Pink Hair & Boys Wearing Girls’ Underwear

Friends, we need to talk about this latest hair-dying fad. You know, the greens and the purples and oranges and pinks. And I’m not talking primarily about the obviously angry and bitter women out there in the world, I’m actually talking about otherwise sweet, gracious Christian women showing up with all manner of bright colors of the rainbow in their hair. But in order to talk about this in a helpful way, we really need to talk about something else first that may not appear to you to be related at all, but I assure you, it is. Let’s begin with Joseph Paul Shappley, the little boy being dressed as a girl by a professing Christian woman and celebrated in a recent article in Good Housekeeping. Go ahead and take a peek at the linked article and then come back.

There are multiple levels of wrong going on with this and of course it’s nothing particularly new or shocking, given the day and age we live in. But, the fact that this woman is claiming to be a “conservative Christian” and recounts wrestling with God and reading the gospels before finally going out and buying her little boy a pack of “princess panties” — all of that raises this problem from very troubling to heartbreaking. It’s one thing for some hard leftist lesbian to tell us that her little boy is actually a girl, but the radical God-haters know that isn’t nearly as potent as a sweet southern Christian woman giving her testimony on the subject. There are multiple levels of wrong, so let’s try to outline at least some of them.

First, let’s note the simple fact that this is an abomination to the Lord: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Dt. 22:5). Related is the fact that Paul says that an “effeminate” man will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9). An “effeminate” man is one who acts like a woman (cf. Dt. 20:8, Is. 19:16, Jer. 50:37). And given the fact that this woman is in authority over her son, she is in the process of causing this little one to stumble. Jesus has fierce words for people like this woman: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk. 9:42). In modern parlance what this woman is doing to this little boy is abuse.

Second, just note that this testimony is coming relatively recently into the abuse. Her son is now six years old, and she began abusing him actively when he was around four, though likely it was happening in other ways before that. This is what folly always does. When fire doesn’t fall from heaven immediately, it shrugs and says, ‘See, it’s not as bad as you cranky, superstitious people thought.’ Folly always operates on immediacy. Folly demands food now, sex now, praise now, respect now, peace now — no matter what the cost. But wisdom counts the cost. Wisdom does the whole math problem. This woman is betting with an eternal human soul. She is gambling with a life that was entrusted to her to protect. And the sure end of this road is nothing but heartache, confusion, and death.

Third, and speaking of folly, the Bible says that folly is bound up in the heart of a child, and it is the duty of God-fearing parents to drive that folly away (Prov. 22:15). God does not give commands that are impossible to obey, just as He never allows a temptation to afflict us which does not simultaneously have a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). Now, there’s much we could say here, but we don’t want to lose sight of the goal of talking about pink hair. So just a couple other points briefly: The woman claims that she disciplined faithfully, spanked regularly, prayed earnestly, but she is lying. She is probably lying to herself most of all, and so, I have no problem allowing that she is telling an “honest” lie, a lie she has come to truly believe. But unless there is some other medical problem that she has not disclosed in the article, she did not truly discipline her son faithfully as God commands. This may be because she was abused as a child, or her husband (where is he?) is absent or limp, or she was simply taught poorly, but none of these explanations may be used as excuses for disobeying God.

Frequently, this looks like half-hearted discipline, erratic discipline, which careens from extremes of indulgence to angry outbursts. This sinful parenting induces extreme guilt in parents and extreme exasperation on the part of the children, and that often causes the parents to give up and give in to the demands of their foolish children. But you can’t settle into a culture of “hostage parenting” without running into more and more extreme demands. On what basis will you refuse to let your little boy wear girls’ underwear? Turns out, this woman is like many other so-called “Christian” women, and the real reason she didn’t want to let her little boy wear girls’ underwear was because of what other people might think. In other words, her real god is not Jesus. Her god is popular opinion. But of course popular opinion is a fishwife. She will change her mind; her mood will swing. You can never be sure what the hormones will demand. But we need to be clear: The decision of these parents to give into the folly of this little boy is a decision to hate their son. Some women murder their sons in their own womb before they are born, some kill them softly refusing to discipline them with love (Prov. 13:24). And one of the most crucial elements of this faithful, loving discipline is the fact that the standard for discipline is the Word of God. It doesn’t depend on mom’s mood or whether dad had a bad day.

And this is because God is a faithful Father. He disciplines the sons that He receives and loves (Heb. 12:5-11). He does not careen between extremes. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (Js. 1:17). He created man male and female. And this is the real issue. Sin twists and distorts. Satan lies. The flesh lusts. But God is not a capricious Father. He is not setting us up to fail. He has set up the world so that we might succeed. He writes the answers everywhere. He displays His glory every day and every night. God does not create boys that are actually girls or girls that are actually boys. This would be like God playing “red light green light” with humanity and every so often striking someone dead for going on green. Nope, it was actually red on the inside. How can a man be obedient as a man before God if he might actually be a woman? And how can a woman be obedient as a woman before God if she might actually be a man? And how can you really know what you are for sure? How can you know what is the truth and what is a lie? Are some lies actually the truth on the inside? And is some truth actually a lie on the inside? Perhaps this marriage is not really a marriage. Perhaps this adultery is not really adultery. Perhaps this murder is not really a murder. This is an impossible position.

Now the sweet Christian woman thinks she’s just being gracious to her son. She thinks he’s like a Downs Syndrome child, born with this handicap, albeit a perfectly normal male human body. But she doesn’t understand how she’s being gamed, how she’s being used. She doesn’t understand the forces at work in the world demanding that the world be whatever anyone wants it to be. This fundamental lust of the rebellious sinful heart is to be god, to be whatever I want, to do whatever I want. And this includes the demand to define the world. But this is rebellion. When God creates a man in His image, our fundamental response to that creative act must be gratitude. God is giving a glorious gift, and our naming and defining must gladly “Amen” what God has made. This is what Sabbath is all about: resting in the goodness of God, resting in the very good things He has made and given. If God creates a man, then our response must be gratitude for that male human being. Refusal to give thanks is a refusal to enter into the rest God offers. And this is no little offense, especially for those who ought to know better. God killed a generation of Israelites for refusing to enter His rest. And this “Christian” woman is defying the God of heaven.

Now I know that there is an enormous difference between hormone therapy and dying your hair green or orange or purple. Got it. But my plea is that Christian women would open their eyes to see the same play being run on them. You may not (yet) have completely sold out, but where are the brakes really? Could you articulate clearly to this horrifically confused woman why it’s fine and good for you to have pink hair or put multiple pieces of metal in your face or generally try to look ugly or wear scary exotic make up — why is that OK, but her little boy wearing girls’ underwear is not OK? Can you articulate that from the Bible? What’s the difference?

Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not arguing for Little House on the Prairie bonnets and jumpers. No, I’m merely arguing for true feminine glory. I’m arguing that women ought to receive the gift of being made female in God’s image, and receive that gift with gladness, recognizing that you were made to be lovely, that you are beautiful, and rest in that gift. Because a woman was made for glory, she is called to glorify the world around her, including herself. She is to adorn herself, starting on the inside with a gentle and quiet spirit, and allow that spirit to radiate outward into all that she does (1 Pet. 3:1-6). Clothing and makeup and jewelry that rejoice in God’s goodness, that rest in the death and resurrection of Jesus for your peace, that delight in the gift of womanhood — that is all good and glorious.

A Christian woman needs to realize that she is standing on a battlefield. There is a war raging all around you. An enormous part of the enemy’s attack is a constant barrage accusing you of being ugly and not good enough. The lies of the enemy say you are not skinny enough, not tall enough, not athletic enough, not smart enough, not sexy enough, whatever. And on the other side, the enemy is screaming that it doesn’t really matter. Men and women aren’t really all that different. And some of you are getting hit with the former missiles and some of you are getting hit with the latter. Most are getting hit with some of both. The pink and purple and green hair is mostly the latter. Since you can’t really be beautiful, you might as well be fun. Since you aren’t as lovely as all the other women, you might as well stand out for being brave, for being lighthearted, for being silly, for being eccentric. But something deep inside your soul aches to be treasured, to be cherished, and to be loved and protected as a woman. You are not a clown. You are not a goof. You are not something to gawk at. You are a glorious woman. In the ordinary course of things, God designed for much of this glory to be communicated through godly husbands, fathers, brothers, and other honorable men in appropriate ways. But unfortunately we live in a world of men that have abdicated this responsibility. Some have simply failed to be anything more than a bump on a log. Some have tried and given up. And still others have taken their own insecurities and frustrations out on the very women God entrusted to them to cherish and protect. This has left us with a world full of women starving for love, embittered with pain, and grasping for something, anything to fill that aching void.

I certainly grant you that the sin involved in dressing a boy up as a girl is far worse, but you need to see the fact that it’s in the same category as a woman wearing her hair short like a boy, dying her hair clownish colors, or otherwise trying to attract unnatural attention. But no hair color will soothe your pain. No haircut will fill that void. No piercing, no amount of cutting, no number of likes on your Facebook sob story diary entries will give your confusion meaning. But Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Friend, there is great freedom in Christ. But this freedom is built on the foundation of a peace that passes all understanding. It’s the rock solid peace of resting in Christ, of trusting Him with all that you are, resting in the fact that He has made you, that He loves you, that you are precious in His sight — so precious that Jesus bled and died to redeem you. And the freedom that grows out of that ground is glorious and beautiful and wonderfully wild.

  1. Jencendiary April 19

    This article is the worst kind of ignorance. If you’d take the time to read some of the millions of words of academic and medical research on trans identity, you could see how wrong you are here. But, you didn’t. You just regurgitated urban legend and myth, and threw in a wad of gender essentialism and sexism for good measure.

    Nothing you have said here is backed up by any legitimate psychological body. Everything you said here is harmful to trans people and cisgender women besides. Try again tomorrow.

  2. Clayton April 19

    I wonder how many academics and learned of the past even knew of words such as transgender or cisgender… Outisde of the last few years, why is there so little mention of “trans identity”? I guess people just aren’t as smart as these new academics. These new “academics” are so much more enlightened, they really understand things. How could these men of the past be so stupid and barbaric. That is the presumption you’re working on, Jencendiary, and I personally find it to be bigoted towards people of the past. I need to hold a puppy to console me…

  3. Abra Carnahan April 19

    I’ve read through the post several times, and it seems like this post is directed at women like myself (who play with their hair color and have a nose ring, or in my case, a lip piercing) who are also wives, mothers and, above all, women of God. Would you please correct me if I am wrong? There is much confusion on the interwebs on who the subject of your exhortation is. Personally, if I am not mistaken as to who your appointed audience is, I am grieved to see this post. Ben and I are still working out our thoughts on the subject so they may be heard constructively in love , but at this point, I’m trying to calm down and breathe since it is very painful to be publicly shamed and accused by a former pastor in a blog post (and then to see it reposted by friends and loved ones). I’m not sure how faithful are the wounds of a friend are when they never brought up any concerns about your appearance privately, but feel justified comparing it to an abomination publicly. However, I am confident in Christ, knowing I stand before Him, spotless, clean, wonderfully and fearfully made, fully embracing the beauty He has bestowed upon me, knowing full well, that the many colors of my hair over the years (and piercings that my husband and I both find lovely) do not threaten or offend my Father. What a delight to have a Creator so good at what He does, we are allowed to play with, to use and delight in the bodies He has given us.

    • Abra, thanks for the comment, my friend. The aim of this post is to plead with thoughtful Christian women to see the play being run on them by the world. And that play is to get women to believe the lie that God plays games with us about what it means to be a man or a woman made in His image — also the lie that beauty is whatever I like rather than what God says it is. I know that plenty of people pick these things up innocently enough, but the people handing these things out are not innocent. Rebellion sold in a can with a label that says “FUN!” doesn’t make the rebellion any less real, even if someone really and truly intended to buy “FUN!” Christian women should reject these sorts of dress code suggestions precisely because they see the play the enemy is running. No thanks, world, I’m not playing. Cheers and blessings to you and Ben.

  4. Caleb Warner April 20

    This is maybe a good discussion to have privately with people who know you well, over whiskey and a cigar (Is multi-colored hair, its semiotic meaning, not just non-neutral, but wrong in the current cultural context to be had by nice, sweet Christian women?), but on a blog–whether you’re my pastor or not–and in the form of a hard stance line like this is not worth the misinterpretation or, in my opinion, the people who go through all the jumps and hurdles to *kind of* see your point, after wracking their brain about why this, why now, why?
    It’s a terrible waste of time, emotional resources and from my experience, blog posts like this always have been. It’s a form of giving into the internet outrage cycle that is fundamentally evil entertainment, whether you’re aware of this or not. Stirring the pot to stir it for the sake of discussion (that doesn’t actually happen on the internet; all you get is agree/disagree) is the result of a consumerist mindset that is worth ranting against on the internet more than anything. I can explain this further if you like.
    Blogs=monolithic pontification=not worth anyone’s time when it’s opinions that only really hold water in the context of a discussion=blogs are Terrible formats for providing encouraging, supporting discussion about topics that require light-footedness to get across an extremely precise point that is not nearly as clean and neat as they are treated, whether it’s here or my blog (when I was thirteen and had no discretion), or Doug’s blog.
    Basically, if you want to shoot the breeze about the semiotic meanings of multi-colored hair and take a hard stance like this, a blog is the worst medium for it. The best medium for it (and even then) might be at the Big Haus, where a discussion can actually happen. Because it is one of those things that I and everyone else has every right to disagree, challenge, and force you to qualify. But blogs and hard stances discourage all those necessary replies. All you’ll get is angry people–and that doesn’t mean you hit your target. It means you hit someone ten degrees off the target.
    We should go out to coffee and talk about this.
    Ever since I’ve gotten here in Moscow–and before–I just have never understood why on earth these kinds of blog posts happen. I’d love to be directed towards where the fruit is born here. What good do these kinds of blog posts do?
    How specifically has this blog post built the kingdom? Show me the fruit of it.
    I can define “these kinds of blog posts” if you’d like, but I’m assuming you know what I’m referring to.
    All I see is people I love getting angry and reacting intensely, in private, but not willing to start a public dialog, for either lack of courage or apathy outweighing their profound confusion or gut reaction. These blog posts don’t encourage public discussion; they stunt it.
    Should this discussion continue here or in private?

  5. Lucy Zoe April 20

    It’s quite dangerous to judge the heart of people and label them as angry, bitter or rebellious simply because they color their hair, tattoo their body, or get piercings. Do you say these things because you were in rebellion when your hair was culturally relevant? Are you speaking from old wounds that haven’t healed? The enemy uses people WHO LOOK LIKE YOU to shame and shun people who are different. Your words say, “You are not beautiful, you are not enough.” Who do you think you are to say what G_d thinks is beautiful? I’m quite convinced G_d looks at the heart and sees far more than you will ever understand. If you don’t believe me, have a look at some of the people He counts as righteous. Seriously Toby, it’s difficult for me to believe this post comes from a place of love. You are a pastor – a shepherd – your voice matters.

  6. Terri Rice April 21

    Claire Rosie alerted me to this little gem of a post:)

    Reformed patriarchal pastors tend to fall into the sin of spiritual abuse.

    Spiritual abuse can occurs when “spirituality” is used to make others live up to a “spiritual standard.” They promote external “spiritual performance,” like what color a woman’s hair may be, how long her hair must be, whether she may pierce her ears and is one hole per ear the max, etc. to be a “truly spiritual woman.”

    It is one thing for Pastor Patriarch and his wife to have some standard for their own family. It becomes abusive when others are spiritually degraded or shamed because they do not maintain the same convictions.

    So for example, if Pastor T were to compare a woman who dyes her hair with “leftist lesbians,” and “transvestite children,” well that would be spiritual abuse.

    If Pastor T were to write that it’s a big ugly world out there where “an enormous part of the enemy’s attack is a constant barrage accusing you of being ugly and not good enough” and then he accuses you of being ugly and not good enough because you dyed your hair pink or got a tattoo; that is spiritual abuse.

    If Pastor T were to write that he isn’t “ arguing for Little House on the Prairie bonnets and jumpers,” but then proceeds with his own man-made pharisaical “good woman” dress code; that is spiritual abuse.

    And if Pastor T claims that any who do not agree with his pharisaical code for women are “husbands who have abdicated their role,” and “ women who are embittered with pain, and grasping for something, anything to fill that aching void,” that is spiritual abuse.

    If Pastor T berates and accuses women who write “Facebook sob story diary entries for ‘likes’” and then ends it with “Jesus died for your sins,” that is spiritual abuse.

    This book addresses a Pastor T type of abuse. “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” by David Johnson

  7. TeresaR April 21

    Job named one of his daughters Kerenhappuch, which means “eye shadow.” In any case, what if a husband wants his wife to have a certain look that Sumpter finds objectionable? I can’t imagine a woman looking any worse than Donald Trump’s orange makeup.

  8. Dave Glasebrook April 21

    This is an interesting subject to write about because it shows the individualism and the desire to walk away from God, to worship in a manner of my own choosing instead of that approved by scripture. The Face Book storm is interesting to read also because so many have not payed attention to American Christians and how large a negative an influence we have had in the past few decades.

    Some think that colored hair is A-OK because it isn’t really making a statement. Some think nose rings are beautiful. Some think that the patriarchy is demanding certain dress codes to attend church or that other church parishioners sneer at those with colored hair because “they” aren’t as scriptural as “we” are. You all are missing the big point and that is that American Christians for about a century have failed to be salt and light in America. We have failed miserably in all the major areas commanded by scripture.

    Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Oh my — is heard all the time from Christian mouths or posted online because it is popular. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Well, now we work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day with the threat of losing your job if you don’t work on Sunday. Honor your parents. That’s out also because they are square (or any other term you want to use.) Don’t murder! American Christians are responsible for 60 million aborted babies. If in the 70s, one denomination had stood up in mass and said NO!, Planned Parenthood would not be killing babies today. Instead, it was it’s OK we’ll work to help keep girls out of the abortion clinics. These were just a few of the areas where American Christians failed — failed because they did not cling to scripture and slowly, slowly, slowly moved away from a fully Christ driven life.

    When I was growing up, the small things were not corrected by older Christians with wisdom and experience. Preachers stopped preaching and teaching the word and instead went with soft messages. The Baptists used to recite the London Baptist Catechism but stopped when I was still in grade school. A small step but one with enormous importance because now the basics of Christianity aren’t embedded in our lives. Because we don’t emphasize have a drink, don’t get drunk and the associated scriptures concerning drunkenness, Christians are OK with being blotto on Friday night or with using drugs which make you drunk at the first puff. The overlooked small details of life come back to haunt us later. The small things like homosexuality is wrong; adultery is wrong; stealing is wrong; being paid by the government to have kids is wrong; living off the efforts of others is wrong; murdering your baby because you think it is your choice is wrong!

    Does pink hair preclude you from worshiping God? No. Does it keep you from going to church with the other parishioners? No. Only you keep yourself away from church. Only you think that someone else at church thinks you are ugly or that your hair color isn’t right. The other parishioners are just worshiping God and have their own problems.

    But pink hair does not stand firm for Christ in the marketplace of American life right now, today. When you wear pink hair, nose rings and other such faddish things, you are stepping away from the battle trenches and having a smoke behind the lines while your fellow Christians are being overrun and bayoneted by overwhelming American stupidity caused by Christians who didn’t pay attention and stand firm years ago. That’s the problem with pink hair. It’s the little things about worshiping God that American Christians need to be faithful in so that we may help the ungodly all around us. It is the little things followed through on now that will draw others to Christ and that will give our grandchildren and great grandchildren a peaceful, Godly America to live in.

    Obedience is better than sacrifice.

  9. Bonnie Proulx April 21

    As a covenant child, and a woman, who has many (too many if you ask my mother) piercings, and who thought and considered different “fun” hair colors, I just want to thank you for this post. I don’t comment on blogs and rarely read them, but this hit me in a way that I just wanted to share a (hopefully) brief comment. When I first read this I don’t quite understand the connection, but something near the end of the post hit me in the gut. I heard something I longed to hear for the last 22 years of my life. My whole life I allowed my insecurity and my identity-searching soul to allow the world to tell me who I was, what I should look like, and how I should act. I won’t go into the details because, lets be honest, no one cares. But thank you Pastor Sumpter for ministering to my soul, and helping me make connections and realizations about why my rebellious heart manifested itself in such simple and (to most people) ignored ways. The heart is complex and the insecurities of a woman is hardly (if ever) talked about. And you have struck something that women themselves don’t want to think or deal with.

  10. Alyssa April 21

    So… is all hair coloring out then? What about the platinum blonde who we all know is actually a brunette? Or the brunette who is actually blonde? Or all the various, glorious shades of red? What color is too far, which one is too much? Is coloring hair blue sin? Is dyeing hair in general being fooled by the enemy?

  11. Andy Hall April 22

    Toby, please stop writing stupid articles.

  12. Katelyn April 23

    Thank you, Toby. This encouraged me right where I needed it most. I’m praying for you and yours.

  13. CC April 23

    Sorry but I’m confused. Is this God speaking or you playing “God”?
    You are not the Christian who believes in the Jesus I do. My church body is uplifting, encouraging, loving and ACCEPTING Christians. You, are not one of them.
    It appears your “opinions” are what you believe to be scripture. You can’t just post Bible verses and expect it to be true.
    I’m sorry, I’ve gone to bible college. Traveled to Israel. Walked where Jesus walked. Was baptized at the Sea of Galilee. Followed Jesus my entire adult life. This post of yours is NOT Jesus. It’s judgmental, opinionated, pompous, sexist, hurtful and downright wrong. You will destroy any hope of love in the church.
    Now, you can pride yourself in the idea that I am sinful, I am not as mature in my faith, that “God” is stirring up a change. But I assure you, it’s not. I, a strong Christian, will not go to your church. My christian friends and couples were appalled at your “opinions” stating that “this isn’t Christ at ALL!!”. Pastors, missionaries and followers of Christ are… hurt by your words.
    Maybe you tried to get a pat on the back. From fellow husbands and male leaders. Or maybe bring more to Christ?
    I’m praying you didn’t get positive vibes from this. Because you will break any ounce of courage and hope in christian women. I’m not giving you the power to break us.
    You will hurt marriages and break mothers. If that’s what you want, there is your pat on the back.
    It’s an “opinion” of Christ. Not Him at all.
    I have tried to be loving while reading your post. But you are doing more damage to the body of Christ than good. I implore you to take this down and re-evaluate.

  14. Karen April 23

    This article made me sick. I agree with the comments previous to mine, that this is a type of spiritual abuse. Very typical of reformed churches, and those that follow this sect.

  15. Clark Sarge April 24

    Wow, nothing gets Christians coming at you with their fangs bared like pointing out their sins of worldliness and rebellion. Everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath, read the scriptures that Toby has used IN CONTEXT, and then ask yourself if you are reacting in the flesh or in the Spirit.
    In response to the story about the “Christian Mom” who decided to let her little boy “transition”. I’ve noticed that in all these sob stories about children changing genders the father is never mentioned. I think that may be the underlying issue to a lot of what is happening in the church and the world today. Of course, I’m just a legalistic, sexist, hater, what do I know.

  16. NM April 24

    Thank you, Toby, for this well reasoned and Scripturally sound post. As a Bible college graduate I have come to realize that many, most?, Bible colleges teach not the Bible, but what proud professors want gullible, naive students to believe it says. They do not teach their students to be Bereans but to listen to the din of God haters and twist Scripture so that it ‘seems’ to say what will placate the world. The result is graduates who are themselves proud and hard hearted. May we humble ourselves and may God be gracious to us and soften our calloused hearts to submit to the sex He has created us to be. May we repent of doing whatever we think is right in our own eyes and obey the plain teaching of Scripture. Thank you for your courage to speak the truth.

  17. Mari April 24

    Thank you Pastor Sumpter. I have watched as young women, raised in Christian homes have transitioned to worldliness. As they do, they cut their hair, dye it, tattoo themselves, and pierce. It’s as if they must identify with their new tribe, the world. I embrace and love those who are tattooed and the like, but watch in regret as some mark themselves to flout their rebellion. Others do it for vanity. We should not think of ourselves and what we want to look like in these matters, but what would honor and glorify our Lord. He was pierced with a crown of thorns. nails, and a sword; He was tattooed with a whip; His hair was dyed blood-red. We must sacrifice our vanity and be clothed in ways to please Him, not ourselves, to show our gratefulness for His great sacrifice.

  18. Mari April 24

    Regarding my above comment: “flaunt” their rebellion, not “flout.”

  19. William Walthall April 25

    It’s hard to be post-mill reading comments like these. Thankful for your courage, Toby.

  20. M. Parker April 25

    Lol! Yep, I get it. I’ve reached for colored hair, piercings in ‘other’ places. Every popular ‘naughty’ body loathing woman’s mag disguised as ‘helpful’ and ‘liberating’ to be my best creative individual self! Nothing wrong…freedom in Christ …right!?! (then I read Paul on this) Lol! Did I not realize how deeply these lies of ‘worldly self’ influenced my Saved self? Yes, I became a saved by grace Christian, and I started to read the Word daily, but did I really ABIDE by the Word passionately with my whole heart that I said I did? Was my passion a yo-yo between the world’s ideas/ habits and God’s best? Yep, I’ll break the suspense early for you…it was!
    (By the way, it was only through reading the parts I disagreed with in the Bible or were confused by that led me to the whole truth of who God is and ultimately who I am.)

    Paul: “…I have suffered the loss of ALL things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
    Phili. 3:8

    See, I needed to hit a ‘reset button’ – foundationally, in the Word, because I was, as a Christian woman, keeping a dual mindset of, “Why can’t I do this….God loves me anyway I am!” Yes, he did and he does, but my passion for Him needed to become bigger than my passion for myself, my looks, my actions, ….in fact it needed to explode in order to rule over me – and every intention of my heart, if not than my silly, crazy, creatively lying heart, would try and rule my desires, my thoughts, my looks, etc. ….as the heart IS really, really wicked and who can know it’s true desires…as God puts it. (Jerem. 17:9)
    ABIDING by the Word meant I could not place my trust in my hearts understandings, and that started me on a whole new journey….one that changed my attitude, one that took a few years of asking my God things I HAD NOT done before. Like, but not limited to: “What pleases YOU Lord, even in this physical space, this created body that I casually call mine, that I’m realizing you have graciously loaned me?….it’s so much easier to know how to serve you in my time and money…but what about my womanhood as it pertains to even my dress, my jewelry, my make-up….my attitudes?….scary places to go with a righteous and holy God – two words that I was at the time kind of uncomfortable with, ok very uncomfortable with ; righteous and holy. I had a problem with condemnation. My spine would bristle back then just listening to anyone like the Pastor above. I was still wounded deeply. I latched onto the quick fix of ‘We are not called to judge as Christians or bring a spirit of judgement!’ See, in the beginning the cleansing blood of Christ had poured all over my sinful, sick self and made me saved for eternity!…but I still carried back with me from the alter the soul blemishes of my ugly past issues like ugly cellulite refusing to go. I needed to work on that with God. My soul was in pain – and living in condemnation – struggling to ABIDE in Gods Word, making it hard for me to want to listen to the whole truth of the Word of God. He is The Good Shepherd and The Righteous Judge according the the Bible. I cherry picked his Word; what fit to support my worldly creativity I liked and repeated, what made me feel questionable I would shut down by using my go-to ‘thou shalt not judge argument.’ I hadn’t dealt with ‘IT ALL’ is the point here. I had traveled a long road with pain of everything you wouldn’t want to imagine and the guilt of it all was still weighted heavily in my heart causing me to embrace an attitude that God wanted to free me of…one that was lying to me and I would say even causing death in me spiritually as I realigned God to fit me more. A common attitude that both genders alike struggle with. Self-centeredness. I didn’t passionately let God have EVERYTHING about me. I reserved spaces for my own interpretation. It would be an attitude that would distort my God and my true Godly identity AND define me outside of His definition only…as The Creator he has all rights on this…he and he alone. I didn’t want to hear that or live that out as a modern Christian woman. I really didn’t want to hear about ” …unfading beauty of a GENTLE and QUIET spirit…which is of great worth in God’s sight. “1Peter 3:4 How could I fit this into how I wanted to appear physically…hmmmm, again me as the center of it all!

    But I found His definitions given openly in the Bible were for our outsides and insides – not just our insides like I had wanted to subscribe to all my life, because of course then I wouldn’t have to deal with those broken pieces reflecting themselves however subtly through my outward appearance. I thought that in my sacrificial hands and feet servathood, my passionate feeding of the hungry, and my advocating passionate care of the orphans and widows in life that God and I could end there beautifully and I would not have to hand over my very self-image to him too! But he knows so much more than we do about our hidden ‘stuff’ and what needs to be cleaned up and replaced with his wholeness.

    Ha! Well, after finally breaking open that painful conversation with God I caught something deeper…my sin. I actually realized I did not WANT to conform to what God said about modesty and a quiet spirit. I wanted to be my own in this way, not His…..oh, boy, now I got it. I did not WANT to hear from God on this topic , I unearthed part of my wayward heart that I had to face, my yucky own rebellion led by none other than Christian of the year Me. This lit a fire in me! O my goodness….dealing with finally it was like scales slipping off my back as I came to the Father and dealt with my sick, confused heart. How did I get to this way in my mixed thinking? I felt I was a sold out Christian that ran everything important by God! Well, probably that’s just how I got to where I was…God wanted me to get here with him. But didn’t I get to choose my outerwear and image for ‘fun’ sake??? I started reading the Bible on images…uh, God actually cares A-LOT about them. I could unload a dump truck of verses here but how about we all be like the Bereans and search the scriptures ourselves.
    The Word started abiding in me and that’s when I knew I could come to his loving arms and repent of my holding back my whole heart and start anew….could I just follow God with my whole self??? (Meaning physical, spiritual, and emotional/mental.) Did he have a way for everything in spirit and in truth? Would I have to leave something behind to follow him in this physical journey too? (Uh, yes, yes, and yes,) God SHOWED UP. I tell you, careful the doors you invite Him to walk through in your life because he actually wants every corner of me and you and he’ll gently but omnipotently walk right in and take the rooms you give him and remodel them completely! He’ll rewrite it all for his glory, and our healing – bringing what’s better than we think possible. It took faith to leave behind the investment as a woman of so many ‘looks’ I thought I needed that came out of past attitudes I didn’t need! And no I don’t wear bonnets and jean skirts ya’ll! Lol! That was years ago, now as a testimony to where God has brought me and still frees me from what I think I need to look or act like, I will say this: it’s almost fun to go, ” ok, I really am drawn to that look, God do you like it too or should my heart pass on it? Only he knows, and by his Holy Spirit he empowers us to do the pure thing as we ABIDE in Him and the Word ABIDES in us to be a reflection of modesty, what is good and pure, what is humble, what is in essence a reflection of the Holy and whole fruit of the Spirit….real beauty in Gods eyes.
    I pray that the work he started on the inside of me in my salvation shows up even on the outside of me on my body. Whoa…yeah I won’t say that this was an overnight change for me or without many self conversations and wrestling around like a kid that doesn’t want to leave the party. It was an inconvenience to me and my way, and sort of irritating to let go of my coolness – my awesome diamond stud at the tops of my ear that everyone noticed – my alluring silouhette that could rock so many trendy and questionable looks like nobody’s business- I fit right into broader society…which should have been a red flag right there! We are called out by the Lord as His People and he has always made clear and strict guidelines for His sheep physically and behaviorally so that we would be known as His. I believe that is still true.
    As he takes over more and more of me…as I give him space too…my hearts desires just change. All the defending the weird or unique ways of dressing or acting have no purpose anymore. Praying that I honor my Savior in my dress, my speech, my actions because he is freeing me daily of the trappings of this world is awesome! ….and in hindsight I realize ‘why’ I chose those weird things…but simply put, I just chose to start asking God to give me the desires of my heart instead of me giving me the desires of my heart when it came to my image.

    Remember I had a real problem with condemnation still attached to my soul, even though I was amazingly saved and thought I wanted nothing other than to serve Christ alone. Swallowing down the ‘freedom’ in Christ to enjoy these seemingly creative and harmless ways of fashionably adding more ‘me’ to me was just a way to unleash my painful attitudes about the past, and drag them through my present. I had to surrender my whole heart, my whole past to God, I had to forgive every thing that I thought pained me…every little one! That’s what freed me to release how I looked in my image to God alone.
    Here’s the thing, we can go in circles all day long about what is ‘ok’….it’s missing the point altogether. As I surrender ALL to Jesus because he has my heart, I keep handing over even my very physical looks ….it starts lining up with my passion…I own nothing but my passion for Christ and his love and truth – that is far more of a feast than the crumb of other ventures I could get distracted with persuing, that even derail my hearts passion.
    Ya’ll this is deeper stuff than the external “So, can I not have bright hair?” “What’s wrong with wearing blah, blah, blah?” questions. If we ABIDE in the Word he will be faithful to be clear and show us what’s best…and we should rule over our hearts for they need to know that we will do anything Christ calls us to do in obedience because we passionately love our Father who has every good thing in abundance for us who love and keep his commandments.

  21. Brandon April 28

    This is one of the most ludicrous articles that I have ever read. It wreaks of fallacy. First, the author uses loaded language. He calls the mother the “sweet Christian woman” even though the focus of the article is to demonstrate otherwise: He earlier calls her a “so-called Christian” woman, and he later calls her “horrifically confused.” He continues to appeal to the emotions with terms such as “ugly,” “scary,” and “clownish,” all of which are subject to individual opinion.
    Second, red herrings abound; in other words, the author does not stay on topic. I can hardly keep track of what he is actually trying to prove. What does the Sabbath have to do with dying one’s hair or wearing cross-gender apparel? What does dying one’s hair even have to do with cross-gender apparel? He attempts to reconcile the disjunction by saying, “Why is [having pink hair, facial piercings, and scary makeup] OK, but her little boy wearing girls’ underwear is not OK? Can you articulate that from the Bible? What’s the difference?” The difference is that the latter is at least a lack of recognition of God’s created order, that he made men and women distinctly; moreover, it is blatant disregard for what God considers abominable (assuming that the mother even knew that). Makeup, piercings, and hair color, however, do not qualify as abominable in God’s eyes (at least, not from what has been revealed via Holy Scripture). The entire article is very difficult to follow.
    Third, the author fails to consider alternative explanations for the woman’s behavior, especially the hair coloring. Addressing all women who partake in hair coloring, he says, “But something deep inside your soul aches to be treasured, to be cherished, and to be loved and protected as a woman.” This, according to the author, is the underlying reason that women dye their hair. It is done because of feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. He does not even consider that some people really do like colorful hair (I include myself), and they consider it no less spiritually defiling than a colorful shirt. Life is more fun in color.
    Fourth, the author succumbs to the slippery slope fallacy. He suggests that dying one’s hair is likely to lead to greater sins (as if hair coloring is a sin in the first place). He says, “You may not (yet) have completely sold out, but where are the brakes really?” This is in the very same paragraph in which he claims that there is no essential difference between hair coloring and cross-gender dress.
    Finally, he appears to contradict himself; at least, he makes an ambiguous statement that demands clarification. What does he mean when he says, “Clothing and makeup and jewelry that rejoice in God’s goodness, that rest in the death and resurrection of Jesus for your peace, that delight in the gift of womanhood — that is all good and glorious.”? Is he arguing that women should wear adorn themselves modestly, or that, as St. Paul asserts, women should not physically adorn themselves at all? Unfortunately, the context of his claim makes the statement no less ambiguous.
    The author consolidates a plethora of fallacies with this closing remark: “I certainly grant you that the sin involved in dressing a boy up as a girl is far worse, but you need to see the fact that it’s in the same category as a woman wearing her hair short like a boy, dying her hair clownish colors, or otherwise trying to attract unnatural attention. But no hair color will soothe your pain. No haircut will fill that void. No piercing, no amount of cutting, no number of likes on your Facebook sob story diary entries will give your confusion meaning.” Apparently, women with piercings or hair coloring are implicitly confused people with sob stories. Although this is certainly the case for some, it is not the case for all. What a ludicrous notion, indeed.

  22. Kevin April 29

    Toby, thanks for walking into the buzzsaw you knew would come from writing a post this sensitive. Indeed the Lord Jesus stands on the threshing floor, winnowing fork in hand. This post is easy for me to say the “amen” to because it is not an idol that appeals to my sinful heart. I pray the Lord will continue to give you the courage to speak the truth in love to His church and expose those idols that keep us from being faithful, even as He is faithful. Grace and Peace to you, brother.

  23. Taryn May 1

    Hi Toby, I read some of your articles and heard about this one, so I duly checked it out. I second Caleb Warner’s comment that this is maybe something to be done in a slightly more private setting as it can come across as a shaming of anyone woman who has dyed her hair or gotten a piercing. However, I do agree with you that too often piercings and dyes are produced by the world as a way of being fun or different without hurting anyone. It really is a difficult subject and I think one that is impossible to approach without sounding (or being accused of sounding) callous. As it is, I think you handled in a fairly sensitive way, though not completely, but hey, we’re all human.

  24. Marcia June 11

    Down syndrome. Not downs. Colored hair is not since. Grow a pair fella.

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