Modesty or "covering your nakedness" throughout the Bible is a commandment of God. But exactly what is and is not modest is reinterpreted by every generation. Mark Bullen believes he takes the modesty principles of the first century church and applies them to today, these guidelines all being part of "the faith once delivered to the saints." If there is a question that arises as to the extremity of a certain rule or guideline, it is given an answer and whether you or agree or not, you must obey or be in rebellion against God.
His basis for this is found where Jesus tells his followers that the Pharisees sit in Moses' place as lawgivers. So even though the laws they were making were difficult and excessive, the Jews were required to follow them as they would have followed Moses. Basically, Mark is now sitting in Moses place as lawgiver.
Here is a small sampling of the rules regarding clothing at Living Faith Christian Fellowship:
- Women are required to wear a double covering over their torso. This means a loose fitting dress and a not form fitting vest or smock over the top, no matter how hot the weather. It is to give a boxy appearance, no drawn in waistline.
- Both men and women are to wear long sleeves at church. Short sleeves for men are permitted for work. Women may wear sleeves that gather below the elbows. It must be gathered so nobody could get a peak up the sleeves to the chest.
- Girls must wear bloomers that go below the knee and have some sort of gathering or taper so nobody can peak.
I felt bad for a couple young ladies that had recently joined the church at the requirement of their father. They had to remake their vests 3 times because they did not meet the approval of the Bullens. They were very pretty and had womanly figures, I do not believe they were trying to draw attention to themselves. I think they were not prepared for how strict the standards would be or how insecure the other women are. I definitely felt insecure around a couple pretty young things when I was required to wear such shapeless clothing.
The men have guidelines, I suppose. But I could never figure out why so many rules and preaching about the appearance of women when all the women appeared to be doing their best to follow the rules, yet the men wore disgustingly tight pants. Hello! I wasn't checking anybody out, but some of those guys needed to go the next size up, or 4.
The last straw about modesty came one day when I was changing my baby girl's diaper at church. There was a changing table by the office we all used and on that day a 2 year old girl was watching me take care of my little one. The mother walked up and said for her daughter to get down then said nevermind because it was a girl she had been watching. I asked for her to clarify and she explained that only girls changed or witnessed other girls, and only the mothers took care of the boys.
At first I shrugged it off as just another strange custom of this one particular ultra-conservative family. But just to be sure, I decided to ask Angela Bullen about the diaper changing customs. She affirmed that yes, only mothers change the diapers of boys, for modesty reasons. What! I was at the time pregnant with a baby boy and counting on my 10 year old daughter's help after a c-section.
I am very glad I did NOT follow her advice. After our son was born, his older sister was an incredible help. It was also a wonderfully innocent way for her to learn that human males are not the same as the horses and cows she was used to seeing.
At what point does modesty go too far? Yes, God wants us not to tempt one another. But are women always tempting men just by being shaped like a woman? Are 7 year olds being immodest for not concealing the breasts they don't even have yet? Is a baby defrauding a person of the opposite sex by having their diaper changed? It comes down to that men have to take responsibility for their thought life and not expect women to wear burqa's to spare them the temptation. Besides, couldn't men just imagine what's underneath the burqa?