Ten Things We Should Get Angry About Before Yoga Pants.

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Edit: Well friends, it would seem that yoga pants have broken the internet yet again. :) I’ve closed the comments on this one, because they derailed into a debate about the merits of spandex. Our goal here isn’t to debate modesty [though we believe modesty is important], but if you’d like to do that there are a number of comment threads floating around the interwebs where that is still up for discussion! Please join us on Twitter for #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings to add to our list of things that merit our rally cry before yoga pants. If you like us, deeply desire for Christians to be known for doing more, please check out our follow up post for next steps. 

In January, yoga pants broke the internet.

Blogger Veronica Partridge wrote a piece informing the world that she had made a personal decision to not wear leggings in public. Her intention, as she explained it, was to keep men from looking at her lustfully.

And then, the pants hit the fan. Popping up over newsfeeds across America, the article became such a popular source of Nancy Grace-level rage that Veronica and her husband found themselves on Good Morning America to talk about the whole, messy debacle. [A segment that I must admit, I watched in my beloved yoga pants.]

What is infinitely more concerning to me than the piece itself, is the massive attention that it has received from the Christian community.

This is just one in a series of questionable “issues” that American Christians have rallied around. Whether it’s yoga pants or an unsuspecting Target clerk wishing us a “Happy Holiday”, we have become notorious for clutching our collective pearls and hotly debating “issues” that frankly, don’t need to be debated.

This is nothing new. In Luke 6, we see the pharisees in the synagogue watching Jesus to make sure that He doesn’t heal the sick on the Sabbath, hoping to “catch” him in the act of breaking the law and hold it against him. The collateral damage? The man with the withered hand standing to the side, desperately hoping to be healed. Jesus heals his hand, and we learn that the pharisees “were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.”

Do you see it? The pharisees were so concerned with trivial debates of the law that they totally missed the redemptive opportunities in front of them. Two thousand years later, the Church can still be guilty of this. Like the pharisees, we are quick to passionately debate our lists of do’s and don’ts, and slow to enter into the redemptive work Jesus has charged us with.

 

Here’s the thing, friends: there are far weightier matters at stake than leggings or the “war” on Christmas. Sometimes, I fear that we have become so consumed with our sanitized, insulated lives, that we have all but forgotten that there are actual, literal wars being fought all over the world. Men, women and children that bear the Imago Dei are living in dark and splintering places where genocide, gnawing hunger, and paralyzing fear run rampant. And as the world burns around us, refugees, slaves, and orphans look on as we sip our double-shot lattes and piously debate the merits of spandex, seemingly unruffled by their pain.

One day, you and I are going to have to give an account for our lives. We’re going to look straight into the eyes of the God-man who bled out and died on a cross to save us, and explain where we were when his children were suffering. We were created to be the things He is—hope bringers, restorers and healers. If those of us that claim to follow Christ are to look anything like Him, the things that matter to Him must matter to us. Our presence on this planet should be a resounding reminder to an aching world that Jesus is not gone. Our debate about leggings is as caring and relevant to the  watching world as Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake”.

If we’re going to get angry, let’s get angry about things that really matter. In no particular order, here are ten things that I submit should fill up the Christian blogosphere before we consider talking about yoga pants:

  1. Fourteen million Iraqis and Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid. Almost half are children. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  2. There are 379,000 children in foster care in the US. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  3. 1,505,200 men, women and children have been displaced in South Sudan since December 15, 2013. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  4. Malnutrition is identified as the root cause of death among 3.1 million children. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  5. Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor. 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  6. More than 14,000 have fled over the Nigerian border to escape attacks by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  7. 1.7 million children have been impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. Many displaced suffer from malnutrition and disease. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  8. Up to 10,000 children have lost one or both parents or caregivers due to Ebola. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  9. Over 55 million children have been aborted since Roe v. Wade. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings
  10. 100 million Christians around the globe are under persecution, enduring physical beatings, torture and rape. #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings

[Let me be perfectly clear: the “you” that I am referring to is the Christian community that has entrenched themselves in a vicious debate about spandex. I’m speaking to the men and women that both deified and crucified Veronica, and in no way to Veronica herself.]

I want to do the hard work of setting aside my privilege, and diving headfirst into the things–the people— that stir the heart of God. I want to run toward what is broken, and away from petty internet debates and angry comment threads. I want to start conversations that make my blood boil and my heart beat wildly, and I want to do it in a productive way. I want to use my voice for change. Friends, if we’re going to get angry, let’s do better than leggings.

Are there other things that should be on the list? Absolutely. Join the conversation, and let’s shed a collective light on the darkness. Sound the alarm on what should be rending our hearts in all the right ways. Fight the siren song of lukewarm compassion and feigned concern, and raise your flag on Twitter under #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings.

 

[I owe a debt of gratitude to abolitionists, activists and dear friends Heather Fischer and Jessica Haase, for researching, brainstorming and writing with me.]

Comments

  1. Sarah Blocher says:

    While I agree that there are some big issues out there for us to get involved in, get angry about and push back on. However, if we can’t stand up for modesty (a seemingly trivial matter) what makes you think we’ll stand up for the big issues (that were stated in the bog)? How many of us are going to head to Iraq and fight Isis? Yes, we can strive to do what we can from here, absolutely. However, why can’t we fight for modesty? Why can’t I be upset with the way society wants me to be okay with oversexualization of girls at younger and younger ages.

    To me this is not about yoga pants but about the concept that modesty. We make it seem like it is not a big issue to get worked up about, it’s trivial and not as important. To me, modesty is a big deal…it is not just about what we wear but how we conduct ourselves in actions, words and attire. Why is the desire to protect our innocence a bad thing?

    • But you see, you’re missing the point. It’s about the people.
      Yes, modesty is important – but it shouldn’t be all consuming. We need to be living this life on Earth with eternity as the end goal and in so, while here, we need to be investing in as many people as possible with the gospel. With actions and words.

      • Right, with words and actions that come from the Bible. Because the Bible defines eternal value. And the Bible upholds modesty. Defines modesty. You cannot make an /eternal/ difference in this world apart from the Word of God.
        I haven’t read the yoga pants article so who knows, maybe it was not written in a God honoring way? But modesty IS God honoring and we should value it for that reason. Should will make it a platform to die upon? No. But you can’t uphold if you don’t even talk about it, and our society – this 1st world gluttonous society that we live in DESPERATELY NEEDS MODESTY. Because it has eternal value in shaping our character to the glory of God.
        So the conversation about modesty does not need to STOP. This conversation needs to develop. Not everyone speaks truth in love, but we can teach them how through God honoring conversation. Modesty today is similar to how the church used to address sex – they didn’t. It was simply too taboo to talk about. Too many feathers get ruffled. Better to keep everyone happy by just not looking at how the Bible addresses that one? No. That’s not the answer.

        • I agree with you two, ladies modesty is important and you are not missing the point. Number 5 on her list was about Sexual exploitation, how did we get there? By becoming a society that gets as close to sin as we can rather than running from it. “A little leaven leavens the whole loaf “Galations 5:9. Christ died for all are sins big and small. Gods heart breaks when he sees people dying as much as it does when women dress provocatively to gain sexual attention, because it all sent Christ to the cross. That’s the point, not people, but God, and honoring Him and his word above all else, seeking to obey Him in all things, whether we think they are big or little. If God says it we follow and we don’t knock done our brothers and sisters for following him, we encourage them.
          Furthermore, Jesus’ problem with the Pharisees was not that they debated trivial parts of the law, it was that they added to it and taught others THEIR way was the WAY. God wants us to be grounded in Scripture and know how to use it and know how teach and interpret it.

      • “If we can’t stand up for modesty, what makes you think we’ll stand up for the big issues?” Stand up for modesty by not buying the pants or wearing them out and teaching your daughters. The issue of the blog is that the Christian community jumps on things like this and the bikini war yet never questions the slave labor it took to even place these options in our stores. We’ll drink the coffee and eat the chocolate but never ask where these things were imported for and how much blood was spent so that we could consume those items. There are far weightier issues and the problem is that America never moves on to the bigger issues because we continue being consumed by the small issues of modesty and halloween and christmas greetings that circulate year after year while in our same neighborhood traffickers are setting up a whore house of underaged girls. Your argument would be valid if we ever saw american christians who were fighting these insignificant smaller battles ever rise up and fight the bigger ones. “How many of us are going to go and fight ISIS?” Isn’t an easy scape goat to ask a question that has an obvious answer so what about this question instead: How many of you fighting for the modesty of women are going to foster or adopt an orphan girl in America who has no mom to teach her these truths? The fact of the blog is that while we scream over yoga pants we can actually pull on our big girl britches of choice and go and do something much bigger than forward a blog about yoga pants 600000times. Because “True religion is to care for the orphans and widows AND the YOGA wearers in your community…”

      • “If we can’t stand up for modesty, what makes you think we’ll stand up for the big issues?” Stand up for modesty by not buying the pants or wearing them out and teaching your daughters. The issue of the blog is that the Christian community jumps on things like this and the bikini war yet never questions the slave labor it took to even place these options in our stores. We’ll drink the coffee and eat the chocolate but never ask where these things were imported for and how much blood was spent so that we could consume those items. There are far weightier issues and the problem is that America never moves on to the bigger issues because we continue being consumed by the small issues of modesty and halloween and christmas greetings that circulate year after year while in our same neighborhood traffickers are setting up a whore house of underaged girls. Your argument would be valid if we ever saw american christians who were fighting these insignificant smaller battles ever rise up and fight the bigger ones. “How many of us are going to go and fight ISIS?” Isn’ an easy scape goat to ask a question that has an obvious answer so what about this question instead: How many of you fighting for the modesty of women are going to foster or adopt an orphan girl in America who has no mom to teach her these truths? The fact of the blog is that while we scream over yoga pants we can actually pull on our big girl britches of choice and go and do something much bigger than forward a blog about yoga pants 600000times. Because “True religion is to care for the orphans and widows AND the YOGA wearers in your community…”

        • Did you see the tens of thousands of Christians (and non) who went to DC two weeks ago to stand up for the unborn? Did you hear of the support the (now-diseased) doctor received when he felt called to go help in Africa with the Ebola outbreak.

          See, I can come up with examples too. Unfortunately, this post has devolved into Christians blaming other Christians for not prioritizing the things they prioritize. We all have different gifts and different callings. To diminish Partridge for speaking a truth (that needed to be said in our sex-crazed culture) is a huge mistake for a Christian to make. How about we support each other, while at the same time mentioning other areas that we can rally around?

    • I really appreciate your comment and conviction. I will clarify and say It’s not about the yoga pants, it’s about not having the issue or leggings and yoga pants be our collective shout as a Christian community to the world. I think we can be debating about the more weightier issues of our time. I think we can do better.

      • what I don’t get is where in the Bible is it given the job of a Christian to criticize anyone who’s not under the authority of their own church? Why write a critical blog post about anyone? Are they a self-appointed Apostle? Encouragement, building up, showing and equipping others to help, great… anything more is quite self-righteous and very much outside the bounds of something like Matt 18, 1cor 5, Titus 3, etc.

        • Kada Rehrig says:

          I would agree with you, John. Your words got to me, and I would remind everyone that we have to look way beyond our own religion, ethnicity, lifestyle, and yes, yoga pants. We are a global community of humans and it is self-limiting to see things narrowly. Open your eyes and mind, see who needs help and do it. I think that’s why we are here, and I think that is the true religion of us all.

    • Thank you so much for this ! Honestly we have a lot of huge issues…. but modesty is important. This article is kind of ridiculous. I love what you said about the little issues. If we can’t stand up for those, we won’t be able to stand up for the big. As a female, I feel uncomfortable in leggings as pants because I know men are staring. & for me it’s not even about trying to help them not sin because that’s not my battle to fight, it’s theirs… but it’s about me having dignity & confidence & self-worth… not having men stare at me like a piece of meat but rather a beautiful young lady. I won’t judge someone for wearing leggings or yoga pants as everyday wear, outside of the house or gym… but I certainly don’t thin it’s right & I won’t be ashamed for voicing it. Modesty is Biblical… & Christians should stop trying to make excuses because they have a desire to be immodest because it’s more comfortable for them. Following Jesus isn’t always comfortable.

  2. Ashley,

    Thank you for this beautifully written and real article. I agree with you. First of all, why are women always blamed for making men lust. Isn’t that something that men should answer for? Isn’t this an issue within their hearts? Secondly, as Christians we always have to follow the “rules” and we forget about the “relationship”. If God judges me for wearing yoga pants, then I am super scared for what else he will judge me for. Let’s get worked up about the injustices in the world. Let’s get worked up about the injustices that happen in our neighborhoods with race and poverty.

    Guess what? I minister to girls at the Boys & Girls Clubs each week and guess what I normally wear? Yoga pants. It’s the only pant that fits me right now. ;)

    • While in THIS discussion it is a man’s fault for the sin of lust, our Christian sisters seem to be asked by Paul to try not to contribute to it. Leggings themselves are not sinful, and there isn’t anything inherently wrong for a woman to wear them. But as a Christian, I can’t help but thing Partridge is right on the money when I read Romans.

      Romans 14: 13-23

      13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

      20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.[a] 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.[b]

      • I agree with you that there are plenty of more important things to worry about in the world than leggings. Yet, I think that that blogger completely missed the mark when she gave her reason for not wearing yoga pants. Honestly, I’m a bit shocked so many Christians are rallying around her. Personally, I don’t think she’s acting very Christian-like. She’s basically blaming victims of sexual abuse if they wear yoga pants or something similar because they are “tempting” other men. She’s also making a judgement about all men that they are so lustful that they cannot control themselves. You’re passage from Romans directly references not judging others. What was the point of her post? Was she trying to show how holy she is by not wearing those “sinful” yoga pants while at the same time wearing skinny jeans and makeup. It seriously makes no sense! So, while, yes, there are many issues to be concerned and angry about in the world today, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a little fired up about prevalent “blaming the victim” attitude.

    • “First of all, why are women always blamed for making men lust. Isn’t that something that men should answer for? Isn’t this an issue within their hearts?”

      Well, first off. Women aren’t always blamed. But… I’d say when we are blamed there are good odds that we are at fault. Let us women be honest with ourselves that we are more tempted to lust at men when they are wearing revealing or less clothing. I think it is unrealistic for a girl to walk around in a tight or revealing outfit and expect that no man dare look at her or lust because of her. What exactly do men typically lust at? Let’s say nudity makes men lust. Revealing clothes do just that–reveal everything we have under our clothing. Personally, I only want my husband to see my body; so for him, and yes for other men so that they might not stumble, I choose not to wear tight yoga pants or leggings out in public.

      Here is another quote from a different comment.
      “Number 5 on her list was about Sexual exploitation, how did we get there? By becoming a society that gets as close to sin as we can rather than running from it. “A little leaven leavens the whole loaf “Galations 5:9. Christ died for all are sins big and small. Gods heart breaks when he sees people dying as much as it does when women dress provocatively to gain sexual attention, because it all sent Christ to the cross.”

      Our culture or society, whatever you would like to call it, overwhelmingly says it is okay for young girls to wear these tight pants or revealing “sexy” clothes. As Christians, let us remember that not every man is a follower of Christ. Not every man has convictions against looking at these young girls, or myself, or even you. Why do we think it is okay to walk around exposing something for them to look at? I know I don’t want to be seen as a object. Let me also point out, these young girls in the sex slave trade would probably give anything to have innocence again. Can you take a moment to imagine them being jealous of you for being able to wear clothes that completely cover your body? Jealous of you that you can choose to only show your body to you husband? Modesty is something that we have taken for granted. Others, the exact ones the author of this blog spoke about, would love to be able to wear clothes that cover them more than leggings would.

      So yes. #Let’sTalkAboutLeggings Let’s talk about Modesty and not contributing to the thriving sex industry in our own country. Let’s be examples for young girls to save their bodies for their future husbands. Let us tell them the good news that they are made in God’s image and they are NOT an object to be lusted after, and so they FIRST must do everything on their part to not be lusted after.

      And lastly, Let us acknowledge that talking about leggings does not mean we don’t get to talk about the other important issues as well. It is all apart of the followers of Christ following Christ.

      • As a wearer of yoga pants and leggings, I would disagree, my purpose for wearing yoga pants or leggings is not to bring attention to my legs or me by men or anyone for that matter. I wear them because they are comfortable!! That is all. Wearing leggings does not add to the thriving sex trade. I’m sorry if my wearing of leggings or yoga pants (which you don’t seem to have a problem with, but are exactly the same thing) makes you uncomfortable, but I am comfortable with my body, and if someone wants to look at my behind they will look at it whether I am wearing leggings, yoga pants, jeans, or khaki’s. So please spend your time fighting for the women in the Dominican Republic of Congo who are brutally attacked, often gang rapped as a war tactic. Why not use your voice, to bring light to that issue, so that gang rape of women and girls is considered a war crime, and any country found to allow this “tactic” to be punished. http://www.equalityforher.com/denis_mukwege/

  3. A thousand times, YES!! As Christians we need to pick our battles – stop focusing on the trivial and be a crusader for things that really matter, like orphans, poverty, and lack of access to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Modesty is important, but that is taught as a result of discipleship. It is not the pinnacle of our faith and certainly not more important than the lives of the people that our God so dearly loves.

  4. SO glad someone said it! The whole debate just makes my eyes roll. Thank you for this beautifully written post.

    Mimi
    http://thisdomesticateddiva.com

  5. There are so many things going on in the world, even right in our circle, that are horrifying, debilitating and inhumane.

    That being said, the issue isn’t yoga pants or anything like that. The issue is being insensitized to worldly things and adopting them. Modesty is so important. For instance, so many women’s tips are made very low-cut. Why? Popularity, it sells, and it sells to Christian women. It is seemingly unimportant, but the thread is that this is one of many ‘choices’ that are destroying families.

    We need to jump on God’s bandwagon, not the world’s, be a light in a dark place as there are too many suffering throughout the world.

  6. Sheila Dolinger says:

    A to the freakin’ men!

  7. I agree. Thank you.

  8. I am so glad you not only spoke of how there is a misplaced focus on whether women should wear this or that clothing, but you also gave practical examples of things that should occupy much more of the time of the body of Christ. And for those who say that modesty is important because it is a threshold issue, I’d point out that the modesty spoke of in the New Testament has to do with attitudes much more than with clothing.

    Cheers,
    Tim

    P.S. On a lighter note, everyone knows that only men can wear yoga pants.

  9. Modesty is not a small issue. It speaks to a much larger issue. Lusting after women makes the porn industry thrive, which contributes to sex slavery. And I don’t think ANYONE would argue that sex slavery is a small issue. I was honestly surprised to see you hadn’t included it in your list of things “more important” than modesty.

    I work with teenagers at my church and I’m so frustrated at articles like this one that imply modesty isn’t important, and like some of the commenters, that it is only a man’s issue. I want the young ladies I work with to understand that they way they choose to dress affects the guys in our youth group. They can’t help but look. And because men are wired to be visually attracted to women, they’re going to remember those images even if they don’t particularly “WANT” to. As a wife, I get angry when I see my husband being bombarded with images in the media that are specifically designed to create lust for him. But to have to look at them in CHURCH? or at the grocery store? That’s infuriating. He can turn off the TV, put down a magazine, or choose a different website, but he can’t avoid the gas station or going to work.

    What I want the girls in my youth group to understand is that they guys they hang out with now will be husbands eventually, and how would they want the girls in their future husbands’ youth groups to be dressing? I can almost guarantee you they wouldn’t want the man they are going to marry being forced to look at inappropriately dressed women while they are trying to follow Jesus more closely.

    Now, what I will agree with, is that there are life or death issues affecting Christians and other helpless people around the globe, and The Church needs to get captured by those issues. But they don’t have to choose. They can support modesty AND help the helpless. I believe the Bible calls us to do both.

    • I hear what you’re saying, but when are we going to start holding men accountable for their “lustful thoughts”? By denying them this responsibility, we’re reducing them to drooling, bumbling cavemen who cannot control their instincts. Why is their “sinful mind” my responsibility?

      • Having a fleeting thought is not sin. What they do with that thought, whether they carry it further, THAT is where sin comes in. I would hope that as a follower of Christ, you’d want to help your brothers in Christ avoid sin at all costs. I think that your attitude about it not being your responsibility speaks to the fact that you are missing the point on this issue.

        Being a follower of Christ doesn’t mean you need to follow a strict list of rules and the men in your life must follow a strict list of rules, it means that we try to live as Jesus lived, and I believe Jesus would have tried to remove anything from His life that might have caused others to struggle with fully seeking God.

        As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:9, “But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” I think that applies to the way women who are Christ follower choose to dress.

        It’s not your responsibility, it is your privilege to support others on their journey to Christ-likeness.

    • Kaitlyn – But…wearing baggy pants to the gym is not going to halt lusting or close down the porn industry or end sex slavery or even stop the boys in the youth group from fantasizing about the girls in the youth group. Maybe we should be teaching boys (and I’m sure you do) how to manage their urges because, yes, they will be bomdarded with titillating images their entire lives, in the grocery store and elsewhere, because that’s the free society we live in. Jesus did not teach us to hide from he world, but to be part of it and deal with it and accept people as they are…including girls and woman who wear yoga pants to church.

    • Hi Kaitlyn,

      Thanks for your comment! I think you will see it if your re-read #5. Child-sex trafficking is actually something I’ve committed my life to abolishing as a task force leader in my area. You can follow more about my work on twitter https://twitter.com/love146CapRegTF or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/love146capitalregionTF

      To your point about modesty, I will clarify and say it’s not about the yoga pants. It’s about not having the issue of “leggings and yoga pants are immodest!” be our collective shout as a Christian community to the world. I think we can be debating about the more weightier issues of our time and we just hope that our community can champion a gospel message of hope and restoration. Join us?

  10. This is a false dichotomy. Why can’t we care about both (or all, in considering the list)? There are an overwhelming, growing list of problems in this sinful, broken world. Yes, there are larger problems than just yoga pants and modesty, but we do ourselves a disservice when we argue over what problems to be concerned with. Because there are really only two problems for the Christian: sin, and how to bring the Gospel into the broken areas of life.

    The Gospel should instruct us how to teach our children about how to present themselves and view others. The Gospel should instruct us how to care about the sinful, destructive abuses of people all over the world. The Gospel should instruct us how to confront human trafficking. The Gospel should instruct us how to treat each other online, as well as in real life. The Gospel should instruct us how to bring the light of Christ into ALL areas of life, not just “modesty” or list of things worse than modesty.

  11. PREACH. Thanks for writing :) I think Christians in the US miss the mark by majoring in on the minors – like yoga pants. Our loudest battle cry should be the Gospel. And the Gospel does call us to a standard of holiness, yes, but also of kingdom work.

    • It seems as if the point has been missed by some, as the battle over yoga pants (which I completely missed here in Uganda) continues on this blog post, mostly at the expense of real discussion of the real-life tragedies in this world which are addressed here. When I return to the US from Africa, one of the hardest things is seeing how we as Christians can get so caught up in so many little things -some of them very good – that distract us from the really important ones, the ones I think Jesus would be addressing if He walked this earth today. I believe in modesty, I would speak up to support it, I would defend someone who spoke up for it – but how much better to ask ourselves, and each other, what we can do about some of the issues this writer has raised, and then raise the roof over that. How much better to unite against some of the real tragedies of this world. How much better to ask what we can do to take the healing hope of the gospel to a hurting world that needs it so much.

      I think Isaiah 1:17 has some pretty clear marching orders for those who want to honor God: “Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. ” And we can do that while dressing modestly!

  12. Why does the author think Christians can’t do both? Modesty is an important thing, but it’s small compared to the other items listed. It’s a strawman argument to claim that all Christians ever talk about are meaningless and irrelevant topics. Did you miss the March for Life a couple of weeks ago…but I digress.

    Veronica Partridge writes a blog post about something in her life. Christians didn’t make a big deal about it. Secular sources are the ones that made it a huge deal and Partridge was attacked for…I guess having a modesty problem…

    At that point Christians who agreed with Partridge defended her and the bibilical viewpoint she professed. And now the author is blaming Partridge for the distraction? Defending truth IS important, and we are all called to serve in different ways. Good grief.

  13. This all comes back to left shark. Anyone who observed the Super Bowl and the internet the past couple days is aware that the biggest US sporting event of the year came and went and we became obsessed with a guy in an adorable shark costume who briefly got lost in his choreography. We love to focus on something small, pointed and easier to process than something larger and more difficult.

    The issue here isn’t to eschew modesty. The issue also isn’t to criticize Veronica Partridge for her choice. The intent is clearly to state that we are allowing ourselves simple, easy diversions by investing our time and lives in debates on the modesty of yoga pants and the possibility that they could lead someone down a painful path. We are choosing this rather than spending our time on more painful, complex topics that don’t allow us to simply condemn others and move on. And let’s be real, that’s what most of this conversation is about. Condemning you for wearing pants, condemning me for thinking it’s okay, and on and on.

    Yes, we can care about both, we serve a both/and God, but we’re limited. Where are we going to invest our time and resources? Are we going to spending it persecuting others for differing definitions of modesty? Are we going to spend it condemning others or caring for victims? We need to care for the widows and the orphans before we even think about picking up a stone to throw.

  14. Then what is the threshold for things that we can be upset about? Maybe leggings are a little silly to get worked up over, but compared to everything going on in the world, isn’t everything? Someone embezzled thousands from our church ministry fund? How can we possibly talk about that when there are thousands of people sleeping on the streets. Your house burned down? That’s a little silly to be upset over considering the child slavery epidemic. Inoperable cancer? Seems kind of trivial compared to the fact that millions have no clean drinking water.

    Yes, there are things that aren’t worth raising a furor over, and maybe (probably) leggings is one of those things. But to frame the discussion in that way leaves things so that you can’t have a discussion about anything. Because compared to the genuine struggle that people around the world experience, there is literally nothing that I’ve experienced that could compare to that. So should I take all of my feelings of depression, grief, pain, and sadness and just walk all of that off because it can’t possibly compare to the struggle of others?

    • Well said.

      I don’t want to put words in Ashley’s mouth, but her post will be used by secular people who want to shut down Christian commentary. They do not support the “pro-modesty” message of Partridge and will use this post to silence it.

  15. a lot of time spent online that could have been spent paying it forward……

  16. Yes, but–this argument falls so short of a complete understanding of what it means to be a Christian. It’s not about what we stand for, what we don’t, what we FIGHT for, even what our passion is–it’s about lifting HIGH the name of Jesus in the world–which happens when a woman honors GOD in how she thinks and presents herself, when a man honors GOD in how HE THINKS and presents himself, AND it happens when we stand up for justice, grace, and true kindness. It’s a FULL-LIFE commitment. I appreciate the attempt for a more “noble” cause–but living for Jesus IN TRUTH in ALL parts of your life is really where we ought to be. By putting forth that our pursuit should NOT be “leggings”, you are still placing some standard or expectation on people that you think they should meet.

  17. I think it’s wonderful – wonderful – that you have listed these items out that are more important than leggings. Obviously, they are. I also understand that you’re trying to make the point that it’s not about the leggings talk, it’s about the passion that seemed to rise from the leggings talk, that bothered you. I tend to agree with someone else’s response that it’s more about defending someone’s right to defend modesty that caused Christians to rise up for this. Had it not been viewed so negatively, it would have flown under the radar. That being said–I don’t think it’s wise to discourage talk about leggings. People come into Christianity from different avenues. What if a sweet girl who didn’t have a mom teach her about modesty read that article, and the holy spirit spoke to her for the first time? Isn’t her life, her salvation, as important as the orphan or hasn’t heard this simple truth either? This simple, little, leggings-based truth reached a lot of people, and may have saved even one person’s life. So, let’s be okay with that. Let’s be okay that it was just about leggings (which it wasn’t). Let’s realize Christians are at all different levels in their walk and while your pace has you doing amazing, world-changing things, there are new Christians who need to know the first steps. They’re worth talking about. At my pace, I hope and pray that one day I can save one or more of those orphans you mentioned. In the mean time, I will be aware of what I put on my body, who it affects and will teach my current children how desperately important something like modesty is. It’s all important. And we all need to talk about it–All of it, as the Spirit leads us to do so. Many, many blessings to you and all those you will reach.

  18. I have a heart for so many of the ten things you listed above. I blog about our family’s experience with foster parenting (for example, http://adivineencounter.com/what-to-do). I blog about human trafficking (http://adivineencounter.com/learn-love-lift-in-prayer). I blog about seeking justice and caring for the oppressed. But I also blog about modesty. Each is a biblical issue, and each should be of concern to Christ-followers. Why do we have to choose?

  19. Thank you! I see so many people sharing and commenting on the “yoga pants” and “leggings” posts but when someone shares about suffering, persecution etc there is NO shares and NO conversation. I am so blessed to go to a church where everyone is welcomed regardless of how they dress as everyone is on a different journey. Christians can become so legalistic in their pursuit of holiness that they miss that there are hungry and naked among us. Keep writing please!

  20. I completely understand that there are MANY, MANY problems far weightier than leggings. Now, lets bot forget, modesty IS important. However, I find a lot of hypocrisy in this article. You say that there are a lot not things to get upset about, which is true, but that’s exactly what you’re doing and you critizise the woman who made the decision, her husband, and those who supported her. Why? It was a good cause, and it’s one of the small steps to a better culture.

  21. “christian, stop preaching lying as a sin when there are much bigger issues like murder happening!” We don’t have the right to dismiss some sins as small just because we feel like they are. If the bible addresses something as sin it is a big deal. Modesty is a big deal. Not because we say it is, but because God said it is.

  22. Stupid question I’m sure….but when in the gospels does Jesus talk about modesty?

  23. This was a good post. Yet, the comments below are precisely why (along with the yoga pants kind of thinking) that turned me off of Christianity and religion/faith altogether.

  24. So many sweeping generalizations and absolutes thrown around carelessly in both article and comment. I love how people think they have the authority to measure sin. Lust can keep a Soul (Not just a man issue) out of Heaven, as can Murder. Sin is sin is sin… ANY conversation against it is POSITIVE and I’m sure smiled upon by God. The worst way to rally people is to make them feel belittled for their convictions.

  25. Chris Lewis says:

    To the detractors:
    To equate “sin” and “heartbreak of God” with immodesty to that of murder, rape, and starvation makes your God look a little petty and narrow-minded. So, he’ll damn you for showing leg, but its ok with him that you didn’t feed the poor and care for the sick and downtrodden.

    I find it so appalling that practically every response on here is to remind the poster that modesty is important. Big deal. Jesus doesn’t mention modesty repeatedly, but the items on the list may have been a little more important to him.

    Its this stuff that is the reason people are abandoning Christianity in droves. Modesty would be very low on God’s list, right down there with fighting gay marriage and handing out extra points for eating at chick-fil-a.

    The blog could not have been more spot on about what would put Christianity back in a good light, and that is pretty important in a media driven world.

    Do some good and stop preaching about the silly details. You think that if you meet all the little items on your personal “good christian” checklist that you are pleasing God, and getting to hand out a dose of judgement to everyone around as a bonus. It couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    To the blogger who posted this:

    Give ’em hell.

  26. In my time as a christian, I have seen hot topic christian issues blow up to become those things the non-christian world uses to define us. Some of these issues are worthy and noble things to draw attention to, others not so much. For my grandfather’s generation the issues were playing cards, dresses that went down to the ankle, mixed bathing and going to picture shows (all things that were considered moral issues at the time). For my parents generation it was bible versions, dresses to the knee, open toed shoes, women wearing pants, men wearing suits and drums at church. Two thousand years ago in the early church, the issues centered around if was sin to eat meat that had been offered to idols (Romans 14) and if a man had to have surgery (circumcision) in order to be a Christian (Galatians). I could go on and on listing a hundred of such issues that are not even remembered and seem silly and small (usually because they center around cultural fads that don’t last). This article does not undermine modesty, nor people who wish to honor God in the dress of their convictions. Rather it is one that calls Christians to use their influence and raise their public voices in the more weighty business and concerns of redemptive work rather than dying on a hill of a passing fad. It is about perspective and what we are known for. What are we going to use our capital of time and voice to maximum impact in our culture. Do we want to be known for our gospel empowered works as ministers of reconciliation or the people of a dress code? In a hundred years our children’s children will mock this debate in the same way we laugh at the people who taught women open toed shoes were immodest and a cardinal sin (yes that really happened). What is it that our grandchildren will say were the issues that put a fire in our souls and moved us to voice and to action?

  27. I read this article and wholeheartedly agreed, and then scrolled down to find everyone arguing about what’s the more important issue. It breaks my heart to see so many Christians angrily spouting off about what they believe is the right thing and shooting down everyone’s else’s opinions. Why can’t we agree to join together and move forward in Christian love, being an example to everyone else in His name? Instead we just argue about who’s right and wrong.

    To say that “God’s heart breaks just as much when a woman dresses that way” as it does when someone is murdered or raped is just a fallacy. When someone murders or rapes, they know it. They carry act their evils acts with intention. However, many women (not all) in today’s society don’t know how they dress. It’s the way they’ve been taught by society and they don’t know any better. They have been conditioned to think things like yoga pants in public are okay. We as Christians should love them and educate them (in a loving way). If you pull them aside and say something like “You know… what you’re wearing isn’t appropriate… you’re causing men to think evil thoughts.” How would you feel if someone told you that? Let us not for the Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I know, you’re totally think “I wouldn’t ever do that!”, and I’m sure you wouldn’t, but there are people who would. I’m serious; what I wrote above as a an example? It was something my friend was told last summer at a Christian workshop she attended. It’s not our job to judge, that’s God’s job, not matter what. We are here to love and educate, be disciples.

    As a reference… if you’re doubting that a woman who doesn’t know of her immodesty exists in the world…
    John 9:41
    Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
    2 Peter 2:21
    It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

Trackbacks

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  8. […] the church in alarming numbers (see for example: David Kinnaman’s You Lost Me). Bloggers like Ashley P. Dickens have already done a fabulous job putting all of this in perspective, so I won’t go into that […]

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  11. […] recently I have seen this blog post passed around the internet, “Ten Things We Should Get Angry About Before Yoga Pants.” I believe that the author intended it as a wake-up call to Christians who try to add to […]

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