Does what I wear matter!

il_340x270.820302803_11mp

Today we watched a news item on the 9 O’clock news bulletin, where by 3 men, who had been arrested for assaulted a young lady indecently dress in 2014, were today sentenced to hanging to death by a court in Nairobi. I was commenting with a friend about what this means for us as Christians. As far as we do not condone the heinous act by these men, we need also to be objective about what we think about the whole issue of being decent. Miss Winnie had this to say:

“Dressing /decency may easily be termed as a very controversial issue. Communities, cultures (West vs. East), religious circles seem not to reach a consensus on this issue. Whatever is termed as decent dressing in one culture may be in another culture viewed differently.  Previously the bone of contention about dressing was more focused on ladies but today even the dressing for men is questionable. The newest fashion trends/hype from the western culture may have caused a serious paradigm shift as far as decency is concerned.  Every person wants to feel nice about what they have won but we should be conscious of the consequences. Social media and TV have played a major role in this – the copying of foreign trends without understanding the factors surrounding them. Some dresses are used on stage as costumes; others are simply determined by the kind of weather.

What does the Bible tell us about dressing? Paul in his 1st letter to Timothy 2:9 says: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes”.

Modesty in our dressing should not be only a church thing, but rather it should be part of a Christian lifestyle. We don’t have to wear decently on Sunday and dress indecently Monday through Saturday. This shows that we live a double kind of life. Being a Christians means being conformed to Christ in every aspect of life.

In another place, the Bible indicates that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and our bodies are not our own; they were bought at a price. 1st Corinthians 6; 19: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies”.

Bearing that in mind we do not want to leave the temple of the Holy Spirit indecent! I especially like what the Bible says – our bodies were bought at a price. Whatever is costly need to be taken care of!

There is a new notion in town: ‘My dress my choice’. We have been given a free will but it does not mean to do want we feel like but rather being free to do what is right.

Decency is not only a social value; it is at the very core of Christian values. Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. Why should our dressing cause anyone to sin? When you cause someone to sin, it does not make you free, it makes you selfish and you will have sinned as well. “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6). Indecency doesn’t glorify God in any way; whatever is not of God is from the evil one.

Miss. Winnie Murugi Kamau

…little progress everyday…

change

Since bodies are involved in certain changes, which cannot be reduced to local movement, one must acknowledge their fundamental non-simplicity which is further explained as an essential composition of potency and act. In this doctrine even the soul of living beings has its own natural place (Aristoterian Philosophy of Change)

Reflection:

  1. Can all change be explained merely in terms of local motion?
  2. Are bodies simple? Are bodies mere aggregations of molecules or atoms?
  3. Is their structure simple or is there a fundamental complexity in the structure of the bodies {substances}?
  4. Is there any need to resort to the theory of potency and act in order to explain change in the material world?
  5. Is the soul of living beings merely a spirit clothed with a body or is there a fundamental unity between the soul and the body?…
  6. What does it mean to progress in becoming more and more human?
  7. Is change an applicable principle in religion?
  8. What did Christ preach about change?

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).  All Jesus is requiring of every person conformed to him through baptism, is to have a “progressive” kind of change towards an eternal perfection: “Be perfect as my heavenly father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

The Christian calling is not to escape from the world of challenges but rather to be aware of God’s presence and his underlying grace in our journey towards him: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (Jn 17:15). He also reminds us that we are not all alone in this: “I will never leave you as orphans…” (Jn 14:18).

This is the image of God that Jesus portrayed to his followers. However, what has happened today is a scenario where by preachers, who allege to have been commissioned by God himself, without any scrutiny or witnesses to their preparedness; preach an image of God who is:

  1. a sadist: who delights over our sufferings and whom we blame for accidents, catastrophes, sickness and death.
  2. an egoistic God: that we fear and have to buy, using money, offerings, candles, devotions and masses.
  3. a fixer-god: who has no option but to fix our mess and do our chores and responsibilities that we do not want to struggle to do, like feeding our families, and cure us from the things we contrtact through our carelessness.
  4. a supermarket God: that we ask of everything we want and need, including the power to superceded others, for our team to win or not to have accidents even though we are careless.
  5. a terrible God: who asks us to fight for him against those who do not worship like us.
  6. a magician God: who has to get us out of every difficult situation and perform miracles whenever we ask of him.
  7. a God that we have to spend a lot to please.

Definitely this is not the kind of God Jesus preached. It is the God we have created for ourselves. It is the kind of God that the atheist deny – a false god. We all need to deny this kind od god as well. He is a very demanding God. We cannot satisfy him.

The God that Jesus preached is a kind of God that is so loving, that his simplicity causes owe in us. He is a kind and very understanding. All he demands of us is simple: to love him and our neighbours. He does not ask us to judge the future for others: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” Mt 24:36) and “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29).

The question remains: is the image of God that I have, make me a loving and a kind person to the others or does it make me a judge? Does it challenge me to change progressively to become more and more like him?

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD