I have been going through different author’s writings on the subject of women’s apparel for the Facebook group Breaking Out. Today I am taking quotes from Larry L. Booker’s book What a Difference a Line Can Make. There are a few pastors that came out of the church that Larry Booker was converted in, including my husband (we are no longer in the ministry). I don’t have anything personal against Larry Booker (just to set that straight). He is a good man who means well but we have a difference of opinion here.
He asks “Why do your women always wear dresses?” (pg 111) And he answers it by saying “For the same reason our men always wear pants and do not wear dresses”.
Larry Booker mirrors the opinions of the authors that I have quoted before him and they all use the same logic. He talks about a time in our world when women didn’t wear pants and that this was true for all of society. Then he says “God’s word never changes”. There is only one conclusion a person can come to when one statement is made after the other and that is that somehow, women wearing pants and God’s word never changing are somehow linked but he doesn’t say quite how or why at this point.
He then talks about a comic, Dennis the Menace, (pg 112) and how Dennis says about his mom in pants “Aw, Mom, you don’t even look like a mother in them things.” He goes on “This cartoon joke wouldn’t even be funny in our modern society. People of today would look at the cartoon, scratch their head and say “I don’t get it”…..So, here he admits that our society doesn’t recognize that pants are only men’s apparel now. ”The cartoon makes sense only to those who remember a different era or to those who remember God’s word!” This comment doesn’t really make sense. The cartoon does make sense to those of a different era….or those who hold to that same era for definitions of women’s apparel.
He then goes on to talk about “even though society has accepted women wearing men’s clothing, it still does not make it right in the sight of God.” (pg113) So here Larry Booker defines all pants as men’s apparel and he also says society has accepted women wearing men’s clothing rather than saying, like many would, that our culture has shifted to accept women’s pants as women’s apparel. He says basically that all people who define this differently than he are breaking God’s word and that those who define women’s pants as women’s apparel are somehow insisting that God’s word actually does change, even though that has not been expressed by anyone that I know who thinks pants are okay on women.
He quotes Deut 22:5 (pg 113) and then says “To ignore this injunction, or to sweep it under some mental carpet as being an archaic, Old Testament dictate, is to err greatly and gravely.” What he is, in effect saying, is that if you disagree with his opinion on how to apply this scripture to your life that you are ignoring this injunction or sweeping it under the carpet. He gives no room for differing opinions on the matter.
He then goes into the word abomination and lists all the things that are abominations……idolatry, child sacrifice, prostitution and sodomy, cheating and lying, a proud heart etc. He then says “an abomination never changes with time, men’s and women’s cross-dressing is not even an issue of modesty; it is a moral issue with God.” He uses circular logic here as the authors before him. The bible never defines skirts as women’s apparel. Larry Booker defines skirts as women’s apparel. Then, he says by implication, if you disagree with his definition you are therefore guilty of being an abomination before God.
Then, he writes about transvestites (pg 114) and equates their behavior to be the same thing as women wearing pants. He says he almost vomited walking by some transvestites and that he firmly believes this is the same way God feels about it….”a woman dressing like a man”. Therefore, in a culture that clearly has no problem with women wearing pants as women’s apparel, he says that women wearing pants is the same thing to God as transvestism. In other words, men intentionally dressing as women are the same as a woman wearing pants made for women, in a culture that does not recognize women wearing pants as transvestism.
Larry Booker then goes on to talk about doing what’s right, in spite of how we are feeling. (pg 115) Wait a minute. Aren’t we, as women, told we are supposed to feel a certain conviction over this? “We are going to be judged by what the Bible teaches, not how we feel.” Isn’t he really saying we are going to be judged by Larry Booker’s opinion and not how we feel? Aren’t we, as women, supposed to be convicted in our hearts about what is right and wrong and aren’t we able to tell if God is leading us a certain way? Or are we supposed to throw our own thoughts and opinions out the window for fear that we are incapable of being able to find God’s will for our own lives?
Think with me for a minute on the danger of this. What if we decide to follow Larry Booker’s opinion when we didn’t feel the conviction of God because we were told to do what’s “right in spite of how we feel”. This can cause mass confusion. Are we to follow God? Or man? Are we able to discern and be convicted of the right path from God or not? If we, as people, are not allowed to discern right from wrong in our own hearts and minds and we practice that, this is how spiritually abusive churches begin and how people learn to follow men and some even end up doing some very crazy things simply because they are told to. If someone truly feels convicted and agrees with this application for their own lives, that is fine, but they need to recognize that it is an application of Deut 22:5 and an agreement with an application of scripture that they are practicing and that different people may apply this scripture differently according to their own conscience.
He says “We are going to be judged by what the Bible teaches, not by how we feel”. (pg115) But if the Bible teaches not to wear that which pertains to the opposite sex and you obey that according to your conscience and your own culture that doesn’t recognize pants as exclusive to women, does that make you an abomination to God? According to Larry Booker the answer seems to be yes and he gets there, not by giving a biblical definition, but by giving you his definitions, opinions and logic. His definitions and opinions are not bible. What they are are his applications of biblical principles.
The problem is the circular logic gets passed from person to person. Those in the movement may or may not have a personal conviction that they should wear skirts and at that point it becomes an oral tradition, something that people do because they are told they shouldn’t go by what they think or feel because it’s wrong. The negative aspects to this, aside from the fact that some women unwittingly follow a man’s opinion because they believe they shouldn’t concern themselves with their own feelings on the matter out of fear of disobeying the bible, is that they believe that if they do what may truly be in their hearts (which for some is wearing pants) that they will be an abomination unto God.
Women in this case are not following their conscience or their God given convictions. This causes an imbalance in the Christian walk because if a woman believes a man’s opinion over her own conscience, she loses her ability to discern right from wrong for herself and begins to rely too heavily on what she is told. This is the danger and it is a real one, one that has taken it’s toll on many. It’s not in the wearing of skirts or the not wearing of skirts, but the battle is in the mind.