Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Miley and Culottes

Below is the text I just sent in an email for work because I wanted another way of sharing this message. Each week I send out an email to 300+ church leaders with a list of articles for resources. (If you're interested in being included in that, you can email me at charity.roberson@vbmb.org)

I feel incredibly anxious about all of the comments appearing on my social media about Miley's performance Sunday night. I've learned a new term, "slut shaming," and it's making me really angry. Miley was not the only one who sang about sex...she was crass and maybe she wasn't as smooth as Justin Timberlake or Bruno Mars...but sex was everywhere.  And we shouldn't be shocked by that.

In my attempt to find sources to help church leaders engage in healthy conversations around this, I came across a page for "modest clothing for women and girls." It was a religious company called "dressing for his glory."  Apparently dressing for his glory includes wearing long skirts passed the knee and fully covering tshirts for swimwear, yep that was their swimwear. They even brought back the culotte that they say is perfect for running, activewear and just day to day activities.

There has to be something in between and it cannot just involve a conversation about women, especially lobbing insults at a young woman who is growing up in front of the world and is probably just interested in progressing her music career.  Honestly, I just want women to stop being so angry at and judging of other women.  I want the church to be willing to talk about sexuality as a good thing. I want the church to realize that we should learn from what happened on Sunday night at the VMAs and be willing to engage in some very hard, complicated conversations.

As I say in the message below....I think everyone should read the first article, especially men. It is long and the language may make some squirm but it is a beautiful insight into a woman's life.

"ELM Weekly

I've struggled with what to include in this week's email. I'm overwhelmed with the comments about the VMA's Sunday night, primarily about Miley Cyrus, that are coming through my social media. Perhaps you aren't aware that on Sunday night Miley Cyrus danced around a stage, wearing next to nothing, doing a very overtly provocative, sexual dance with Robin Thicke, whose lyrics to his latest catchy song talk about blurred lines, knowing that she is a "good girl" but "I know you want it" and "let me liberate you." 

Perhaps you'd like to just shut this out and pretend it does not matter to our church. Or maybe it just matters to the youth minister. But the reality is that it should matter to all of us.  Not just their actions on the stage but because this is a time to engage all of us in real conversations about the issues of sexuality and popular culture. We cannot sit behind our stained glass, criticizing what is happening outside without engaging it and offering up something in response that is healthy and whole.

This week's articles are about the issues around sexuality and modesty. The first article while having nothing to do specifically with the VMAs, I believe every man receiving this needs to read. It is long and it may make you uncomfortable...read it anyway. The second is a great overview from Walt Mueller about what we can learn from Sunday night's performance.  This would be great for passing along to parents and to use as a staff discussion. The rest are great articles that address how we have typically discussed issues of modesty within the church. Let's all see what we can learn from Sunday night's performances....

The Only Thing My Double D's Ever Got Me Was Kicked Out of Church by Becca Rose
Isn't it sad? Isn't it shocking? The main thing that taught me to hate and fear my body was the Church. I struggled with eating disorders and self-harm for most of my teenage years. Isn't it sad? Isn't it shocking?
No. Today, in the church culture I grew up in, it's not. It's normal.

Lessons From the 2013 VMAs. . . Disney On Parade, and Whatever Happened to Fart Man? . . . . by Walt MuellerWe need to love those who don't know the truth, live the truth with mercy and grace in the midst of those who don't know the truth, and tell the truth to those who have no idea what the truth really is. The table has been set and a hungry culture is seated and waiting for the Gospel to be served. It's not about a culture war. It's about engaging with and loving individuals.

Is Modest Really Hottest? Rethinking Why Christians Actually Cover Up. by Matthew Paul Turner
The undertone of our definition of “modesty” is shame. Whether the words are ever said aloud or not, how we Christians talk about modesty makes many women feel insecure or shameful about their bodies.
The New Modesty Makeover by Sharon Hodde Miller
So, how can women honor their bodies to the glory of God? I have a few ideas, but with one preliminary caveat. This topic is huge and complex. There is much, much more to modesty than I could hope to address here. Modesty is tied to an extensive discussion about culture and the body, so consider this only the beginning of a longer conversation—a conversation worth delving deeper into on your own."