VOL. 1 No. 3 MAY-JUNE 2012
Inspiring You To Live For Christ And His Kingdom
RECLAIMING MODESTY IN AN AGE OF SLUTWALK
Editorial Comments… The Language of Clothes! Clothing is a powerful non-verbal medium of communication. The Language of Clothes is a classic book written by Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist Alison Lurie. Her work is an interesting analysis of the clothes we wear and what they say about us. She opines that “even before we speak to someone in a meeting, at a party, or on the street, our clothes often express important information (or misinformation) about us. Likewise, we pay close attention to how others dress as well; though we may not be able to put what we observe into words, we unconsciously register the information, so that when we meet and converse we have already spoken to one another in a universal tongue.” Intentional or not, by our apparel, we pass on vital information to others not only about our gender, age, nationality, cultural, social and economic background, but also about our mood, personality, world-view, attitudes, interests, and values. What we wear really matters! For sure, the Bible does not prescribe a dress code for Christians. One cannot be legalistic about clothing. We have freedom to choose outfits according to our likes and tastes. Likewise, what one wears will change from place to place, time to time, culture to culture. Nevertheless, the Scripture gives us certain universal and timeless guidelines. We just cannot blindly follow the fashions of the world (Rom.12:2). We are representatives of Christ and his kingdom (Col.3:17). We are called to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (Phil.1:29). So, what we wear must sync with our identity, calling and purpose. One of the terms that Apostle Paul uses in the Bible in relation to appropriate attire for Christian women is modesty (I Tim.2:9). At a time when 'slutwalkers' are taking center stage worldwide, I think it is only appropriate for us to discuss what the Bible has to say about the virtue of modesty. Although much space is given in this issue for articles related to women, I firmly believe that Paul's call for modesty applies to Christian men too. I'm grateful to God for helping us to bring out the third issue of SOUL CONNECT. Also, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who encouraged us by emails and phone calls. Please do send us your feedback. We value your suggestions and opinions. Sam K John, Editor. CONTACT DETA ILS SOULCONNECT # 7, Eden Rock Layout, Byrathi, Dodda Gubbi Post, Bangalore - 560077. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR IA L TEA M Sam K John Joseph Devadason Shibu K Mathew john jebaraj james Ashwin Ramani Nalini Parmar
VOL. 1 No. 3 MAY-JUNE 2012
Inspiring You To Live For Christ And His Kingdom
In the middle of Jordan 4 Lydia Edwin Core Issue
Is Modesty an Issue in the Church today? 10 John Piper QUEST CAN YOU TRUST YOUR CONSCIENCE ALWAYS?
A Dying Virtue: Modesty In Dress From A Woman’s Perspective 12 Laura Kuruvilla Biography
Ralph Winter 14 Shibu K. Mathew COVERSTORY RECLAIMING MODESTY IN AN AGE OF ‘SLUTWALK’
Ethics: Benz/Ford 18 Joseph Devadason Interview
Surender Gnanaolivu Mahindra Retail Pvt Ltd. Sam K. John
Book Review 13 Short Story 17
In the middle of Jordan...
It was early one morning, as Joshua stood on the banks of the flooded Jordan River and thought about the walled mighty city of Jericho, his heart nearly sank.“Be strong and ver y courageous”…these promising words of God flashed upon his mind and he knew a miracle was at hand. In Joshua 3, we read how God met Joshua and spoke to him the prerequisites and the details of the impending miracle. Many times, in our lives we are in similar situations. Problems, unexpected happenings, failures etc., roll over us like the flooded waters of Jordan. The sight of the other shore is bleak, crossing over seems impossible and the problems seem to persist. In order to overcome these persisting problems, to tide over the waters of Jordan and reach the other shore safe, let us take our lesson from Joshua.
There are three things that the Lord expects from us as prerequisites for experiencing miracles in the problems that we face in our lives. 1. Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow you will see miracle In Joshua 3: 5, Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you”. Consecration is an integral part of Christian life. It is imperative that we fully understand the Holiness of God and comply with His standards. We worship a God whose eyes are too pure to see sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Unconfessed, hidden sins in our lives may hinder God from acting on our behalf. Hence, learning to see sin as God sees it, deliberately avoiding it and committing ourselves to lead a fully consecrated life is the first and foremost requirement for expecting a miracle from God.
2. Glorifying God In Joshua 3:7, God said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.” But then, Joshua went to the people and said, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you...” (Joshua 3: 9, 10). The primary motive of Joshua was not self-glory or self-exaltation or recognition. All that Joshua wanted was God's name being exalted and glorified. If we want God to act on our behalf, our primary intention should be to bring glory to His name .Selfish intentions, personal goals and fanciful wishes that might not glorify God's name will never invite divine intervention. 3. Take the step of faith Joshua told the people, “Tell the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.'” Joshua 3:8. Stepping into Jordan River which was gushing with huge volumes of water would have seemed dangerous or foolish. But Joshua 3: 13 records, “And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD the Lord of all the earth set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” Taking a giant step of faith is a prerequisite for experiencing a miracle. F. B. Meyer wrote about Abraham, “…as he stepped out on what seemed a void, he found it rock beneath his feet”. God honors our step of faith, because it honors Him. As soon as these prerequisites were met by Joshua and the people of Israelites, they experienced the miracle. The kind of miracle they witnessed that day is recorded in Joshua 3:17. “The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”
What was the Miracle? “…in the middle of Jordan…on dry ground” Right in the midst of the problem, God can provide solace. The Psalmist says in Psalm 138:7, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.” Yes, my God can work wonders right in the middle of my Jordan. When we face the most difficult situation, fears and doubts within and without, the dry ground and solid rock on which we can rely is God and God alone. That is why Edward Mote wrote in his famous hymn, “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.” “…in the middle of Jordan…stood firm” When I face a grim situation, with my feet slipping, He makes my step firm. The Psalmist says in Psalm 94: 18 and 19, “When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” In the middle of your Jordan, take heart, His love will sustain you and His comforts will delight your soul. He will keep your foot from slipping and command His angels to take charge of you. “…in the middle of Jordan…carried the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord” The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord served as a guide to Israel in the wilderness (Numbers 10:3336), signified the presence of God (Numbers 14: 44) and the glory of God (1 Samuel 4:21). The greatest miracle that you will experience right in the middle of Jordan is that you will have the Lord at your side, as your guide, cheering you up with His comforting presence and provisions. As Jesus encouraged the sisters of Lazarus in John 11: 40, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Amidst your pain and sorrow, His glory will be revealed. Standing firm on dry ground, carrying His presence may the Lord enable us to cross every Jordan of our lives for the glory of His eternal Kingdom. Lydia Edwin. Lydia and her husband Edwin are lecturers at the Karunya University, Coimbatore
Many of us appeal to our consciences to justify ourselves. “My conscience tells me that I have not done anything wrong,” we say. We also sometimes take decisions based on what our conscience tells us. “My conscience tells me that this is the right thing to do and so let me do...” But can we always trust and depend on our conscience? Is it a sure guide? Or can conscience sometimes mislead us? Let's learn a few important truths about our conscience. First, there is no doubt that conscience is a God-given capacity for human beings to exercise self-evaluation and critique. Paul points to the Gentiles, whose consciences, he calls as the law of God written in their hearts, even though they did not have the Mosaic Law (Romans 2:14-15). He also appeals to his own conscience as a witness (Romans 9:1, 2 Corinthians 1:12; 5:11). Nevertheless, there is a real problem. One's conscience can be corrupted by false worldly philosophies and cultural assumptions. Think about 'Honor' killings for instance that exist in certain cultures today. When a person disobeys certain community rules, like say, marries a girl from another community, he will be killed.
Surprisingly, for the people of that culture, their consciences do not accuse them of cold blooded murder. In fact, their consciences tell them that they have committed a 'noble' act. Sometimes the 'offender' is even murdered in full public view (so that 'it will be a good example to others in the community!'). Why don't their consciences accuse them? Because they have clearly convinced their consciences to judge that such murder is not wrong but good for their society. The same is true of modern day terrorists. They feel at peace at what they have done. The lesson for us is that we too can manipulate, train and tune our consciences the way we want. At least we must be aware that our society and culture has already trained and tuned all our consciences. Therefore to give total allegiance and treat conscience like God's voice is problematic! The Apostle Paul speaks of a conscience that is “seared” or rendered insensitive as though it had been cauterized with a hot iron and hardened and calloused, no longer feeling anything (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Is it possible to sear your conscience? Why not? Have you seen some of the convicted
criminals, who while coming out of court premises, wave the victory 'V' sign to TV cameras? How could they smile so well when they have committed atrocious crimes? What about their consciences? Did it fail to work? Those with a seared conscience are those who no longer listen to its promptings, who can sin and cheat themselves into thinking all is well with their souls. Moreover, some Christians are falsely driven by guilt and shame because of a wrongly tuned conscience. Their conscience wrongly accuses them. Paul teaches about this problem when he discusses about meat offered to idols with the Corinthian church. Perhaps, many Christians suffer from guilt not because God has condemned them but due to their wrongly tuned conscience. Instead of blindly obeying the conscience, a Christian must constantly check with a higher authority - God's word. That is the real standard that will judge you when you meet your Lord. The Greeks had a word for “conscience.” That is suneidesis (that is found in all New Testament references), meaning moral awareness or moral consciousness. But interestingly, the Old Testament Hebrews did not have a word for conscience (There is no Hebrew term in the Old Testament which is equivalent to suneidesis in the New Testament). The reason: The Jewish community appealed to God and His laws to discern right from wrong rather than to their conscience. Simply put, for them something was right or wrong if the Word of God said so. It did
not matter what their conscience said or did not say. That is why when Paul the Jew referred to his own conscience in his letters, he always added “good” or “clear” conscience (Acts 23:1, 24:16; 1 Corinthians 4:4). He did not justify himself simply because his conscience supported him but because his conscience was good, clean and clear in the light of God's standards. That tells me that my conscience by itself cannot be clean or right always. Sadly, my conscience sometimes justifies an act that is called sinful by God's word. So as we are encouraged in Hebrews 10:22: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience...” But how can we cleanse our conscience from corruption? By constantly meditating on God's Word and renewing our hearts. In other words, we need to re-tune our consciences in the light of Biblical principles. This means we need to give importance to God's principles as recorded in the Bible. But I must lament the tragic trend among Christians today. We give very less importance to wholesome Bible study or teaching. Bible studies in Churches and elsewhere are poorly attended. My friend, I urge you to get a good grasp of His word. When you do, your conscience will day by day be shaped by His will, principles and desires. Michael Thomasraj. Michael is a pastor-teacher and trainer based in Bangalore. email@example.com
RECLAIMING MODESTY IN AN AGE OF ‘SLUTWALK’ Slutwalk was first held in Toronto after a police officer outraged women world over when he said in a speech to university students, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” What started as a protest in one city has now spread over 60 cities worldwide. The fire caught up in India too. Many women paraded the streets of New Delhi and Bangalore for a 'Slut walk'. Both Delhi and Bangalore witnessed women dressed in fishnet stockings, revealing corsets, body hugging T shirts and pants participating in the 'slutwalk' parade telling the male gender that women shouldn't be judged by the clothes they wear. A student of Delhi University said, “I have selected the skimpiest clothing from my wardrobe and I will prove that a women's integrity is in her heart and not in what she wears.” Those who champion slutwalks say that they are protesting against sexual violence towards women. I think the followers of Jesus will not have any problem in agreeing with their purpose. To stand against injustice and all forms of violence is very much Christian. As Christians we should seek justice and care for the victims of rape and violence, not blame them. However, the method or manner of the protest (slutwalk movement) is certainly debatable. Do women have to dress like 'sluts' to prove their point? (Slut is a term applied to an individual, especially woman, who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous). Encouraging women to wear immodest costumes, will that bring down sexual violence against women? I do not think so. Sad to say that the movement instead of standing up and championing the cause of those who are victims of sexual violence, has now become a platform for women to claim their right to wear what they want. Certainly, the Slutwalk movement has provoked some serious discussions within our society on female dressing. As followers of Jesus, this may be a good time for us too to talk about it.
It is way too easy for us to go along with the tide, to camouflage ourselves and just 'fit in' with the rest of the world when it comes to choosing our clothes. In contrast to what the world says and the parade it takes, the Bible exhorts us to dress sensibly, decently and modestly (I Tim.2:9). The dictionary defines the word â€œmodestâ€? as: marked with simplicity, restrained elegance. The word, 'modest' in I Tim: 2:9 has been translated from the Greek word 'kosmios' which means of good behavior, well arranged and seemly. Some suggest that the idea of modesty in dressing is something relative. What is modest for a particular people group may be immodest for another group and vice verse. So, where do we fit in this kind of 'modest dressing' in a cross cultural world where each culture has its own dress code? The key to understanding what constitutes modesty in dress is to examine the attitudes and the intents of the heart. If a woman professes to be a Christian and yet dresses in a way that will draw undue attention to her body, she is a poor witness of Jesus Christ. She is forgetting that her body has been redeemed and is now the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19, 20). The word modesty does not mean that a woman has to be covered from head to toe as some teach; rather dressing should be decent and not provoke any other person to lust after her. If a woman's heart is inclined towards godliness, she will wear clothing that is neither provocative nor revealing anything in public. Similarly, a true Christian will never wear clothing that gives a negative impression about her personal testimony as a child of God. Even if everyone in her circle dresses immodestly, a godly girl resists the temptation to go with the crowd. Modesty in dress reveals a modesty and godliness of the heart and attitude. As Christians, our dressing mantra should be: 'Dressed to glorify God' and not 'Dressed to kill.' Clothes do not make a Christian but Christians reveal their identity through their clothes and appearance. The Bible does not prescribe a standardized dress code for Christians but it calls us to follow the simplicity and unpretentiousness of Jesus' lifestyle. We need to take courage not to conform to the seductive dictates of fashion but be transformed by the sensible directives of the word of God. Our outward appearance is a silent witness to our Christian identity. Sarah Susannah Sampath. Sarah serves with the UESI ministry in Coimbatore
MODESTY CHECK LIST If an article of clothing is difficult to get into or get out of, it isn't modest. If an article of clothing makes sitting down, standing up, bending over, walking or moving difficult for you, it isn't modest. If the outfit draws attention to any part of your body rather than drawing attention to your face, it isn't modest. If any part of your body is highlighted by the outfit, it isn't modest. If you can see through it, it isn't modest. If your innerwear shows in any way at all (or even appears to show)â€Śit isn't modest. If the article of clothing makes you stand out in ways that make others uncomfortable, it isn't modest. (Http://christianfemininity.wordpress.com/category/modesty-guidelines/)
John Piper Speaks...
Is modesty an issue in the church today?
Yes. And it's not just a problem for males. Women have issues with it as well. But it is true that males are more visually springloaded to lust or to think unhelpful thoughts when they see a certain picture or person, so that's where I'll focus here. My concern today is that it seems like a lot of Christian women are oblivious to the fact that they have some measure of responsibility here. I say it carefully though, because I know that some women would turn the issue back on men as if it is their own problem. But I know that a sincere Christian woman would not have that attitude. A Christian woman would respond, "Really? I didn't know. Please, tell me what the issue is here." She wants to serve her brothers, and her brothers want to serve her. The brothers don't want to put her under any artificial constraints and she wants to serve them. So there ought to be dialogue about this. Necklines are an issue these days. Everywhere I turn at the airport and at church the necklines are plunging! Some fashion designers in the world are communicating to women today that the thing to do is have your neckline split extend too low. Women should dress in such a way that they draw men's attention towards their eyes, their face, and not towards the other parts of their bodies. A woman can test herself in this arena by how she dresses her little girl. What kind of bathing suit do you put on your little two-year-old? Is it a cute little bikini? Or do you begin from the very start to teach this little girl that there is an appropriate way to dress? Are you preparing her so that by the time she is seven, eleven, or fifteen her whole mindset is, I dress appropriately, modestly, and not to entice or flaunt? One of the first words that my daughter Talitha learned was "appropriate." She didn't even know what the word meant at the time, but now it is built into her DNA as an eleven-year-old that she should dress in a way that is appropriate. So I plead with the Christian women of the world that they take into consideration the things they are saying by what they're wearing. Dress to please the Lord. And you can still dress beautifully. You don't have to look stupid or out of style to be modest. I know this is the case because there are hundreds of very attractive women at our church who dress modestly and don't cause men to stumble, and they don't look out of style. Why do you encourage women to draw a man's gaze to their eyes? There is something about the face that makes it the most full and complete expression of a person (see Numbers 6:24-26). My hands only communicate a little bit about me, my shoulders don't say much at all, and my belly tells you hardly nothing! But my face says a lot about me, my eyes, my countenance, and my mouth. Having someone just stare at another part of my body would make me very uncomfortable. I'd say, "Look at my face! I'm a person!" But women are selling themselves because Madison Avenue has said, "Show your belly-button, your knees, your cleavage, etc." And women, evidently, are wired to want men to notice their bodies. And that is what must be channeled in an appropriate way. Women should handle the desire to be noticed by preserving it for one man, whether he is present yet or not. They should also protect themselves (and other men) by not saying things that they don't want to say. We are always saying things by what we wear. By John Piper. ÂŠ Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org
“No matter how we approach this topic, we have to understand that modesty must always begin on the inside. Outward apparel is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of modesty. Modesty begins by putting others first, by dying to self and loving the Body of Christ.” Mrs. Chancey “One of the first evidences of a real lady is that she should be modest. By modesty we mean that she shall not say, do, nor wear anything that would cause her to appear gaudy, ill-bred, or unchaste. There should be nothing about her to attract unfavorable attention, nothing in her dress or manner that would give a man an excuse for vulgar comment. When we dress contrary to the rule of modesty we give excuse for unwholesome thoughts in the mind of those who look upon us, and every girl who oversteps these bounds makes herself liable to misunderstanding and insult, though she may be innocent of any such intention.” Margaret Hale “I can engage in immorality by the way I dress. If women purposely dress to entice a man to sin then they are guilty whether the act is committed or not. A girl said one day ‘I came forward in your meeting and accepted Christ. A few nights later I was going to a party. I put on my dress. I looked in the mirror, and it seemed as though Jesus was looking at me. I went to the wardrobe and changed my dress. And now I dress as though Jesus was my escort each evening.’ Dress to please Christ in all modesty and good taste.” Billy Graham. “We women must realize how visual men are, and because of that we should wear modest clothes. Not because we don’t have the right to wear what we want, but for the benefit of the spiritual life of our brothers in Christ” Heather Arne Paulsen "A woman who loves Jesus Christ as her Mediator avoids immodesty because she refuses to distract from or misrepresent the purity of the Gospel: it's that simple. What you wear is connected to the Cross." Rick Holland "Although I cannot control what other people wear, especially on the outside world, it seems disrespectful to me to see ladies in church in very short skirts or skimpy, sleeveless tops. I would imagine that it could be distracting to men who are trying to keep their minds on God." Elizabeth Elliot
A Dying Virtue: Modesty In Dress From A Woman's Perspective About ten years ago, as I can recall, it became common for young women -- my peers -- to wear spaghetti strap tank tops, leaving their bra straps visible to the public gaze. When this practice first came to my attention, I was, in agreement with my mother and grandmother, horrified. Just a few years later, I had somehow overcome these qualms and taken up the fashion, revealing what I had once considered private with many other women of my generation. I relate this true anecdote to exemplify the ease with which sensibilities can change. In a few years, what had once seemed inappropriate and even appalling to me now seemed perfectly normal and attractive. This sort of change in sensibilities is exactly the difficulty when broaching a topic such as modesty. No one could deny that the Bible mandates modest dress, specifically for women. Paul writes to Timothy: "I desire [...] that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness -with good works" (1 Tim. 2.8-10). (Of course, modest dress is necessary for men as well. But Paul, in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, focuses on women here because this is an area in which women are more likely to sin.) A primary difficulty with applying this passage is the definition of "modesty." In a single week, I have first seen modesty defined as nearly anklelength, long-sleeved loose dresses for all the women in a congregation and secondly heard biblical modesty exhorted by a young Christian woman in skin-hugging jeans and a shirt cut three or four inches below the nape of her neck. I do not write this to deride the second young woman but merely to note that the practical definition of modesty - enunciated by what a Christian woman chooses to wear - can be a profoundly wideranging and slippery one.
So where might we begin to discover a definition of modesty that would accord with, as Paul writes, "what is proper for women who profess godliness"? The world's definition of modesty would surely be something to the effect of "less provocative clothing than what is fashionable; the least revealing choice among mainstream fashion." The problem with this definition for Christians, however, is that the world is always growing more sinful (2 Tim. 3). Even my own brief experience proves this. My parents took a photograph of me ready to leave home on the first morning of my senior year of high school. I'm standing in our driveway, wearing loose, long pants and a button-up shirt, with another shirt underneath. Fast forward six years: to my shame, a search in my closet would have, at that time, revealed skin-hugging jeans and form-fitting shirts. And in both cases, I was merely following the fashion trends- that is, in biblical terms, conforming to the world (Romans 12:2). It is apparent that fashion trends, and along with them social definitions of acceptable dress, modest dress, and provocative dress, change with the times. God's word and his standards, however, are surely unchanging. Unfortunately, the church has generally followed the world, particularly in its fashions. Francis Schaeffer once remarked, "Tell me what the world is saying today, and I'll tell you what the church will be saying seven years from now." Sadly, in the area of dress and fashion, Schaeffer's words are all too true. How, then, can we begin to define modesty, if we seek to uphold God's word and discover what is acceptable to him? Nancy Leigh DeMoss in her teaching on modesty poses a powerful question, useful as a daily self-diagnostic: "If the Lord were to dress me this morning, what would I be wearing?" We know from Matthew 5 that Jesus would not condone any clothing that would prove sexually enticing to a man, for he taught: â€œYou have heard the commandment that says you must
not commit adultery. But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye, even your good eye causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-29, NLT). We usually consider this passage as directed largely to men, since women are, I think, less likely to lust after a stranger passed on the street. But there is wisdom here for women as well. First, Jesus confirms that men are likely to lust in just such a situation - simply by sight, without physical contact. We women must take this into account, even if and especially because it is different from our personal tendencies. Secondly, I think we would be wise to remember that sins often come in pairs; thus if men are more prone to lust at the sight if a woman, women are more likely to revel in vainglory over their appearance - to be overly concerned - if not obsessed - with our own physical beauty. Moreover, there is a companion verse to Matthew 5.27 that must be applied to women. In Matthew 18 Jesus teaches “...Woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (Matthew 18:7-9). According to Jesus, it is a sin for a man to lust after a woman, and it is equally a sin for her to tempt him to do so - to tempt him by provocative dress, speech, or actions. How Satan must delight in using this sin pair against the church, Christ's body on earth! He has tempted women, and Christian women among them, to forget the need for modesty -to accept a loose, worldly definition of modesty in order to satisfy our own sinful desire to be considered fashionable and attractive. And by tempting women thus, the Enemy has already secured for himself a victory over men as well. This is not a tirade against beauty; God made the female form and his word notes that a woman's hair is her glory (1 Corinthians 11). The sovereign Lord and his word are not ignorant or contemptuous of female beauty; rather, he asks women who profess to be his followers to expose that beauty appropriately, to be modest before the world and to save sexual allure for our husbands.
Are we willing to consider how the Lord would have us dress each morning as we stand before the mirror? For one day, we will stand before him and give an account of why, by our careless or wilful satisfying of our pride, we have caused men for whom Christ died to sin. I offer these thoughts not in self righteousness, for I have sinned greatly in my dress. I am grateful to the Lord that he, in his mercy, has been patient to teach and convict me in this area, and so I write these reflections only in the hope that they may be of help -- eternal help -- to any Christian sister. Laura Kuruvilla. Laura and her husband Finny and their children live in the US. This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License, with moderate editing. The Mission of God Christopher J. H. Wright Most Christians would agree that the Bible provides a basis for mission. Chris Wright believes that there is actually a missional basis for the whole Bible - it is generated by, and is all about, God's mission. In order to understand the Bible, we need an interpretative perspective that is in tune with this great missional theme. We need to see the “big picture” of God's mission and how all parts of Scripture fit into its grand narrative. In this comprehensive and accessible study, Chris Wright begins with the Old Testament understanding of who God is, what he has called his people to be and to do, and where the nations belong within God's mission. These themes are followed into the New Testament. Throughout, Wright emphasizes that biblically defined mission is intrinsically holistic. God's mission is to redeem his whole creation from all that sin and evil have inflicted upon it, and the mission of God's people must reflect the breadth of God's righteous and saving love for all he has made. This is a great book to understand the big picture of Bible and to align ourselves to heart of God by bringing all the nations for the glory of God. Every missionary and those involved in missions should study this book to understand missions.
Ralph D. Winter
Ralph Dana Winter (December 8, 1924 - May 20, 2009) was an American missiologist and Presbyterian missionary who became well-known as the advocate for pioneer outreach among unreached people groups. Billy Graham once wrote: “Ralph Winter has not only helped promote evangelism among many mission boards around the world, but by his research, training and p u b l i s h i n g h e h a s a c c e l e r a t e d wo r l d evangelization.” In 2005, Winter was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America. Dr. Ray Tallman, shortly after Winter's death, described him as "perhaps the most influential person in missions of the last 50 years and has influenced missions globally more than anyone I can think of.” Ralph's one and only passion was “God deserves praise, glory and obedience from all peoples.” He was an out of box thinker, gap finder and all ways trying to do things “that others are not willing to do”. His life and ministry was influenced by Dawson Trotman, founder, Navigators who said “Don't ever do
something others can do or will do if there are things to be done that others can't do or won't do.”
Here are some things which he did what others were not willing to do. First, he initiated the Theological Education by Extension by not uprooting the local pastors from their work and environment, thus challenging the paradigm of training of pastoral training through seminaries and Bible colleges. Second, he started with his personal savings the publishing of mission books through William Carey Library, when many Christian publishers were not willing to publish mission books because of lack of market for such books. Third, when the church throughout the world deliberated that “missions” was over, he draw attention to the “ hidden peoples” or now popularly known as an Unreached peoples, who remains within the social and cultural barriers. Fourth, he was willing to take the risk of leaving the comfort of seminary teaching and “thinking” at Fuller to start US center for World Missions(USCWM) to take action and to implement the ideas through the new mission center. This is what Ralph said about this venture “You do not evaluate a risk by the probability of success but by the worthiness of the goal. We were willing to fail because the goal we sensed was so urgent and strategic.” Fifth, he was convinced of the need to mobilise the whole church to finish the task of blessing all the peoples of the world. USCWM produced Mission Frontiers magazine, Global Prayer Digest, International Journal of Frontier Mission and developed mission courses like Perspectives, World Christian foundations, Insight to mobilise the otherwise ignored laity of the church. Ralph D Winter finished well doing his part in the mission of God. Shibu K Mathew is a mission educator and mobiliser who is based in Bangalore. He is also the editor of Ethne magazine.
Anger is perceived as the root of many psychological, inter-personal, physical and spiritual problems. Along with hostility, anger has been called “the saboteur of mind” and the leading cause of misery, depression, inefficiency, sickness, accidents, loss of work time and financial loss in industry. Since anger is an emotion of such great implications, a proper understanding of it is essential. Is there a legitimate use of anger? What causes anger in a person? Can anger be really controlled? These questions need answers. Moreover, Christians and non-Christians are equally concerned about handling anger. The purpose of this study is to explore the complexity and dynamics of anger, biblically and psychologically, and present practical implications for counseling. 1. By the way, what is Anger? Anger is a fact of life. All of us experience this emotion time to time. However, despite its prevalence, psychology has not yet found a satisfying answer to the problem of anger. Christian psychologist, Neil Clark Warren calls anger as the “out most baffling emotion.” There are two basic reasons for the difficulty in understanding anger. First, anger, like all emotions is never alone. Not only does it cluster with other emotions but it also is a secondary emotion, following fear or frustration, disappointment or sadness. Therefore, it is not easily isolated. Second, anger shows itself in many forms and often runs below the surface of detection in people. Hence, not all anger is easily identified. A perfect definition for this baffling emotion is almost impossible. The New international Cambridge Dictionary defines anger as, “A strong feeling against someone or a situation which makes you want to hurt someone, be
unpleasant, shout at someone, etc.” This is a lay person's understanding of anger! In a counselling context, anger is usually understood as a reaction rather than pro-action. Baker Encyclopaedia of Psychology and counseling defines anger as, “An intense emotional reaction sometimes directly expressed in overt behaviour and sometimes remaining a largely unexpressed feeling.” Further study of the subject will yield more clarity and help us to define anger more appropriately. 2. What does the Bible say about Anger? The Bible contains many references to anger. In the Old Testament alone there are almost six hundred references to wrath or anger. Anger is attributed both to God and people. Gary Collins comments, "An understanding of the divine wrath of God is important if we are to comprehend the biblical teachings about human anger." Since anger is attributed to God, to call all anger sinful is contrary to the teaching of the Scripture. Therefore, it is important to understand anger from a moral dimension. 2.1. Anger is a Morally Neutral Emotion Eph.4:26 is a crucial verse to understand the nature of anger. The admonition, "When you are angry do not sin," is followed by "Do not let the sun go down while you are angry.” Paul clearly differentiates the emotion from its behaviour. Archibald D. Hart argues, “The need to differentiate between anger (feeling) and hostility/aggression (action) is important to the New Testament approach to the problem of anger.” Therefore, anger in itself is neither good nor bad. It is just anger. It is an emotion! In other words, human anger is normal and not necessarily sinful. The direction we allow anger to take will determine whether it is sinful or not. 2.2. God's Anger Revealed in the Bible A clear understanding of God's anger as revealed in the Bible is imperative. In the Old Testament, God's anger came upon His people and other nations as a judgement on sin. His anger was shown in various ways. On occasions when His people rejected Him to serve other gods (Deut.7:4, 9:19, 29:20, I Kings 14:9-11, 15), He allowed them to be taken as captives by other nations. Likewise, He sometimes removed His presence from them as a sign of His anger (Num.12:9, 31:17, Deut.32:16, 21-22, Josh.23:16). However, many a time, God limited Himself from releasing His full vent (Ps.78:38, 103:8-9), and turned aside His anger in response to people's obedience (Isa.12:1, Jonah 4:2, Mic.7:18). Similarly, in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus' earthly expressions of anger are consistent with what we see of God's anger in the Old Testament. Jesus became angry while reacting to their hardness of heart and abuses found in the temple (Mk.3:5, Matt.21:12-13, Jn.2:14-16). 2.3. The Nature of God's Anger God's anger is always directed at sin and sinners. This reflects His holiness. God's anger is controlled, unselfish, just and purposeful. God's anger acts against injustice and wilful disobedience. It acts not with hatred, malice or resentment but to correct or curtail destructive behaviour. Therefore, it is an expression of concern and care. Collins captures the concept of God's anger beautifully. He writes, “Divine anger is vigorous, intense, controlled and consistent with God's love and mercy.” If our human anger reflects God's character, it is righteous. This kind of human anger is called as 'constructive anger' or 'holy anger' We need to rediscover the importance of holy anger as we live in a world torn apart by sin and injustice.
2.4. The Warnings against Human Anger The Bible repeatedly warns of human anger both in the Old Testament and New Testament. (Eccl.7:9, Ps.37:8, Pro.15:17, 17:1, 21:19, 15:18, 25:28, Col.3:8, Jam.1:19-20, Gal.5:20, I Tim.2:8). Human anger is usually depicted as a loss of self-control. Orge and Thumos are two Greek words widely used in the New Testament to describe anger and wrath respectively. Both anger and wrath in human beings are condemned. The fact that the Bible criticises human anger and approves God's anger should not be misunderstood as a double standard. Because God is wise, sovereign, powerful, perfect, and all knowing, He never misinterprets a situation, never feels threatened, never loses control, and is always angered by sin and injustice. In contrast, humans are sinful, limited in knowledge, vulnerable of misinterpreting circumstances and making judgements, quickly get hurt and react, and mostly vindictive and vengeful in nature. Human anger is capable of becoming destructive, and therefore, Scripture gives warnings. Further Reading: 1. Archibald D. Hart, Unlocking the Mystery of your Emotions (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1979). 2. Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988). 3. Carroll Saussy, The Gift of Anger: A Call to Faithful Action (Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995). 4. Tim Lahaye, Spirit Controlled Temperament (Illinois: Tyndale House, 1976). 5. Tim Lahaye and Bob Phillips, Anger is a Choice (Michigan: Zondervan, 1982). 6. Warren W. Wiersbe, Angry People: Understanding and Overcoming Anger (Nebraska: Back to the Bible, 1987). All About Anger will continue in the next issue...
I came across two business case studies which were in stark contrast with each other. Both were from the automobile industry about passenger safety but they were contrary to each other. One was from the 1950s and the other was from the 1970s. One of them was about Mercedes-Benz and the other was about Ford. Benz has long been an international industry leader in automobile safety. They were the first to install seat belts. They were also the first to install airbags in cars In 1951, Benz patented the occupant safety cell. The mastermind of this idea was Bela Barenyi. He did not agree with a commonly held principle: “a safe car must not yield but be stable.” He was the first to discover that in a collision, kinetic energy must be absorbed through deformation in order for the occupants to be protected. He split the car body into three “boxes”: a soft front and rear section and a rigid passenger cell. During impacts, front and rear crumple zones would deform and thereby absorb the impact while keeping the passengers safe. Patent law allows a company to retain full control over its inventions for seventeen years. Yet Mercedes did not enforce its patent rights on the crumple zone so that its competitors could also adopt the technology. As a result, tens of thousands of lives were saved globally. Ford was fighting a strong competition from Volkswagen for the lucrative small-car market when Lee Iacocca became the President of the company in 1970. He began a program to produce the Pinto, a small car, which became known as "Lee's car." He also set an important goal known as "the limits of 2,000." The Pinto was not to weigh an ounce over 2,000 pounds and not to cost a cent over $2,000. The normal time span from conception to production of a new car model was about 43 months. But the Pinto schedule was set at under 25 months. Ford engineers discovered in pre-production crash tests that rear-end collisions would rupture the Pinto's fuel system too easily. Ford crashtested the Pinto more than 40 times and every test made at over 25 miles per hour without special structural alteration of the car resulted in a ruptured fuel tank. In one test, an inexpensive plastic baffle was placed between the front of the gas tank and the differential housing. This one-pound, one-dollar piece of plastic stopped the puncture of the gas tank but it was thrown out as extra cost and weight. In another test, a heavy rubber bladder was placed inside the gas tank. When rear-end crash test was done with the rubber bladder in the gas tank, the tank ruptured but no fuel leaked. The total purchase and installation cost of the bladder would have been $5.08 per car. As the assembly-line machinery was already tooled when engineers found the defect in Pinto's fuel system, top Ford officials decided to manufacture the car anyway. Also, adding cheap safety measures to Pinto appeared more expensive to Ford when compared to the millions of dollars that Ford would spend on compensating for the hundreds of lives lost and burn injuries because of this faulty fuel tank. Ford's decision of not making any special structural alteration in the fuel tank of Pinto did cost the lives of several hundred people. Two different value systems I see two different value systems in these two case studies. Perhaps, one values human life more than the other. In other words one values man more than machine and other values machine more than man! Joseph Devadason. Joseph teaches Management Studies at Kodaikanal Christian College. Tamil Nadu
1. What made you choose a career in the retail business? My love for Art & Design (combined with my educational qualification in Engineering) and its application to influence human behavior in business and shopping environments. 2. How do you see the retail market in India? Very challenging as it's very diverse, dynamic with a lot of room for experimentation and opportunities. Playing the game right can result in consumer loyalty and profitability.
SURENDER GNANAOLIVU About 18 years experience in the Indian Retail Industry in Brand Activation, Strategic Retail Planning, Store Planning, Store Design, Visual Merchandising, Store Roll-Out management, Writing, Training and Teaching. He spent his first 6 years in the Short Service Commission of the Indian Air Force as a Flight Lieutenant. Post that he switched to retail and his 17 years of experience spans across many national and international brands and retail formats as Design Head at RAMMS India Pvt Ltd for 3 years, AVP Store Planning & Visual Merchandising at Shoppers Stop for 6 years, An independent retail consultant for 3 years, VP Store Development at Reliance Retail Lifestyle vertical for 2 years and currently is Executive VP Store Development & Presentation at Mahindra Retail Pvt Ltd. Teaches retail management as a guest faculty in Management and Design institutes in India and Dubai. Invited as speaker at various national and international retail forums. He has a Masters in Industrial Engineering from Anna University and a PG Diploma in Marketing Management. His love for practicing Art and Design and their application in business drives his passion for the constantly changing industry of Retail.
3. Describe some of your unique achievements in the field? Pioneered the field of Store Planning and Visual Merchandising by setting up and heading these departments at the first Department Store Concept in India Shoppers Stop. Built and trained a team of professionals who now head these departments in the top 10 retailers in the country. Pioneered the first magazine on Visual Merchandising and Retail Design (VM&RD) in India which has a circulation across 4 countries; I still edit this monthly magazine. 4. What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Active participation in Gospel singing in my church worship team and choir. 5. How has being a Christian influenced your career? It has helped me in building a well-knit happy team, great vendor relationship, reputation for professionalism & good business practices and to passionately enjoy what I do. 6. Your advice to others who are interested in retail? If you don't like 'constant', if you don't like 'predictability', if you love making a difference to people's lives, enjoy creativity and the application of all the above into business then you've made the right choice. Interviewed by Rebecca Thomas for SOULCONNECT
The weight You bore on the cross... it's hard to comprehend. To gift me forgiveness that heals my soul and mind. You denied Yourself the right of justice Mercy flowed as You cried - Father forgive them, it's their ignorance. The agony you endured at the garden, willing to drink the cup of wrath Your body and soul quivered, drops of blood came forth Here i am ready for sacrifice you feverishly offered, And in that moment the victory was declared! The pain you suffered via dolorossa fills us with remorse Creator God You suffered pain in Your body, mind and soul in all extremes Never justified nor explained the taunters foolish questions. You offered yourself for humanity's redemption. I behold Your Cross, I receive strength to bear my cross. Forgiveness, peace rules my reactions though it may incur outward loss Your spirit convicts the slightest grudge you heal from within as I experience Your fresh touch. The power of resurrection is for everyone who look up in faith Newness, peace, transformation is for you to take Independent of circumstance, independent of the people you relate The command is to pass on this blessing to everyone you meet. So let's sit at the foot of the cross as often And free ourselves of every sin and burden To take beauty for brokenness, joy for pain Touching and transforming lives for heavens gain.
Published on Jan 28, 2013