Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why I Wear a Shirt at the Lake

This week our family is relaxing at my uncle's cabin at Seneca Lake in central New York State. The best parts of being at the lake are swimming in the water and hanging out on the dock. As long as the weather cooperates, we spend the majority of the time outside.

I wear a shirt whenever I'm outside. While almost all men in this situation take off their shirts, I keep mine on. This flies in the face of what is considered normal, but it's something I realized that I need to do.

A few years ago I posted something on Facebook about not thinking that Christian women should wear bikinis (I still believe this). I received wide-ranging responses. Some FB friends were thrilled that I would speak up for modesty. Others told me that I was being legalistic. However, one response stuck with me. One woman asked me whether or not I took my shirt off when going in a pool or going to the beach. I said I did. She then told me that I was being inconsistent.

At first I rejected her assertion. The more I thought about it, the more I came to agree with her. I was being inconsistent. How could I say that women should refrain from wearing bikinis when I myself took my shirt off in public? I realize that the two are not exactly the same, but there is quite a bit of similarity. My claim that women should avoid bikinis is based on the idea that it can cause males to stumble into the sin of lust. The lady on Facebook said that shirtless males cause the same problem for women. I had never pondered this before. Instead of thinking all the way through the issue, I had simply bought into cultural norms for what males should wear.

In order to be consistent I decided to begin wearing shirts when I used to take them off in public. I don't foist this idea on anyone else, but I'm glad to be consistent.

I wonder how many other places in life I'm still inconsistent. Probably quite a few.

Have you noticed any places in your life where inconsistency was pointed out? What did you do?


James said...

I actually was chastised for doing this at a public pool a few years back. The staff at the pool ordered me to take my shirt off because they didn't know if I was "mowing my lawn" in it earlier and could contaminate the pool.

The pool that is wreaking of chlorine a mile away.


Oh well.

Eric said...


That's interesting. I suppose if that happened to me I would just ditch the shirt. In fact, yesterday I forgot at one point and took my shirt off before jumping into the water. Oh well.

I don't mean to make a big deal about this issue. It's just one I had never thought about prior to that lady on Facebook challenging me over it.

Thanks for the comment.