acting without lust. But you seem to be trying to create rules for people to follow. But what we’ve talked about with both lust and modesty is getting rid of the fear-based rules and getting back to the Spirit. In fact, we’re actually applying the SAME logic to lust as we are to modesty.

            The Christian teachings about lust were: you must always bounce your eyes in case you lust, you must constantly be on the lookout against lust by following certain rules, and if you even find a woman attractive you MIGHT lust and so therefore you’ve practically sinned already.

            We said: Let’s get back to what scripture actually says: don’t lust. We don’t need to impose extra rules, we don’t need to impose extra guilt, we don’t need to call things sin that are not sin (attraction, noticing, etc.). Instead, let’s live our lives by the Spirit and learn to see people as whole people first and not as potential landmines for temptation. Recognize that attraction and noticing are not lust, and if you struggle with lust you need to deal with it yourself instead of trying to control those around you with legalistic rules. (We all agree on this point!)

            Christian teachings about modesty are: we need to have rules to make sure we’re dressing modestly at all times. Women should not wear X, Y, or Z or else it may cause men to lust/would be wrong.

            We said: Let’s get back to what scripture actually says about modesty: it’s more about not drawing undue attention to yourself than it is about not showing certain parts of your skin. Since we all live in different cultural/situational/societal contexts and we each have different body types that need to be dressed differently, that’s going to look different for different people. So let’s ditch the extra-biblical rules and get back to learning how to live in the Spirit by asking ourselves, “What message am I giving with my clothes and is this outfit appropriate” instead of “Do these clothes match the rules set out by others (that are not explicitly found in the Bible)?”

            Both of these cases we’re trying to break out of more legalistic ideas of how to live and get back to the big picture: seeing others as whole people and living life in the Spirit.

            If you do have specific verses that you think ban certain items of clothing, by all means share them! But the reason we haven’t put out specific rules for modesty or guidelines even is because it is not something that is set in stone in the Bible. Clothing items are not a sin issue necessarily, it’s the heart behind it more often than not. And so we’re saying let’s deal with the heart and aim for appropriateness, dependent on the situation or context. But then to us it feels like you’re saying, “But we need to have rules about the clothes, too,” and we think that’s missing the point and verging on legalism because, again, there aren’t really “rules” about clothes in the Bible and these things do change depending on context (it would be appropriate for me to wear a bathing suit at the beach but not in a restaurant, for example, but it still breaks the priestly clothing rule that you mentioned earlier even if it was an athletic one-piece. So where is the line drawn?).

            I know you’re trying to just decipher a very clear, stable, reliable system here, but I think this is just a grey area in the case of what clothes are acceptable and what aren’t. And that’s where we need to step back and get back to the most helpful question: is this appropriate, or is it not? Because we can argue until we’re blue in the face about specific modesty standards, but the real issue at hand is whether or not Christians are dressing in a way that makes them good ambassadors for Christ in the situation they are in. So I just simply don’t see the need for any extra rules as long as we teach each other to dress in a way that is respectful to ourselves, others, and the current context. After that, we need to be able to just trust our own convictions and judgments (and in our personal circles with close friends, perhaps there would be room for gentle correction at times. But I simply don’t see a benefit to creating rules about clothing for the various reasons and scriptures I have stated above.)

          • Jim N

            @Rebecca thank you for continuing the discussion.

            I have posted one specific verse that deals with one specific guideline I have. Yet it hasn’t been addressed unless I overlooked something.

            You seem to say I’m trying to be overly legalistic. I hope I’m not coming off that way. I’m not saying to be a good Christian you HAVE to wear this or even if you don’t conform to this guideline then you’re not a good Christian.

            I’ll liken it to this, I’ve been convicted to what God has told me about obeying authority he has put in place (Romans 13:1) obviously unless it crosses Gods commands. I drive the speed limit. In fact under the limit as not to cross over it because I use cruise control a lot and it can vary by 3 mph.

            I don’t go around flaunting that I do this nor do I go around unsolicitedly telling others that they should. My kids have asked why mom gets there faster and I explain it and are honest, she speeds. They asked me. I explain I have sinned also, so have they, so have their pastor and Sunday school teacher. Then explain how to deal with sin etc. (hard to break it down to a 5 year olds explanation at times) I do the same at church. If asked by anyone I tell them, I obey the speed limit and this is why referencing Romans 13. I’m not holier than thou as I explain I probably break lots of laws, but I try to be mindful of them and not to do it willingly. I don’t believe I’m judging or being legalistic, but I see God said to do this and I tell them when the time is appropriate. If they were to point something out I should do and relate it to the Bible then I should head that also. I don’t shake my head in disgust if they don’t but I also don’t just say nothing if I can. Speaking the truth in love to let them mature in Christ (Ephesians 4:15). It doesn’t tell us to just not say the truth as to not “offend” them, in fact it’s the opposite.

            Two ways have been shown to look at this question. Also this is provided by Sheila in another post. What is wrong vs what pleases God.

            I understand that an immature Christian focuses on what God says they can’t do, but I believe through maturity they then start converting that mentality to what pleases God.

            We hope for this same thing in our kids here on this earth. Not doing what parents said not to (while very good!) vs CHOOSING to do things that please them (this is an act of volition) is massively different.

            If we are looking to what pleases God then I gave what God created as a guideline for people that He chose to be closer than any other of even Gods chosen tribes, Aaron and his subsequent tribe of priests. (Exodus 28 as whole but 42 is where It refers to the nakedness as deemed by God and how to cover it). I mean if you are looking to get past what you can or can’t do and move on to what pleases God, wouldn’t a verse that God defines nakedness in terms of the human body and subsequently makes an outfit to cover His definition of nakedness be applicable?

            I too would have loved a Bible like the Ten Commandments. It would be simpler. But we saw how even the Pharisees warped those and but for the grace of God that would be me also.

          • Jim N

            I think there is a disconnect here and I’ve tried to connect but don’t know how or if it can be bridged.

            You said why don’t we cover our heads still so I’ll address that. 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 defines what a covering is.

            I think the disconnect comes in where you think I’m trying to create a distinctive set of rules that all Christians should abide by or else they should be shunned, shamed or add a bunch of other negative adjectives.

            What I keep saying is to define things BY the scriptures as much as possible. Like above, you saw that women needed coverings, Paul addressed what a covering was and it’s simply a woman’s hair.

            You posed the question about nakedness in front of a gynecologist, God also talked about medicinal reasons as obviously birth was the same back then as today.

            I think you got a good part of it when bringing up the braiding of hair and gold plating. You said bringing unneeded attention to certain areas like wealth status etc. I also believe that modest apparel refers to bring unneeded attention to certain physical areas.

            My question is what is then the definition of certain physical areas by Gods standard. You say that it’s based on culture and context. I’m saying that we should take culture and context into account, but I think God should create the base and then build off of that base to culture. I think has more to say about it then most think. All I’m saying is it possible that you could have overlooked them (like the example above of covering the head, unless you knew the verse I quoted and was just testing me).

            You do right to tell me that what I am talking about should not prevent me from bringing someone to the gospel. If I make legalistic views that judge and condemn a sinner then I break what God did himself.

            What I am stating is that after conversion discipleship is what we are told to do. We cannot force this on the individual but we are to be ready and stress the necessity of it. Paul likens it to babes still on their mothers milk vs Christians that can eat meat.

            I’m not even saying that during the discipleship should clothing/modesty be even in the list of top 25 things. Many other things should be taught well ahead of this (prater life, discerning scriptures, how to love like Christ, etc etc). But I’m thinking that it should be on the list at some point if they are wanting to know what God says.

            Please take that as my mentality and not that of what has been twisted by many in society. I think that we should be able to teach this, yet do agree that it has been abused and distorted.

          • Jim N

            Oh and I would like to say above I spoke about immaturity. I’m not saying I’m boasting of my maturity. I am very immature in some areas of my Christianity and sadly some areas are of my own volition.

            Please don’t think of that as a holier than though. I was merely trying to reference the point that through maturing our mindset hopefully changes. That is regardless of what we are discussing here, in every area of our life that’s what I Hope a Christian moves toward.

  14. EM

    I finally got to listen to the podcast this morning and I loved it! I thought one of the best moments, though it went unsaid, was when Connor mentioned seeing an attractive woman on the bus and Rebecca DIDN’T say, “What?? You noticed another woman?” I think it is so important and healthy to realize that our brains are wired to notice attractiveness, and that it is normal and not something to create shame around.

    • Susanna

      Yet another reason for NOT making an extra-biblical list of rules for modesty is that it quickly gets ridiculous and even unfair to apply the same rules to females with obviously more attractive bodies and those with less. The first women could end up feeling shamed and penalized for having a nice figure and the others would be prohibited from dressing to minimize flaws and maximize their best features and end up feeling ugly and unfeminine. If we put all women into identical uniforms, the very attractive women would still look attractive and the rest wouldn’t. Men who have a lust problem would still lust after the attractive women, and the unattractive women would still feel jealous about it. This becomes obvious when it’s played out in real life all around you, as it is in our area, which is full of Amish, plain Mennonites, and other groups of very conservative folks.

      • Susanna

        In other words…! Men who object to women wearing yoga pants are truly only objecting to ATTRACTIVE women wearing yoga pants! And the only way to completely avoid letting men know which are the attractive women and which are the unattractive is to put us all into sheets with slits for our eyes.

        • Jim N

          No. I think it’s wrong on both. I’m possibly (or even probably) not the norm, but I hope there are others out there like me.

          What’s immodest for one is immodest for the other. Man or woman.

          Modesty is not dependent on lust and lust is not dependent on modesty. They are each themselves a separate issue yet due intertwine in life.

          I said a little more in my other post

      • Jim N

        Lol. I agree. Standards aren’t applied by how good or bad they look. They should be about what is covered on not.

        Commenters here, again intertwine modesty and lust WAY atop much.

        Modesty is an issue

        Lust is an issue.

        Just because perceived beauty enters into the equation doesn’t make either right or wrong.

        If I think women going topless is immodest, then if the woman is a gorgeous model or if she is horribly disfigured. It’s immodest for both.

        If I think wearing a speedo is immodest then whether the guy is 500 lbs or rock solid, it’s immodest.

        I couldn’t stress enough that if you get anything out of my posts I would hope that you would get to delink these two separate issues that do intertwine but are independent on their own.

        • EM

          So Jim, do you think it’s wrong that professional/Olympic male swimmers or cyclists wear tight clothing? Are they being immodest in doing so?

          • Jim N

            @EM Yes I do view it the same. Likewise I view men in skin tight outfits the same as women in skin tight outfits.

            I even applied this in my own life in my teens. I was 12 year old Christian at the time and showed a proficiency for swimming. I wore swim shorts that were baggier as I took that stand as it was my standard. I had been taught earlier about those standards

            My coach knew how much time I had to shave to set records in my district and state. He gave me scientific data showing how I could shave that amount off by reducing drag from the swim trunks to a speedo or skin tight trunks. I won’t lie that I very much considered it. In fact one of my Christian friends competed with me and he wore a Speedo. Yeah that nearly caused me to give in.

            I had an amazing youth pastor that put it simply. God loved me. He would love me if I chose to wear a Speedo. He would love me if I continued with trunks. That never changed. Likewise he could use me either way. But maybe he was using this to see where my heart was. Would I strive more for competition or would I do something that I saw Biblical backing that pleases Him.

            He denoted strongly that even if there was no “you shall not” type command in reference to my choice that there was a place in scripture that God created the standard of covering the thigh. Then continued to explain what I have explained in other posts here about what God said I had to do vs what would please God. Then repeated to me that God will love me either way and God gave me free will to let me choose.

            In this instance I chose to keep the shorts. Ready to take the stand wether it cost me or not. That moment shaped my life quite a lot more than other more “major” decisions. God blessed me to break my district record, besting my Christian friend in districts and moving to states where I finished very well.

            My coach, who was always irritated hearing about God when me and my friend talked (even though he wasn’t part of our conversation) told me something later at a party we had to give out awards. He told me that he still won’t believe in God, but admitted that he noticed my stand. He then noticed my demeanor that it wasn’t like others either. Instead of irritation I saw a man looking for something others and the world couldn’t offer. That I myself couldn’t even offer, it was God.

            He told me if I gave in I would have broke state records. I said “it’s possible, but maybe if I gave in then God wouldn’t have shaved off my times at all.” To which he actually smiled to. I never knew what that smile meant, but I hope it was positive.

            Sadly I didn’t relay it well leading him to get saved right then. I regret so much not taking that opportunity to show the plan of salvation.

            This is why I am so wary of conforming to worldly standards just because. People are looking for different. They are looking for something that people and the world don’t have to offer. Different isn’t always bad in fact many scriptures denote that Christians should be different than the world. I believe This extends to all areas. While I took a stand in my clothing, if I then had a poor attitude I’m sure he wouldn’t have noticed. Or if I condemned all the others unsolicitedly and forced my standards on others I’m sure it would come across differently.

  15. Tim West

    Do the ladies feel it is ok for a Christian woman to wear yoga pants out in public (other than the gym) without a non-tight t-shirt covering her bum? Isn’t that wrong because it’s so titillating?

    • EM

      I personally don’t do it because I don’t feel comfortable like that, but I don’t think you can make a hard and fast rule. I have Christian friends who are fitness instructors and yes, they wear tight clothes. No, i don’t think they are sinning in doing so. So many things can be considered “titillating,” and that puts an unbearably heavy burden on women to anticipate what a man might find titillating and avoid it. If you listened to Connor’s part of the podcast, he explains really well that you can choose not to dwell on sexual thoughts if see someone wearing an attractive outfit.

      • Susanna

        I wear yoga pants to the gym every day along with nearly every other woman there. It’s standard attire, and honestly, as my older kids tell me, it attracts more attention (whoch is not modest according to the old-fashioned definition of modest) to wear some non-standard arrangement of attire in an effort to fit some church rules, as I once in a while see some conservative religious women wearing there. There are plenty of decent guys who mind their business and focus on their workouts, and there are occasionally guys who leer. This issue is close to my heart, as I am recovering from having lived all my life from childhood in a hotbed of toxic religious legalism. Still living in this hotbed, I have worked hard to get to a healthier place of dressing appropriately for an occasion and holding myself with dignity under the scrutiny of both leering guys and judgmental religious people. I find both equally unpleasant. That said, I believe judgmental Christians who hold others up to the judgment of their preferred lists of man-made rules run the risk of misrepresenting Christ. Trust the Holy Spirit to do the convicting and changing of minds and hearts where it’s most needed, whether of Christian women who dress in an overt attempt to gain lustful attention OR of Christian men who get stuck on the exterior of women and have trouble respecting and caring for them as human beings unless they’re dressed according to code.

    • Ina

      Like Em, I personally don’t based on my own comfort. However, I’ve spent years tweaking my attire for others. I’ve only worn my hair up because, “long hair is titillating.” I’ve only worn skirts that fall below the knee because, “knowing a woman’s leg has shape is titillating.” It is exhausting and demeaning to try to cater to every man in the church, especially when some would lust regardless. . Now I wear what is comfortable and what I personally deem not too revealing and don’t worry about what individual men find attractive. I echo Susanna: “let the Holy Spirit do the convicting.”

      • Susanna

        I know I’ve already said a lot, but I want to add one more thing as part of this discussion after talking this thread over with my husband.

        I feel like I can add something to this conversation, because I am a woman who is young-looking, attractive in face and figure, strong, and fit for my age who dresses well, is happy, intelligent, animated, energetic, and a confident “people person.” You could say I’m offensively attractive! Here’s the thing. I find it just as de-personalizing and demeaning when church guys act nervous and deflect their eyes from me on Sunday when I’m wearing a non-fitted non-low-cut midi-length dress and heels as I do when some ignoramus guy leers at me in my workout clothes at the gym or in my jeans at the grocery store or restaurant. In both cases equally, church guys deflecting or non-church guys leering, they’re seeing me first as a body and face, not as a human being. I can’t stress this enough. I appreciate respectful men who don’t treat me like a sex object either to deflect their eyes from or to leer at. It’s the objectifying of women that’s the problem here, in my husband’s and my opinion.

        Here’s my question. I exude life, health, and confidence and have always attracted some male attention, even when I was trying to abide by the frumpy dress code of the conservative homeschooling community. Since confidence on an attractive woman is sexy to many males, am I also to try to make myself less potentially titillating by letting myself go, toning myself down, hanging my head down, etc?

    • Natalie

      I wear yoga pants almost daily. Those & jeans are my go-to’s. I sometimes wear my leggings with tunics that hit mid-hip, and sometimes those are all dirty and I wear a regular t-shirt that comes about 4-5 inches below my belly button. My t-shirts aren’t skin tight, but they’re not super loose either. Basically, you can see my figure when I wear a regular t-shirt and leggings. Never once have I felt ashamed for wearing that, simply because literally everyone else around me when I’m shopping or running errands is wearing the same thing!!!

      Women’s fashion has purposely showcased the female figure for centuries, probably longer. Why do you think corsets were invented? Just because the female form is naturally beautiful and makes some men lust doesn’t mean women need to hide their figures. After all, God made the female form and gave her breasts and a waist and hips and legs. If religious leaders & religious people in the 18-19th century (for example, but this is also applicable to lots of other periods) weren’t up in arms when VERY low necklines that showcased ample bosoms and corsets that made the breasts appear larger were en vague, then why should we be looking down on Christian women for wearing a normal article of clothing by today’s standards that covers all or almost all of their lower half?

  16. Lindsey

    I want to address a comment that I notice was made several time during the course of the debate above – and I didn’t see anyone address it, but if they did, I apologize for being repetitive.

    Some context: I am a fairly conservative dresser, although I do enjoy a comfy pair of leggings. I’ve struggled with body image issues all my life due to being a “big girl”, and I’ve had to struggle with the longing to be found attractive and finding my self-worth in Christ. I’m not perfect in understanding or application of biblical principles, and the most important thing I’ve learned in my short life is that no one really has “the answers”. That being said, I’d like to deal with a major theological issue that I saw repeated more than once.

    Some claimed that God determined that mankind should cover their nakedness after the fall. This is patently untrue.
    A quick read of Genesis 2:25-3:24 gives a few key highlights – not only did God make mankind naked, but Genesis 2:25 gives us this “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” So, obviously they were like children, perfectly happy in their state of undress because they saw in it nothing dirty or guilty. And God considered it “very good”, so He isn’t anti-nakedness.

    After they chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and could “determine” (a better translation than “discern”) good and evil, they were instantly filled with guilt. Guilt and shame did in them what it has done since – made them feel the need to hide, to be LESS vulnerable, to be covered. NOT because of lust, but because of fear. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And the heard the sound of the Eternal God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Eternal God among the trees of the garden.” Gen 3:7-8

    God did give them coverings, but what is most important in this has been totally overlooked – Gen 3:21 says “Also for Adam and his wife the Eternal God made tunics of SKIN, and clothed them.” These tunics required the death of an animal, perhaps that first death since the creation of Gen 1. God shed blood in order to give them real coverings that would protect them from the harshness they would encounter in the newly cursed world. He also did it for another, more important reason:

    After sinning, Adam and Eve attempted to clothe themselves with paltry, inadequate leaves in order to hide their guilt, and their shame. In the New Testament Jesus is referred to as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. It also says that He was “slain from the foundations of the world”. Indeed, even as God is handing out punishments for their choice to eat of the forbidden tree we see Protoevangelium (the first good news), that God would save His creation from their sin through the shedding of blood. Every animal sacrifice and every ritual washing for millennia afterwards pointed to this truth, and so did the shedding of blood in order to give them the covering that they needed. It ALL pointed to Christ, being, as the writer of Hebrews says, “a shadow of things to come”.

    So please, please – let’s not trivialize this amazingly profound passage by making it about God’s desire for people to be covered up when in reality He made them naked, and didn’t clothe then until they were going to be living in a harsh and unforgiving environment. So let’s not lose sight of the point of the story because we are getting bogged down in trying to use it to argue for our own extra-biblical convictions.

    That’s all, sorry it’s so long but I really felt moved to comment.

    Also, Happy Sabbath to any other Sabbath keepers who may be reading! I hope everyone has a great weekend that brings them closer to God.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Lindsey, that’s an amazing walk through Creation. Thank you.

  17. Manon

    Just a simple, gentle question; in other LHV posts, the topics are about reclaiming ‘sexy’ about finding suitable, and sexy underwear. Lingerie clearly has a purpose, and an expected response, no? and very much sexually oriented!So we’ve established that certain clothing IS, in fact, sexy, and sexually enticing. Would it not be obvious that other ‘immodest’ or ‘revealing’ clothing would have a similar effect, and, frankly, be intended to have that effect?

    I have a difficult time telling my daughters ‘that’s not modest’ while at the same time telling my sons ‘there’s nothing wrong with that, YOU have a problem.’ It just seems like such a double standard.
    I’m not suggesting I have answers, just that this is a struggle for me to navigate, and lead my kids in.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Manon–It all comes down to this. You can’t control what women wear in the wider society. You can’t control what teenage girls wear even in church! So to think that the way forward to escape lust is to change what women wear means that we will never stop the problem of lust. That’s why, when you’re talking to your sons, it has to be focused on their own hearts and attitudes. And the more you focus on what the girls are wearing and trying to protect your sons from that, the more they will feel that lust is inevitable. It really is that simple.

      • Tim West

        Sheila, I agree that Christian males can’t rely on girls and women in society wearing less sexual clothing, so the onus is more on them to try to control their impure thoughts. But I don’t think it’s right if most Christian girls and women dress in a titillating manner (e.g.: yoga pants without a non-tight shirt over the butt) just because women in greater society do so. Why? Because it tells Christian males that dressing that way is not wrong from a Christian perspective. It makes it easy for them to say “If my Christian sisters aren’t concerned with behaving Christlike in this arena, then why should I be too concerned?”

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Tim, we’re never saying that Christian women should have license to wear whatever they wear. When the Holy Spirit is with you, you will feel convicted of what is proper to wear that shows that you respect yourself and others and that you want to be welcoming and approachable. I explain all of that here. What I AM saying is that there should not be hard and fast rules, because culture changes and fashion changes. As I’ve said in other posts, if you had told me 20 years ago that I would wear jeans that are form fitting I would have told you that you were nuts. But EVERYONE wears them today, and they’re honestly not a big deal. If I were to wear the Mommy jeans of the 90s I’d stick out like a sore thumb. And if absolutely EVERYONE is wearing something, then to tell Christian women “well, you can’t because it’s titillating to your brothers” doesn’t make sense. That means that they aren’t capable of going out in public and likely should be at home, never watching TV or movies, and just hibernating.

          Plus we know the devastating effects that Christian dress codes have on women’s sexuality. It makes us ashamed of our bodies. It makes us carry men’s guilt and sin. And it’s wrong.

          So how about I’ll continue to teach women how to dress to show that they respect themselves and others, without giving specific rules, and men start worrying more about what they are thinking than about what women are wearing? I really think that that is the only way out of this conundrum. But men policing what women wear never works, for either gender.

          • Tim West

            “they’re honestly not a big deal.” Yoga pants with a loose shirt covering the bum are not a big deal, but without a shirt they’re a very big deal! If 90% of women wear yoga pants, maybe 10-20% of them wear it with no covering shirt. So that look isn’t everywhere. That’s what I’m objecting to – yoga pants WITHOUT the covering shirt. What if guys wore shorts where you could totally make out the shape of the head of his penis? Where you could tell whether he was circumcised or not? That’s the equivalent. Now that look on guys won’t incite lust from women like no-shirt yoga pants does for men, but I’m trying to make a point. I honestly don’t believe you understand the male sexual attraction to visual stimuli, Sheila.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            You know what, Tim, culture is changing. What you’re saying may have been true a few years ago, but it sure isn’t true where I live now. It’s very rare that I see a woman wearing leggings or yoga pants with a shirt covering.

            Fashions just change over time. So when that happens, you have two choices: (1) you either learn to deal with your lust and adapt to the cultural norms as many other men have so that you can live free of sexual immorality, or (2) you choose not to and blame women instead and by not taking responsibility, choose to live in sin.

            Many men in this culture do not lust after women in yoga pants. If you do, it is a personal issue because you need to learn to adapt to what is currently happening in the culture around you.

            Jesus clearly states that no temptation has seized us except what is common to man. You have the choice to deal with this or continuously give into temptation to lust. It is not the woman’s fault.

            You can try to control women all you want, but it’s simply not going to happen. If it isn’t yoga pants, maybe the next trend will be equally as troubling for you. Either way, the issue is still yours to deal with and yours to take hold of.

            “I honestly don’t believe you understand the male sexual attraction to visual stimuli, Sheila.” Well, God does understand because he created men. And he still said that if a man lusts after a woman, he should gouge out his own eyeball. He doesn’t say he should cover her up. God also says that you CAN withstand temptation. Not that you have to figure out a way to make temptation never come your way.

            We’ve talked about the yoga pants debate to death, and I don’t think we’re adding anything to the conversation and so I’m going to be ending it at this point because both sides have said their piece.

    • Judy

      Discussions of modesty/lust almost always devolve into women feeling objectified and men feeling disrespected. This is necessarily so, because the two subjects are not supposed to be the same discussion. The Bible addresses modesty, and the Bible addresses lust, but never together, or even part of the same passage. It’s bewildering how this seems crystal clear to us on any other topic, but on these we lose our collective minds. Three examples:

      1. A large corporation which dominates commerce in a small town grievously underpays its employees. One of these disgruntled employees decides to swipe some nice items from the office and sell them on eBay to supplement his insufficient income. He’s caught on camera and called to the office for firing. “I know it is wrong for me to steal,” he explains, “and I’m responsible for that, but you need to understand what you’re doing by underpaying me.”

      2. A father has an ill-mannered, obnoxious, disrespectful kid. The father fights the temptation everyday to completely lose it with him. One day he fails and lashes out with abusive words. The child crumbles, crushed in spirit. “Son, I’m so sorry,” says the father. “I should never have spoken to you that way. But you see, kid, you can’t act like you do and expect I won’t be affected by it.”

      3. Two friends: one lives a lavish lifestyle, and the other lives in a fixer-upper with a broken-down washing machine he can’t afford to replace. He feels deep jealousy of his friend, what with the indoor sauna and the Lear jet and the yacht. His resentment seeps out of every pore. “Friend,” he says, “I’m just struggling with the sin of envy over here. I know it’s my own problem, but can’t you see how all the things are putting a stumbling block in my path? Maybe just get rid of a few of them?”

      All the above are ridiculous, not because there is nothing to be said for employers paying fair wages, or children behaving respectfully, or followers of Jesus living lifestyles consistent with their professed values. But not in the ways listed. Never a good idea, and we all get that…until we talk about modesty and lust.

  18. Flo

    I wish that men, instead of saying “look at her” or “boys will be boys” rather start telling each other “stop staring, you are married!” Men need to remind other men of the sanctity of marriage. Only that way can mindsets change.

  19. T

    I’m wondering if anyone can give me advice on how I can beat my insecurities regarding the noticing vs. lusting issue? I’m married to an incredible, godly man who is so diligent in protecting our marriage and honoring me with his eyes. I realize that noticing a woman isn’t wrong, but I’m still struggling with feeling inadequate/less pretty if my husband DOES think someone is “cute” or notice them. I think my insecurities are hurting our marriage, though, because he is constantly “on guard” so he won’t unintentionally hurt me, but I don’t want him to feel stressed out all the time as though seeing a woman who is dressed inappropriately is wrong. I guess I’m fighting against myself because I want him to have the freedom to just enjoy life and not be scared of “hurting me,” but I have to be honest with him in that it does still hurt. I tell him it’s an issue with me that I need to get over, but he cares about me so much that he’s afraid to even think a woman is pretty. That’s not how I want our marriage to be. I know he thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, (he tells and shows me all the time) but I still wrestle with deep insecurities. Any advice?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      T, that’s a great question, and I likely should make a whole post about it!

      What I’d say is this: we need to understand that sex in marriage is far more than just physical. It’s also emotional and spiritual connection. The fact that a man (or woman) could find someone else attractive has absolutely no bearing on their desire to make love to us rather than that person, because sex is more than physical, and the attraction is more than physical. I can legitimately see that Ryan Reynolds is very good looking, but that is NOT the same thing as saying that I want to have sex with him. On the contrary, I’d be absolutely grossed out to have anyone touch me other than my husband, because that is the nature of my relationship with my husband: it’s exclusive. I don’t expect my husband to think that no one else is attractive; I do expect him to not entertain sexual thoughts about other people, and to only want to sleep with me.

      I think when we make sex into something that is primarily physical, then it becomes hard to deal with the fact that another person could be pretty/prettier than us, because then wouldn’t they be a better sexual partner? But when we realize that sex in marriage is about a WHOLE PACKAGE of things that encompasses the whole relationship, then you realize that simple beauty is such a small part of it. I explain all of this at much greater length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, too.

      Now, if you grow up watching porn, then you do rewire your brain so that sex becomes only physical, and that’s a whole other kettle of fish you have to deal with, but that doesn’t sound like it’s your problem here. But sometimes even growing up in the church we equate sexual desire so much with men lusting after other people that we get entirely the wrong message about the meaning of sex, and we have to fight against that. Does that make sense?

      • T

        Thanks so much for the response, Sheila! That does make sense, and thank you for sharing. Porn hasn’t been an issue for us in our marriage, (and neither one of us grew up watching it) and a I know that sex is so much more than just the physical…I think what I’m struggling with is the emotional side of it. I’m struggling with realizing that there’s a difference between thinking someone is attractive and wanting to be around them/be with them, if that makes sense. I’ve talked about it with my husband and he’s explained that he doesn’t feel bad when I think another man is attractive because he knows it’s just automatic and not me wanting to be with him, but I have a hard time realizing that when it’s the reverse situation. (Double standard, I know. LOL :)) I think I may also be relying on my spouse too much for attention/love, when I need to ultimately find that in the Lord. I guess I’m struggling with practical ways to do that, and practical ways to remember that even if my husband thinks someone else is attractive it doesn’t mean he cares for them like he does for me. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but thank you again for the reply!

        • Lindsey

          I feel you on this one, T! I think for me it’s difficult to believe that my husband can notice/appreciate another woman’s beauty without comparing her to me – and in my mind, I will always come out on the bottom. So, I know how excruciating it can be at times. I don’t expect him not to notice, and I know that he truly loves me…it’s just that because I am constantly finding myself lacking physically, I cannot FEEL that my husband doesn’t as well.

          • T

            Yes, exactly!! I feel so poorly about myself that I can’t believe my husband doesn’t feel the same way/make the constant comparisons that I do.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            I think the reason it’s often difficult for women to accept this is because we, as women, are told SO MUCH MORE that our looks matter when it comes to our worth, our identity, our value as human beings.

            I honestly think that the answer to a lot of this stuff isn’t even in anything our husbands can do–it’s in about retraining our own brains as women to combat these lies in ourselves! Our husbands can definitely help with that (and it sounds like both of you have husbands who are definitely doing what they can to help), but at some point until we are determined to say to ourselves, “I am valuable and worthy in and of myself regardless of how I look,” I think it would be very difficult to get over the jealousy.

            If we have our value and our worth in something like how we look, then pretty/beautiful women are definitely threatening! If someone is prettier than us, then according to our own standard of value and worth they inherently have more worth than we do. I hope we all agree that’s a super messed up and false thing to believe!

            I know that getting over this idea that I had to be the “prettiest” of my husband’s past girlfriends in order to be sure that he wouldn’t ever want to go back to them was HUGE for me. Just accepting that I am me, and even if there is someone who is pretty out there, that doesn’t take away from who I am. And he’s with me for me–that was really helpful. And ironically it actually helped me start to actually feel more beautiful, too, because the competition aspect was taken out of it.

            I guess I just want to encourage you (and other women reading this) that we do have the power to change how we think. You can choose a list of mantras and truths to speak over yourself when you have those negative thoughts (Bible verses about how God has called you personally or knows you and created you specifically are great!) and slowly but surely we can learn to find our identity in something outside of our looks so that other beautiful women aren’t threatening anymore, because in your mind they simply don’t have what you have to offer–YOU! (Especially since this is what your husband already believes, from your comments!)

          • Flo

            I have struggled so much with this! Always feeling that I really cannot compare to most other women because of my age and weight, and feeling that I can compare even less to the really pretty ones!

            And, as Rebecca said, I had to realize that all this came from me believing, deep inside, that my worth was defined by my beauty. I was shocked that, in spite of all I have achieved in life, I was still bound, deep inside, to this unfair idea!

            And then I had to accept and believe that my husband doesn’t love me for my physical beauty, but loves me for who I am, which includes so many more things.

          • T

            Rebecca, Flo, Lindsey, and Sheila – thank you so much for responding. I really appreciate the advice and support. And thank you for going more in depth in today’s podcast!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I thought Rebecca’s answer was really good. I do hope it helped!

  20. David Martin

    Great podcast!

    Let me add an observation that you *imply* but don’t ever actually *say*…

    You correctly assert that we should be able to see and notice a person’s physical beauty without treating the person as a collection of body parts. Not only is this possible, it is God’s will.

    But that also means that is is NOT God’s will–and not how God designed men–to automatically have a sexual response to the sight of a woman’s body… no matter how little it is clothed.

    In other words, God did not “make men visual.”

    This truth is inferred by your podcast (else it would be unfair to expect men to avoid sexually objectifying women’s bodies), but it needs to be said out loud!

    This “men-are-visual” lie pervades the church’s thinking today. It drives false “modesty” rules, and it shifts the responsibility for men’s heart-based sins to the women… it makes women dangerous to men.

    Furthermore, the church’s adherence to this lie has empowered pornography bondage in countless Christian men (and women). Rejecting the lie is the only permanent way to overcome Pornography addiction and truly reach the point where men (and women) consistently treat women (and men) as whole persons rather than body parts.

    I’ve created a website that exposes this lie… as part of an effort to help men overcome pornography. It’s good for women to read, too.


    Thanks for the podcast! It’s a message the church desperately needs today!



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