Monday, October 19, 2009

Modesty



So sorry! It's been 10 whole days, holy cow! I did update my last post with a small picture of the headcovering I tested out, as I got some curious feedback :D Tznius. com has a ton of cool head covering ideas, I wish I could try them all, but I'm a little nervous for some! I know I shouldn't care what people think, but I heard one of my room mates say I looked like a pirate the other day and I was a tad bit insecure. However, YHVH is helping me sail through my midterms, Praise His Name! and the covering thing has been easy all week(end). If you do visit the website I listed above, scroll toward the bottom on the page and click the ribbon style, I'll be trying this out either this week, or for mass Sunday. pretty, no?

Before I get onto my post on modesty issues that have been weighing on my heart, I want to mention I went to my brother's Confirmation this weekend. Which for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a ceremony in the RCC in which a teenager (who has received the prior sacraments) confirms his belief in Jesus and the church. When I made my own a few years back, my Messianic friends encouraged me to ditch it entirely, but I knew I couldn't. I ended up making the vows, except the last one which was the belief in the Church. (I think I mouthed the I do, but my heart wasn't in it) When the Confirmation candidates stood up yesterday and answered the "I Do" to the vows, I made my last vow, the one I previously neglected. So I feel I am a true Catholic now, not that I didn't before, but I feel this is where God has been leading me. I have reaffirmed my faith and renewed my mission on earth...to be a servant to God.

Now, as you all probably know, I have studied many aspects of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and modesty has always been my favorite. The more I learned, the looser my clothes got, the higher the necklines became, and the longer my sleeves and skirts/pants became. There was one idea that always bothered me, and that was the "Skirts only" one. I have always felt a little pull from this topic, but I always pushed it away. I think pants can be feminine, and I don't think they break the command not to dress like a man. Watching the Duggars here at school (seeing as I get very few channels, and they bring my a lot of spiritual encouragement!) I noticed the girls only wear skirts, including Anna. This kind of resurrected my interest again. I know the Catholic Church had released a set of instructions YEARS back about how high necklines should be (3 fingers below pit of throat), how long sleeves should be (elbows), and that skirts are the only permissible lower garment and they should be to at least the knee. My messianic friend also goes by this policy and told me, pants show the contours of the leg/thigh/butt region, and that in itself is immodest. Not to mention, from her p.o.v, men respect her more as a Lady, and not a piece of meat. As much as I would love to wear skirts all year everyday (not even for modesty's sake), I know winters here are cold! Even where the Duggars are, there is a lot of snow. How could I possible wear a skirt? maybe layering pants/leggins under it, but still. What are your opinions on this? Do you wear skirts only? If so, what advice do you have for the weather issue?

I'm sorry if this post is repetitive or reminiscent of earlier posts, but I cannot seem to reconcile my thoughts on it! The sleeve bit too bugs me...I love long sleeves in the fall/winter/early spring, but come the sweltering summer, I need short sleeves! Is covering the shoulders enough? I can't tell...I always wear long sleeves to church, whether on their own or with a cardigan, but then again, shouldn't I uphold the same level of modesty in AND out of Church?

I know you all come from different walks of life/religion, so what are your modesty rules? (if you have any) How did you define what is modest to you?

Great Shalom/Pax to you all!

6 comments:

April said...

Headcovering and modesty and the OT law are all topics that are near and dear to my heart. It was very encouraging to read what you wrote. Sometimes I feel completely alone in my age group when it comes to these topics (recently graduated college). As a Christian (non-denominational, married to a Catholic, and very interested in Messianic and Jewish practices), I feel modesty has certain rules, but also can depend on the person. I think covering the shoulders is enough, for instance. I also think calf length skirts are ok. The things I am strict about are no midriff (recently retired a bunch of tee shirts because of this) and a neckline that covers all soft parts. The three fingers rule is a good one. I might adopt it.
Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us because there is no extremely clear dress code written in the Bible (beyond head coverings and no men's clothing).
As for headcoverings, I wear a tichel to mass with my husband every weekend. I'm usually the only woman in the building with a covering. Add to that, the fact that I can't go up and take communion. I joke with my husband that I'm the "Protestant in the pew" that everyone grumbles about having to step over (I do get some cold stares actually). However, I feel comfortable now with the way I wear the tichel and it helps me to remember that I'm at church to please God and not people. I'll post a "how to" on my blog if you're interested in it. It's slightly different than the Tznius bun style and stays on the head really well.

Mama Kalila said...

Congrats on your brothers Confirmation and you making your final vow during it!

I do wear trousers... I like skirts.. but I dont see anything wrong w/ either. I guess it just depends on the style, just like some skirts are def not modest...

caraboska said...

I do not normally leave home without covering everything except face and hands. In the summer as well. The exception might be to take out the garbage, the chute being located in the stairwell of my building. Indeed, although I do sometimes lounge around in my PJs all day, once I'm dressed, I have a head covering on at all times, even at home, because it is a prayer veil, not just for modesty.

Obviously the material of my blouses is different in the summer from in the winter, and I do wear sandals (even without socks) in the summer as well. In the winter, trousers become a MUST, because I live just above 50 degrees North latitude and it can drop considerably below 0 F at night, and hover at 10 F during the day for weeks at a time.

But I always wear trousers under my skirts, regardless of the weather. It might have ended up differently, except that being extremely tall, I can buy only one thing in the store that will definitely cover my legs, and that is a pair of men's Levis. Women's don't come in my length, as far as I can tell, and even men's don't come in my size where I live, so they have to be imported from abroad. Which is why I am going to start making my own clothes VERY soon God willing. Now have tons of patterns and am in the process of acquiring material.

Everything is loose-fitting, although I do permit myself a wide belt - for one thing, it keeps my jacket from flying open and exposing all my assets (or at least the shape thereof). And it is useful for keeping my veil in place if I've done a style that has a 'tail' in the back. I pull the belt just tight enough to perform its function, but no tighter.

What I do for a head covering is that amira hijab I probably wrote about before (the two piece version so that I have different underscarves depending on the color I am wearing that day), normally tucked in my collar for safety, and then I drape some sort of scarf, often lace in the summer, a light wool in the winter, loosely and prettily over the amira, fastening it to the amira with a discreet pin or two so it doesn't slip off (just the normal pins one uses for sewing). Very important - to be sure the pin performs its function, you have to weave it in and out of the fabric at least twice. I definitely go for versions that take 1 minute or less to put on.

I was a little afraid to put on an actual veil, but then I noticed that there is only one place in the Bible that talks about women covering their heads when they pray, and the Greek word for it means literally 'having [something] coming down from the head'. There are many different views about whether women must cover their heads when they pray today, and if so, whether it is a veil that is required. But I figure that at very least this passage (I Corinthians 11) gives me the right to do it - it is a legitimate expression of faith, I want to do it, I take advantage of my right in this matter and I do it.

Sanil Atarah Rivka said...

I don't wear skirts only, but whenever I do wear skirts I wear pants underneath. In the winter, when I wear boots, I tuck the bottoms of the pantlegs into the boots and no one even notices. I'm warmer dressed that way than I am in pants.

I usually don't mind long sleeves even in warmer weather, but I also spend a lot of time inside where it's not so bad. On really hot days or when I'm going to be outside more often, I occasionally switch to elbow-length sleeves that are close-fitting enough not to allow anyone to see up the sleeve.

I don't really have "rules" in my religion, I decided the rules for myself by comparing modesty rules/traditions in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and thinking it through for myself. Generally my minimum rules are that I won't wear anything tight enough to show curves, skin covered at least to the elbows, ankles, and neck (like a t-shirt neckline), and I always have my hair back and covered in some way.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I've gone back and forth with the pants issue quite a few times. Right now i do wear pants occasionally, but I am getting to where I like to wear a longer tunic top with it.

It seems like I end up going back and forth on both headcovering and pants. One thing I haven't worn in many years though would be shorts or a short skirt.

This issue is a difficult one and hard for me to make a concrete decision on. Right now I am going to stick with really long skirts for the most part, and wear a pashmina which I can decide to wear on my head or not depending on the occasion. That's one thing I love about the cooler weather. I also got the abaya you can see on my page, which is really practical with leggings or pants under.

Lucy said...

I always wear skirts except when farming.I tend to layer skirts for warmth.