A New York Times story of August 18 asks, “What Is It About
20-Somethings?” As the story points out, “Sociologists traditionally
define the ‘transition to adulthood’ as marked by five milestones:
completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent,
marrying and having a child.” The story went on to point out that in
1960, “77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they
reached 30, passed all five milestones.”
Forty years later, the numbers of young men, in particular, who had
reached these thresholds was HALF what it was in 1960.
And that was ten years ago.
Whether this new period of Peter Pan-ism is labeled “emerging
adulthood,” “extended adolescence,” the “Odyssey Years” (referring to
Odysseus’s decade of wandering) . . . or what Brett and Alex Harris call
it, “adultescence” . . . the most obvious symptom to many of us parents
is young men, even homeschooled young men, who are afraid or unready to
The sad result is a crop of well-prepared homeschooled young ladies,
perfectly capable of raising children and running a household, and
anxious to do so, with no husbands on the horizon.
PHS fully supports the Rebelution’s attempt to help young adults become
We also realize that, as things stand, young women are incredibly
vulnerable to the opinions of young men.
Which brings us to the Modesty Survey. This popular feature of the
Rebelution site, encourages young men to express their opinions of female dress
The impetus behind the Modesty Survey is the belief that women’s dress
can cause Christian men to fall into ungodly thoughts. If I had the
space, I would have plenty to say about this. For now, consider just
1. The only female features that the Bible says cause potential male
downfall are “eyes” (Prov 6:25): literally “eyelids,” as in the KJV.
2. The “strange woman” (KJV) or “adulteress” (NIV), who is by no
means a Christian sister, leads a young man astray by her smooth speech
(Prov. 5:3), not by her outfit.
Those arguing for the “Burqa Lite” standard of Christian dress also fail
to explain how young men who faint at the sight of a Christian ankle are
supposed to control themselves when out in the world.
Doctors see naked women. Missionaries to tropical, tribal areas see
half-naked women. But we don’t expect them to go insane with lust.
Proverbs 7:6–27 describes a woman leading a man astray. She is loud,
defiant, dressed like a prostitute, and deliberately talks him into
committing adultery. Even so, the passage is all about how he should
have known better.
I’m all for modest dress, but not because Christian men are going to
fall into temptation left and right if various arbitrary skirt lengths,
etc., are not met. In the New Testament, “modest” dress refers to
“spending a modest amount on clothing,” not to the amount of cloth and
where it is draped. “Modest” dress is contrasted with ostentatiously
expensive clothing and hairstyles—and the passage is talking about how
to dress for church (I Tim. 2:8–10)!
This preoccupation on men’s part with women’s modesty is misguided.
Once again, the older women should be teaching the
younger what is appropriate, as per Titus 2:3–5. Neither older nor
younger men are responsible or authorized to instruct the younger women
in this area.
This is actually one more area where young men should grow up and stop
blaming women for their own inappropriate thoughts. Instead of a Modesty
Survey (where a majority of respondents blame girls as “stumblingblocks”
for the way they walk, run, sit, stretch, bend, and dress, though for
some reason mascara, glitter lotion, and painted nails are no problem),
how about learning to view girls as people? Seriously.
Portions of this sidebar are excerpted from The Way Home, 25th
Anniversary Edition. ©2010 Home Life, Inc.