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Callie’s Picture Sermon

“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” – St. Paul

During worship services this past Sunday, Callie finished up a couple of drawings and handed them to me.

Modesty1 Modesty4

As a youth minister for 14 years, I was often asked by concerned older members of our church family in Houston to address how our young ladies dressed.

It was not without reason.

So many of the styles that were “in” at the time were so exposing of a young woman’s body. I remember walking into an Old Navy store and the featured “item of the week” as you walked in was a pair of shorts with less than an inch of fabric in the crotch – barely enough to even have a seam. And the shirts being sold all over weren’t long enough to cover a young lady’s midsection (my friend Tod called this “biscuiting”), effectively forcing our girls to either be fashionably “in” but eye candy for males (and not just the teenage ones), or appropriately modest but fashionably “out”.

I always felt like there was a male conspiracy going on behind the fashion industry for women. Like there was an invisible agreement being offered to girls by men that said, “You dress in a way that tantalizes my sexuality, and I’ll look at you in a way that you can pretend means I think you are lovely.”

Occasionally, in our youth group, there were some brave, sincere, “I’m-my-own-woman” type of girls who would create a sub-culture of modesty and make it cool. My favorite was a group of 4 high school girls, beautiful girls, who started buying “boy shorts” because they were the only ones they could find that were modest. They were so humble and confident about it and made it look so normal and natural that it started a little mini-trend among their peers.

Powerful. They took Paul’s advice.

Callie has been thinking about this kind of stuff lately. While she loves playing with make-up and such, just last week she busted out with, “Dad, I think makeup is covering up beautiful girls.” You can see this thought reflected in her pictures, too. Seriously…just take a minute and look back and forth between the faces she drew and try to imagine what is going on inside each girl she’s representing…what each one believes about herself.

I think Callie is so beautiful exactly the way God made her and makeup just can’t improve on it. Please, God, help her believe it. Against all odds, help her believe it.Modesty6

So you can see why I was excited to see my 8-year-old daughter illustrating these things.  I credit my wife who discusses this stuff with her regularly and conscientiously. After I looked at her pics and then over at her approvingly and proud, she jotted this little note…

So there you go, Callie, your little sermon in pictures!

Beauty, My Family

15 Comments to “Callie’s Picture Sermon”

  1. Brian, I love this post!! Callie’s heart is so tender, and so beautiful! I pray that all 8 year old girls would have her heart, especially my own! Thank you for sharing your special little girl!

  2. Great post, Brian. What a sweet daughter you have!

  3. Aww, my sweet little Callie is so lovely. She is getting more and more wise by the moment.

    I remember those girls in high school. I thought they were awesome so I copied them. :) I still have the boy shorts from then to prove it.

  4. Wow! Great stuff! THAT’S my cool granddaughter. I love you Callie.

  5. I love the size of the smile on the girl on the left :) …says it all

  6. Awesome post Brian! You are truly blessed among men to have a family with such understanding of the Word of God. May more of us grow and be as such.

  7. What a blessing Callie is as she is beyond her years in mature thinking and wisdom. And, there is no prejudice at all in this grandmother’s opinion.


  8. As a father of a five year old sweet girl, I pray for that kind of maturity and deep thought as we go through the next few years. Callie’s pretty cool!

  9. Brian, that is an extremely sweet and noble-minded young woman you have there.

    I am curious how you help those within your congregation that don’t quite get what is obvious to Callie?

    • Good question, Andy. I’m not sure how to help them effectively, but writing things like this might help. Mentioning it at our family gatherings might, too. For sure, winning folks to desire the heart, character, priorities, and mission of Jesus Christ helps.

      But I think the best way is for people in our church family to be a part of a smaller community of friends who sincerely discuss it, pray about it, and discern what best represents Christ and the Kingdom’s values…then practice it together.

  10. AWESOME CALLIE!!! You are truly a beautiful young lady just the way you are!!!

    Thank you for sharing Callie’s words of wisdom from God. This is such a hard thing to help young women see (I too was guilty of this). I am sending this on to many young ladies that I know just to serve as a reminder that we are fine the way God made us!!!

  11. Related to this, I just got back from a high school pep rally. The uniforms issued to the girls on certain teams and squads are so short that they are constantly having to reach back and pull them down over their butt cheeks.

    Now, the dance squad came out dressed in very modest outfits (proof that you can have the freedom you need to move without sacrificing modesty). However, their otherwise impressive routine included a couple of sexual moves that included the ever-popular “pelvic thrusts”. I don’t know when it was that unarguably sexual moves became accepted as artistic dance, but that day saddens me. And who can blame the choreographer? While they had way more impressive dance moves, and an unskilled dog can do a pelvic thrust, it was the two times that the dancers did sexually suggestive moves that caused the audience to erupt with energy, whoops, and applause.

    A choregrapher wants to feel like they did a good job, so they add a pelvic thrust and the audience rewards them. Just like a girl wants to feel like they have beauty, so they dress provacatively and males will turn and look.

    I watched the young men watching the young girls dance. You’ve never seen such focus and attention. Some of them had that numbed-out, hypnotized look on their faces as they gazed at some particular dancer that happened to grab their attention. The only movement on their faces was their eyes twitching up and down.

    What gives?

    Before you say it, I know that “we can’t control what males do” with the images of females that they collect with their eyes. And I know that “not every male who looks at girls is a sexual predator or a ‘perv’.” Those are not my points, and you know it.

    I’m not trying to be prude, but I sure do want to be prudent. I’m not and extremist suggesting that our girls be issued an Islamic veil to play sports in. I’m the guy that thinks Christian youth camps that don’t allow shorts to be worn are the extremists.

    I just want my daughter to be able to go to school and join a volleyball team, a cheerleading squad, or a dance troupe without being handed uniforms or instructed to perform dance moves that send a shock up her grandma’s spine or a shiver through her male peer’s groin. I’d like uniforms and routines that allow for skills and excellence to be practiced without unnecessarily putting a girls body on exhibit or triggering a males sexuality to get applause.

    Look, free society’s are going to err. Totally okay with that. But it’s also okay that I’d like a society that errs on the side of modesty. I may not get it. But it’s okay that I’d like to.

    As far as Christ followers go, it would hard for a Christian to make the case that these things do not at least hint at sexual themes. And since Paul set the standard pretty high by saying, “among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality,” I think we should perpetually and sincerely, at a minimum, be aware of these things.

  12. Michelle Mitchell

    There is a whole culture at war with Christians. It’s telling our girls that in order to be cute, popular, pretty, worth of love, that they need to be overtly sexual. Even toddler girls have clothing which makes them look like miniature hookers.
    It’s dangerous. It not only minimizes all the wonderful things our girls have to offer society, our churches, our families, a future spouse and their God, but it becomes hard on them to accept that changing looks come with getting older. They no longer see the value in an older woman with gray hair, some wrinkles and sagging chests. They only see a woman who has less worth than when she was younger and sexier.
    I’m very blessed to have a 13-year-old who is exceptionally modest. She doesn’t even like to wear a swimsuit. I’m hoping her influence will be strong as her younger sister gets older.
    I’m very proud of Callie for seeing the value of modest dress. Long may those values dwell in her and her friends.

  13. So proud of Callie in her awareness of modesty in dress. She is a jewel of God in heart and spirit. My regards to her, Brian.
    Love ya,

  14. Brian,
    thanks for talking about this issue. I was afforded the opportunity of attending a Dallas Cowboys game in the stadium. I was almost sickened by the overt display with the size of the stadium, the money spent on the huge screen but mostly by the way the cheerleaders had shortened already indecently short shorts paired with sexual moves that I liken to stripper moves. Along with the cheerleaders they had “dancers” on top of platforms. it truly made me think of temple prostitutes. What is next for these venues? Actual places where you can pay for an hour with girl? It is a scary world. Truly Sodom and Gomorrah

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