Sunday, December 30, 2012


In the work of sanctification, we must overcome as Christ overcame, as the Bible puts it. He overcame in three areas: Appetite (commanding stones to be bread when he was wearied with hunger), Presumption (presuming upon God to save Him if He threw Himself down), and Worship (worshipping Satan to gain back the kingdoms of the world).

Appetite is the hardest to overcome, but we can be of good cheer--Christ has overcome the world.

Here is what Sister White has to say about appetite:
“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” When men take any course which needlessly expends their vitality or beclouds their intellect, they sin against God; they do not glorify Him in their body and spirit, which are His. – {CD 118.2}

Yet despite the insult which man has offered Him, God’s love is still extended to the race; and He permits light to shine, enabling man to see that in order to live a perfect life he must obey the natural laws which govern his being. How important, then, that man should walk in this light, exercising all his powers, both of body and mind, to the glory of God! – {CD 118.3}

We are in a world that is opposed to righteousness, or purity of character, and especially to growth in grace. Wherever we look, we see defilement and corruption, deformity and sin. How opposed is all this to the work that must be accomplished in us just previous to receiving the gift of immortality! God’s elect must stand untainted amid the corruptions teeming around them in these last days. Their bodies must be made holy, their spirits pure. If this work is to be accomplished, it must be undertaken at once, earnestly and understandingly. The Spirit of God should have perfect control, influencing every action.... – {CD 118.4}

Men have polluted the soul temple, and God calls upon them to awake, and to strive with all their might to win back their God-given manhood. Nothing but the grace of God can convict and convert the heart; from Him alone can the slaves of custom obtain power to break the shackles that bind them. It is impossible for a man to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, while continuing to indulge habits that are depriving him of physical, mental, and moral vigor. Again the apostle says, “Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 7-11] Counsels on Health, 19-23, 1890 – {CD 119.1}

Next is the area of presumption. People don't often list this as one of the areas that they are struggling in, by perhaps that is because they are being presumptuous.

Here is Mrs. White again:
The sin of presumption lies close beside the virtue of perfect faith and confidence in God. Satan flattered himself that he could take advantage of the humanity of Christ to urge Him over the line of trust to presumption. Upon this point many souls are wrecked. Satan tried to deceive Christ through flattery. He admitted that He was right in the wilderness in His faith and confidence that God was His Father under the most trying circumstances. He then urged Christ to give him one more proof of His entire dependence upon God, one more evidence of His faith that He was the Son of God, by casting Himself from the Temple. He told Christ that if He was indeed the Son of God He had nothing to fear, for angels were at hand to uphold Him. Satan gave evidence that he understood the Scriptures by the use he made of them. – {Con 48.2}

The Redeemer of the world wavered not from His integrity, and showed that He had perfect faith in His Father’s promised care. He would not put the faithfulness and love of His Father to a needless trial, although He was in the hands of an enemy and placed in a position of extreme difficulty and peril. He would not at Satan’s suggestion tempt God by presumptuously experimenting on His providence. Satan had brought in Scripture which seemed appropriate for the occasion, hoping to accomplish his designs by making the application to our Saviour at this special time. – {Con 48.3}

Christ knew that God could indeed bear Him up if He had required Him to throw Himself from the Temple. But to do this unbidden, and to experiment upon His Father’s protecting care and love because dared by Satan to do so would not show His strength of faith. Satan was well aware that if Christ could be prevailed upon, unbidden by His Father, to fling Himself from the Temple to prove His claim to His heavenly Father’s protecting care, He would in the very act show the weakness of His human nature. – {Con 49.1}

Christ came off victor in the second temptation. He manifested perfect confidence and trust in His Father during His severe conflict with the powerful foe. Our Redeemer, in the victory here gained, has left man a perfect pattern, showing him that his only safety is in firm trust and unwavering confidence in God in all trials and perils. He refused to presume upon the mercy of His Father by placing Himself in peril that would make it necessary for His heavenly Father to display His power to save Him from danger. This would be forcing providence on His own account, and He would not then leave for His people a perfect example of faith and firm trust in God. – {Con 49.2}

Satan’s object in tempting Christ was to lead Him to daring presumption, and to show human weakness that would not make Him a perfect pattern for His people. He thought that should Christ fail to bear the test of his temptations there could be no redemption for the race, and his power over them would be complete. – {Con 49.3}

And lastly there is Worship, which Revelation says will be the final test of time.

This is what Ellen White had to say:
The time is upon us when the miracle-working power of the arch deceiver will be more decidedly revealed. And his deceptions will increase in their delusive attraction, so that they will perplex, and if possible, deceive, the very elect. The prince of darkness with his evil angels is working upon the Christian world, inducing those who profess the name of Christ to stand under the banner of darkness, to make war with those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus. An apostate church will unite with the powers of earth and hell to place upon the forehead or in the hand, the mark of the beast, and prevail upon the children of God to worship the beast and his image. They will seek to compel them to renounce their allegiance to God’s law, and yield homage to the papacy. Then will come the times which will try men’s souls; for the confederacy of apostasy will demand that the loyal subjects of God shall renounce the law of Jehovah, and repudiate the truth of his word. Then will the gold be separated from the dross, and it will be made apparent who are the godly, who are loyal and true, and who are the disloyal, the dross and the tinsel. What clouds of chaff will then be borne away by the fan of God! Where now our eyes can discover only rich floors of wheat, will be chaff blown away with the fan of God. Every one who is not centered in Christ will fail to stand the test and ordeal of that day. While those who are clothed with Christ’s righteousness will stand firm to truth and duty, those who have trusted in their own righteousness will be ranged under the black banner of the prince of darkness. Then it will be seen whether the choice is for Christ or Belial. Those who have been self-distrustful, who have been so circumstanced that they have not dared to face stigma and reproach, will at last openly declare themselves for Christ and his law; while many who have appeared to be flourishing trees, but who have borne no fruit, will go with the multitude to do evil, and will receive the mark of apostasy in the forehead or in the hand. – {RH November 8, 1892 Par. 7}

These are the final and biggest tests that we must overcome, but are we preparing in the little areas of life? Are we denying fleshly perverted appetites and habits? Are we following the counsels given in regards to health and dress reform? Have we surrendered all areas of our lives to God, or are we presuming that He'll surely save us even if we're still cherishing sin? Have we made God the only object of our worship and praise? Have we kept His Sabbath day holy? Our actions speak louder than our words.

In conclusion:
I speak these words to all who love and fear God. People who stand prepared to do the works of righteousness will not be deceived by the allurements of the enemy. The angels of God are by their side restraining them if they will be restrained. Their actions will be guided by an exalted sense of right. They will be enabled to distinguish between right and wrong, between truth—exalted truth—and error. Those who enter the kingdom of heaven will be those who have reached the highest standard of moral obligation, those who have not sought to hide the truth or to deceive, those by whom God has been exalted and His Word defended, those by whom principle has not been misapplied to vindicate the wiles of Satan.—Letter 188, 1905. – {CTr 198.5}

Thursday, December 20, 2012

English Research Paper

One of the classes that I took this semester was Critical Thinking and Writing, in other words: English Composition II. Throughout the weeks of this course, I worked on developing one strong research paper in a subject area that would pertain to the field I hope to enter. I'm hoping to major in Education, so I chose the topic of religion in public schools. This 2,243 word document earned a grade of 89% or B+.
Religion’s Role in Public Education
The current conditions of today’s public school classrooms are not religiously inclined. Those with religious convictions often feel suppressed and “hushed.” For instance, Kafer (2002) told a story about a girl who was not allowed to pray with her friends for her school lunch (p. 41). Rather than seeing this act as a free expression of religion, her teachers apparently felt that this simple prayer would have been an infringement on the rights of others. Another example is given by Aspy and Aspy’s (1993) story of a little girl who drew a cross when asked to draw an illustration of Easter. “Allegedly, the teacher refused to accept the child's drawing on the grounds that it was unfit for the classroom” (para. 35). Yet, religion is quelled not only by teachers, but also by students who ridicule their fellow classmates for their religious beliefs and practices. As a teacher of high school social studies, Henderson (2012) came in contact with a Sikh student who felt pressured to cut his hair against his religious convictions in order to avoid ridicule from other classmates (para. 3). Overall, public school classrooms do not offer students much freedom to unashamedly adhere to religious principles or to ask questions and express opinions regarding religious topics.
However, public schools have not always had this attitude. In the past centuries, their views have changed slowly yet drastically. Passe and Willox (2009) pointed out that early American schools taught Protestant religion (p. 103). They went on to say that schools now give “multi-cultural” education, but usually side-step the religious aspects of the differing cultures (p. 104). Something seems to have slowly changed in the world’s way of thinking, creating a controversy that has been going on for years. However, to truly understand this issue, one has to know what is meant by religion. Spiro (1989) defined religion as “’[a]ny coherent framework for resolving issues of fundamental ethical and metaphysical significance’” (as cited in Aspy & Aspy, 1991, para. 3).  In this context, it can be defined as all religious worldviews, beliefs, and practices, including but not exclusive to Christianity.  Religious freedom, then, is the right to follow the convictions of one’s own conscience—regardless of one’s worldview. However, this freedom is subject to the wellbeing of others and to the laws of the land.
There seems to be two extreme opposite views to the question of religion in public schools. A few feel that religion should be an integrated part of the classroom, taught and required for students and teachers. Interestingly enough, the particular religion that these people promote is usually Christianity. Boston (2007) quoted one public school principal who, as a Christian, disliked the fact that freedom of expression included Buddhism, Judaism, and all other religions. “’The issue for us is about freedom of expression of Christianity,’” the principal asserted (as cited in Boston, 2007, p. 8). On the other hand, some rule that religion should be taken out of the classroom altogether. Larue (1998) expressed that “religious speculation” should be kept apart from “modern scientific investigation” in the public school classroom (para. 11). The majority of public schools seems to support the latter opinion and stays away from the subject of religion altogether. However, religion should be taught about, openly discussed, and allowed to be upheld by teachers and students alike. This practice will cause students to become more open minded, create a warm and accepting class atmosphere, and compel students to think analytically about their own and others’ opinions.
First and foremost, students can become more impartial toward the ideas of others through learning about religion. It is easy for young students to get the idea that their own opinions and lifestyles are the only standard. Learning about the different religious ideas around them can help students to realize that there is more in the world beyond their own limited spectrum. Rosenblith and Bailey (2007) said that the viewpoints and the cognitive capacities of students can be broadened from instruction in religion, resulting in “increased knowledge, understanding, and respect” (p. 99). It is interesting to note that knowledge must come before respect. Rosenblith and Bailey used the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, to illustrate this point. The attitudes of the American people toward the Muslims that arose from this incident proved Americans’ unfamiliarity with Islam (p. 99). Accordingly, Passe and Willox (2009) stated the following: “The issue of religious knowledge reached the forefront after 9/11, when Americans began to recognize how little they knew about Islam” (p. 104). Rosenblith and Bailey pointed out that after this event, people were suddenly stereotypically labeling all Muslims as “fundamentalists and terrorists.” They concluded by saying, “[R]eligious studies has the potential to eliminate harmful stereotypes and replace them with accurate information about religious groups” (p. 99-100). A better understanding of world religions would be the key to a higher esteem for people who practice those religions.
After the framework of increased knowledge of others’ views has begun to be built, then respect will begin to rise from that foundation. Jackson (2004) felt that learning about religion in school would teach students to “’interpret, reflect upon, and gain insights from different worldviews’” (as cited by Valk, 2007, p. 282). When young scholars realize that they can find the common ground between themselves and those of other views, they will be able to value and, as quoted above, “gain insight” from other religious viewpoints, rather than turning their backs completely on the adherents solely because they do not agree with them on certain points. The goal, then, is not to change students’ mindsets, but to help them to appreciate the mindsets of those around them. As Henderson (2012) remarked, “We can and should remain vigilant in protecting religious freedom, which includes … the need to make sure that people of all faiths, or no faith at all, are respected in our public schools” (para. 4). So it is clear that studying religious worldviews can give students better comprehension of, less partiality toward, and greater respect for those worldviews.
Secondly, the open-minded study and discussion of religion can create a friendly setting for students. Kafer (2002) affirmed that “[c]reating a space for religious expression … can improve the school environment” (p. 47). Instead of causing arguments, tension, and hostility, as one might expect, Hunter (2000) contended that in spite of students’ cherished and varied opinions, allowing a broad education which includes religion would nonetheless inspire them to collaborate with each other (as cited in Valk, 2007, p. 281). When children feel that their opinions and views can be voiced without being ridiculed, they will be less likely to scorn the ideas of others; they will feel understood and will subsequently try to understand those who hold different opinions than they do. Thus, a classroom where religion is allowed will have a warm, friendly atmosphere as children will learn to look beyond the disagreements and will cultivate, in Kafer’s words, “greater appreciation for the diverse religious heritage” of fellow classmates (p. 48).

Learning to work with fellow classmates will prepare children for the adult reality of working side-by-side with many diverse-minded co-workers, employers, in-laws, and others. In an introduction to an article written by Rosenblith and Bailey (2007), it was stated that since schoolchildren are part of a comprehensive society and government, they must acquire abilities, means, and information to operate on this “religiously diverse” planet, regardless if including discussion of religion in the classroom could be controversial (p. 93). Along the same line, the National Council for the Social Studies Curriculum Standards (n.d.) stated, "’Knowledge about religions … is absolutely necessary for understanding and living in a world of diversity’" (as cited in Kafer, 2002, p. 43). The public schools are excellent training grounds to begin this preparation. Accordingly, Valk (2007) voiced that instructing individuals to surpass personal independence and strive for dedication to others and mutual objectives is the true purpose of schooling (p. 279). What better place to educate young minds in the lessons of self-forgetfulness and commitment to group goals than in the public school classroom, which is open to, as Lynn (n.d.) pointed out, students whose religious and ethical backgrounds are diverse (as cited in Boston, 2007, p. 10). Children will learn to not let differences create dissension through the study of the varieties of religious worldviews.
Lastly, learning about religion will teach students to carefully analyze their own and others’ opinions. As Noddings (n.d.) said, allowing classroom discussions about religious topics will actually help students “’gather evidence, assess argument, discriminate among authorities, construct counterarguments, and challenge claims’” (as cited in Rosenblith & Bailey, 2007, p. 100). It would be well to notice the use of the word analyze in the former sentence. Most are more familiar with the phrase critical thinking than analytical thinking. While critical thinking can give the connotation of faultfinding, judgmental thinking, analytical thinking involves positive, rather than negative, evaluations and investigations. In other words, rather than ridiculing those who hold different religious views, students will learn to make their own personal assessments based on the facts and knowledge they gain.
However, this analytical thinking does not have to entail the sacrifice of the individual’s values and the acceptance of another’s way of thinking. On the contrary, human beings must learn to think and reason for themselves. Valk (2007) conceded this point by saying that rather than causing children to be confused about what to think, learning about other “religious and secular” views motivates students to strengthen their own mentalities and to know their own priorities (p. 283, emphasis added). When students’ religious opinions are allowed to be discussed and studied in school, the results will include not only a gain in knowledge, but also an increased ability to formulate carefully-considered beliefs rather than blindly-accepted views.
One of the most common arguments against allowing religious discussion in public schools is that to do so would be illegal. Aspy and Aspy (1991) noted the complications involving “the doctrine of separation of church and state” by saying, “Currently, there is evidence to support the contention that our rulings have caused teachers nearly to cease to discuss religion with their students” (para. 2). As government schools, public schools are also subject to the government’s laws. The United States Department of Education (2003) stated in a guide on public school prayer that the First Amendment is interpreted as not only restraining the government from initiating religion but also from interfering with or prohibiting private “religious expression and activities” (para. 9). This stipulation bans teachers from leading their classrooms in prayer to begin the school day, but also does not allow a teacher to restrict a student’s personal prayer. The American Civil Liberties Union (2003) explained more clearly that if students do not disrupt the class or try to compel others to pray with them, they have a right to pray at any time (p. 2). The American Civil Liberties Union also explained that while it is unconstitutional for public schools to teach religion, they may teach about how religion has affected the different subjects of study. The main point is that they cannot “promote religious beliefs or practices as part of the curriculum” (p. 1). Thus it is clear that public schools are allowed to teach about and hold impartial discussions about various aspects of religion in the classroom.
However, it appears that many schools are not taking full advantage of the freedom of religion that is granted to them. When Nord (1994), the vice president of the National Council on Religion and Public Education, did an analysis of public school textbooks, he found that even subjects such as science and economics that have religious history and influence were “conspicuously silent on the subject of religion” (para. 6). Not only are textbooks silent, but teachers and students also refrain from religious conversation. Aspy and Aspy (1991), in a 25-year study of around 200,000 hours of education, discovered that “[n]one of the classes involved in that enormous sample contained a single discussion that could be classified as relating directly to religious matters” (para. 8). This silence in such an important area limits the comprehensiveness of students’ education. Kafer (2002) said that “[a]n understanding of the role of religion in history, art, and current events is necessary for a wellrounded [sic] education” (p. 48). Public educators should become familiar with the current legal stipulations around religious education, and, while still abiding within the laws of each state, they should allow the cultivation of religious awareness to benefit their classrooms.
Religion is an essential part of the public school classroom. If schools will only make the most of the opportunities they have for studying and discussing religious topics, they will find that its presence will provide a better learning atmosphere for students as well as teachers. However, if public schools continue to ignore and even repress—failing to give students the religious history and background of certain topics—they will be showing hostility, and not neutrality, toward religion. Nord (1994) put it this way: “Consider this analogy: Would ignoring African-Americans or women in history texts show hostility, or be merely neutral?” (para. 11). Similarly, Aspy and Aspy (1991) stated, “If neutrality in religion is truly to be achieved in public schools, then more emphasis must be placed on providing nonbiased instruction on comparative religions and other similar topics” (para. 1). America’s schools should give religion a more prominent role in the public school classroom.
American Civil Liberties Union. (2003, July). Your right to religious freedom. Ask Sybil Liberty.
Retrieved October 4, 2012, from This webpage talks more about specific case scenarios and the answers questions that could arise from those situations regarding religious freedom in school. The American Civil Liberties Union is a United States’ organization that promotes the legal rights of the American people.
Aspy, D. N., & Aspy, C. B. (1991). Religion in public schools. Counseling & Values, 36(1), 55.
Retrieved November 25th, 2012, from Academic Search Premier. The Aspys evaluate the position taken by Spiro (1989) that religious discussion and education should take place in public school. C. Aspy is the Associate Professor of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and D. Aspy is a consultant on education in Oklahoma as well as the founder and director of the Center for the Systematic Study of Values and Virtues.
Aspy, C. B., & Aspy, D. N. (1993). Why religion should be an integral part of public school.
Counseling & Values, 37(3), 149. Retrieved October 31st, 2012, from Academic Search Premier. The Aspys state their views that religion should be put back into public education for historical and psychological reasons. C. Aspy is the Associate Professor of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and D. Aspy is a consultant on education in Oklahoma as well as the founder and director of the Center for the Systematic Study of Values and Virtues.
Boston, R. (2009), Prayers, preaching & public schools: Religious right activists use wide variety
of tactics to evangelize in the classroom. Church & State, 62, 7-10. Retrieved December 5th, 2012, from Academic Search Premier. Boston gives many examples of ways that public school leaders will try to promote their own religion in their school. Boston is the Assistant Director of Communications of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a group that promotes the constitutional separation of church and state.
Henderson, S. (2012). Respecting all Faiths. ACLU. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from Henderson’s plea is that all faiths should be respected in the public school classroom. He is an Education professor at Fuman University and has also taught high school social studies.
Kafer, K. (2002). How to teach religion in public school. In T. Head (Ed.), Religion and Education
(pp. 41-48). Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press. This author feels that religion should be taught about more in public school. Kafer is an analyst of senior education policies at the Heritage Foundation and has also served as Republican congressmen McIntosh’s and Schaffer’s aide.
Larue, G. A. (1998). Science, Religion and Public School Education. Humanist, 58(3), 41-42.
Retrieved September 13th, 2012, from Proquest Research Library. Larue believes that religion should be kept completely separate from science in public school where young minds are being molded. He is a biblical history and archaeology scholar and professor at Southern California University. He is also the Scientific Investigation of Religion committee’s chair.
Nord, W. A. (1994). Religion, the First Amendment, and public education. BYU Journal Of Public
Law, 8(2), 439. doi: 10.1080/01416200701479661. Nord feels that religion is being suppressed in public school, and to teach about it in class is a constitutional privilege that would reestablish balance and neutrality. He is National Council on Religion and Public Education’s vice president.
Passe, J., & Willox, L. (2009). Teaching religion in America's public schools: A necessary
disruption. Social Studies, 100(3), 102-106. Retrieved October 11th, 2012, from Academic Search Premier. These authors take the position that teaching about religion in school, no matter the difficulties, is vital to maintain the religious acceptance that has been a part of our country’s democratic republic for centuries. Passe is a professor in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Willox is a graduate student in the Department of Culture, Curriculum, and Change at the same university.
Rosenblith, S., & Bailey, B. (2007). Comprehensive religious studies in public education:
Educating for a religiously literate society. Educational Studies, 42(2), 93-111. doi: 10.1080/00131940701513151. These women say that public schools need to prepare religiously literate students by using a curriculum that involves studying religious subjects that will boost their knowledge of all religions and help them to thinking critically about each. Rosenblith is department chair of teacher education at Clemson University, and Bailey is professor of education at the same school.
United States Department of Education. (2003, February). Guidance on constitutionally
protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. USDE. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from This source gives guidelines for the constitutionality and the legality of school prayer. The Department of Education is a branch of the U.S. federal government.
Valk, J. (2007). Plural public schooling: Religion, worldviews and moral education. British Journal
Of Religious Education, 29(3), 273-285. doi: 10.1080/01416200701479661. Valk believes that in a society with many different perspectives, public schools should increase students' understandings of worldviews in general, while deepening their own in particular. He is Associate Professor of Worldview Studies at Renaissance College University.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Peculiar People

How would you have reacted if you had seen someone like this in the grocery store? Would you have stared? Would you have laughed? Would you have pointed and whispered to your companion? Perhaps you would have taken out your phone and quickly snapped a picture while this person's back was turned. If you had caught their eye in passing would you have smiled and nodded, or would you have quickly looked away in embarrassment?
I hope you would have smiled and nodded, because that person was me! Yes, you heard me right, and no, I have not gone crazy. I was merely completing a Psychology experiment to see how people react to the violation of a very prominent social norm: dress!
On Wednesday December 12th, I donned as close as I could find to 1800’s clothing (complete with ankle boots, shawl, and sunbonnet) and browsed up and down the aisles of Walmart.
Clothing is a very unconsciously important, unwritten social norm in our society today. People identify you by your clothing. For example, just the site of a white prayer cap and cape dress identifies a woman as a Mennonite. Black felt hats, overgrown beards, black capes and shawls and black bonnets spell Amish to anyone who sees them. Flowing silk skirts and long, full head coverings usually identify the Muslim women in a crowd. If someone is not part of one of these groups, the typical social norm is usually jeans, a tee-shirt, and tennis shoes. Professional people wear dress suits, and some wear stylish dresses, skirts, and high-heels. However, prairie dresses, shawls, ankle boots, and sunbonnets are a thing of the past, and to be dressed in this way really does go against the currents norms for clothing.
As I browsed around the store, “window shopping” and reading labels, I slyly watched people’s reactions to my clothing out of the corner of my eye. There were three reactions. The most common was for people to look me up and down, then immediately pretend to ignore me while catching occasional glances at my odd attire when they thought I wasn’t looking. I had expected this reaction, but I had not expected people to actually laugh at me! One woman coughed out a restrained laughed after she had passed me, and two young ladies actually laughed right to my face: “Oh my G**, really?” they laughed aloud, then began snickering and whispering to each other. In light of this reaction, it was very refreshing to have one older gentleman look me in the eye with a smile and a nod. I actually found it rather amusing when the man behind the checkout counter become extremely nervous at my peculiar-looking presence. He stared and his hands shook as he rung up my purchase! All in all, I cannot say that this was a fun experience. Quite the contrary, I felt very odd and out of place, causing me to withdraw into my shell instead of reaching out with smiles and nods like I often do. My strange appearance coupled with my apparent shyness then caused people to react to me the way they did.
Even though this experiment was far from fun, it was very eye-opening. I felt first-hand what people of religious groups such as Amish and Muslims must feel. The stares, ignoring, and laughs hurt—and the only thing that had changed about me was my clothing! Underneath I was still the same person who often walks through Walmart without feeling self-conscious! I did find it very interesting that my clothing did change the way I myself acted, however. Because I felt strange, I acted very reserved and withdrawn, which could have been one of the causes for people’s reactions to me. Truly, my eyes have been opened to how others feel who, usually for religious reasons, violate the social norm of dress. Underneath their clothes they are just regular people like you and me, and yet people shun them, stare at them, whisper behind their backs, laugh at them, and even take pictures of them. This treatment causes them to act withdrawn and shy instead of warm and friendly, which in turn increases people’s reactions to them.
This experiment came a little closer to home to me than it might have to others. You see, as a conservative Christian I have always tried to dress modestly in skirts and dresses—usually modern-day, however, minus the shawl and bonnet! Yet, as the world daily declines in morality, the “normal” dress becomes increasingly revealing and inappropriate. If we as Christians want to keep pure and modest, I think we will need to get more and more used to violating the social norm of dress (not with 1800's clothing though) in order to follow Godly standards!