on his introduction to modesty culture:
I heard about it when most people in the church hear about it — when you’re in junior high and high school. You’re getting told what to wear for swim day or something like that. Or you’re going to the camps and [the youth leaders are] like, ‘Come on everybody, put on t-shirts! And girls, you should put on shorts, too.’ I remember some girls asked, ‘Why are we even wearing swim suits?’ It’s a good question.
We were really frustrated. Our frustration was in part because we were uncomfortable. I think some of us were recognizing there’s something really off about this as a solution to whatever we’re trying to solve. It was kind of made in haste and it wasn’t done in conversation, so it was more so, this is proper way; this is the way it has to be. The lack of dialogue would perpetuate the frustration we were feeling.
on fighting a losing battle:
[You’re told] that as you grow up you’re going to be this thing that just needs to be satisfied. All of the girls around you are just easy pickings if they’re wearing stuff that’s revealing and it’s just going to start all of those things too early and not within the bounds of marriage. From there, you’re just going to be trapped and given over to your desires. It’s so heavy and so wrong.
[Guys are] always being told that they’re fighting a losing battle. You feel like you’re going in with an arm tied behind your back. God made me something that’s so prone to sin that I can’t even look at one of the most beautiful things of his creation without it making me do something evil. It’s pretty confusing.
on shame and the modesty police:
For the modesty police, operating in a shame-based culture is something that is intrinsically power-oriented. There’s lots of insecurity in the people who are administering the policy. I remember even going through high school — public school but still very conservative — and I’d pass by girls talking and they’d be like, ‘Gosh, did you see what she’s wearing?’ There’s this insecurity that they have in talking about why they’re better and why they wore a better outfit that day, and why others were so stupid or so slutty to wear something that was inappropriate. [It’s] something that does give them power. It lifts them up, it makes them look like a better person.
In a moralistic culture, that’s everything — to be the best, and to be the purest, and to be somebody that’s above that, who isn’t causing others to stumble. I would see this, and I would think that that was just the norm, that was just the way things were — this world where the currency was power through shame.
on redeeming nakedness:
Jesus is here to redeem the body. We were created in the Garden of Eden completely naked and without clothes — and it wasn’t an issue. Shame took the form of nakedness, but it wasn’t a result of nakedness. Jesus really cares about the physical body. It’s something that glorifies him. It’s not something that immediately provokes lust and all sorts of envious things. I really, really took solace in those teachings that show that all physicality — while it might be bent, broken, perverted — it all has a plan to be redeemed to some degree. That can happen on this side of heaven and isn’t just something later on.