Every so often, like clockwork, Christian culture just sort of spazzes out over what people wear.
Sometimes we fight over whether dudes should have earrings or saggy britches, but most of the time we fight over what women wear. This is because women are the ones with the breasts.
Christians tend to get fixated on breasts from an early age. Christian boys are told to not look at bosoms, while Christian girls are told to cover their cleavage at all times. Then Christian boys look at bosoms anyway, and Christian girls see other girls getting attention from their cleavage, and it is very confusing and all that guilt and angst builds and builds until one day you’re pausing the VCR on that Wendy Peffercorn scene in “The Sandlot” and your Mom walks in and threatens to pull you out of youth group because what are those girls even doing to you, this is why we homeschool and why did we ever let you switch to an NIV Bible and looks like someone’s getting the new Josh Harris book for Christmas.
Anyway, then all those repressed Christian teenagers grow up to have blogs. Every once in a while, one of them will see a woman breastfeeding in church, or maybe a lady whose cups runneth over, or maybe they’ll watch “The Sandlot” in HD, and all those feelings come rushing back. And when a Christian feels things, they have to write a think piece, because this is the religion that James Dobson our father accepts as pure and faultless.
So some Christian blogger shotguns a Starbucks and writes a breathless treatise that conjures up visions of some hypothetical church with women skipping through the halls with rogue bosoms flopping free and men dutifully running outside to stare at the sky and avoid the fiery lustgasms. This was also a recurring dream I had when I was 14 and would have traded my Promise Keepers membership card for even a whiff of a lustgasm, but I digress.
So someone posts one of these hand-wringing articles, such as
then there is a rebuttal, like
and then someone writes a counter-rebuttal, like
And on and on it goes. No one ever wins; everyone just sort of thrashes around until the men get beaten down into feeling like slobbering animals and the women get beaten down into feeling like their bodies are sinful. Then we all go lumbering off to the next Facebook argument, always the next argument, about how to define the Emerging Church or why millennials are ruining worship music.
Actually, no one will ever win the battle over cleavage, because no matter how long you stare at 1 Timothy 2, it’s never going to tell you exactly how many buttons to button. And sure, some might say that “how to dress” is an issue we can leave up to the individual and the Holy Spirit, but here’s the problem with the Holy Spirit: He never seems to club people down as much as we want Him to. That’s why we have to do it for Him, by jumping in and inventing new sins, like the sin of Christians postponing parenthood, or the sin or women wearing pants, or the sin of…uh…not enjoying election?
So we really have no choice but to keep fighting over what people wear. Besides, think of all the sinners: how many of them have cleavage? Probably lots of them. And if we didn’t occasionally spazz out about dress codes, some of those sinners and their cleavage might feel welcome to join us.
And sure, some might say that reaching the lost is more important than what people wear, but to be honest with you, that sounds like something the Holy Spirit would say.