The Book - Modest: Men and Women Clothed in the Gospel by Tim Challies and R.W. Glenn
Cruciform Press, $9.99 (2012)
I initially read Modest for the Book Club at Desiring Virtue, but it has taken me a little while to think through it. Though a very short book, there is a lot packed into it and I found myself thinking about modesty in different ways as I read.
One thing I really like about this book is that the authors go to great pains to emphasize modesty as a heart issue for Christian believers. So many times I have heard talks on modesty or read articles that spend much time discussing tightness of blouses, length of skirts, etc.. - and then they stop. If I want to know how to look modest, I can find lots of guidance, but it's a lot more difficult to be modest. As I read the authors' words in this book, I have to admit that I felt uncomfortably convicted on occasion. After all, if I'm feeling smug as I sit there in my modest skirt, I'm not exactly going into this modesty thing with the right attitude.
I also appreciated that the authors addressed their topic to both men and women. I think both men and women struggle with modesty issues, even if we tend to do it in different ways.
In a way, though, this book makes the issue of modesty more challenging because we are reminded that modesty deals not only with outward appearance(though that's part of it), but also with our inner hearts. While we as Christians are urged to examine modesty in light of the gospel, the authors go out of their way to avoid providing a concrete checklist of do's and don'ts with regard to the mix of outward dress and behavior and inward heart. I could understand why they would do that because it can be easy to fall into legalism in this area, but I do wish that this book had a little more concrete guidance. I felt as if very important questions were raised, but then the practical application somewhat glossed over. Even so, the subject is an important one and given what I see in modern American culture, I am glad to get a biblical perspective on the subject.