Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fathers, Daughters, and Christian Modesty

The following article, written by a Christian father, has not only some excellent insights with regard to feminine Christian modesty, but also excellent practical suggestions as to how Christian fathers can protect their daughters' modesty in an age and culture that is not only clueless about what is fashionable for young women, but also antithetical and hostile to a worldview shaped by Scripture and the Church.

Gents, you are in charge! Use the authority that God has given you. That doesn't mean sitting in the La-Z-Boy ordering your wife to fetch chicken wings, and hollering at your daughter to bring you a beer before the game starts. Rather, being the head of the household means you are the protector of your family - especially when it comes to defending your daughters' dignity.

That article reminded me of a blog post on the topic of feminine modesty written by Rev. Dr. Rick Stuckwisch, who is not only the parochial father of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana, but is also the familial father of three daughters and six sons (as well as a husband of 23 years to the wife he so obviously reveres and adores).

Dr. Stuckwisch often writes about Christian fatherhood, especially in the light of his daughter's upcoming wedding.

If you're not a subscriber to Dr. Stuckwisch's blog, you're missing out! He's one of those individuals whose blog is worth reading every single time he posts - like an exquisite dessert and a delightful cup of coffee. He is poetic, profound, theological, exuding Christian joy, entertaining, and always drives his readers to think deeply, pray fervently, and seek Christ where He may be found. And he does so with evangelical humility and the doting heart of a Christian family man and pastor.

And with nine children, Dr. Stuckwisch knows a thing or two about being a dad!


Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Thank you very much, Father Hollywood, for continuing to address this subject, and for reference to the Griffith article and Fr. Stuckwisch's blog. The article was new to me, and Fr. Stuckwisch's blog had slipped off my radar. I'm glad to be reminded of it.

I would like to echo you, Griffith, and Stuckwisch. Fathers not only can involve themselves in their daughters' lives in this regard, they should. It is not only wise, it is right.

Now, I do not want to come across as though I were advocating the world view of Hilary Clinton's "It takes a village," but I think it is worth reinforcing the point that the Church is a community, and we bear responsibility for each other. There are manifold ways in which each of us can help to protect the dignity and modesty of our girls and ladies. Such advice as expressed in these pieces, in other words, is not just for fathers of daughters. It is also for pastors, who are spiritual fathers (hence your own good example in your preaching and writing); indeed, it is worthy warning for any Christian man to consider the influence God might be giving him over others in his own vocation.

God has not, heretofore, given me children. Yet He has given me nieces, nephews, Godchildren, and Sunday School children. I have been blessed to see young ladies in my class mature over the past few years, like Ahmari, Arrie, and Sarah. And one thing I know is that, yes, despite our fears, men can say something. They can speak up when the occasion presents itself.

Griffith writes, "Some dads have such a fragile relationship with their daughters that they are afraid to risk a confrontation that may widen the gap in their relationship." And as I say, men in nonparental relationships feel fear as well. Yet fear is such a hollow enemy. When we walk through it, we find so much that can be accomplished, it becomes almost mind boggling how silly it was to be afraid.

I am reminded also of what Meg Meeker writes in her book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, about how girls actually, though sometimes secretly, yearn for the approval of their fathers. Again, I think we might add here, father-figures, especially in the case of those who do not have a father.

Pr. H. R. said...

We've started the propaganda early - and it goes along with teaching Latin. Our 5 year-old girl and almost 4 year old boy are expert at spotting "meretricious" clothing on department store manikins, Disney princesses, etc. They find it quite "common," i.e., vulgar. Other "common" activities include watching TV and not learning Latin. Just yesterday, the five year old informed me, "Dad, did you know that some kids don't go to church on Sunday morning and just stay in their rooms and watch TV? How common." Quite! I did point out the problem was more with than the third commandment than with the vulgarity of it, and she agreed.

We may be skating close to the line of raising snobs - but I think that will be easier to correct in the long run.