Wrap up? Round up? A Collection of stray thoughts!

So, a little rodeo round-up before I move on to a recipe and feign total ignorance of this whole topic! I’d like to drive by a few random bits and pieces from various comments and address them in no particular order.

First of all I would like to point out a few things about the debate in itself. In a healthy Christian community there will always be differences between the people in them. But the differences were there before anyone talked about it. Talking about our differences, working through them, and not being afraid to say out loud what side of the line you land on is not uniquely Christian, but staying in fellowship while you do it is. It is a hallmark of a functioning family. When something is rubbing us the wrong way, we stay together and talk it out at the dinner table. We do not (or ought not) to huff off to our respective bedrooms to eat in front of our own tv’s and resent the other people. So think about if there are any issues in your life about which you are not willing to receive Christian input. Is there a topic (far afield of nose rings perhaps) that would drive you to your room with a t.v. dinner and a whole lot of resentment? Well then, that is a great indicator that you need to work through it honestly with yourself.

If there is something you are doing that you certainly don’t want anyone to talk about, you need some better reasons for doing it. Are you using a form of birth control that would not stand up to Christian discussion? Are you watching movies that you shouldn’t be? Or are you just buying into some worldy propaganda without holding it up in the light of Scripture? These are the sort of things that break fellowship.

Sometimes hard conversations are the way back in. Hannah has had some great comments about the real-life, hands-on application of this kind of thing. And in thinking about it how to answer them, I have decided that it really comes down to the fact that shopping is a Christian art form. There are not easy answers. God wants us to have to think.

Sometimes in the middle of shopping for jeans you are making worldview decisions. Does that sound extreme to you? Let me give you an example from my own shopping history. Many years ago we were visiting family in Colorado and went out shopping. I found a new store “Abercrombie and Fitch.” I had never seen it before (this was right as they were making a comeback), and I went in and loved it! I bought a few things, but mostly just really enjoyed the atmosphere. The floors, the huge pictures (back then I think it was a sailboat!). Anyway, I had bought a hat that had the name on it and a sweatshirt with “AF” on it.

So a few months later I got the catalog in the mail and was pleased to see it. Then I read the first line of an article (lifestyle shopping don’t you know) that began with the tender words, “Let’s face it. We are all just looking for someone to sleep with over spring break.” Well then. So, rather than comparing fashion to a train, we should perhaps compare it to a complex network of trains, with unpredictable turns. The story of fashion is a story of rebellion from rebellion from rebellion, all the way back to the garden of Eden and the very first clothes. As Christians we have some set boundaries about where we may not go. So what do we do? At what point should we jump off a train?

I would venture to say that when I got that catalog in the mail, that was my cue, “Jump now.” I got rid of the hat and sweatshirt then, because I had just seen where that particular train was going. While I would not say that Abercrombie clothes are evil in themselves (of course not), I think that a discerning Christian ought not to knowingly get on board a train that is barging down the sexual propaganda railroad. And since it is bound to at least come up in someone’s mind as an objection, shopping at Abercrombie is not right on par with plundering the Egyptians. When the Israelites left Egypt, they did not first walk through the Egyptian homes for decorating ideas. They walked away with the decorations. Purchasing things from unbelievers is not plundering them. Essential to plundering is the principal that the person you took it from is no longer in control, and they should also probably realize that you are not an avid supporter. In other words, if they were plundered, they would feel the loss!

So I think what it comes down to is that God does not want us to let our guard down. He wants us to grow in wisdom, not grow lazy over time. So as we are raising our children to be discerning, secure, and unintimidated by the world, the funny thing is that we have to grow too. It is one thing to just follow your instincts when you are out shopping, and quite another to train your child to have the same ones (or discover your instincts were wrong). They might want to push the envelope somewhere you never did. You are going to need to figure out what you think about a lot of issues that do not seem to be important.

As an aside (but wait… hasn’t this whole thing been an aside?!) this is how the older women go into training to be equipped to teach the younger women. They have been continually growing themselves, thinking through issues as they come up, as their daughters bring them up. I know that for a lot of young girls the concept of talking to the older women about how to dress just doesn’t sound great, does it? Are you picturing some very sweet saintly woman taking you out to an old lady store to shop for culottes with a nine inch zipper (or maybe just elastic for comfort)? But if a woman has been shopping for herself with discernment and beauty and modesty, and then shopping with daughters with the same goals – she should really know what’s up by the time you get around to asking. She would not be shocked by an immodest trend, she would laugh at it. She would not be gullible, and her input would be invaluable. You would want to hear what she had to say! She would simply be an expert in the field.

Imagine that there is a tv show that you do not want your kids to watch. (I know, stretches the imagination doesn’t it?)  But say you are having a hard time really putting into words what you don’t like about it. Say they are pushing you for reasons, and everything you say out loud is sounding really stupid. Does an hour-long conversation about the moral situations presented to us by say Hannah Montana sound like a colossal waste of time? Does it seem like immense overkill to record an episode and watch it with your daughter, pausing it to point out every little thing that you don’t like and talk about why?Does that sound embarrassing, or needlessly petty? Or just too hard? Then you need some practice.

My dad used to watch VH1 with us, picking apart the videos to discuss what was going on. And while we were still allowed to listen to the music, we were not allowed to listen to it and ignore it at the same time. So, I’d hear something on the radio, and think, Yeah, that’s nihilism or hedonism, or what have you.

The trouble with this is that it is hard. What if you don’t know off the top of your head what is wrong with it? Figure it out. Ask someone who does know. Work through it. Because if you don’t, and just decide that it is probably not a big deal, and that you are probably over-reacting, then what you are doing is going with the flow. And you are teaching your children to do the same thing.

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21 thoughts on “Wrap up? Round up? A Collection of stray thoughts!

  1. loved all of these stray thoughts.

    as a young mother, i love the idea that if i keep practicing, i’ll one day be the older woman to whom I currently am looking for guidance.
    and yes! lets all laugh at the trends rather than be horrified, angry, confused, or ostrich-like.

  2. I do not generally follow blogs, but I cannot get enough of Femina, I need it challenging me continually! I sincerely love the out pour of the Wilson Clan. This is a lovely place to grow and be refined into a beautifully strong, Godly women,who actually thinks. Thank you!
    Rachel, I am awed by the wisdom God has given you, and I am grateful to glean from it. I thought your mom was the cherry on the cake, but the fruit has definitely not fallen far from the tree. Thank you for including all of us in your functional family. :)

  3. Thank you. I have many fond memories of my Dad and I conversing about the grunge music of the mid ’90’s. I was questioning, “What is wrong with this music?”, “What makes it different from your music?”(You know, The Beatles, Edgar Winter, Bob Dylan and the like) I am so thankful that he took the time to do that. To really talk about it with me. I am sure he had never thought much about why he liked or listened to certain music.I also began to question the watching of movies with a certain rating. In the end Mom and Dad stopped watching said movies with a certain rating too. We were all in this together. It is neat how that parent child relationship can become one that begins to teach and train one other. Thanks for your patience this week as I have “duked” this out with ya’ll. Blessings.

  4. “So I think what it comes down to is that God does not want us to let our guard down. He wants us to grow in wisdom, not grow lazy over time. So as we are raising our children to be discerning, secure, and unintimidated by the world, the funny thing is that we have to grow too.”

    Very helpful and thoughtful. I think it’s important that as Christians we don’t get carried away with our own “preferences”. But rather, encouraging one another to grown in faith, keep guard over our hearts as well as our bodies and all that we put on our “billboard”!

  5. Thanks again… I could say more of what I got from this post, but I’ll just cut it short this time. In other words, thank you. Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

  6. That really was a great way to wrap up the discussion…The fruit of a Christian community is found in living gloriously with one another in fellowship when we disagree. I pray there are no hard feelings about my ‘heaving the ol’ boulder’ into the ladies pond…next time Ill try to just skip a rock off the surface. Blessings to you all.

  7. I’ve loved reading all of it – thanks for letting us all watch even the real life Moscow community “bumps” along the way. It’s been a fantastic lesson in how to talk through some touchy topics as well as sharpening my own thinking through many issues.

    Matthew, I have to say that it is rare to see someone handle disagreements, particularly internet tussles, with humility, but you have wound up being one of the best I’ve seen. Thanks for the example there.

  8. Loved your meandering thoughts, Rachel. There are so many things for us to think about and pray and ponder through – we moms will never be bored! Thanks for the great wrap up to the ‘dinner table chat’…maybe for ‘dessert’ we can have a peek at that recipe of your’s!

  9. I was recently in Southern California visiting family who live in a massive subdivision populated by people like me (in their early 30s with toddlers in tow). Probably 90% of them had tattoos covering their bodies. They were all walking through the waterpark, holding hands with their cute toddlers, and I was thinking, the only way left for these kids to rebel is to NOT get a tattoo! Recently in France it has become stylish for women NOT to go topless anymore, but to cover up. Maybe when a culture goes so far down the road the only place left to go is to turn around!

    Thank you for letting us all join in on your “lively dinner table discussion!”

  10. A couple years ago, I bought my mother a cd by Paul Anka or Neil Sedaka, I forget who. What the artist did was to take the lyrics of modern songs and put them to 40’s type music. My mother’s two favorite songs were van Halen’s Jump and that big hit of Nirvana’s. She was somewhat dumbfounded when I played the original versions for her. The music matters.

  11. I closed this feed and happened to notice this on my iGoggle “quote for the day,” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. -Miss Piggy. lol

  12. Hi.
    I enjoy this blog and wanted to ‘sign up’ somewhere (?) to get a notice in my email inbox that you just posted something.
    Is there a way to do that here?
    I receive updates from another blog that i signed up for by Stacy Macdonald called
    http://www.yoursacredcalling.blogspot.com/
    but i don’t recall how i did that??
    smile.
    Thanks!
    Mrs. RBC

  13. Mrs.,
    I have no idea….but Valerie might know. Let’s see how long it takes her to find your comment/question!
    Cheers,
    Nancy

  14. Mrs. RBC, you can set up a profile with Google Blogger, then follow the links to set up blogs you’d like to follow. I don’t remember if there is a way to have them send you e-mails, as I just go to Blogger and check when I get a chance, kind of like sitting down with a magazine for a quick read. You can adjust settings to your preferred level of privacy. Blogger is free, and the blogging site I’m most familiar with. I’ve seen a lot of people out there with wordpress for their blogs, and they might have a similar platform.

    I have a friend who uses Goodle reader as Valerie mentioned, but I have no idea how that works. My friend uses it more for sharing posts she finds interesting rather than actually following a blog.

    Google Blogger does not need to be tied to a Gmail acct.

    God bless!
    Emily

  15. Rachel/Lizzie, thanks for taking the time to post. I love reading your thoughts! I hate to ask a question because I know you may not have the time or desire to jump into another discussion, but…do you have any wisdom to share regarding swimsuits and sports outfits such as tennis skirts, etc. I was raised wonderfully straight-laced but have loosened up a bit and am wondering if maybe I’ve loosened up a bit too much. Anyway, I would just love any of your family’s comments, if possible. Thanks again. You really inspire me. :)

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