He posted it to his Facebook wall for the benefit of his female friends late one night.
Because they needed to hear a guy's perspective.
The link was hard for me to miss. A sound clip blown up movie style with the black and white photo of a meditative man upon it. Soulful music played as a prominent pastor addressed the women in his congregation. He spoke of the struggles that men face in regards to a woman's modesty and read a letter from a college-aged friend who had written in detail on his struggle with lust. The young man discussed the difficulty he had walking around campus as every woman in front of him was unknowingly tempting him to mentally molest her. He confessed it took everything in his power to see female friends as people rather than objects. To look her in the face rather than at her body. He begged women to consider the way they dress and to ask themselves whether they could cause a man to sin before going out in public.
The offensive nature of the sermon was not just focused on women, but suggested that men are sex-crazed creatures with no ability to control themselves, and that women are guilty merely for being well, women.
I was sickened.
And so the argument began.
Women posted on my friend's facebook wall. Grieving over being given such a heavy burden to bear. Wondering where the responsibility lay in a man's mind, when in his heart he could not see women as people, and why the guilt was ultimately laid upon them. One friend expressed her resignation at always being treated as an object, and nothing more.
What outrages me, is that this is not just one sermon, but a potent example of the misogynistic church culture in which we live.
How much of modesty is relative? And what is our responsibility as women?
A recent Modesty Study of thousands of men ranging from teens to middle age shows that men's definition of modesty covers a full spectrum of female dress, behavior and speech. In the study, every possible part of a woman's dress was dissected and reviewed as if she was an animal on parade. The results showed that for some men modesty was loosely defined by the character of the woman and for others even the smallest glimpse of an ankle or shoulder could send their minds down a slippery slope. Ultimately the definition and details varied by great degree depending upon the man who was answering the questions.
As a woman, I am encouraged to dress modestly and to not lay a stumbling block in front of my brother, and admittedly I do not always do my part.
But women, where does the responsibility end with us?
When does it fall upon the shoulders of the men?
At what point do they finally become responsible before God for their hearts, their eyes, their minds? Setting their hearts and mind towards God and committing to a holy lifestyle of renewing and building personal purity from the inside-out, rather than laying the blame on women?
When are Christian men going to stand up and say that shaming, picking apart and blaming women is not acceptable. When do they stop viewing us as objects and take to heart Philippians 2:3 - in humility valuing others above themselves? Training themselves to see past the exterior, regardless of how difficult, and viewing a woman instead for the priceless and beautiful child of God that she is?
It is my heart's hope that godly men will step up to the plate. That they will begin to expect more and to view themselves not as depraved animals, but as sons of a Holy Father, set apart to love and be loved in all goodness and purity.