In case you missed the brief movie trailer, here it is:
I've discussed this on my blog before. Our former church had rigid rules on modesty and purity (Hyper-Modesty in the Church, Part 1, Hyper-Modesty in the Church, Part 2, Hyper Modesty in the Church, Part 3, and BGBC Survivors: Legalism: Do Not Expose Your Thighs!) We had a dress code - nothing above the knees should be showing. The bride in the picture above would not have been allowed to wear that strapless wedding gown at our church. Other rules included no co-ed swimming. The boys were encouraged to turn their heads if they saw a woman jogging. Some moms were known to cover their boys' eyes when passing through the lingerie section of a clothing store or when passing Victoria Secret at the mall. I remember my kids racing to the tv to turn off "inappropriate" commercials or shows when they saw someone dressed immodestly. Some parents would mark up texts books with a black marker if there was a picture of an immodest sculpture or painting.
And then there were the purity rules - no boy or girl should ever be alone together. Relationships had to go through the father, girls were given purity rings by their fathers (and mothers) and they pledged to remain virgins until marriage, sometimes signing a covenant . . . . and so on.
As I was thinking about modesty and purity, it made me wonder about the movie, UnMarried. Do you suppose all of these modesty and purity rules may have backfired and contributed to the growing number of singles? The people behind the UnMarried movie come from the patriarchal background. They believe in moms having lots and lots of babies to populate the earth with more Christians. Singleness remains a threat to their way of doing things because no babies means fewer Christians in future generations (as if they are the ones who determines if their child was elect, right?).
One thing I've heard from moms who have raised young adults in the homeschool environment is that their adult children are somewhat afraid of the opposite sex. They don't quite know what to do with them. For years these kids were told don't look at the opposite sex, don't lust, don't touch. And now the producers of this movie are telling these same young adults: hurry up and get married. Perhaps they might even say these singles are in sin and preempting God's plans for His church by their "prolonged adolescence". I've certainly read it before by folks within this movement.
This is more whacked out stuff, people! Tell young adults, don't touch, don't look and then tell them to get married, touch, and procreate. What a roller coaster ride for these young adults. That absurdity might drive me to prolonged adolescence and therapy.
Yup, I think it backfired. It is my opinion that the movie, UnMarried is an attempt at damage control. They are trying to recover from the mess they made by their ridiculous rules of making sure their children were completely modest and virginal. Legalism backfires, people. It just does not work the way people want. It usually produces extremes. In my former church, the result of this kind of legalism was a lot of young adults acting out sexually. It can go the other direction, too - prolonged singleness. They've raised a bunch of adult children who have difficulty functioning normally in a mixed-sex society. They may be afraid to look at the opposite sex for fear of lust and sin. They may be afraid to talk to someone of the opposite sex because they aren't married yet and fear, What would people think? In most circles I am familiar with, a young couple would not be allowed to go to even Starbucks alone unless a little sibling tagged along.
To the producers of this movie, throw away your legalistic courtship rules and purity contracts. Let young adult men and women decide for themselves who they want to share the rest of their lives with. Did your parents decide for you who you were to marry? Did your parents sign purity contracts with you? Let these young adults listen to God for the plans He has for them. Your job as parent was to train them to hear the voice of God, to read His word, to accept the counsel of wise people. If you did your job right, you have nothing to fear. God is sovereign, right? Do you trust God with your adult children and their future?
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanmolin/8042578241/">Sean Molin Photography</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>