Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Walking a fine line, cont.

If you haven't already, you might want to read the first installment here before continuing.

In yesterday's aired interview with Sean Hannity, he asked Miss CA about some rather racy photos that have been publicized of her in pre-Miss CA years. I'll repeat what I said earlier that her past is her past. Most of us do things in our youth that we later regret.

But if that is the case, do we excuse them? Here's how Hannity defended the photos in question. "These were for application not publication". In other words, they were to be seen by modeling agencies, not the general public. But still, they are photos and photos are taken to be seen. Was she naive? Of course. She was 17 when these photos were taken. A minor. Hello. But that's another story.

But here's the part of the interview that makes me uncomfortable. Hannity said: "Being a's not a job for you know...somebody who's concerned about modesty". Miss CA nods in agreement. He goes on, "In the pageant you have swim suit competition".

Her reply: "Right. Exactly. I'm from California. A swim suit for us is no big deal." Then she goes on to take the defense that at another photo shoot for a surf magazine she asked "OK. What am I going to be wearing for this photo shoot." When the photographer produced previously taken photos for the magazine which were of topless models, Miss CA put her foot down and said no. Then, unbeknown to her, while she was changing tops and the "wind was blowing" the photographer took some shots of her while she was uncovered.

Again, she was likely naive. But in one breath she argues that you can't be modest and have a career as a model and in the next breath tells how modest she was.

Now for you who wish to comment, please read what I'm saying here. This is not about free speech. [If you want to know my comments on the free speech issue, then go here and feel free to comment on that post]. It's about where do we (or should we) draw the lines between what's Christian and what's not. Where does one's Christianity come into play with issues such as modesty? Can we who are Christ followers say, "At work I'm this. When I'm not working I'm that".

And can it be that what appears to be an inconsistency between our faith and our actions be the thing that turns people off to us when we claim to be following Jesus? But Donald Trump was impressed!

And if you're from California or let's say, Brazil where most anything goes, does that give you license to be immodest?

(OK. I'll confess. As a teenager in CA I went to the beach and my boxers hung below my baggies. It was a CA thing. You wouldn't understand. Just coming clean here.)

For the record, I hope good things do come from this whole escapade. I really do. And I'll repeat, I do not question her relationship with Christ. But this is not about her. It's about something that looms much larger. I grapple with where we do or don't draw the line.

1 comment:

Barb said...

Good food for thought, Rick.

Paul said in 1 Cor. 10:32-33 that we aren't to cause anyone to stumble. I'm not to seek my own good, but the good of many. And in 11:1..."follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."

Pretty clear: It's less about legality and more about our example to others.

If my child hears me gossipping on the phone, or catches me in a lie, or getting too friendly with a man who's not my husband, or modeling in a bikini (at age 54, that's not likely to happen), what am I saying to my child? What if, later in life, s/he has a weakness for these behaviors that I told her were un-Christlike, yet I modeled something else? What's her choice likely to be?

Likewise, if Miss CA is saying one thing about modesty, yet her actions say something else, what are other believers, non-believers, or aspiring young models to conclude? That as long as we talk the talk we can act however we choose?

Andy Lawrenson's recent post on desiring for our children to become more Christ-like comes to mind. Being the best athlete, pastor, businessman, ditch digger or model aren't worth squat if our children don't desire to follow Christ. And if WE don't model that, who will?

We should all heed the good-better-best lesson: in our Christian walk, do we settle for good, or better ... or the best?

I think most of us know what Christ would have us do; we are just unwilling, too weak, or too tempted by the world to carry it out.