Friday, April 24, 2009

A Christian Convo re: Swimsuits & Miss CA [Video added]


Over at Camp On This I got into a conversation about Miss California - Carrie Prejean - and the objections that some Christians bring up about the swimsuit part of the Miss U.S.A. pageant competition. Of course, Christian believers can disagree on issues like this one. Perhaps you might agree with what Byron Harvey has written. However, I felt led to stand up for Carrie's decision to enter into pageantry and state why I (personally) think that the swimsuit portion of the competition should not be deemed as something negative that would take away from her Christian witness.

Here is a copy of the first comment:


Byron Harvey said...
Very respectfully, Steve, I think that the issue of the very immodest bikini she was wearing is a significant part of the issue here, because in your original post, you laud not only her (laudable!) answer regarding "gay marriage", but you lift her up as, effectively, a role model with many opportunities to share her faith in Christ, etc. If you'd stopped at lauding her response only, I'd agree with you, but I argue that while she may be a fine person in many respects, and gave a gutsy answer, her testimony is compromised by her quite immodest choice in attire. She wanted to be, she said, "biblically correct", which I applaud, but that outfit was anything but, and I think that before we lift her up as a paragon of Christian witness, we consider the quite contradictory messages that she sent on that evening.

Though I'm not sure you're doing this, Steve, I believe it's a shame when Christians "swallow" a lot of stuff just to lift up people who get it right in some ways. I agree with a lot of the things Rush Limbaugh says, but he's no paragon of virtue; similarly, Carrie Prejean's total performance that evening is far more a mixed bag than I think your words suggest.

21:01

Christinewjc said...
Byron,

I'm sure that Steve will have a better reply than mine, but my response is that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" however, so is lust.

21:48

Byron Harvey said...
Thanks, Christine, and I'm eager for Steve's response, but the issue isn't lust on the part of the looker (though her outfit certainly could incite lust easily, it seems to me), but the modesty appropriate for one who is "biblically correct", in her words. For me, it's simple: if a Christian young lady, in any circumstance, asked me, "would wearing this outfit bring honor to Christ, Pastor", there wouldn't be any hesitation: absolutely not. I'm not sure that women sometimes understand the male mind, how quickly men can be led to lustful thoughts under any circumstances, and how readily such apparel worn by beautiful young ladies does so. And don't kid yourselves: it ain't just me, ladies, it's every red-blooded man in America (endemic to our fallen maleness). Here's the bottom line question:
Steve, would you ever encourage a sincere Christ-following young lady to wear such an outfit, under any circumstances? And if not, how does Miss California get a pass, merely on the basis of one great answer?

21:57


Byron,

I can understand your feeling that way. Perhaps the reason that I don't see things your way is because of our gender difference.

With that said, let me see if I can make my point in another way.

Let's pretend that there was such a thing as a middle-aged "Ms. U.S.A. pageant" and I was the CA representative. As a 54 year old woman, I would personally absolutely HATE to put on a bikini and walk across a stage in it. I'd rather wear one like the illustration at the top of this post! Of course my body would NEVER get the same reaction (more like laughter!!) as Carrie's beautiful figure obviously gets! LOL! However, if such an act gave me the possible opportunity to witness for Christ in front of millions (well, probably a lot less would watch it!) of people - then, for HIM - I would do it.

My obviously dopey illustration is meant to show that two different reactions to the "physical" presence of the Christian isn't what matters the most. If I got the same question while standing up there and answered it in a similar way - then both of us would have accomplished a similar end. So, my questions to you are - is one shameful and not the other? Would both be considered shameful?

Carrie Prejean is going to appear at the Rock Church (Pastor Miles McPherson) this Sunday. I will share what she has to say at the service in a future blog post.

From what I have heard her say in dozens of T.V. interviews, she wanted to use the Miss U.S.A. position (as well as her current Miss California role) to share the love of Christ - in any capacity that she can. Therefore, I can safely say that she isn't in pageantry for the wrong reasons.

You may see her answer as just "one moment" of standing up for Christ - but sometimes, that is all it takes to start a spark of a movement for the Kingdom.

Her steadfast faith, courage to speak the truth, grace in fighting back disgusting rhetoric against her with nothing but kindness and goodness, and pointing to Jesus Christ for the reason she lives is a powerful testament and example for young people. Her courage will bring forth many more courageous young women (and men) to speak boldly for Christ - even when a firestorm of controversy and protest might erupt.

Carrie was David to Perez Hilton's Goliath. Her answer didn't physically "kill the beast", but it certainly stunned him! It also stunned many more like him. Those celebrities who took his side came out to share in the bashing party.

Ephesians 6 comes to mind.

Especially these verses:

Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;


Eph 6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:


Eph 6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free.

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.


Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].


Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.


Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;


Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;


Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.


Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:


Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;


Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

This last verse is a life verse for me:


Eph 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


Readers - what are your thoughts on this matter?

Hat Tip:

Camp On This

Blue Letter Bible

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P.S. Will post any additional responses as they appear at Camp on This

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Update:

Byron replies:

Byron Harvey said...
Christine,

Great analogy--and I'm sure that the sight of me, a 48-year-old guy, in a Speedo would provoke a similar reaction!

Now, that said, here's what your rationale sounds like; correct me if I miss it: "the end ("speaking for Christ to millions") justifies the means" (dressing in an inappropriate outfit--inappropriate, IMHO, for 54-year-olds and young ladies alike, though one could, I suppose, make the argument that the "lust factor" is lessened when such garments are displayed on us middle-aged folk!). It's never right to do wrong to do right, I believe--and I think Steve believes that--and I think that's what your reasoning comes off as. To use a different analogy, what if instead of wearing a skimpy bikini, she had performed in a talent portion (does Miss USA have such? I don't know...) by singing some suggestive song, rapping out a nice hip-hop tune with its vulgarity instead of dressing so immodestly? I'd hope that you'd agree with me that such actions would compromise her witness, making her words ring more hollow than they might otherwise. As I see it, there's no difference whatever.

I don't mean to suggest, by the way, that Miss Prejean's answer was the only moment of her "standing up for Christ"; I know nothing of her life, and from what you've said, it seems she does so on more than one occasion, and that's great. My only point is that her words are compromised by her immodesty.

I wouldn't begin to presume to question her motives for being in the Miss USA pageant; it may well be that everything she says is true about wanting to gain a platform to speak for Christ. But that's not the point at all; it's not why she did it, but what she did. You suggest that other young ladies might be emboldened to speak up for Christ; I'd counter with the just-as-likely scenario that other young ladies might join in our society's rush to jettison modesty, lowering (still further) any sense of Christian modesty, inciting more young men to lust as they parade their bodies barely clad. See what I'm driving at?

And still dying to hear our friend Steve's take...

By the way, I think Carla makes a trenchant point as well...

13:39


My reply coming shortly...

Feel free to comment!

*******
As I wrote in the comment section, my time at the computer is limited this weekend. I will be checking in periodically to release comments and when I have the opportunity, reply to the comments.

While briefly looking through my reading list, I ran across this video from TownHall.com where a CNN reporter tries to get Miss California to admit her political party affiliation. Carrie does a great job in steering the conversation back on topic:

CNN Reporter tries to get Miss California to admit her political party affiliation.

*******

Related articles:

Randy Thomasson blog: Miley vs. Jesus on marriage

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Update:

Christine wrote:

A thought came to my mind today.

In swimming competitions, men often wear those awful speedo swimsuits. They are very clingy...if you know what I mean.

Two questions.

Why is that not considered immodest?

Why would a Christian man not be considered a strong witness for Christ (if he is a believer) despite wearing such an article of clothing for a swimming competition?

Byron replied (the portion of his comment directed to me at Campi's blog):

And Christine, maybe somebody else will, but you won't get me defending Speedos on men (and you definitely won't get me wearing one!).


Byron wrote:

And Christine, maybe somebody else will, but you won't get me defending Speedos on men (and you definitely won't get me wearing one!).

Christine replied:

Would you do it for the Lord?

Would you do it if your wearing of a speedo in a competition allowed you the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ and the truth of the Bible to millions of people?

P.S. Please see this article regarding celebrities who claim to be Christian and how they compromise the truth.

Randy Thomasson blog: Miley vs. Jesus on marriage

FYI - I brought our conversation over to my blog so feel free to comment there also.

*******
Update:
Received an email from The Rock Church. You can watch the 36 minute segment with Carrie Prejean online!

The Rock San Diego: Miss California

LIVE STREAMING OF MISS CALIFORNIA CARRIE PREJEAN AT THE ROCK - Watch 36 minute conversation live online

[NOTE: Only the 10:00 a.m. (PT) and 12:00 p.m. (PT) services will be available via live stream.]

Excerpt:

SAN DIEGO (April 24, 2009)—On-line viewers will be able to watch a live 36 minute conversation between Carrie Prejean, Miss California and Miss USA’s first runner up, and Miles McPherson, Senior Pastor of the Rock Church.

Prejean will appear at the Rock Church during all five services on Sunday April 26th. Prejean is a member of the Rock family and actively serves in church outreach ministries. The 10:00am and 12:00pm (pst) services will be streamed live, viewable at The Rock San Diego.org.

The Rock’s Senior Pastor Miles McPherson, spent time with Prejean in the critical hours following the pageant. They will share the story behind the controversy that we haven’t heard.

During the question and answer portion of Sunday’s Miss USA pageant, Prejean expressed her belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, touching off a firestorm of widely publicized criticism from pageant judge and nationally known celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. In subsequent appearances, Prejean has stood fast in her morals and Biblical truths, refusing to compromise her faith.

11 comments:

Matt W. said...

Christine,
I have to say, I fully, 100% agree with everything Byron Harvey said. In fact, it's pretty much what I have been thinking for the past few days. Certainly it's not that her answer is invalid, but as I told a coworker just the other night, I have to stop short of saying that she is a great Christian witness because of that bikini. I'm not slamming the young lady, and I was very impressed with her answer, and how she has handled herself since then, but Byron makes an excellent point.

Christian modesty is important, and I'm not saying that we all must be overzealously prudish, or that we should start telling all Christian women to wear burka's and cover them selves from head to toe, but modesty is critical. We live in a hypersexualized culture, and frankly, Christians don't need to contribute to it, and if that means that they won't be able to take part in this type of thing, then so be it.

As to lust being in the eye of the beholder, there are two sides to that particular coin, and there is a balance to be struck. Some men will lust after women (or whatever) no matter how modestly they dress, but a man would have to be dead, or near to it, not to have some uncomfortable feelings upon seeing this young lady (who you're calling a great Christian witness) nearly naked, and let's face it, that's not an overstatement, I see less of my wife when she gets out of the shower!

I'm willing to entertain the idea that it was just a poor choice, or bad judgment, or a mistake, or whatever, but it was immodest, and it was inappropriate.

Christocentric said...

Christine, the discussions over on Camps blog are hot for sure! But everyone is making valid points. The one thing that we should agree as Christians is the inappropriateness of beauty pageants where immodesty is praised and showcased. But are the criticisms of Carrie Prejean timely?

Here's my comment from Camp's blog regarding that very question:

-----------------

Christine's blog shot me over to this discussion and it's a great one!

A little intro of myself here: mom of two twenty-something daughters and attire used to dominate our talks when they were in high school.

But my daughters know I hate beauty pageants primarily because of the "skin" factor. As been mentioned throughout this post is that we women should always adorn ourselves modestly. But with beauty pageants, modesty is not considered a "winning" trait as beauty is always associated with the physique and not the spirit.

I refused to watch the pageant, but with my youngest daughter wanting to me watch so that we both can talk about it, I made a deal with her to watch only when the ladies got up to answer their questions. That way I didn't have to sit and cringe through all the parading. So at first, amusement at THE question, then you can imagine our delight in Carrie's answer she gave Perez Hilton! We were both shouting to Jesus with joy!

Right now is the time that Carrie needs our encouragement because of the beatdown she's getting from the world. The "attire" talk needs to be done with Carrie but who knows, I have the feeling it won't even be necessary because some of the criticism she's already getting from the world (and some of us fellow believers) about her being involved with this pageant while taking a stand against "other ills." There are contradictions that have to be addressed and as a role model, I hope she would never encourage young girls to involve themselves with "showing skin" so that they can win a scholarship and other worldy benefits.

As an older woman who's commanded scripturally to teach the younger women, I'd personally love to talk to Carrie about her the whole beauty pageant thing ... but as Ecclesiastes tells us (3:1 I think), there is a right time for everything -- and NOW is not the time to criticize her about what she was wearing.

She needs our encouragement and praise for what she did - stand up against the world to side with Christ!

Just my 200 cents! :) - Carlotta

PeterWimsey said...

It is nice to hear some attempt at demonstrating consistency in Christian witness.

The attitude that "a little compromise in this area is fine so long as we can make a point in this area" has done more than anything to destroy Christian authority in this country.

We have not demanded consistent Christian morality from the political leaders who receive our support.

Sosthenes said...

My stepsister didn't believe she had the freedom to wear a two piece bathing suit and she always wore a one piece.

I think people should have the freedom to go where they want to but they should also show some responsibility.

John said...

I think this is a prime example of what christians do....pick and choose the bible verses they wish to follow, and ignore or rationalize away the ones they disagree with. Yeah, she's a great christian witness alright!

Christinewjc said...

We have guests this weekend so my time is limited on the blog.

Thanks to all who have commented. I will continue to release additional comments over the weekend.

A thought came to my mind today.

In swimming competitions, men often wear those awful speedo swimsuits. They are very clingy...if you know what I mean.

Two questions.

Why is that not considered immodest?

Why would a Christian man not be considered a strong witness for Christ (if he is a believer) despite wearing such an article of clothing for a swimming competition?

Christinewjc said...

FYI - CNN interview of Carrie Prejean added to front page.

Christinewjc said...

Related article:

Randy Thomasson blog: Miley vs. Jesus on marriage

Christinewjc said...

Added to front page:

Update:
Received an email from The Rock Church. You can watch the 36 minute segment with Carrie Prejean online!

The Rock San Diego: Miss CaliforniaLIVE STREAMING OF MISS CALIFORNIA CARRIE PREJEAN AT THE ROCK - Watch 36 minute conversation live online[NOTE: Only the 10:00 a.m. (PT) and 12:00 p.m. (PT) services will be available via live stream.]Excerpt:

SAN DIEGO (April 24, 2009)—On-line viewers will be able to watch a live 36 minute conversation between Carrie Prejean, Miss California and Miss USA’s first runner up, and Miles McPherson, Senior Pastor of the Rock Church.

Prejean will appear at the Rock Church during all five services on Sunday April 26th. Prejean is a member of the Rock family and actively serves in church outreach ministries. The 10:00am and 12:00pm (pst) services will be streamed live, viewable at The Rock San Diego.org.

The Rock’s Senior Pastor Miles McPherson, spent time with Prejean in the critical hours following the pageant. They will share the story behind the controversy that we haven’t heard.

During the question and answer portion of Sunday’s Miss USA pageant, Prejean expressed her belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, touching off a firestorm of widely publicized criticism from pageant judge and nationally known celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. In subsequent appearances, Prejean has stood fast in her morals and Biblical truths, refusing to compromise her faith.

Sosthenes said...

They do wear speedos Christine but the LZR Racer is a "Fastskin" (Registered Trademark) or whole body suit like the one I've seen Michael Phelps wear but I'm not sure what brand he wears.

While it is a double standard, I do think there are warnings to men in Proverbs about women. And though Peter was naked (John 21:7), the warnings come to women about modest apparel (1 Timothy 2:9) though we could be warned about offending the conscience of a weaker brother or sister (1 Cor. 8:10) though there were warnings about nakedness in the Old Testament. I'm not really certain what to do about it beyond that except that the Bible speaks against lust, pornia and lasciviosness and uncleanness (sexual) (Galatians 5:9) and wantonness.

Christinewjc said...

Peter wrote:

"We have not demanded consistent Christian morality from the political leaders who receive our support."Excellent point! AND SO TRUE! That is exactly why our nation is holding the TEA parties and railing against the terrible government policies being forced upon us by people who are supposed to be representing WE THE PEOPLE!! They obviously are not doing that!!! They are taking their own power and recklessly using it to pass bills that will destroy our nation and the futures of our children and grandchildren! The calls, emails, and letters to Congress were running 1,000 to 1 AGAINST THE STIMULUS BILLS and they passed them anyway!

This is not representative government, people. It is a socialistic/Marxist/Communist/totalitarian/ turning into a dictatorship regime government!