Bob's Blog 2/1/23


February 1, 2023

Mark Snoeberger is a friend, former seminary classmate and current professor at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. He recently wrote a blog that I thought was excellent and he graciously consented for it to be re-posted here for you.

Posted By Mark Snoeberger

We live in a hyper-sexualized and semi-pornographic culture. The problem dominates popular advertising, pervades our entertainment choices, and even weasels its way into our churches. The concept of modesty is no longer a standard for judgment, but an object of judgment. We’ve come to the point that modesty is sincerely regarded by many as a vice and not a virtue. To advocate for modesty is to advocate for legalism,
Pharisaism, and overbearing authoritarianism: Don’t tell me how to look, what to say, or what to do.

The triumph of immodesty is not, however, the root problem. Instead, this problem is symptomatic of a more seminal one: the problem of celebrity. The English word celebrity derives from the Latin word celebrare, “to honor/glorify” and more distantly, “to frequent.” The desire for celebrity is, at its heart, the desire of a person to be “frequented”—to turn heads and command the notice of others. To become a celebrity is quite simply to succeed in being noticed regularly.
The bestowal of honor is the inevitable practice of humanity, and is intrinsically unobjectionable. What makes the bestowal of honor good or bad is the basis upon we grant it. One legitimately earns the right to be heard and noticed through slow and
modest means (a montage of age, experience, education, wisdom, gravity, industry, etc.). In our age, however, it is possible to turn heads apart from any of these. One can be noticed without any sort of pedigree. One can become an e-celebrity (or is it an iCelebrity?) almost by accident. The modest path to earning notice is no longerhonored; indeed, those who take this route are fools. There is a shorter way. 
Perhaps nowhere is the quest to be noticed more evident than in social media, where a single question infects us all: Will anyone notice? Every regular user of social media, no matter how virtuous, has asked this question at some point. This guiding question can be subdivided into sub-questions such as “How many friends/followers do I have?”
“How many ‘likes’ have I received?” or “How many comments (positive or negative, it really doesn’t matter) have I generated?” And it doesn’t take long to discover that the most reliable way to be noticed is by shocking others through immodesty. 
We tend to associate immodesty with the visual—seeking celebrity through the inordinate revelation of that which should remain secret. And when all other means of celebrity fail, visual immodesty remains one of the most timeless ways to generate celebrity. But immodesty is not limited to the visual; it really encompasses in its scope every inordinate form of self-exploitation that artificially accelerates personal celebrity.
And it is a virus that infects us more deeply than any of us imagine.
So what are we to do? 

 First, we must confess our pride—this is, after all, what immodesty and the
desire for celebrity are.
 Second, we must identify and purge immodesty in all of its forms from our
lives, not only from what we wear (though it may include this), but also from
what we do, what we say, what we tweet, and even how we worship.
 Third, we must self-consciously divert our own attention away from what is
immodest and instead value what legitimately earns notice through modest
 Finally, we need to take time to withdraw from public discourse to cultivate
chaste thoughts, affections, and good works that are entirely secret. IOW, we
need to break away from the debilitating need to be seen by men and live for
the God who sees all. 

The world sees the call to modesty as a call to be counter-cultural, traditionalist,
introversion, repressed, or worse. And we must admit that modesty can sometimes take on illicit forms. But at its heart, the call to modesty is nothing more than a call to humility—a call to take the attention that has unduly accrued to me and redirect it to that (and ultimately to That) which truly deserves our attention.

Well said Mark. Thanks.
Sunday’s Text: 2 Samuel 3:1-21