UPDATE: I have received word that there shall be a response to this, which I am very appreciative of. Will keep you posted. Please note that while you are free to comment on this post, it is addressed to the founders of the "I'd rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria's Secret model." movement on Facebook. Please read that carefully. It is addressed and should ultimately be responded to by the founders.
To the founders of the Live 31! movement:
Before I begin, let me tell you that I am writing this with the presumption that we are all Christians and desire to glorify God through our life and actions. Some things I say could not be said unless this was the case, so for all those reading, please read accordingly. (That is, the treatment of Scripture, for instance.)
You probably know me from the post I originally wrote in response to your movement or perhaps from the post yesterday in which I detailed my concern. Perhaps you know me from the first time I addressed you on your Facebook page or perhaps the second.
I am now directly writing to you here out of concern, again, for the direction this movement is heading.
It is clear that I disagree with you and I have tried to make a strong and logical case accordingly. You should know that I am not writing to you as a novice blogger or someone who is jealous of your success. (My blog does quite well all on its little own.) Moreover, I would not have even considered writing this post today had it not been for methods emerging in this movement that call its legitimacy and integrity into question.
Let me explain.
You maintain repeatedly that this movement is from God. (I have made screenshots of these statements should they go missing, but I shall also not link to them unless necessary, as they point to specific founders and not to the movement as a whole. I desire to address the whole movement, not to target individuals.) I imagine this has something to do with how many people have "Liked" the movement, though I would point out that popularity does not equate to Truth or righteousness.
In particular, each time someone posts dissent on your Facebook page, you delete the comment.
Now, for my part, I have never encouraged anyone to post my blog on your page. I find that to be somewhat unfair and I have tried to make my response to you match the response you have initiated. You started this public "movement," I am responding in public. You advanced an idea, I am critiquing an idea, not the people involved. Indeed, I have put on my own Facebook wall and on Twitter my response, but I have never, personally, posted it to your page. One comment I made referenced my post, but it actually linked directly to your website to substantiate the quote I used from you. This comment, after it received three "Likes," was deleted.
Deleting the posts of people who disagree with you by being nasty is one thing, deleting posts that disagree graciously, ask honest questions, and advocate a more holistic reading of Scripture and concern for the Gospel does not lend credit to your assertion that this movement is from God.
You may think you're protecting a truth, but it is perceived as you're hiding from it.
I have asked you formally to address specific questions that concern me and several others, but each time you either delete the comment or respond not to the argument but to what you presume the argument is about. You tell me that this is not about gender roles. Yes! I agree! I never argued that it was about gender roles! Ever. Considering I'm fairly conservative on that issue, I have no cause to. All the comments and concerns I raised had to do with misusing Scripture and not being careful or having concern for those who are not Believers. Nonetheless, you never sought to clarify on those points and you have failed entirely to clarify either on your page, your Twitter, or your website.
Where is the integrity in deleting posts or pretending that you never said something? If this is truly from Heaven and not from man, these sidestepping moves should not be a part of it. What's at stake here is larger than body image. What's at stake is encouraging a very poor reading of Scripture and, more devastatingly, pushing people away from the Gospel.
I do not believe this was your intent, but you must understand that the power to censor is not to be taken lightly; and, it is perceived by those who have raised concern that when you censor you are admitting guilt, not "keeping things positive."
So I am taking to this post, a post that you cannot delete---please note my regret that accordingly I have taken screenshots of every post I have published along with the information currently on the page and your website, so that if it is changed without an official explanation as to why, it cannot be argued that it had always been that way---so as to ask you, again, to address the following concerns. Again, this is not an attack on any one person, not even the young man who made the Youtube video. These are legitimate, spiritual, theological concerns that weigh on my heart as I pray for all those involved. I am asking the founders of the movement to answer them accordingly.
1. Can true beauty exist apart from Christ our Lord?
This is in response to the statement on your website: "Obviously, the thing that is most important to us is finding a woman who praises God, but the focus of our movement is not converting people to Christianity but to establish that true beauty comes from virtue."
That is, you claim that beauty exists without Christ but can exist with virtue. How do you support that in Scripture? I ask because, if you would like to use a part of Scripture, it's wrong to not use the whole or to use Scripture outside of the context of Christ.
2. Can your movement claim Proverbs 31 as its stance outside the context of Faith?
This is in response, again, to the passage above.
3. Do you believe that a Victoria's Secret model, were she to encounter this public page on Facebook, be encouraged toward repentance and the cross of Christ?
This is of particular concern to me. I believe that Hell and eternal separation from the Father are exceptionally real and have great disdain for anything that causes Christ to be portrayed as judgmental and exclusionary. Yes, He is the judge. Yes, there is a call to holiness. Yes, Victoria's Secret glamorizes the objectification of women as sexual objects, but your movement has made it so that grace for those models, those people who could be very much be going to Hell as you and I once were, is out of reach and that the cross for them is not able to be grasped. They've been polarized as the "bad" group that is being cast out. We're not them so we're better. This was not your intent, but it has happened. It doesn't matter that what you meant to do was something nice, what matters is that people can be legitimately hurt by it. This isn't some pithy, liberal, everyone should be nice claim. This is the radical claim that you are risking people coming to the Gospel by these words. Something in Scripture that we are to take with fear and trembling. We have all fallen short of the glory of God and even if we were Christians from a young age, we should never forget that we all have our equal share of original sin. These women could be women at the well, how do you plan to meet them?
4. Why do you insist on not clarifying your position while you let others speak on your behalf?
This is in response to the numerous people who responded by saying I think or I feel to questions when they themselves were not responsible for the movement. You have set yourselves up to be exegetes of Scripture, intentionally or not. You have claimed to interpret Proverbs 31 a certain way and that it is the right way. You have also claimed that virtue can lead to beauty apart from Christ. You have also claimed the movement is really about Proverbs 31:30 but you have made no official clarification to that effect. You haven't even removed the verse numbers from the partial text of Proverbs 31 from the info section. You presume that everyone who joins this will be Christian and will "get it" but that is an irresponsible presumption. Facebook is public, accordingly, anyone and everyone with any sort of heterodox idea can stumble across it and claim that they speak for you and the movement. Therefore, I am asking you what you really say this movement is about. If it's about beauty with Christ or not, your followers have a right to know that and they deserve a formal clarification that either affirms a direction toward Biblical discipleship or to virtue-based living which does not need the Bible to be taken into account. The just over 10,000 followers cannot continue to say they think or feel it's really about Christ if it is not.
With regard to the above, I encourage you to read my post detailing the larger questions I have, in particular about the use of Scripture, but I am in particular concerned with the four issues addressed here.
Please hear this: I write this not as an attack against you as a person or group of persons formed in the same image of God that I believe a Victoria's Secret model to be formed in, but as a legitimately concerned brother in Christ who cares more about how we treat and use His Word than I do how we feel about doing it. I'm looking to the longterm ramification of this sort of carelessness and it can easily lead to very poor consideration of how to read Scripture and no grace for those who are not yet Believers.
I am also responding so publicly because you created a public movement and because attempts to address these issues within your own forum have been met with censor. (Matthew 18:15-17) This shall be the last time I personally write on this issue, unless you respond in a way that invites a dialogue, which I would be particularly interested in. This isn't about one group against another, this is about the one Body of Christ needing to be on the same page when it comes to how we treat Scripture and how we reverently use His Holy Word.
My comment section is open to your reply, or I would most warmly welcome a guest post by you here in my space without prejudice or editing, so that you could address and flesh out these issues directly. Would you rather that we meet for coffee come the start of next term, I'd welcome that too. My door, literally or cyberlly, is always open to you, but I cannot feel comfortable with a misuse of Scripture and an alienation of a soul that could be converted for the sake of a fleeting moment of feeling good.
If you too would like explanations to the questions above, feel free to "sign" in the comments also, or write your own blog about these issues and share the link here.