Why Baptist Ladies Don’t Wear Burqhas . . .

7 Nov

I Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”



Recently, in my journey of a nearly 90 pound weight loss, I have been asked quite a few times when I am going to get some new clothes to reflect my new figure.  I have tried to figure out what that means and have been told I have “too much fabric” in certain clothing that I wear. 


Trying to deconstruct that, I realized the speakers who say this either mean:  a) my clothes are too loose or b) my clothes are too long or) my clothes are not cut low enough.


I know that all of my Christian friends use the word “modesty” when deciding how to dress.  Yet we all dress differently.  So it must mean we have different definitions of the term “modesty.”  And I can accept that.  But I can also be assertive in saying that I get to have my opinion, too, and that, for the most part, the amount of material in my clothing right now is exactly the amount I intend to have.


Okay, there are some things that are totally baggy now and need to be left behind.  But you’ll only find me throwing those on when it is a day I don’t care what I look like.  We all have those days.


I am writing this post about the days when we take some care with ourselves to look professional at work and attractive for our husbands and social circles.   


The enclosed picture is an example.  My husband’s favorite dress.  My favorite dress, too.  Someone told me it has too much fabric.  I think they meant that it seems loose on me. 


I judge that dress to be just right by my standards.  You can see that I am a woman in it.  In fact, I regard it as my most womanly dress (and so does Noel).  The parts that make up a woman are all there and they are in the best proportion they have been in for fifteen years.  You can tell that by looking at the dress. 


What is not visible is uncovered skin, neither around my bodice nor above my knees.  And that is a choice I choose to make.


What is also not visible is clearly defined lines of my body.  You can see my contours, but the dress is not tight.  Again, this is a choice I choose to make about the fit of my clothing. 


The Bible’s use of the word “modest” generally translates to “appropriately arrayed.”  I feel appropriately arrayed in that dress.  The Bible’s definition also generally had to do with covering up between the shoulders and the knees.  While I will not criticize anyone who doesn’t accept this as a dress code for herself, I have to ask for the same respect for my decisions. 


We are not Muslims and we don’t do burqhas as Baptists.  Burqhas are so loose and cover so much of the body that you can’t even tell, in some cases, that there is a woman in there.  Burqhas have actually been used to smuggle men out of areas where they are wanted for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Who knows if that is a man or a woman in there? 


Nor are we veiled like Old Testament women.  When a man marries a Baptist woman, even one with my idea of modesty, he has a pretty good idea of what he is getting.  He won’t have a wedding night shock, like a Muslim man might or like Jacob definitely did when he got the wrong sister under the Old Testament wedding gown and veil. 


It used to be that Christian women understood the concept (and forced Christian men to understand it) that the body is reserved for the husband’s eyes alone.  A woman would not cover herself in order to hide—we never did anything nearly as extreme as a burqha—but she rather covered the body in ways that were womanly, attractive, and, let’s just say it, alluring. 


Back in those days, before the instant gratification of the sexual revolution, a man might have a pretty good idea about what was in that package that was so attractively wrapped, but he would not expect to see inside of it until he appropriately unwrapped it on his wedding night.  And he would only expect to see inside one package ideally.  One man, one woman, for life. 


Lots of things have changed since then, but my question is “How have the changes made life better for us?  Have they?  And do they allow us to glorify God more in the gift of sexuality He has given us and in life in general?” 


I will leave you with those questions.  We all have to make our own choices.  May they be ones that make life sweet for us and that, most of all, glorify our God.


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