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Location: Allentown, PA

I'm a Christian wife and a mom to three daughters and two sons. I'm a member of the board of directors of EmPoWeReD Birth. In my "spare time" I'm a doula, and a certified childbirth instructor.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Life Action, Part IV

I've left this series lie dormant for a while, I should finish it off and be done with it.

In my previous post on the topic, I mentioned that my husband and I just couldn't agree with people about the concepts they felt were "worthwhile" that they were learning from Life Action, and I promised to share with you an example.

One couple shared with us this example of something they thought was a wonderful idea for a family to implement:

The speaker apparently said that he has all of the females in his household—including his wife—model any new clothes they purchase in front of him to make sure they are “acceptable.” The person telling us this specifically thought it was good that the father was looking to make sure the clothes would not have sexual appeal.

Now I often model my new clothes for my husband, and I usually show him what I bought for the kids. But it isn’t to get approval—it is to share my feeling of accomplishment of getting a good buy, or something that looks very nice… My husband trusts me to pick appropriate clothes.

My husband and I felt that the described “modeling” was very controlling, and thought that having the daughters model and spin in front of their father to show off all angles—particularly because the father is scrutinizing for any sexual appeal in the clothes—could have some ungodly sexuality to it in many households. We are naïve if we think that a Christian father can not struggle with inappropriate sexual thoughts toward his daughter, or even cross the line into abusing her.

While we agree that girls need to be educated about what makes clothes sexually appealing to guys, and parents should retain the right to say “you aren’t wearing an outfit like that as long as you live in my house!” we don’t necessarily think this kind of show needs to go on.

Once again we noticed that like the example with dinner, this was a patriarchal practice that puts men over women. Do the males of the household model their clothes before the mother? Do they not understand that a nicely fitting sweater can cause a young girl’s mind to wander? Or as one person I know who came out of a background (Gothard/ATI) where the men were expected to always wear blue suits with white shirts to church said—“ATI conferences were a terrible trial for me because dark suits have been and continue to be something I find incredibly appealing. I couldn’t look anywhere but the ground without having sinful thoughts!”

And thus I end my series on Life Action Ministries...since I started this series my husband and I made the decision to leave our church and have become members at the church where our daughters have attended preschool for several years. Our decision to move was not one that was made easily, but the support of groups like Life Action Ministries certainly factored into it. We are excited to be a part of a thriving evangelical community of believers where legalism as is promoted by groups such as Life Action is not promoted.


Blogger Anne said...

Good example- what you describe as happening with you and your husband is exactly how it works around here. My DH trusts me to know how to pick out appropriate clothes for me and my DD. I'm sure if anything caught his eye as being inappropriate, he would let me know. But to have to go up for "inspection" for every article of clothing- blech! At times, I do ask his opinions on clothing as I do want to please him though. Not pass a test.

8:24 AM, May 17, 2005  

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