A Sparkling Vintage Life

Monthly Archives: February 2015

Sparkling Vintage Book Review: THE CRIMSON CORD by Jill Eileen Smith

crimson cordOur study group, working our way through John MacArthur’s book Twelve Extraordinary Women, had just finishing discussing his chapter on Rahab when The Crimson Cord came to my attention. Aching to know more about this fascinating woman in the lineage of Jesus, I snapped it up, eager to see how the story would play out as historical fiction.

I was not disappointed. In The Crimson Cord (first in the new Daughters of the Promised Land series), Jill Eileen Smith did a fine job of adhering to the biblical text, while taking creative license with much of the information that Scripture does not provide, such as Rahab’s life before she sheltered the Israelite spies.

Smith casts Rahab as the wife of Gamal, a gambler who made one bad move too many. As a result of his irresponsibility, Rahab is sold into slavery and forced into prostitution.  When the spies ask to lodge at her house in Jericho, she takes a huge gamble of her own, trusting in their promises to save her and her family, and even more, trusting in this God of theirs. We know how the story turns out, but the play-by-play from Rahab’s point of view is insightful and gripping. Author Liz Curtis Higgs calls it, “A beautiful tale, beautifully told,” and I have to agree.

This was the first book I’ve read by Jill Eileen Smith, but it won’t be the last. I’ve just obtained a copy of Rachel, one of her earlier books, and I can’t wait to dive in.

Disclosure: I’ve been given a review copy of this book by the publisher. This generosity, while appreciated, has not biased my review. I also post some of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Yogunna wear yoga pants? A revealing look at a current trend

yoga 1964I have long been lamenting the decline of feminine, pretty, modest clothing for everyday wear. Writing that sentence feels more than a bit hypocritical as I sit here writing in my worn jeans and seen-better-days T-shirt.

Still, as often as possible, I grab the opportunity to drape on my substantial frame something pretty, or at the very least, modest and inoffensive. Sometimes I succeed; other times I don’t. But it’s a goal.

I own a pair of yoga pants. I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to wear them out of the house. And I don’t think I ever will. But many of you are gutsier than I. What do you think about yoga pants–go-to wardrobe staple? Best left in the gym locker?

This article in Christianity Today caught my eye today, saying in part:

“Among Christians, these form-fitting pants get wrapped in the modesty debate, most recently with a viral post from a blogger sharing her conviction to stop wearing yoga pants and leggings. Then came responses with treatises on freedom and morality and lust and modesty culture. And defenses. And cynicism. And hysteria. And spite.

And here we are, fighting about yoga pants.”

While I wasn’t aware that a tempest was brewing with such vigor, I’m not surprised. I remember a conversation I once had with a mother who was defending her teenage daughter’s choice of attire (sweatpants with the word “Juicy” splashed across the rear, if that gives you an idea of how long ago this conversation took place). The mother said that she saw nothing wrong with it, as long as her daughter “had the figure for it.” I tried to convey that body shape wasn’t really the issue–modesty was. What message are we conveying to the people around us through what we choose to wear? I said we couldn’t insist, on the one hand, that men treat women with respect and dignity, while at the same time doing everything in our power to attract a different sort of attention. She looked at me with pity, as if I were a relic from another time. Which I suppose I am, but that in itself doesn’t make my observations any less true.

It’s been a long time since I, ahem, “had the figure for” just about any body-conscious fashion. But even if I were svelte (why does no one ever use that sophisticated term anymore?), I don’t think I’d feel comfortable showing every line and curve of my anatomy to total strangers, as is too often the unfortunate results of yoga pants.

It was every thus. Apparently, appropriate dressing of the female form has been a hot topic since the caves.  I found this admonition in a book of advice to young women, published in 1793:

“The art of pleasing belongs to your sex. This is not only a natural desire, but you seem to be particularly endued with those powers which are necessary to its gratification. The beauty of the Person, improved also by the embellishments of Dress, is an attraction too fascinating to be overlooked. [Ladies] were formed to please and to captivate, but at the same time, it is expedient that you should know the extent of your influence, in what manner it should be directed, and what are its proper objects.”

In other words, be aware of the effect that your clothing is having on other people. There is a place and time for yoga pants, and quite possibly that place and time is your own home. Or the gym. Or your car, driving from home to gym and back. Period.

In a book directed to parents, written in 1911 by E. B. Lowry, M.D., expands on this idea:

“Girls do not realize what kind of an impression they make upon men by their clothes, actions, etc. An eminent lawyer said to me recently, ‘Why do you not tell girls what real men think of them when they appear on the streets with painted faces, peek-a-boo waists [shirts], and thin, silk hose worn with shoes more appropriate for the ballroom?’ If girls imitate the demi-monde [underworld] in their dress, they must expect to be treated accordingly.” Dr. Lowry goes on to say, “Extremes of dressing naturally attract the attention of men, and the girls feel flattered and continue in their course, not realizing what impression the men really get. Then, when the man makes the advances that her manner of dressing has led him to believe he can make, she feels insulted and resentful.”

But that’s his problem, right? Yoga pants are not meant to be enticing. They are meant to be athletic wear. And they are comfortable, which is the very most important thing in choosing what to put on every day.

Or is it?

Where do you come down on the yoga-pants question–yea, nay, or yawn?

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