A Question for 2×2 Men
After seeing a newspaper advertisement for a job opening in his field of expertise, a man applied to a firm for employment. The job description could have been written from his resume. They recognized that he was perfect for the position, and he was offered the position. He wanted the job — but he had some reservations, because of some strange habits he observed in the men employees. The women employees all appeared quite normal. In talking with the employees personally, however, they all seemed very nice, kind, and helpful.
One thing he noticed was that the men all wore beards. He hadn’t seen a clean-shaven one among them. He wasn’t too sure he would look very good in a beard. He’d seen only a few men on which they looked nice, and they were usually handsome men to begin with. Perhaps they were not mandatory. Maybe they were having a contest! But every single man, without exception! Oh well! Stranger coincidences have occurred. Just seemed rather odd that in the whole organization, he saw NO man without a beard.
What really got him though, was the men’s hairstyles. He just didn’t think he could shave off his nice thick head of hair. Most of the men SHAVED their heads completely bald. He never saw an uglier bunch of men in his life. And just imagine all the time it must take to keep their head completely shaved bald every day! Why these extremes??
The men in top management who interfaced with outside executives all dressed in conservative suits, but wore short sleeve shirts, and never wore ties. No matter what the weather conditions, they wore short sleeves — even when it was freezing outside. Someone must have a “thing” about them. He wondered why, and what was the point? It left them looking half-dressed, rather slap-happy and not detail-oriented. Not that ties and long sleeve shirts are really essential or absolutely necessary, he reasoned, but in American culture and dress, they are required for a man to have a finished, well-dressed appearance, and it was the usual businessman “uniform”. Everyone knew that to be considered well-dressed a man HAS to wear a two-piece suit, long sleeve shirt and tie.
For some unknown, not very obvious reason(s), the executives of this firm apparently subscribed to some “other” dress code. What on earth could be their reasoning? These strange outward habits could not make their work any superior. It appeared to him the men would give a much better impression to others if they went along with the traditional styles in men’s dress. In fact, their present style might even cause offense to those whom they met for business negotiations. Would he, too, if he joined this company as an employee be required to dress in like manner? He was afraid so. He knew he would be ashamed to see any of his friends if he did! It was odd that the women did not seem any different from other women in society, just the men.
He just couldn’t figure it out. No apparent reason surfaced. The men themselves didn’t even know why they did it, except the overseers compelled them to, in order to retain their jobs. The Personnel Manager never mentioned anything about these strange habits, not even in the orientation class he sat through once. He read a copy of the company rules. There was no section on dress code, other than the notation that the appearance of every employee should be respectable. They claimed their organization was so perfectly organized that it never needed any changes. It had been run in this same simple manner ever since it’s inception. They really rather boasted of this fact, but it sure looked to him like it was in bad need of some changes! It required so much of the men. This peculiar image projection they stressed was simply irrelevant to getting the job done well! It served no purpose, except for making the employees seem unpolished, inexpert, and awkward, and made everyone else scratch their heads! It undoubtedly hindered them from acquiring many good male employees, who would be beneficial to their organization.
If you were this man, what would you do in this situation?
Would you accept the position and conform by shaving your head, growing a beard, and laying aside your long sleeve shirts and ties, without a second thought? He heard a rumor that once a man took a job with this company, and did not conform to their strange code of dress. After a while, those higher up requested he do so, and warned if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be welcome to remain. How anxious would you be to take the job? Would you too, not have some reservations? The requirements for the men’s dress could not be set aside at the end of the day like a cap or jacket either, but had to be worn ALL the time. Would you be willing to be considered “peculiar and strange” by others, because some men required it of you, but could not explain to you why? BE HONEST!
Imagine yourself in the required employee “uniform”, HAVING to wear it, all the time believing it to be a stupid, useless, and dumb requirement. You were ashamed to be seen in it. Fully empathize with this man who wants this job intensely; yet the appearance he would be required to maintain is totally against his principles, and everything he knows about how to win over the public, which would be his job. If you put yourself in this man’s place, you have now felt a little of what a woman in this Way goes through all her life. Can you F-E-E-L her shame and frustration?
Read the above again, and, where the following words are used, substitute:
for the word “man”…………use “woman”
for the word “beard”……….use “no make-up”
for the word “shaved head”….use “long hair”
for the word “tie”…………use “jewelry”
for the word “short sleeves”..use “dress”
People nearly always judge on first sight by looks, for they have no other basis with which to judge until they establish a relationship. But they will not usually establish a close relationship with someone they don’t respect, and respectability is initially established by first impressions. In our society and culture, a woman who appears without make-up in public is considered inappropriately groomed, unfinished, naked, as having “let herself go,” uncaring, lacking in initiative, unmannerly, ignorant, backwards, offensive, ugly, lacking in taste, weird, crude, strange and odd. As such, she is scorned by society. Only exceptionally pretty women, which are rare, look very good without make-up. When a woman attempts to secure a position in a professional capacity and must appear in the public, she is at a definite disadvantage if she cannot present herself in line with what her culture considers appropriate dress. Her potential earnings are actually diminished because of the liability created by adhering to the traditions of this fellowship required for her appearance. A parallel might be a man being required to wear a beard, when EVERYONE else in his capacity is clean shaven, at a time that beards are totally “out of style” and worn only by hobos and the derelict, as was the case in the 1950s.
The opposite extreme from a woman wearing long hair (long = grown as long as it will grow naturally) would be for a man to shave his head (short = as short as possible). The unfavorable attention a woman draws in wearing her long hair (and always put up) comes from going against the norms for hairstyles in her society. God made the mating instinct in every animal and in humans. One sex is the attraction, and the other is attracted to the attraction. The woman’s instinctive nature is to attract. To deliberately make herself UGLY is “unnatural”, especially for a woman. For a man to be forced to shave his head in our society would be no more embarrassing, strange, or peculiar than for a woman who always has to wear her hair long and put up.
When a woman is not allowed to complete her outfit with appropriate accessories or jewelry, she is considered by her society to be half-dressed, slap-happy, unfinished, unprofessional, plain and without initiative; just like a man all dressed up, but without a tie. When she has to wear dresses or skirts ALL the time, it compares somewhat to a man who has to wear short sleeves ALL the time. Clothing is for protection — whether it be the weather, danger or modesty. Women like to be kept warm also. Sometimes it’s most INAPPROPRIATE for a woman NOT to wear slacks, just like it’s sometimes most inappropriate for a man not to wear long sleeves, or a tie.
By putting themselves in the place of a woman, men may be able to comprehend to a degree, something of the burden and hardship for women to HAVE to look different to what is normal and respectable in one’s society, especially when she does not understand WHY it is necessary for her to do so! Reason brings acceptance or contentment, but no one can give convincing reasons to support these behaviors required of her. She knows from the questions others ask, and the looks she draws, that the harm far outweighs the good. She has to live down her appearance before her life can speak. This means everyone takes her for “weird” until they get to know her. Most will not come close enough to get to know her, since she appears so strange by their customs.
How do people know men are following Christ? By their spirit. The woman longs to be able to be known by her spirit also, but her appearance speaks so loud, others can’t hear or see her spirit. Maybe now you can understand a little better why women are now objecting so strenuously to the unfounded traditions of this way, which have been placed upon her; and which SOME believe constitute REQUIREMENTS for her salvation. They have no scriptural support.
Is it any wonder many women turn away without entering this way, or leave this way, because of “unwillingness”. BUT, please recognize: they are not unwilling for God’s will in their lives; but rather, they are unwilling to follow the commandments of men as doctrine. (Matt. 15:9), and they know it is all for nothing (in vain do they serve me)! Some feel, (usually men), that women are “privileged” that they can do (HAVE TO DO) these things to “bear the reproach of Christ”. Yet, they are of no value towards being saved, whatsoever! They are “works”, and works do not save. “ye are saved by grace, and not of works”. They work AGAINST her in being an example to others.
The workers sigh every time someone asks for the reasons for these requirements. (“Not again!”) They sometimes say “If you knew how many times I’ve been asked this”. Many no longer attempt to give reasons. They just say “This is what we believe these scriptures mean.” Period. They will listen to no one’s reasons. There are many good explanations for the scriptures which are contrary to their interpretation, but they close their ears, and refuse to listen. No one can satisfactorily explain the mystery of why women MUST do these things from a scriptural point of view!!
After years of studying these matters intensively, it is now obviously apparent why the issues governing women’s appearances cannot be convincingly explained to the friends by the workers — because they do not have scriptural foundations. God truly didn’t care about outward things; He is indifferent to them. He cares about the heart condition, and always has. He left PLAIN instructions in the Bible concerning the things that were important to Him. The rest he delegated to the realm of the Spirit. He gave the Holy Spirit to believers to guide them in all things, and He can guide in matters of one’s appearance, if allowed to do so.
Is it any wonder this is one of the most controversial issues unsettling this church? When will the powers that be allow the Spirit to guide the friends as to their appearance? What will it take for them to stop making these traditions mandatory? Another black-stocking revolt by the women? How is men enforcing universal mandatory requirements for all professing women any different from the Pharisees “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” Matt. 15:9?
Who will be courageous enough to remove this stumbling block?
Who will be the deliverer??
By Cherie Kropp
Click Here to read: Women Professing Godliness