Veronica Partridge’s Proclamation

Neal Pollard

On January 5, Veronica Partridge, “Christian Blogger,” posted an article entitled, “Why I Chose To No Longer Wear Leggings.”  Her essential answer was that she did not want to dress in a way that would potentially make someone other than her husband to “think lustfully about” her body (www.veronicapartridge.com).  How do I know about the blog?  I did not even know who she was until I was running on the treadmill this morning and Good Morning America was running a story about it.  Then, in Googling “Veronica Partridge Leggings,” I saw that such websites as “Huffington Post,” “New York Daily News,” and “The Inquisitr” have written opinion pieces about her words.  Just what is visible from the Google result reveals that they do not necessarily appreciate her point of view.  What is her point of view?

She spoke to her husband and asked if an attractive woman in form-fitting pants was in view, did it present a potential heart struggle for him.  He said it did, and at the end of her post she wrote, “And at that moment, I made a personal vow to myself and to my husband. I will no longer wear thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings in public….I also want to set the best example of how to dress for my daughter. I want her to know, her value is not in the way her body looks or how she dresses, but in the character and personality God has given her” (ibid.).

The commenters in response to her blog said some of the same things I’ve heard people say in response to sermons I’ve heard preached or that I’ve preached on modesty.  “It’s not the woman’s fault if the man chooses to lust.” “If a guy’s going to lust, it doesn’t matter what the woman is wearing.” “Who defines modesty?”  Truly, this is a difficult matter to preach or teach well.  Why?

  • People have different standards of what is modest and immodest.
  • Some women are unaware of how revealing or provocative some items of clothing are for most men.
  • Some men may pressure or persuade their wives and daughters to dress in such a way.
  • Some women may like how certain men look at them when they are dressed in such a way.
  • It is human nature to place what we see as our own “rights” over how our exercise of such “rights” negatively effects others.

Those not interested in pleasing God will not be moved by biblical passages and principles.  For those who are, here are some things to consider.

  1. 1 Timothy 2:9 calls for the Christian woman to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly.  In context, she violated this with ostentatious clothing that blinded people to her adornment of good works and claims of godliness.  If “overdressing” does this, can “underdressing” do this?
  2. 1 Peter 3:2-4 ties together chaste and respectful behavior with clothing that draws attention not to the external but to “the hidden person of the heart.”  Is there ever a line where one’s clothing leaves the realm of the chaste (not have sexual nature or intention) and enters the realm of the immoral?
  3. Matthew 5:28-32 says that a man who looks at a woman with lust for her has sinned.  This is the man’s responsibility, but is it ever possible that a woman can so clothe (or not clothe) herself in such a way as create a stumbling block for him in this regard (cf. Mat. 18:7).

There are some items of clothing that are definitely chaste and modest.  Surely, most everyone would say that there are some items of clothing that are definitely not.  What God’s people must do is give serious thought to such things and do that which gives them the best chance to promote Christ.  This is but one area, but it is one area.

The “Moral Compass” Of The Modern Culture

Neal Pollard

If a nation or people will move back toward the Bible, it must overcome three philosophical barriers.  I mentioned these in an earlier blog (https://preacherpollard.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/why-ridgedale-church-of-christ-is-getting-slammed/).  Here are the three barriers:

  • The Cultural Sickness Of Subjectivity.  Subjectivism, in its final form, makes the individual “god” and their views supreme. Thoughts and feelings trump a rational look at an individual matter, and even searching for an objective viewpoint is disdained.
  • Society’s Warped View Of Tolerance.  Rather than “hate the sin, love the sinner,” the mantra is “there is no sin and no sinner.”  Though everyone has a line in the sand somewhere, no one wants anyone putting their behaviors on the other side of the line.
  • The Average Person’s Ignorance Of The Bible.  Of course, we are getting past the point where the average person believes the Bible or has a favorable view of it.  The fruit of the seeds of biblical illiteracy is more than immorality.  It includes prejudice against the Bible and contempt for those who seek to upheld it in most any forum.

Certainly, those professing to follow the Bible and its guidelines have hurt their own cause through ungodly attitudes, hypocrisy, isolation, and prejudices of their own.  Christians must be willing to make the first (and even second and third) steps (cf. Mat. 5:41).  We must model biblical teaching with righteous lives (Mat. 5:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:9).  We cannot expect the world to act Christlike, but we must expect that Christians will not be worldly.  We can effect the change we want to see, and, in time, align the culture’s moral compass with the Creator’s.

MERCY FOR THE MEADOW JUMPING MOUSE?

Neal Pollard

The meadow jumping mouse has made it to the status of “endangered” and is now protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act.  That means that cattle have more limited water and grazing access so that the mice’s habitat can be protected. Ranchers and cattlemen have taken the fight to U.S. District court in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The habitat area covers portions of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado (The Denver Post, 9/10/14, A-2, “Colorado Roundup,” denverpost.com).  Meanwhile, a local politician is excoriated for his stand against abortion.  The web site “ontheissues.org” examines his record, where it is proven that he supported protecting life at all stages in 2010, voted to ban federal health coverage that included abortion, considers himself “pro-life,” prohibited federal funding for groups like Planned Parenthood, and the like. He is cast in commercials as an “anti-abortion radical” as well as one known for “his steadfast efforts to restrict women’s control over their lives” due to his “anti-abortion agenda.”

I sometimes wonder what would happen if time travel were possible and we could take such headlines back to our national forebears 100 years ago.  What would they think of federal mandates to protect rodents all while trumpeting protests in the loudest decibels possible against one in the place of government trying to take steps to afford protection for eternal beings made in the image of God.  Of course, if we could travel back further in time and cross the ocean until we reached the ancient middle east and showed these headlines to a prophet, apostle, or the Lord Himself, what would their reaction be?  Might they respond, “I was known by God from my mother’s womb, sanctified and ordained by Him for a specific job.” Or say of himself, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.” Or describe pregnant women as being with “child” (rather than “fetus” or “tissue”)? Or speak of Jesus’ mother as having Him within her, a child, a person?

Everyone has a moral compass.  It is incredible to see how improperly calibrated many such compasses are.  In Resolute Bay, up in the Nunavut territory of Canada, a pilot attempting to land amid clouds crashed his plane, killing himself, his co-pilot, and ten passengers, in part due to a malfunctioning compass.  He could not believe it was true until ground sensors warned him of imminent contact with land.  His co-pilot seemed to have known better and pleaded with him to “go around,” to climb to safer altitude before retrying the landing.  The last words on record belonged to the pilot, who said, “Go-around thrust!” a split second before the crash (www.edmontonsun.com, Daniel Proussalidis, 3/25/14).  He hardly had time to think that he was misguided before his life ended.

Many will find out only too late their moral compass misguided their course in life!  Our work is to gently help them see the direction God tells them to go.  Only when their hearts, consciences, and affections are aligned with THE moral compass of the Bible will they be able to look at matters, big and small, and make rational, common sense decisions.  May God continue His forbearance with us as we try to repair the compass.

Would You Let Your Kids Sit On The Goat?

Neal Pollard

Have you heard about a “goat situation” in Oklahoma City that, well, stinks?  Members of a Satanic Temple there want a 7-foot Satanists’ statue to be placed at the capitol building right next to a monument of the 10 commandments.  The group submitted to a panel with oversight of the capitol grounds “an artist’s rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him” (via Huffington Post, Sean Murphy, 1/6/14). Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves added, “”The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation” (ibid.).

I first heard about this from one of our local news networks, reporting on the story.  They were aghast and appalled at the very idea, especially the thought that this would potentially be a place where children could sit on Satan’s lap.  While I wholeheartedly agree that even the idea is disturbing, we as parents need to make sure we do not, in our negligence, allow our kids to figuratively do such.

That means being plugged into our kids’ social media (they are abandoning Facebook for other forms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, by the way), knowing who their friends are and something of their friends’ character, safeguarding our homes from ways Satan gets in (TV, computer, movies, phone, etc.), and modeling proper and biblical values as parents.  It also means arming them, encouraging and sharing Bible study, prayer, and Christian service with them.  It is about setting our affections on things above, not on things of the world (Col. 3:1-2).  It is about being transformed and not conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1-2).

While most everyone would never set their children in that creepy Satan statue, are we, through their wardrobe, activities, friends, priorities, and the like, doing what is tantamount to that?  God has entrusted us with an eternal stewardship—our children!  Like those in Luke 18:15-17, let us ever be bringing our children to the “lap” of Christ!

THE PRICE PETRINO PAID

Neal Pollard

Thanks to a morality clause in their contract, the University of Arkansas was able to fire head football coach Bobby Petrino and save nearly $18 million dollars.  That will be money, no doubt, that can be used toward finding and signing his replacement.  Though the fan base openly stated they could not care less about his sexually immoral ways (after all, he had led the Razorbacks to a stellar 21-5 record as coach), the university fired him for a series of indiscretions at the bottom of which was the married man’s affair with a 25-year-old, engaged former volley ball star from the school.  It is yet to be seen what impact his actions will have on his marriage or his relationship with his four children.  How hard will it be for another university to trust him enough to hire him?  He has embarrassed himself and damaged his reputation.  And, for what?

There was another man, a man who by every indication was a much more spiritual man, who centuries ago gave up so much for comparatively little.  He had it all, power, wealth, reputation, respect, and a healthy relationship with God.  But one trip to the roof of his house began a downward spiral fueled by his own lust for a married woman.  By the time the dust settled, the man would experience the loss of four children, death threats, displacement, wholesale embarrassment, and his own spiritual compromise.  Though David was forgiven and restored in his relationship with God, look at the carnage that came of his tragic decision.

One of the biggest lies men and women swallow is that sexual immorality and deviance from God’s pattern for sexuality is relatively harmless.  They know there is risk, and sometimes risk is part of the thrill for the guilty.  Perhaps one sees all that is at stake, but driven by sinful passion are too intoxicated with such to care.  But as sad as this week’s newest scandal is and as lastingly tragic as David’s decision was, it serves as a reminder and a warning for us today.  What does the “after” picture look like?  Let David have the last words:  “For I know my transgression, and my sin is ever before me” (Psa. 51:3).  What a price!

Why Is Movie Attendance Falling?

Neal Pollard

Apparently, churches are not the only ones bemoaning falling attendance.  Amy Kaufman of the L.A. Times reports that only 1.28 billion people bought a ticket for a movie in the U.S. and Canada in 2011.  That may still like a huge number of patrons, but  it is the lowest number in 16 years. Those of us who rarely darken the darkened Hollywood houses would point to ticket prices, especially a cost to value comparison being woefully dissatisfying. Kaufman points to a disconnect between the industry and a new generation of movie-watchers.

I confess to knowing very little about marketing particularly this product.  But I wonder if there is another factor or two at play beyond economics and a generation gap.  As I heard the statistic about falling movie attendance first on radio news, my mind went back to a book my brother-in-law, Bud Woodall, gave to me 15 years ago.  It is called Five Lies of the Century and is written by David T. Moore.  Moore explores five myths of our culture, one of which is that “Entertainment Is Harmless.”  One of the media myths he explores is the idea that the media just gives people what they want.  Moore says, “If the media is really giving people what they want, then why are fewer people going to movies, concerts, and watching TV?…Seventy-eight percent of Americans go to two films or fewer a year. When they do go, it’s nearly always to see an exceptionally good film” (283-284).  He makes the point that in the 1980s, despite “G” rated movies far outperforming “R” movies, the industry increased production of “R” rated movies by almost 20% in that decade.

So, a generation later, people have patronized movies full of filthy language, irreverence, gratuitous violence, and sexual immorality of every flavor and kind.  Like a lesser drug loses its pull eventually, movies that titillate also desensitize much the way that lemons take the enamel off a tooth.  Movies have to push the envelope more and move the edge further.  This will work for a while, along with technological advances like 3-D and interactive theatre seats.  Perhaps, like someone living on a diet of fat and sugar, north American movie-goers are glutted with drug, sex, vulgarity, and profanity.  If the past is any kind of predictor, the majority will return after their hiatus.  May we, as Christians, not follow them.  Remember, the majority are on the wrong spiritual road (Mt. 7:13-14).

“Thou Shalt Not Steal”

Neal Pollard

 

It is such a problem that there are companies who specialize in creating systems to monitor, prevent, and thereby punish it.  Statistics and estimates abound concerning the massive problem it is, not only in this nation but in businesses and corporations across the globe.  It goes by the name “time theft,” a term used to describe employees who steal time from their employers.  This can happen through a variety of ways:

  • Showing up late and/or leaving early.
  • Slowing down the work pace to get to overtime pay scales
  • Using company time to conduct another business
  • Using company time to conduct personal business (bill paying, checkbook reconciling, and other such activity that is not “made up”)
  • Excessive use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, web surfing, fantasy sports leagues, online games and quizzes, etc.)
  • Excessive personal phone time (whether voice or texting)
  • Taking long lunch hours and breaks
  • Daydreaming, excessive socializing with other employees, and even sleeping on the job.

No doubt, other items could be added to this list.  Acroprint of Raleigh, North Carolina, goes so far to say that such “occurs in every organization with a payroll.”  They also cite “a leading authority on employment issues” that asserts “the average employee ‘steals’ approximately 54 minutes per day, or 4.5 hours per week, from his/her employer”

(www.acroprint.com)!

Certainly, everyone of us has been guilty of that from time to time.  But, as Christians, we should be averse to making such the pattern and habit of our work ethic.  The Bible, in both testaments, warns against stealing.  Paul warned, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need” (Eph. 4:28). He also said, “We have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Cor. 8:21).

As Christians, we should work hard to avoid stealing anything, including time, from our employers.  We should also realize that all sin is ultimately against God.  None of us will do this perfectly, but may we make the proper use of our time so that our pay is earned rather than stolen!