Category Archives: Takes (and retakes) on morality

Stepping Away From the Self-Righteous Abyss

I had a perfectly good post ready to go today. It was weighty, full of insight and self-assurance in calling out what, in my perception, was yet another folly of our community. There was only one problem: Before I posted it this morning I read Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 2 & 3. If you’re not familiar with it, Paul basically points out (in quite vivid detail) the difference between knowledge of the law and application of the law. In other words, just because you know the law (the will of God for our lives) doesn’t mean you are righteous, you actually have to DO it; to live it out. Daily.

And, what I was going to say that others in our community weren’t doing, I wasn’t doing either. In this case, I was upset at our community’s lack of outrage over the county government’s decision to pull funding for a “meals on wheels” program for some of the elderly shut-ins in our community. I wasn’t upset at our local government although I hate that the government is forced into a decision that does this to these elderly citizens. (Yes, I say forced, because ultimately it is only through our continued funding {read: taxes} that social programs such as this can exist. You want lower taxes—here’s the result! Not that I have an opinion on the subject.) I was upset at our community’s lack of response (read: astonishment, activism, outrage) whereas the very next day there was a huge outpouring of community support over an eleven-year-old boy who had his bike stolen on the very day that he’d purchased it with money he’d worked all summer to attain.

But this morning I thought, “What did Ido?” Did I rush down to donate to my local senior center? No. Did I call up my local government official and express my concern over the decision? No. Did I remove the plank from my own eye so I could see more clearly to remove the speck from my brother’s eye?

No.

So, where was my basis for judgment? And within this realization I believe is the root cause of friction between those who call themselves the “faithful” and those that have yet to cross the line of faith. What’s the difference? If we, who call ourselves Christians, aren’t living with an outward appearance of being somehow different, what then are we? Just because we spend an hour or so in a building together on the weekend, how can we claim to be any better than . . .

Different than . . .

Special . . .

Set apart.

I have a lot of work to do with the huge plank in my own eye, before I can call out anyone else for the speck in their own. I can start by donating to the new food bank that just opened beside my own church (how did I never see that before?) I can start by being an example rather than a bullhorn. One of my favorite religious quotes has always been by St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel always. If necessary, use words.”

Maybe it’s time I listen to it.

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The Immoral High Ground

Okay, let’s be honest here; I like women. (And in the interest of full disclosure, I happen to be married to one of the best, hi honey!) And, to be even more transparent, I have struggled—and as with any addiction, continue to struggle—with, let’s say, a susceptibility towards some of the more adult aspects of sex and female beauty . . . especially the online variety.

So, this being a warm summer and all, when an attractive woman goes by in shorts and tank-top . . . I will tend to notice. And on this particular day, and with this particular young woman, it was no different—except maybe the shorts were a little higher and the legs a little slimmer. Until I did a double-take and realized this particular young woman was, well . . . young! Possibly, if she were lucky, she may have been in her early teens.

My first thought was . . . well actually, my first thought was to wash my mind out with soap, but my second thought was, “Holy Buckets! This is so wrong on so many levels!”

First and foremost, it hammers home the fact that I objectify women: Duly noted.

Second, that women today, young and old, find it okay for whatever their reasoning to wear shorts so short that actual butt cheek peeks through when they stand with their hip ever-so-slightly cocked to one side; thereby, in my humble opinion, openly subjecting themselves to objectivity. (Go ahead; argue with me on THAT one!)

And lastly that a PARENT would be okay with their child—yes child in this case—going out of the house wearing that kind of attire. Yet, not a couple minutes after I “noticed” this young woman, here she came by once again with several siblings and . . . mom.

*Sigh*

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t in any way consider myself “prude”. Conservative, possibly. Boring, perhaps. But I also think if a woman, a woman, wears attire that accentuates certain aspects of her figure or highlights certain parts of her body, if for no other reason than she can; I have no problem with that. Argue semantics if you will (i.e. who “can” wear what), but you’ll find no objection from me. Heck, the Kardashians make a career of it! But how do you tell a person; a child; another parent, that, “you’re not helping.”

Well, I guess that’s why I’m here . . .

To you, young woman: You’re not helping. You’re not helping yourself, your self-esteem or your self-confidence. You may THINK you are—it may even seem like a power-trip or head-rush to you; eliciting the type of reaction I’m sure you’ve garnered. But the outward appearance you’ve made for yourself is not the type of crutch you’re envisioning it to be. Once you grow out of this phase of childlike face on budding, womanly body you’ll realize that those glances, looks and/or out-and-out stares are neither complimentary nor approving—that’s called “lust”.

To you Ms. Parent: You’re not helping. You’re not helping your daughter’s self-image, her confidence or her mind-set on what a woman truly is or is capable of becoming. And allowing your daughter to dress like that forfeits your right to bitch about the fact that guys—young and old—will ogle her; or that society objectifies women; or that “there are child molesters in the world, and possibly in my neighborhood and what’s a poor mother to do?” Because you’re also not helping those with a propensity towards abuse—abuse of images all the way to abuse of others.

You’re . . . not . . . helping!

. . . but for all of our sakes, put some clothes on that child!