Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Did you know the Old Order Amish don't use buttons, or use them very sparingly? They forsake buttons because of the military connections and also, more importantly, because buttons are a source of adornment. And adornment is a source of vanity. Yes, we can take pride in a pretty button. Or pride in how many buttons we use. Or pride in how fancifully we placed the buttons on our shirt. Our neighbors see what nice buttons we have and grow jealous (envy). Petty contests arise to see who has the most buttons (gluttony) or the best buttons (greed).

Yet I don't even think about my buttons at all until I lose one! No, my "buttons" are much, much bigger. Home and car. Job and spouse. Clothes. Appearance. Children and family. Education. Intelligence. Hobbies. Skills. Accomplishments. The list is soooo long...

Notice how one little button can trigger a whole slew of sins in ourselves and our neighbors? How much more do BIG "buttons" cause me and others to sin? How often do we share information about ourselves in the guise of being helpful when in fact we are being hurtful? How often do we show-off our buttons unintentionally?

I wonder what motivates some Christian women bloggers to write about the things they write about and to post so many pictures of themselves and their homes. Humility? Modesty? Altruism?... I have doubts.... Vanity? More likely. And just like with the small buttons, a little bit of vanity has a snowball effect on sinfulness. Envy, gluttony and greed are quickly joined by anger, gossip and laziness (wasting time).

It is a sin to cause others to sin. And to knowingly continue a sinful action is deliberate, unrepentant behavior - mocking God.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. - Galatians 6:7

In fact, buttons are making me re-think this whole blogging business.

Vanity, thy name is Blogger.


Thursday's Child said...

Very good point. It's one thing to use pics to illustrate your point or to show how you're doing something (like if it's a recipe for something not many people attempt on their own). But sometimes it can be taken too far. But I do have to say I generally enjoy the pics, if for no other reason than that I get to see the person I read about. ;) {hint}

sara said...

Philippians 4:8. There are places even online that are not edifying. Sometimes it is like watching a train wreck and i have a hard time pulling my eyes away. That's the gossipy "can you believe!" part of me. That's when I know my eyes are looking at things they shouldn't be. And it's when I need to take a break. You wouldn't be the first person to decide that blogging is doing more harm than good. If it is detrimental to your spiritual or mental health, make the right call. I'll miss you, though.

Unashamed said...

Interesting. Lately I have been very turned off by all the "Proverbs 31 women" blogs there are out there. They say that they are trying to give glory to God but it seems like all they ever talk about is themselves. How much housework they did. How much money they saved. How much baking they got done. Etc. They seem almost, I don't know...competitive. Look, I understand the concept of serving our Lord through our vocations and I encourage it. But the reality is, I can write pretty much anything I want in my blog and it doesn't have to be true. Who would know? There's probably not all that many folks out there who out and out lie about their "good works" but I know that I try to put the best construction on things when I'm giving an account of my own life. You know, "shade" it so that if it doesn't sound better than it actually is it at least doesn't sound as bad as it actually is. Anyways, what troubles me I guess it that there's all these folks out there that seem to think that being a Christian is about being obedient and producing lots of works to prove it. Being a Christian is about God producing faith in me, and I don't have to point to a bunch of works to prove it. I just have to point to the cross.

sara said...

but where does that leave provoking one another to love and good works as per Hebrews 10:24? I think for so long and even still IRL, homemaking is not considered highly - so I enjoy those encouraging places. But that's me. Your mileage may vary.

Unashamed said...

But for me - I find them to be discouraging places. First of all, the unspoken assumption is that a Proverbs 31 woman = stay at home wife/mother. There doesn't seem to be much allowance for wives and mothers who also work outside the home. Is staying at home inherently more noble than working outside the home? I don't think so - I think faithfully serving in the vocation(s) that God has placed you in - be it wife, mother, employee, (or some other combination) - is the point.

Second - and maybe this is my bugaboo because I don't stay at home anymore - but how is somebody showing off what a great homemaker she is going to encourage me? If anything, it will DIScourage me, because I look at her works and I wonder why my own don't match up. Yes, we are to encourage one another to good works, but not in such a way that we put ourselves forward as the example. Again, the only truly good work that I can point to as sufficient is what Jesus did on the cross.

Sue Bee said...

Can they even be considered "good works" if they are being performed mainly because they make good blog fodder? The motivation appears to be self-glorifying. Aren't we suppose to do our good works in secret and with humility?

Yes, it usually is the "Proverbs 31 woman" blogs that leave me wondering why would you post that?!

sara said...

I've never read Proverbs 31 that way. Do people really imply/state that? I always understood the Proverbs 31 woman to be engaged in some kind of commerce - and some of that takes her away from home. I don't know what other people take away from that passage, but going on just the text, it does seem that way.

I don't know the specific places you're visiting and I guess some people might come off strong but when I read what someone else is doing, I usually take it as just that - what THEY are doing. If someone has taken a vacation or cleaned the toilet, I think, "good for them" usually without thinking that I must do the same. If it sounds good or inspiring to me, then I use it, otherwise.... you know? And I think most of the blogs I've read are intended that way as well. Am I gullible or giving too much benefit of the doubt? Don't tell me if I am. It seems that any pressure i feel comes from within.

That's not to say I don't sometimes get discouraged by what I read, but that has more to do with blatant judgement/or denominational bickering.

I wonder sometimes if our personal choices make other people feel criticized. If I choose to paint my kitchen yellow, I've done that because I think it is best (for me). Will someone take that to mean that I think their choice of a blue kitchen is inferior? Better question: DO I think a blue kitchen is inferior?

"we are to encourage one another to good works, but not in such a way that we put ourselves forward as the example" I'll have to think about that. Paul (OK, maybe apostles are exceptions?) certainly put himself forward as an example. He said that we should emulate him as he emulates Christ.

Anyway, I hate to hear you all so discouraged. I'd also hate to see a backlash. I also have to say that I am almost completely incapable of evaluating someone else's motivation.

Sue Bee said...

Sara, I do find some homekeeping blogs to be encouraging. Those that share stories, recipes, ideas for crafts - that sort of thing. I think your advice is right - I should point my mouse at those, and stay away from the other.

Of my almost 18 years of motherhood I spent 13+ years as a full time SAHM and the remaining 4+ years working outside the home at least part time. Currently I work at a job 30 hours a week. Being a full time homemaker can be a very lonely job - I think blogs are a great way to ward off the isolation.

Sue Bee said...

Proverbs 31:16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

Proverbs 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.

Sounds like a working woman to me.

Unashamed said...

Ah Sara, I suspect that at least half of the reason why I feel discouraged is because of what you rightly call a backlash. I've experienced it IRL so maybe I have a tendency to see it in homemaking blogs where really none is intended.

Anyways just so y'all don't get the idea that I don't have a sense of humour about all this I've decided to blog about what I made for dinner tonight!! *snort*

Sue Bee said...

Back to the buttons analogy...

We silly, sinful humans can and do get jealous of small insignificant things. The possibility of someone being envious of the buttons on my blouse is rather remote. But the possibility of someone being jealous of my home, my car etc. is real. Even if my home & car seem modest to me, they may not to someone who needs a new car or bigger house. There are always people who are less fortunate.

The same goes for my work, whether at home or in the office. It does feel good to get a lot accomplished at either place! But should I write about it? Can I write about it without sounding as if I'm bragging? Would I make someone jealous or angry?

Sara, if you painted your kitchen yellow good for you! I love yellow. If you told me you painted your kitchen yellow, then stripped and refinished all the cabinets, baked 2 pies and 4 loaves of bread (and posted pictures of it all!!) - all before noon -- I'd be scratching my head in disbelief.

I'm exaggerating a bit, but there are Christian women whose blogs read like that. And as Anita said, it is as if they are pointing to their works to prove their salvation when the only place to point for proof of our salvation is the cross.

sara said...

You all make me laugh. In a good way. That Proverbs 31 lady (the original) sounds pretty busy though. You think she did it all in one day? If she did, I bet she didn't have time to blog about it.

Kelly said...

I'm a little late joining in here, but I think you need to remember that when you're a sahm, the gratification you get from your "work" is not that great. I mop my floor, and the children track in dirt before it's even dry. I wash all the dirty laundry, and three days later, the hampers are full again.

Now, if I had a personal blog, I can see how I would get a tangible sense of accomplishment by writing about what I did, and even posting pictures of it all. I often recite a long list of mundane chores to my husband when he gets home, because it makes me feel as if I've accomplished something. Because he usually can't tell what I've cleaned, since it's usually messed up again, at least a little.

Being a sahm is also very isolating, so I'm sure the women feel more connected when they put up a post, and get all that instant feedback on their reorganizing, bread they baked, new glasses, etc.

Sometimes it seems a bit prideful to me as well, but I try to remember the nature of the job, and be charitable in my assumptions.