Thursday, August 16, 2007

Seminary Wives Institute

My post, Sex and the Seminary, generated a remarkable amount of blog traffic, most referred from The Southern Baptist Convention's "SBC Outpost" where the post was linked in an article about the ongoing debate about the value and intent of the course in homemaking at Southwestern and the "Seminary Wives Institute" (with no corresponding "Seminary Husbands Institute") at my Alma mater, Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Others have written about this, too.

Mary K. Mohler, the wife of Albert Mohler, the President of Southern Seminary, is in charge of the "Seminary Wives Institute" and has authored a publication called, "Modeling Modesty" that is essentially a guide to how Christian women should dress. There is no mention in the publication of how men should dress, quite the contrary, Ms. Mohler seems to place the responsibility for men behaving responsibly with regard to their sexual desires squarely on the shoulder of women and girls. There's a lot to say about this, and perhaps I will at another time. For now, here are a couple of quotes:

"Don't blame the men around you who happen to be unfortunate enough to be within sight and say that they need to get their minds out of the gutter....Ladies must remember what battles men face to stay pure as they are stimulated visually by women. They should never have it flaunted in their faces and to have it done at church is an abomination." (p. 8)

"Mothers of sons have often asked me, "What can we do? We don't have daughters that we can influence, but we have sons who are looking at how your daughters dress." Men of all ages struggle with this. It is out job as mothers of daughters to make sure that our daughters appearances are not causing males to stumble or causing females to point to them as examples to make their cases."

I have no problem with the idea that women ought to dress tastefully, and, frankly, the 'fashion' choices for little girls are far too grown up, but the picture painted here is of men who are on a sexually hair-trigger over which they have no control. It is as if men, sitting in the pew, are bound to pounce on the nearest female if her skirt is too short or her blouse too low. And, if they pounce, don't blame them, blame the women. I happen to think more of men than that. How about an ethic of shared responsibility, instead?

1 comment:

Tina said...

Of course I agree that dress should be appropriate to the occasion, both for men and for women. But the lady you quote is indulging in some really specious reasoning. If a fellow sees a really fine looking car and decides to steal it, should we blame the car? "But officer, it was such a beautiful car, I just couldn't resist!" If I go to the bakery and buy a huge piece of chocolate cake and eat it and gain weight, can I blame it on the cake? After all, the chocolate icing DID tempt me. :-)