Monday, July 07, 2008

Thrift and cheapness in the Scriptures

Take a look at Proverbs 31: 21-22:

21. She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household is clothed with scarlet
22. She makes tapestry for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Now, granted, King Lemuel may be talking of his own wife, the queen, so the "Proverbs 31 wife" may have a bit more in terms of resources than the rest of us. Even so, God commends this woman through King Lemuel, and thus we might infer that there is a God-given time and place for us to get the very best--or the best we can afford--for ourselves and our families.

Lest we get confused, this is not what I'm recommending.


pentamom said...

And it's also a nod in favor of external beauty. While all such things require wisdom in application, apparently the Mennonite answer to I Peter 3:3 isn't exactly right -- at least not as a comprehensive and absolute application.

Bike Bubba said...

How do we argue from the fabric used that the styles preferred by Mennonites might not be the fulfillment of 1 Peter 3:3? While I agree that "Amish chic" certainly isn't the only way to be modest, I'm not quite sure that logic takes us that way from Proverbs 31.

pentamom said...

Because, I think, the underlying idea behind what the Mennonites do is that plain, unobtrusive, and utilitarian is the fulfillment of I Peter 3. My point is that any appropriate fulfillment of I Peter 3 obviously can't make mincemeat of Proverbs 31.

There is nothing wrong with wearing the particular fabric and style of dress that a Mennonite woman might wear -- my objection is to wearing it because you think that anything fine or rich or colorful violates I Peter 3. Proverbs 31 says, that can't be.

Bike Bubba said...

It certainly can't make mincemeat of Lydia's service to the church, either--if it were wrong to deal nice fabrics, I think Paul would have rebuked her, and she'd have repented and found a better business, no?

That noted, I've yet to see a bonneted Mennonite lady look as awful as some of the people I see coming into church wearing the latest junk from Target, Kohl's, or Wal-Mart--even apart from what's exposed and what's covered.

pentamom said...

Absolutely. I'm not criticizing the Mennonite lady for the way she looks -- I was just using "Mennonite" as an example of the belief that virtuously modest requires nondescript and purely practical. I'm only suggesting that Proverbs gives us some guidance on how to understand I Peter 3 that is frequently overlooked or discarded -- a higher "upper limit" on the quality and visual attractiveness of our apparel than we might otherwise allow. The Proverbs lady simply doesn't allow us to say that virtue inherently equals dressing plainly and maximally frugally, though we needn't say the converse -- that plain and frugal cannot be virtuous.