When you think of modesty and purity culture, you think of hatred for one’s body and impossible rules.
To me, I find freedom and hope.
When I became a Christian, I didn’t just follow Jesus because his grace was liberating – I followed him because I liked his and Paul’s teachings (plus others).
I still view the Bible as a work of human hands trying to understand God and His Will, but I do see instructions in it as well. And I hope to raise my children in these instructions.
First off, I am a progressive Christian. I actively fight for queer rights in the Church and State, and (am currently) advocating and donating money to children in need at the border. But I’m also a Nebraskan, with ingrained ways of life. In Nebraska, women (AND MEN!!) are expected to be modest in appearance, but most importantly in attitude and how we carry ourselves. Humbleness is key, and kindness is expected and hoped for.
As a Christian in my First Christian Church, here in York, NE, we preach liberation from sin and hope in Christ’s salvation. We also, though, preach modesty and purity in all things. In speech, deeds, and yes, sex. While it is not talked about like it should be, all people should guard their dignity. And while I don’t believe being modest is about not tempting the other sex, I do believe it is having respect for oneself and God.
Now, for me, being a liberal Christian, I carry two mantels: Progressive, liberative theology, and modest Nebraskan values. I carry them side by side, even if they conflict with each other.
So, how do I carry these two theologies? Frankly, I believe in the queer rights, relationships, and open-ness of queer and trans folks. I believe everyone should love and be loved as they wish to be, and open about their identities. For me, (and it doesn’t have to be for you!), I believe my future (possibly queer) children still need to be modest in appearance, deed, speech, and refrain from having sex as a young teenager. I do recognize, however, that marriage just out of high school (so that they won’t have sex outside of marriage) is unrealistic, as many are just discovering who they are, what they seek in a partner (whether same-sex or not), and what they want out of life. I just hope, however, to ingrain in their hearts that they should wait to consummate any relationship at a later age, to reduce to risk of pregnancies and STD’s. I want them, most importantly, to be at a more mature age when they connect with their partner on that intimate level. Strangely, I remember the singer of Coldplay talking about how his mom told him to wait til his early 20’s to have sex, and how that actually blessed him when he was older. I want the same for my children.
I know most children, especially teenagers, don’t listen to their parents. I know at least one of my future children will have sex at 14, and possibly get an STD. Thankfully, their is forgiveness and lessons learned in all of that. I just pray that my children learn from my family’s mistakes, with having sex so early, promiscuity, getting STD’s, and teenage pregnancy. And yes, there is birth control, but there have been times when I’ve heard about a young girl’s boyfriends reject a condom mid-sex, they forget a condom, or they forget to take their pill. Birth control is a safe option, and is absolutely wonderful, but it is not fool-proof.
Thanks for listening to my rant.