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Tag: Dressing Immodestly

The Official Hymn of the IFB Church Movement: I Shall Not be Moved

ifb

Jesus Is My Saviour, I Shall Not Be Moved;
In His Love And Favour, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

I Shall Not Be, I Shall Not Be Moved,
I Shall Not Be, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

In My Christ Abiding, I Shall Not Be Moved;
In His Love I’m Hiding, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

If I Trust Him Ever, I Shall Not Be Moved:
He Will Fail Me Never, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

On His Word I’m Feeding, I Shall Not Be Moved,
He’s The One That’s Leading, I Shall Not Be Moved,
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

Glory Hallelujah, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Anchored In Jehovah, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

In His Love Abiding, I Shall Not Be Moved;
And In Him Confiding, I Shall Not Be Moved:
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

Though All Hell Assail Me, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Jesus Will Not Fail Me, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

Though The Tempest Rages, I Shall Not Be Moved,
On The Rock Of Ages, I Shall Not Be Moved;
Just Like A Tree That’s Planted By The Waters,
I Shall Not Be Moved.

Video Link

I Shall Not be Moved is the official hymn of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church movement. IFB churches, pastors, and colleges believe that they are protectors and defenders of “old fashioned’ Christianity; “old fashioned” meaning the Evangelical Christianity that was common in the 1950s. IFB adherents consider themselves anti-culture, prone to withdrawing from society, taking up residence in bubbles where every aspect of life is strictly and completely controlled. IFB churches are known for being fighting Baptists, willing to fight and divide over even trivial matters. In their world “trivial” doesn’t exist. Much like the song quoted above, IFB Christians put down deep roots, and no matter what comes their way they will not move.

Let me give you a good example of this from Bob Jones University, a fiercely Fundamentalist and separatist school. Some Bob Jones graduates, students, and board members are calling for the head of college president Steve Pettit. Even former president Bob Jones III is alarmed at what Pettit has done:

Over the last year some embarrassing, antithetical things, historically uncharacteristic things, which would have never happened in the past have occurred. From all over the country the Board received pleas from graduates, and others, to look into these matters fearing that the University had veered in its direction, and unique distinctives without which it would become irrelevant. Naturally, the Board was obligated, by reason of its existence, to step in. (Ministry Watch)

What, you ask, did Pettit do? Are you ready? Drum roll, please:

The opposition to Pettit has nothing to do with morality or doctrine, but with “preferences of Christian practice,” according to one alumnus. The alumnus, who talked to board members, said Pettit had been criticized for the style of worship music played at student chapel services, “immodest clothing” worn by female athletes, questionable performances and musical selections from the fine arts program, and even Pettit’s participation in a bluegrass music band. (Ministry Watch)

That’s right; alums, students, board members, and Jones III are outraged over music styles and women’s dress.

BJUgrass

This is a recent photo of BJUgrass, a college-affiliated bluegrass band started by BJU college president Steve Pettit. OMG! Look at these slutty women wearing blue jeans. Why, two of them have naked feet! Run, men, run, your virginity is at risk.

These are the kind of things IFB preachers get their panties in a bunch over. Pettit recognizes that the strict, legalistic standards of the days when the Jones clan rules the college with a rod of iron will no longer work. Despite their claims that they never change their beliefs and practices, IFB adherents do, over time, change. Oh, the change is slow, but it does happen. Pettit knows that the only fix for declining enrollment is to drag Bob Jones kicking and screaming into the 1990s. Pettit’s core theological beliefs are as abominable as they ever were, but he risks losing his job because he ran afoul of the morality police.

It will be interesting to see if Pettit’s contract is renewed. My money is on “no.” Here’s one thing I know about Fundamentalists: they eat their own. They have no room in their worldview for differences of belief, practice, or opinion. Truly, they shall NOT be moved.

For the record, BJUgrass is a talented group. I love bluegrass music, even though I can do without the religious lyrics. 🙂 After watching the video below, I can see why some Bob Jones folks are upset! OMG, uptempo, foot tapping, body moving music. Definitely not the BJU music from yesteryear. Bob Jones music has a style, and this ain’t it.

Video Link

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Quit Wear “Sexy” Clothing, Women. You Are Causing Christians to Sin!

sexy nuns

The reason I have dedicated myself to putting together the small book, Christian Fashion in the Teaching of the Church is because I am convinced that a life lived in a Christian way—and consistently so, especially for a woman—is partly expressed by the way one dresses, and that this is particularly important in today’s world. I will try to explain this briefly.

Allow me to present you with an image. In these summer days, not only holiday resorts, but also big cities like Rome or London are invaded by people—men and women—dressed in the most indecent manner. In my opinion, this phenomenon represents a brutal violence against Christians, because it jeopardizes one of the most important but also most fragile virtues of our faith: chastity.

In the streets and squares of large cities, scenes are imposed on passers-by that disturb the eyes, feed curiosity, provoke disordered desires and, in this sense, constitute a real assault. Yet we cannot deny that there is a certain consistency in this indecent attire: it corresponds to the dominant philosophy of life, which is materialism, hedonism and the dissolution of all values. Everything is permitted, and the pursuit of pleasure is the ultimate goal. There is a consistency in this scene.

….

The transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, and humanism, can also be traced in the fashions of those times. Fashion was also the great vehicle to transmit the ideas of the French Revolution.

Fashion made the agitated year of 1968 into a radical turning point in Western social life. The criteria of beauty, decorum, harmony and elegance, which were already in crisis, were overcome by the egalitarian and anarchic spirit which was the very soul of the student movement. In 1968, most of the girls at demonstrations were in trousers. Jeans became a sort of uniform for the youth, the quintessential symbol of the new egalitarian fashion.

….

Along these lines, gender studies developed within American feminism in the seventies. Its advocates placed the denial of an authentic difference between men and women at the center of their conceptual approach. The notion of a fluctuating and subjective identity based on a social construction of gender replaced the objective reality of biological sex.

….

The concept holds that the male—female difference is merely a cultural and not a natural fact. Since culture can change, the next step is to suggest interchangeability in practice. Thus, the medical establishment offers surgical operations to make a man “a woman” and a woman “a man.” To make this utopian idea a normality, it must be imposed in schools, indoctrinating children from an early age.

Clothing is once again a revolutionary tool. In kindergartens and schools where gender ideology is applied, boys dress as girls and girls as boys. Boys can have their nails painted and are being taught embroidery and crocheting, whilst girls devote themselves to disassembling engines or playing with toy cars.

Fashion is therefore a formidable revolutionary weapon and needs to be opposed when it threatens to overthrow the principles of Catholic morality and the core values ​​of Western culture.

….

That such danger is to be found everywhere today is a warning repeated, not only by the Church, but even by men who are outside the Christian faith; the most clear-sighted thinkers, those solicitous for the public good, strongly denounce the sinister threat to the social order and to the future of nations; the poisoning of the roots of life by the present multiplication of incitements to impurity; while the indulgence (which we would do better to call a denial) of an ever-more-extensive part of the public conscience, blind to the most reprehensible moral disorders, slackens the brakes even more.”

….

In the years immediately after the Second Vatican Council, many sought to separate doctrine from the modus—the style or form in which doctrine is expressed. Thus, these people expressed themselves differently from the past and brought about a cultural transformation that is deeper than it may seem. The way in which we presents ourselves—the styles in which we expresses ourselves—reveals a way of being and of thinking.

Fashion is basically a person’s style. Style expresses the ideas which guide us. Through our clothing we express a world vision. If it is true that examples count as much as ideas, then the way we dress also can express our “lived Christianity.”

Virginia Coda Nunziante, Return to Order, The Way Christians Dress Expresses Their Lived Christianity

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Women Wearing Pants to Blame for Liberalism in IFB Churches

arizona 2004_0003
Polly Gerencser, Arizona 2004, wearing her first pair of pants. Such a heathen 🙂

Tom Brennan (please see Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Immodestly Dressed Women Are Like a Lit Cigarette at a Gas Pump Says IFB Pastor Tom Brennan) pastors Bible Baptist Church in Dubuque, Iowa — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation. As is common among IFB preachers — I should know, I was one — Brennan is obsessed with getting women out of their pants. He has written numerous blog posts about how women dress, especially pants wearing.

Last week, Brennan wrote a post titled Objections Against the Pants Standard Answered. In the post, Brennan lists twenty-four objections to his anti-britches standard:

1) “These are women’s pants.”

2) “There is no specific biblical instruction that a woman should not wear pants.”

3) “Whatever you write doesn’t matter; I’m just not convicted about it.”

4) “I have peace about wearing pants.”

5) “We have thought it through carefully, and we are going to allow pants now. But we will only allow modest pants.”

6) “I only wear pants to work.”

7) “Pants are more comfortable.”

8) “You are wrong; pants as an item of clothing do not belong exclusively to the male gender. That ship has sailed.”

9) “Well, you have to admit, pants are more modest for certain activities. I mean, can you imagine rock climbing at the mall in a dress?”

10) “Say what you want, I don’t have to answer to a man for what I wear.”

11) “That’s Old Testament stuff and we’re under grace now.”

12) “Yes, I wear pants. I am free from the bondage of legalism now.”

13) “It’s just not as important as you make it out to be.”

14) “Everybody knows that men and women wore the same robes in the Bible.”

15) “I can’t wear a skirt or a dress and stay warm.”

16) “Well, my pants are more modest than So-and-so’s skirts and dresses.”

17) “God doesn’t care about how I look; He only cares about my heart.”

18) “You should just stick with teaching the Bible and let the Holy Spirit convict people how He wants.”

19) “Dress standards just breed pride. The Pharisees. Hello?”

20) “You don’t understand, Pastor Brennan. If I require that standard of my daughters they will rebel against me.”

21) “I’m an older woman; ain’t no man going to lust after me.”

22) “What will the lost think when they hear you emphasize such quaint notions?”

23) “Who are you to judge?”

24) “Well, Paul said all things are lawful. So get off my case.”

Please take the time to read Brennan’s responses to these objections.

Brennan thinks that if good IFB women start wearing pants they will go “liberal,” and soon will be wearing shorts, tight jeans, and yoga pants. OMG, the pants apocalypse. 🙂

My wife and I have had this conversation with our own daughter. Why is it that when a formerly conservative independent Baptist family gives up the pants standards it seems to go entirely the opposite direction rather quickly? If they gave up, accepted pants, and wore the (relatively) modest old-lady pants (forgive me, I am sure there is a better term here) I could almost live with that. But they do not. In my experience, never. They say the pants are going to be modest, but inevitably, in a few years, the tight jeans, the yoga pants, and the short shorts show up, if not in the first generation then in the next one.

Brennan’s beliefs are not special or unique. Countless misogynistic IFB preachers hold similar beliefs. I remember losing good church families over my refusal to let church women who served in an official capacity wear pants. I have apologized to several families, but this kind of thinking causes untold heartache and harm, all over a pair of pants.

I am sure some of you wonder why IFB women willingly submit to such nonsense. Perhaps some of the former IFB church members who read this blog will chime in. I do know that women are deeply indoctrinated. They are conditioned to believe that the pastor’s peculiar interpretations of the Bible and social pronouncements are straight from the mouth of God. Little girls, teens, and women are taught to submit to their pastor’s authority and that of their husbands. When this is all you know, you don’t know any better. When you are taught certain items of clothing and fashion are signs of worldliness, is it any wonder you “willingly” comply. This sort of cultic thinking has ensnared countless American women. My wife, Polly, was forty-six years old before she wore her first pair of pants — capris. I encouraged her to buy a pair of pants. She refused, believing God would punish her if she did. We continued to talk about the matter, and Polly finally disobeyed God. What happened next? Absolutely nothing.

I have nothing but sympathy for women trapped in churches such as Brennan’s. Sadly, the only way out for them is rebellion or divorce — which an increasing number of women do. Some IFB churches give in and allow women to wear pants. They do, to a minute degree, become more “liberal.” Brennan sees pants as a red line that must not be crossed. Doing so leads to the incurable disease of “liberalism.” Brennan intends to man the Fundamentalist walls, keeping out the “world.” Brennan will fail, but before he does, he will cause untold harm. Such preaching kills marriages and families, often sending children running for the hills, never to return.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Immodestly Dressed Women Are Like a Lit Cigarette at a Gas Pump Says IFB Pastor Tom Brennan

pastor tom brennan

An immodestly dressed woman is like a cigarette at a gas pump. The cigarette does not explode; the explosion comes as a result of the inherent instability of the fuel. But whoever lit the thing is an absolute fool. I can hear the responses being typed furiously all the way from Iowa. “Well, he should control himself!” Amen, sister, amen. He should walk in the Spirit and thus not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. And you should not run around half-clothed.

— Tom Brennan, pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Dubuque, Iowa, Brennan’s Pen, The Relationship Between Modesty and Lust, April 25, 2022

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Horny IFB Men Report “Immodestly” Dressed Women to Their Pastor

modest clothing

Tom Brennan pastors Bible Baptist Church in Dubuque, Iowa. Bible Baptist is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation. Recently, Brennan wrote a blog post titled Appearance Matters:

First, it is evident in America that we have a declining Christianity paired with a growing paganism. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind (Mark 5.15). When a person individually or a society corporately is operating under the affect [sic] of the devil or the affect [sic] of Christ it is evident in their appearance. What do we find in America today? Undeniably, we find a growing breakdown of any public sense of modesty. Yoga pants, which leave nothing to imagination, rule. Activists increasingly advocate for the right for women to be topless. Local governments routinely look the other way as pride parades violate public decency laws, and no one breathes a word of opposition. And I could go on and on here.

Damn those yoga pants. It seems Brennan is saying that a sure sign of increasing American paganism is women wearing yoga pants and, I assume, leggings. Brennan is using “paganism,” as many IFB preachers do, as a catch-all for “unbelief.” Brennan knows the United States is becoming increasingly secular, with the fastest-growing religious demographic being the “nones” — those who are atheists, agnostics, or indifferent towards religion. In Brennan’s mind, how women, in particular, dress reveals how far or how close our society is to the one true God of the Bible. IFB preachers have been warring against female “immodesty since the late 1960s and 1970s. Back then, it was miniskirts that were the problem. Now, according to Brennan, the biggest problem in our culture is women wearing yoga pants and leggings. In Brennan’s mind, we are only a hop, skip, and jump away from women walking down our streets topless.

Nothing to see here, right? IFB preachers have been pontificating about women’s clothing for decades. I wouldn’t have given Brennan’s post nary a thought if it hadn’t been for what he said next:

Believe it or not, this is a church issue. I have pastored twenty five years. Most of you reading this have no idea how often I have had a man come to me struggling with the way some sister in Christ dresses, even in a conservative church like ours. Which means even more have a problem but will not actually say anything to me about it.

Brennan preaches about “modesty” and maintaining proper attire. He is, after all, an IFB preacher. It’s what they do. What I find sadly interesting is that Brennan has horny male church members who come to him and tattle on church women who are dressed “immodestly.” What kind of church culture encourages this kind of behavior?

“Struggling” is a euphemism for getting a boner or having lustful thoughts when viewing a sister in the Lord who has a skirt above her knees, wears pants that are too tight, or wears a blouse or top that is revealing. These women aren’t strolling down the church aisles on Sunday as a hooker would on a city street on Saturday night, seductively dressed, hoping to catch men’s attention. Yet, because they show too much leg or cleavage or accentuate their feminine shape, they are viewed as seductresses out to lead poor, hapless, weak, pathetic IFB men into sexual sin — either literally, as in the case of adultery, fornication, and masturbation, or psychologically, as in have “lustful” thoughts and immoral desires.

Imagine the discussions between Pastor Brennan and an aroused/offended/outraged male church member:

Preacher, did you Sister Betty today? I can see her cleavage! Brother, all I can think about is motorboating. I want to keep my mind and heart stayed upon Jesus, but Sister Betty is causing me to have unholy, impure thoughts. Make her stop, Daddy, err, I mean Preacher.

Pastor, Sister Maybelle is showing way too much leg. Her skirt is two inches above her knee and it’s so tight I can see that she’s wearing an IFB-approved thong! What should I do? I can’t possibly stay focused on Jesus when all I can think about is Maybelle’s sexy legs and ass. Sorry, pastor, I mean butt.

Preacher, you need to do something about Sister Jezebel. Her tops are too tight, too revealing. My God, she even wears pants to church, revealing the form of her hot, sexy — make it stop — body. Me and Deacon Bob were talking and both of us think that you need to tell Sister Jezebel to dress modestly.

Pastor, have you seen how the church’s teen girls are dressing? They are dressing just like public school girls! I’ve had several church boys come to me complaining about how these girls are dressing; how their “immodesty” is causing them to have lustful thoughts. Little Billy, you know Deacon Bob’s son, came to me and said that all he can think about during church is sex. He’s NOT even listening to your sermons! You need to do something about this before church teens start having sex with each other.

Brennan, of course, is part of the problem. His preaching has facilitated a culture where women are demeaned for how they dress — cuz it’s in the Bible — and men believe they have little to no control over their sexuality. Again, standard IFB fare. Brennan is part of a religious sect that is stridently anti-culture. Try as he might, modern culture still seeps into his church. Several weeks ago, I watched a Youtube video of the Sunday service at Polly’s mom’s IFB church. I was shocked to see several women in the choir/church wearing leggings underneath their dresses. One woman was even wearing tennis shoes. OMG, sure signs of liberalism, moral decay, and the second coming of Hey-Zeus. Try as IFB preachers might, they can’t stop their churches from changing with the times. It is often said, that IFB churches are twenty years behind culturally. Take the church I mentioned above. Forty years ago, men were prohibited from having any facial hair. Today, numerous men have mustaches and beards, including the pastor. Some men even have bald heads, a sure sign years ago that they were, according to their pastor, nazis, white supremacists, or gay. Brennan is fighting a battle that neither he nor Jesus can win.

The solution to Brennan’s problem is quite simple: tell church men to grow up; tell them to embrace and own their sexuality; tell them to mind their own fucking business. Remember, this is not about women strolling down the center church aisle on Sundays in string bikinis. Most of us would agree that doing so would be inappropriate, even though it would be quite entertaining (and much better than the sermon). We’re not talking about scantily clad women. These men are outraged over women who refuse to obey the church’s archaic, misogynistic dress standard; women who dare to show a bit (or a lot) of cleavage or leg; women who feel comfortable in their own skin.

Yoga pants and leggings are not the problem. My wife wears leggings, typically with a long top or short dress that covers her ass. She also owns a pair of yoga pants. I think Polly looks nice (and attractive) when she wears leggings. Not that what I think matters. Her body, her choice, end of discussion. I have certain types and styles of clothing I like to wear. Why should it be any different for my wife? I doubt Brennan has women coming to him, complaining about men who are wearing tight pants or that they can “see” their junk. Why is that?

Many of you were raised in IFB churches. How differently were women treated from men? Did your pastor ever preach about men’s clothing? Please share your stories in the comment section.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

“Don’t Dress Like a Whore if You Don’t Want to Get Sexually Assaulted” Says Lori Alexander

lori and ken alexander

Christian Fundamentalist Lori Alexander, a promoter of religious extremism, complementarianism, and patriarchalism, is known for saying hateful, outlandish things about women (and men) who reject her beliefs. Today, Alexander said that women who dress “immodestly” and later get sexually assaulted or raped are asking for it; that if they don’t want to suffer violence at the hands of men, women should stop wearing “immodest” clothing.

In a post titled, Don’t Advertise What You’re Not Willing to Give, Alexander states:

Recently, I shared an experience I had when I was 15 years old and just turned 16. The summer that I was 15 years old, I went to the beach often with another guy my age. He was tall and handsome. I had a major crush on him.

My mom wouldn’t let me to date until I was 16 years old, so she was the one taking us to the beach. At the beach, I wore a tiny bikini. He saw me in what looked like a bra and underwear all summer long. I didn’t understand about men’s visual nature then. Well, I did kind of know, since I received a lot of attention in my bikini from guys. It’s a power trip to have men ogle us. Don’t let them tell you otherwise in order to put all of the blame on men.

When I turned 16, he picked me up in his parent’s big old station wagon. He drove me to the drive-in theatre. Once the movie began, he climbed on top of me, began kissing me, and trying to take my clothes off. I demanded he take me home then, and he did. We never spoke again after than even though we had a class together.

I was always told that guys just want one thing. I thought the same of him, BUT I was advertising to him my body all summer long in immodest clothing. I was advertising something I had no intention of giving to him, but he didn’t know that. Guys are turned on when they see scantily clad women. This is why whores dress the way they do. They are advertising something they want to give for money.

A few weeks ago was the first time I had realized what I had done to him. I did this with my other two boyfriends in high school too. I wore bikinis and short, tight clothing around them. Of course, this is going to make it hard on them to not have sex with me. I was absolutely responsible for dressing the way that I did. This is why God commands young women to be discreet and shamefaced. God knows how men’s minds work. He created them! For all of these female Bible teachers/preachers to say otherwise is a lie. They act like women can dress any way the [sic] want. If guys come on to them, it’s all the guys’ fault. Don’t advertise what you’re not willing to give!

….

If you’re dressing sexually and guys are coming on to you, you are getting what you are advertising. Women at the beaches these days wear bathing suits that entice men. Most of their butts and breasts are showing. The bathing suits leave nothing to the imagination. It’s hard on men, women, when you dress like this. They were created to enjoy the female body! Stop denying this. Accept it, and do something about it!

Dress modestly as God commands. He wants us to dress modestly and shamefaced for a reason. Shamefaced means not wanting to draw attention to ourselves. Immodest clothing draws attention to ourselves. It’s for our protection and makes it easier for the men around us to dress modestly. Stop advertising what you don’t want to give. All of God’s commands to us are for our good.

Where oh where do I begin?

Alexander believes that men are inherently weak sexually; that if women don’t dress modestly, men (even those who have the Holy Spirit living inside of them like her husband Ken) won’t be able to control their sexual urges and might throw them down on a church pew and sexually assault them. Men are horn dogs who are sexually stimulated by what they see. Thus, according to Alexander, if women show too much cleavage or leg or dress in formfitting clothing, men won’t be able to control themselves sexually. In other words, women are surrounded by men who want to fuck them against their will.

Alexander, a Bible literalist, believes women are sexual gatekeepers. Since men can’t help themselves when it comes to their sexual desires, it’s up to women to keep big, bad wolves from blowing their houses down. They do this by dressing modestly, by following the teaching and commands of the Bible.

Alexander’s bikini story suggests that she thinks if a man sees a woman dressed “immodestly” one day, and then days later tries to fuck her or sexually assault her, it’s the woman’s fault. IT’S ALWAYS THE WOMAN’S FAULT! Astoundingly, Alexander calls her teen self a WHORE.

Last Saturday, my wife and I went grocery shopping in Toledo. We do this every two weeks, though rapidly increasing local COVID-19 infections will likely soon put an end to in-person shopping for us. Polly wore a top that showed a bit of cleavage. Coming from a religious world where Alexander’s beliefs were preached and practiced, Polly wearing such a top is a big deal — much like her wearing pants for the first time in 2004, at the age of 46 (ponder THAT for a moment). Why did Polly wear this top? Was she advertising to men that she wanted to have sex with them? Or did she wear this top because it was comfortable and she liked its colors? Or maybe she just wanted to look nice (for herself or her husband). Alexander believes my wife is a whore; that she was saying by showing cleavage she was available for sex (or advertising something she wasn’t willing to give). Of course, she was doing no such thing. ******************

I find it interesting that not only does Alexander blame women for men not being able to control their sexual thoughts, urges, and desires, she also blames God. Alexander wrote:

This is why God commands young women to be discreet and shamefaced [bashful, modest,respectful]. God knows how men’s minds work.

According to Alexnder, God knows “how men’s minds work.” Why? He created them that way. God created men to be the horn dogs they are. Why, then, is God not responsible for how men behave sexually? Is not the all-powerful Creator culpable for the behavior of the created? He could have created men to only want, need, and desire sex with their spouses, only in the missionary position, and only for procreation. Instead, he created men (and women) to want, need, and desire sex, not only in monogamous married relationships, but also when they are unmarried. God could have created men differently, but he didn’t. So, Alexander is right about one thing, God IS responsible for human sexual behavior.

Of course, there is no God, so we must look elsewhere to understand human sexuality, say BIOLOGY. We “are who we are” biologically, as any high school biology textbook will tell you. Further, according to modern social constructs, each of us is accountable for our sexual behavior. Just because a man sees an attractive woman in a bikini doesn’t mean the next time he sees her has the right to assault her sexually. It’s one thing to engage in a conversation with someone that might lead to consensual sex. ‘Tis human nature, right? It’s another thing, however, to try to take sexual advantage of someone, as Alexander says happened to her decades ago. It’s never right to force people to engage in sexual behavior against their will.

Alexander not only has a warped view of human sexuality in general, but also her own sexuality. She blames herself for what three boyfriends tried to do to her fifty years ago. Instead of calling these boys into account for their behavior, she blames herself for them attempting to assault her sexually. As someone who came of age in the 1970s, I understand Alexander’s view of her early sexual experiences. Such behavior was common. It’s 2021. Alexander has an opportunity to teach young Evangelical men and women about consent. Instead, she continues to promote warped justifications for men making unwanted sexual advances towards women or sexually assaulting them.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Dear Unmarried Woman: Are You an Appetizer or a Dessert?

bethany jett
Bethany Jett

Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Just when I think I’ve heard all there is to hear from Evangelicals about sex, purity, and the like, someone will write or say something that I have not heard before. In other words, not all the nuts have fallen from the tree.

In 2015, Bethany Jett, a then thirty-something married Evangelical woman who writes on girly topics from a godly perspective, wrote a blog article about two reasons why a woman should save herself for marriage. Here’s what Jett had to say:

I remembered why I decided to wait to have sex as I listened to a podcast from Andy Stanley this morning on my way home from dropping off children at school.

“I’m not the appetizer, I’m the dessert.”

If we start off loaning our bodies, who is going to wait around for the main meal?

We ordered Olive Garden to-go last night and I had one of my favorite cheat meals—chicken alfredo and breadsticks with alfredo dipping sauce and an extra tub of alfredo sauce to heat up the leftovers the next day. Mmmmm … I was full and stuffed and happy. Deliriously-food-coma happy.

But I wasn’t completely satisfied. All the savory goodness was amazing, but I needed something sweet to finish it off. A bit of dark chocolate would have taken the cake … but there was NONE.

Justin ate it.

My marriage is like that. Dating Justin was the appetizer … good for a short amount of time, but I was excited to have the main meal with him. I wanted an entire lifetime. We’ve been married for almost 11 years, together for 13, and that man still gives me butterflies. He makes me strive to a better person and he is my teammate, partner, best friend and so much more.

But God knew that wasn’t enough.

So He throws a little dessert into the mix.

The dessert is exceptional.

It completes the meal…

…I’ve always believed that God means what He says. He said to wait, so I did. I always figured that if sex was as great as the students in my high school and my college roommate thought it was, that it would be even better if I waited. That God had a blessing in store if you did things His way.

There are many reasons to wait until you’re married to have sex, but here’s two at the top of the list:

1. God said to wait.

2. You’re worth waiting for…

Jett has been married for sixteen years. She is an advocate of purity rings, having worn one until her wedding night.  In 2013, Jett wrote a book titled, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After.

While Jett tries to dress up her blog post with a bit of wispy, feel-good self-esteem, there really is only one reason a woman should wait until marriage to have sex: God said to wait. That’s the bottom line for Evangelicals: God said don’t do it, so don’t.

In 2015, I shared with readers Melanie Pritchard’s puritanical view of spaghetti straps. Jett has a similar view. Here’s what she had to say in The Cinderella Rule about spaghetti straps and a few other things:

Apparently, shoulders are sexy. I know that sounds crazy, but guys are wired differently than we are. That’s how God created them, and Justin (her husband) didn’t want to be tempted physically. He wanted to do things right.

Bottom line: it’s not our place to put impure thoughts into guys’ heads. We don’t understand that the male mind replays images days after seeing a girl in a short skirt or catching a glimpse down a plunging neckline.

A guy friend told me that he was minding his own business at a gas station, pumping gas, when he saw a girl at the opposite station. She wore an extremely short skirt, and he couldn’t get the image of her legs and the idea of what was under her skirt out of his head. He thought about it for a couple of days. “Those images don’t just leave your mind,” he said. “I wasn’t even trying to look at the girl either–“I was merely glancing around. “He ended up masturbating to remove the building tension.

While guys are responsible for their thoughts, we can’t allow Satan to use us as a tool to lead guys down a path toward lust, pornography, and sexually impure behaviors. Even wearing spaghetti straps during a church service can throw guys off. Another guy confessed that one Sunday, he had trouble concentrating on communion and the sermon that followed because the girl next to him had bare shoulders. He was wracked with guilt for not being able to concentrate, unable to push his thoughts away since she was right next to him.

Ladies, we may never fully comprehend how guys think, but if they’re telling us they can’t concentrate, let’s help them out. Grab a cardigan for church or work, or anywhere, and let’s keep our skirts and shorts an appropriate length…

…a godly guy wants to date a girl who shares his values.  If you want to be pursued properly, you must dress appropriately–just enough skin to be cute,  but not enough to reveal the goods. Dressing modestly helps keep his mind from going into fantasy overdrive.

Remember, a guys pursuit is with an end goal in mind; and girlfriend, we are taking a pursuit to the altar…

…Honestly,  chasing a guy is exhausting. Most guys will do anything with anyone, and high school and college guys, in particular, are not known for their exclusivity. Raging hormones dictate many a guy’s decisions; and if you pursue him, you won’t ever be sure whether it’s his heart or his hormones that loves you more.

When a man sees a girl he wants, he goes after her…Similar to a lion stalking his prey, a man will overcome any obstacle to get the woman he wants. I’m not talking about creepy stalker behavior. I’m talking about romantic, I can’t get her out of my head intensity. When a worthy guy desires you like that, girl, watch out!

But you’ll be ready.

You’ll know how to look.

How to dress.

How to act..

…when the right man starts the pursuit, let him.

I’m gonna to show you how…

What’s up with spaghetti straps? Am I out of the lust loop here? I’ve seen more than a few spaghetti-strapped women — my wife included — and I don’t think I ever had the thought, oh my, I need to have her right now. If I don’t have sex with her RIGHT now, I am going to have to spank the monkey to release all the built-up sexual tension.

Pritchard wrote about not revealing the “mystery.” Jett, taking a similar approach, writes about a woman not giving away all her “secrets.” What’s with all the code for genitalia and sex? Are Evangelicals so prudish that the correct words for genitalia and sex can’t be used?

modest dress
Little House on the Prairie, Preferred Dress for Fundamentalists

Maybe Pritchard’s and Jett’s problem is that they have spent their life around the weak, pathetic, forbidden-sex-on-the-brain men found in Evangelical and Catholic churches. Perhaps they need to get out more and spend time with real men, men who know how to control their sexual desires and know how to treat a woman appropriately.

Think for a moment about the pathetic, weak boys mentioned in the excerpts from Jett’s book. A man is pumping gas, he sees a woman with a short skirt, and he is so driven with lust that he later has to masturbate. The other man couldn’t focus on communion and the sermon because a woman near him had bare shoulders. Can there be any better examples of weak, sexually immature church boys? Not men, adolescent boys. 

Boys like these have been conditioned to think that they are helpless, that it is not within their power to sexually control themselves. Perhaps every church boy is like the stupid young man in Proverbs 7:

…I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart… Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves…With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks . . .

What I want to know is this: was the harlot wearing spaghetti straps?

It’s time for church boys to grow into men and own their sexuality. If they can’t keep from lusting, the problem is theirs, and not that of the women who dare to bare a leg, shoulder, or show some cleavage. If they are so sexually charged up that they are reaching in their pants as soon as they see an attractive woman, perhaps they need to spend more time looking at porn and self-pleasuring themselves until they get their “sexual tension” under control.

But Bruce, some women DO dress provocatively. Shouldn’t they be called out on their deliberate attempt to make men lust? First, how do you know that is what they are trying to do? Second, perhaps you need to learn to enjoy God’s creation. Yes, women are attractive, and yes, they can arouse sexual feelings in men. Duh, biology, right? Would you rather women dressed like they just walked off the set of Little House on the Prairie? Learn to control your thoughts and desires. It really is that simple. No God needed.

Sadly, far too many churches are nurseries filled with infantile men who can’t control themselves. I don’t know of any other way to change their behavior than to say to them, STOP IT!

People such as Bethany Jett and Melanie Pritchard are shooting at the wrong target. As often occurs in many Muslim countries, American Christians with puritanical ideas about dress and sexuality put the blame on women who dare to dress in ways that show their femininity and sexuality. Jett wants young women to show just enough skin to catch a man, but then the free show is over until the man puts a ring on her finger. In other words, she wants women to be flashers, showing just enough flesh to get the attention of suitable prospects for marriage.

Every day or so it seems there is a news report of an Evangelical pastor, evangelist, college professor, church leader, or Sunday school teacher getting into trouble because he can’t keep his hands to himself or keep his pants zipped up. (Please see the Black Collar Crime series.) This should not surprise us because many of these “fallen” leaders — Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife, for example — were raised in churches that preach the puritanical sexuality found in Jett’s book, blog, and other writing. It’s the whole blind-leading-the-blind thing. Generation after generation of Evangelical boys have been taught that they are impotent when it comes to controlling their sexual thoughts, urges, and desires. After a few generations of this, you end up with churches filled with hapless men who get boners as soon a woman shows more flesh than one of the young women on Little House on the Prairie. Instead of being taught to be accountable for their actions, these men are instead taught to flee from the Jezebels that roam the halls of the church; women who will rob them of their virtue.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Wearing Leggings is a Sin

lori alexander

Leggings are immodest. They are tight and clingy and show every curve. Men and even teenage boys are attracted to women’s bodies, regardless of how much the feminists want to reinvent and tell men how they should act and what they should prefer. What right do they have to demand that men change yet they can act, dress, and do as they please? What about not causing a brother to stumble? What about women being commanded by God to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9)? Do you notice God did not give this command to be modest to men because He knows that it is men who are more visual and women are more apt to dress immodestly to attract men. He’s the One who created men to be attracted to the female body and He did it for a good reason – to bond them in marriage and be fruitful and multiply.

No, it’s not shaming women to tell them to cover up and be modest. It’s what God commands of us. Since when are God’s commands shaming women? I am accused often of shaming women because I teach them to be keepers at home, chaste, virgins before marriage, not teaching men or being leaders in the churches, and modest. No Christian woman should be shamed by God’s Word. If they are, they must check their hearts to make sure they are in the faith.

Those in authority at this junior high have every right to tell the girls to wear leggings with a long shirt over them so they won’t distract the boys. Boys and men should be able to go to school and church without having to see women who are dressed immodestly. No, men shouldn’t lust and you must teach your boys about quickly bouncing their eyes [bouncing their eyes? Like a basketball?] because there will always be immodestly dressed women, but we must train our daughters to dress modestly in obedience to God and to not cause a brother to stumble. Neither of these are shaming girls or women. It’s truth.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Telling Girls to Dress Modestly is Not Shaming Them, December 4, 2018

Bruce Gerencser