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The Beauty of Modesty: Cultivating Virtue in the Face of a Vulgar Culture Paperback – May 1, 2005
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About the Author
DAVID VAUGHAN is the pastor of Liberty Christian Church, director of Liberty Leadership Institute, and president of Liberty Classical School. He edits the St. Louis METRO VOICE newspaper and hosts the ENCOUNTER radio program in the St. Louis area. DIANE VAUGHAN is a wife, mother, writer, and popular speaker at women's groups nationwide. The Vaughans live in O'Fallon, Missouri.
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- The authors are Christians who take the Bible seriously, and that means in many places, literally. They're up-front about that - it's stated that this book is from a Christian perspective in the product review. If that wasn't what you wanted, then you really shouldn't have bought it.
- Modesty is something that is far more of an issue for females, partially because males are so visually motivated, and partially because of our society. These are addressed in more detail in the book. And the authors never state or imply that men are not responsible for their reactions, but that females can either help or hinder their brothers in Christ in this area.
This book really strikes a balance and addresses the issues of "it doesn't matter how I dress because God sees my heart" to those who want legalistic measures of hemlines. There was much that provoked thought and I know that my wardrobe (and attitude) will be changing as a result.
However, this book failed to make much of an argument at all. It presented two opposing forces: the Bible, and our society, and did a very bad job explaining these. It seemed, rather, to work from two stereotypical mindsets. I found the Biblical passages overly literal, with no real scholarship applied to them, more just a sort of parroting, and found myself becoming defensive on the behalf of sensuality, which seemed to be getting a bum rap. Perhaps Nelly Furtado is not a notable advance in Western Culture, but surely some things are, and for every five or ten Nellys and Britneys, there is an Allen Ginsberg who would have been killed for love in an earlier time.
What really upset me about this book, however, was the not-very-well-hidden sexism. I went into the book expecting modesty to be something we might encourage in all people, but instead found it to be something we largely want to encourage in our women. Most of the biblical quotes seemed to deal with women and their roles, and many of the examples seemed to be at the expense of girls. As a woman, I am offended by the notion of virtue and modesty being a woman's responsibility, as if men a) have nothing to hide or b) have no control over their reactions to what women wear.
All in all, I found this book a very disappointing read and do not suggest buying it.