January 27, 2015

It’s not about yoga pants

It’s a little earlier in the year than usual for these kinds of posts, they have already gone viral about how yoga pants are lazy (can’t really argue with that one) or immodest (ehh….) and suddenly women are all MOLON LABE about the yoga pants.

And I guess you can do that, but it seems like a pretty silly hill to die on

In the winter it’s yoga pants and and those aberrations from nature, leggings-as-pants. In the summer it becomes bikinis and visible underwear. And the same conversations circle the drain for weeks and weeks on facebook and blogs and youth groups and Bible studies. Usually the responses say either A) this is anti-men because they are unfairly portrayed as being too morally weak to resist lusting after women dressing a certain way, or else B) it’s not unfair (statement A), but it’s anti-woman to put the onus on women, it’s the men’s problem and they’ll just have to deal with it.

Me and My SoldierMan: It's not about yoga pants

I don’t agree with either statement. No, it’s not unfair to say men are susceptible to impure thoughts based on what they see around them.  It’s not unfair to say that about women either. Everyone is a sinner, and everyone is vulnerable to lust. What triggers us each may be different. But it’s not condescending to concede that. It’s, frankly, deceiving yourself to act like it’s not true, because it’s true for everyone. Not just men.

To the second point – okay, so say someone agrees, yeah, I know this triggers a certain response in someone else that they’d prefer to avoid (and try to). I know it causes men, maybe even a male friend, to stumble in their thought life. But I’m going to keep doing it anyway, and if they don’t like it, well, great big double middle finger, they don’t have to look.

Basically, I already wrote a blog post about you. And here I double-down: That’s the most self-centered, uncharitable, social media-saturated “just scroll past/unfollow” attitude a person can have. Because when it comes down to it, it really isn’t about yoga pants or bikinis or any of that. It’s about “esteeming others as more important than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) The Bible says we should be willing to go so far as to avoid eating meat if we knew eating meat caused our brother to stumble. (Romans 14:15) If we aren’t willing to do that, to give up our rights to help others avoid sin, we’re jerks.

So now I’ll ask you to read this blog written by a man, from a male perspective. I’m asking you to read it with ears to hear, so to speak. Try, for a few minutes, to see it from a side other than, “You’ll have to pry my yoga pants from my cold dead hands.”

After years of growing up in church culture and hearing and reading every possible perspective on this subject possible – it’s only a male’s problem what he struggle’s with in his thought life; it’s “shaming” to point out immodest dress; it’s patriarchal oppression to talk about modesty – and, well, getting a little fed up with the vilification of women who try to wrestle through these issues with sensitivity – this is the conclusion I’ve come to:

We don’t take thought sins seriously.

We don’t think Jesus really meant it when he said that lust is equal to adultery. Not metaphorically, literally. (Matthew 5:21-22) We don’t think Jesus really meant it when he said hate is equal to murder. Not allegorically, literally. (Matthew 5:27-28) We don’t really believe that, and so we don’t feel any obligation to help our Christian brothers avoid sin when we know we can. That’s not calling for Baptist Burkas.

Let me put it another way, one more time:

Back years ago, I really struggled with a Biblical view of consuming alcohol. I was raised in a teetotaling household. I didn’t have a really strong desire to drink, and I never intended to until I turned 21. But before then, I was in a Bible Study, and some of the girls in there were definitely free on the issue of alcohol. In fact, they were pretty aggressive about it. Or at least it felt like it to me, someone who was feeling kind of caught in the middle. To me, it felt like they took every opportunity possible to rub my face in the fact that they were free to drink, to try and entice me to join them when I didn’t have a clear conscience. I didn’t feel any Romans 15 merciful forbearance from these older Sisters in Christ. It was really hurtful.

According to Romans 14, yeah, they had liberty to consume alcohol. Absolutely. But according to Romans 15, they also had the obligation (that’s the actual word) to exercise mercy and “please his neighbor.”

Anyway, how and where someone ultimately applies all these thoughts is up to them. I’m not saying that there’s a single, narrow application. Because it’s not about yoga pants, I’m not saying to never wear yoga pants. If you read that, you read something I didn’t write. There are situations and circumstances where yoga pants are totally appropriate. Also, just because these principles can be misapplied doesn’t mean that we can ignore their origins.

It’s all well and good to say, “But it’s their problem!” I’m not saying that’s incorrect. Not at all.

I’m just saying, even if it is, bear with mercy.

 

 

photo credit: midwestnerd via photopin cc text added by me

2 comments:

  1. What a thoughtful perspective and what a smartly-written post. It's so easy to ignore the fact that even though others' actions are not directly our responsibility, our own behaviors and actions impact others deeply. My own yoga pants aren't very tight, but I'll definitely think about my running tights and other form-fitting clothes a little bit differently after reading this.

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  2. My own yoga pants are not that tight but I can see where you are coming from with this. But of course will all the rules about going into the commissary or BX with "workout" clothes on I normally don't go out in public in my yoga pants unless I am going to yoga and it's nothing to do with shameing it's totally to do with rules. :(
    But well writing and thought provoking post!

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