Monday, October 6, 2008

Talk about nerve!

Warning: rant coming on! I won't be holding back....

Okay, for those of you who read this that are not of the faint of heart, here is exactly what I think about Christianity (or what passes for it) today.

There are a few things that drive me insane around "christian" folk. Probably the one that bothers me the worst is immodesty. I don't mean that everyone should run around in ankle length skirts in only somber colors, wear a burka, or anything like that, but for goodness sake, do I really need to see you chubby tummy, your butt crack or your boobs???? I think not. And these are the "christian kids" from the good "christian families." I usually find that the parental units of these kids tend to take one of two paths: 1. I had no idea that my kid wore clothes like that (of course the kid can't drive and doesn't have a job--who paid for those clothes? Who purchased them? Who launders them?) or 2. I think it looks fine and my little prince or princess looks cute. Why shouldn't he or she look cute? It's everyone else that is immodest! This roughly translates as: make everyone else cover up so that my child stands out and gets ALL of the attention.

Of course both groups cry loads of tears and are heartbroken when their kids behave in a matter consistent with the look of their clothing instead of with the lessons they learned through home, church, etc.

A case in point is cheerleading uniforms. Some parents make sure that the coverage is ample and appropriate within the needs for movement that the girl has. Others just go for the skimpiest, shortest, tightest thing possible. Our squad has lengths from crotch to just below mid thigh. You can look at the kids and know a lot about the parents who approved of the length. Now, I am not prudish, by any means, but I don't need to see bloomers when the girl is standing still. Even worse, we have been asked by other Christian schools to not bring our cheerleaders back to other functions unless they wore pants under their uniforms.

I try really hard not to be judgemental, but I see it all the time in the community, in church, and at school. I know how hard it is to try and direct a child to adhere to a reasonable (actually pretty lax) dress code only to have the parents take offense that pants have to be pulled up or belly can't be shown. It's even worse when cleavage is shown. It doesn't happen often (and I don't think that it ever happens deliberately) among the adults I know, but when exactly did women begin to believe that their breasts can be even a little bit exposed and that nobody would notice? Teachers lean over desks and help kids, good grief, check your necklines! Or their buttocks? It's embarrasing when you can run into an adult at a grocery store and see two half moons of the person's butt hanging out as they walk away. It's worse when your kids know them and comment after they leave about what they saw (is that why they are called booty shorts, Mom?). Geesh! It's a hard call to discuss modesty without making it appear that you are attacking the fashion victim.

The sad thing is that I know some otherwise beautiful, Godly, women who just don't seem to realize that their clothing send another message. The men aren't much better, but, as a married woman, I don't socialize with very many men, just a few friends of the family. So, I don't have a lot to base an opinion on the character of the "man on the street." I guess you'll have to ask the men you know about that one.

And let's talk about modesty in relation to behavior. Now, I understand at a sporting event, being concerned about a bad call or a good play and expressing approval or disapproval. But, what about the parent who is constantly screaming (not cussing, but very, very derogatory) at the high school kids (his kid included) at a Christian sporting event? I know from experience that it is annoying and embarrasing for the people around this person (just from listening to the comments that I hear around me) and creates a lot of pity toward the kids that are victims of this constant tyrade. Does it help the kids to want to do better? Does it edify or uplift them in any way? No, it doesn't. It demoralizes them and makes them not want to play.

I sat at a volleyball match once where this parent screamed constantly, "you are losing the game for yourselves girls" while the team captain kept telling them, "it's okay, just do your best." I was outraged! A child had to try and calm them while and adult ripped them apart. I wanted so badly to scream, "if you make them cry, then we'll lose for sure!" I didn't yell it, but I sure wanted to. We make a point of praying before and after games and playing fair and playing clean and "playing in Jesus' name." But, when we lose, it's often due to the devil on the sidelines who hides behind cruel words. Yes, we play teams that are just better than we are on that day, but the constant heckling and picking apart of our players doesn't help or inspire them to do better.

But beyond the usual sporting event bad behavior, what do we teach the kids about talking to each other in brash, bold ways? Do we encourage a meek and quiet spirit? No, we encourage kids to "get attention" and "go out and get what they want." Excuse me? What they "want" or what their bodies and hormones prompt them to want will only lead to heartache.

The adults of my generation have messed up so many things for themselves, but they don't counsel their children to avoid their bad behavior--only to do it better so that they don't get the consequences. The devil doesn't work like that and we all ought to know better.

Here's a sad commentary. Each year, new students coming up into high school will ask personal questions of their teachers. Every year someone asks me if I am married. I always tell them that I have been happily married for 21 years (okay, it's 21 this year, I tell them the appropriate time for when they ask) and they invariably ask, "to the same guy?" I always laugh and tell them yes, and that it can be done if you are willing to work really hard at it. Several of our teachers are in the same situation and we chuckle over it, but it is sad.

And then there are the bizarre events we encounter when we go on away games to other Christian schools. I'll write more on that later. That one has me so very angry that I am going to take a break and pray before I dare to broach that subject!

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