Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review [The Beauty of Modesty]

The Beauty of Modesty
{Cultivating Virtue in the Face of a Vulgar Culture}
David Vaughan & Diane Vaughan

Rear cover:
"In light of the value God places on marriage and fidelity, immodesty is no small sin. It is not simply a silly and vain form of self-display. It is a snare to serious sin.”


      Modesty matters.  But since the sexual revolution of the sixties, Americans have found it increasingly difficult to talk about modesty.  We have instead become so desensitized to immodesty that the very notion of virtue seems almost to have been lost in the onrushing flood of sensualism.
      In the face of this relentless trend, David and Diane Vaughan propose a Christian approach to this serious cultural problem.  Defining modesty as "dressing, acting, or speaking with propriety, respect, and moderation," they present an approach to modesty that is solidly rooted in Scripture, rather than culture, that shows what modesty is and what it is not, why modesty is so important, and what must be done to nurture modesty in our families and churches.
      The authors are not content to blame society.  Rather, they insist that the problem has worsened because churches and families are doing very little, if anything, to instill an ethic of modesty in children, teens, and adults.  Written largely for a Christian audience, The Beauty of Modesty is a valuable resource for pastors, educators, youth workers, and parents who are fighting the immodest onslaught that threatens to overwhelm us.

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This particular book has been on my to-read list for quite a while.  Obviously, since I am now posting a review, I managed to read it!  And I am glad I did.  Below are my notes, with a mixture of quotes and excerpts from this book.

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I know what you are probably thinking: "Oh, great.  Another book on modesty.  I'm good, thanks!  No need for me to continue."  Please, don't take a pass.  If you do not wish to read for yourself, I encourage you to read for your children or future children.  Notice I do not only say "girls."  Modesty is just as much a male issue as it is female.  This stuff is need-to-know and this world NEEDS TO KNOW.

"...Our present time demands God's people to dress like God's people.  Yet God's people must not only clothe themselves externally but, more important, they must clothe themselves internally, seeing with the eyes of the heart the beautiful virtue that modesty truly is..." (Preface, pgs. xiii)

"If you are blind or from another planet, you may conceivably have missed the fact that modesty has disappeared.  It is dead and buried!  If you don't think so, go shopping with a teenager."
[Barbara Hughes]

Modesty is more than just clothes.  What we wear on the outside reflects what we believe on the inside.  If I wore skin-tight clothing to show off every curve and bright, look-at-me make-up, what would that say of my secret-heart?  It would say that I wish to be seen.  "Look at me!  Look at me!  I can look just as good, if not better, than her."  1 Samuel 16:7 says,"... The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  The condition of your inner heart matters.  God alone knows your secrets.

The above-mentioned illustration can be dangerous.  As women, we have a great power over men.  What we wear can help or hinder them, whether you wish it to or not. 

"...A woman who dresses in a sexually provocative manner may not be thinking of seduction or adultery at all.  She may only want a little attention.  In fact, she might be appalled at what some men 'imagine' when seeing her.  If solicited for sex, she would probably reply with a slap in the face.  Nevertheless, a woman must understand the language she is speaking to men.  She must realize that if she dresses in a sensual way, she is unwittingly assaulting the integrity and security of marriage, because she is causing a man to look away from his wife and toward her.  Many affairs have begun with a furtive glance." (pgs. 80)

Blunt?  You bet.

True?  Absolutely.

The majority of this generation of teens and, yes, even adults, simply do not know the truth of the virtue of modesty.  Sadly, it is my belief over half do not care to know.  They enjoy the pleasures of the world and are "happy" enough to forgo the commands of our Lord.

"He is not Lord just of the soul and not the body; or Lord of the family but not the church or state.  Christ's reign is universal." (pgs. 71)

"Ostentation is sinful because its goal (whether admitted or not) is to be different or exceptional in order to attract attention... It's really all about self.  A Christian woman who loves Christ, however, will not be seeking attention or glory for herself... She will strive to honor and exalt the Lord in all that she does.  Her motto will be: 'He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).'" (pgs. 89)

"Godliness is devotion to God in Christ as our supreme love; a love more intense than our desire for earthly fads or fashions.  When a woman adorns the gospel, everything about her reflects on her Lord... When evaluating the contents of your closet, here is a good general rule: When in doubt, throw it out.  It is always better to be safe than sorry..." (pgs. 98)

When you are in that closet musing over what to wear, ask yourself "What does my wardrobe reveal about my worldview?  What is the message of my image.  Is Christ the Lord of my closet?"

Just something to think about.

In conclusion, be aware of what you wear.  Not self-conscious, mind you, always thinking of yourself, but mindful of what you are portraying to those around you.

"Simple garb and adornment is more fitting for a woman than a wagonload of pearls..."
[Martin Luther]

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my rating:


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3 reflections:

Missy Parris said...

We have this book but haven't read all of it. I'm adding this to a reading list I'm getting together. Thanks for your insight!!! It's good to know there are girls that have the same values as our daughters do. You all are a blessing!!! Missy

Jody Dake said...

Great review Sarah! I am so very proud of you!

Always Experiencing Him,
Mom

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Mrs. Parris: So glad! This is what I hope for my reviews - that they will help and encourage others. =]

my mama: Thanks, Mum! You make my day! <3