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A recent furor has been raised by the 'suggestive' postings of women on social networking sites. The problem appears to rest not so much with what is said but how people interpret what is said. Words are worrisome things and can hinder as well as help clear communication.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder than just as surely lustful thoughts, suggestive inflections, and tawdry intepretations may be influenced by the human filter through which they pass. Namely, you and I. I have known people who if the word 'red' was written on a wall they would inhale, cover the eyes of small children, and hurry away, tongue clicking at the indecency. I have seen those same people mock, belittle, denigrate, slander, insult, and ridicule with words and 'suggestive' inflections without anyone calling them to account.
Larger issues of cultural confusion, Christian cultural confusion, cloud the issue. Through layers of church history, inferior interpretations, and hare-brained hermenuetic there is often a view of women as 'creators' of lust, temptresses, inferior mental stamina, and vapid moral character.
For some, who mis-read Paul and Peter's words in the New Testament and largely ignore those of Jesus, Woman is eternally standing in the Garden offering poor, innocent Adam a forbidden fruit.
Woman, as the being created by God, has been maligned and in so doing so too has the Man. The Song of Solomon celebrates the physical nature of human sexual interaction as a joyful, playful and satisfying experience. What we have done is blame one gender over another, instill artifical standards of purity, and build walls that tend to heighten rather than control natural sexual responses.
Holiness - in life, thoughts, and actions - is more than being surrounded by people in non-revealing clothing. If that were the case, the Victorian era would have been one of the holiest and yet sexual sin was rampant in the day when a glimpse of ankle was scandalous. If that were the case, the lives of peoples in cultures where clothing is mimimal or missing would be torrid centers of scandalous living - yet they are most often the opposite. Pacific Islanders did have trouble with women going topless in pre-colonial Hawaii; the Missionaries and others who worked there had the problems and how they responded was a means of safeguarding themselves rather than those they sought to minister to.
When we assume that anything sexual is sinful we set ourselves up for a series of problems. When we assume we can do anything sexual we set ourselves up for a series of problems. It is the middle, in the balance, where we must reside to safeguard healthy, God-given reactions with the ability to control animalistic urges. This is done through character, ethics, respect, and Christ working within the man or the woman to see the best of God's creation.


Noel Brooks: A Life Shining and Burning, 1914-2006



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