Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dress Codes for Church?

It is a poor reflection on our present day society that we have come to the point of necessity of a church dress code. Have we stooped so low that this is becoming increasingly necessary? The answer, to our shame, is yes. For one church's solution to this problem, click on the link above.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Saturday's Jobs

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As far back as I can remember, Saturday was (and still is) the day for changing sheets. It's one of the rhythms of my childhood that has stayed with me. To some, living life with a schedule is boring, but for me it is most often a source of stability and rest. I don't have to wonder what is first on my chore list on Saturday mornings because changing the sheets on that day is part of my natural rhythm just as trash day is Thursday and watering the plants is on Wednesday. Most household chores such as dishes and laundry need to be done daily, but there are those things which need to be done only weekly. One thing that needs to be done weekly but is not a chore at all is the Sabbath rest.

Proper rest on Sunday must always begin the day before. Are your clothes ready for tomorrow? Does anything need to be ironed or polished? Is your table set for breakfast and do you have a plan for dinner? Is your home neat and picked up to free your mind of the worries of household duties? It is very hard to prepare to worship God if we are scurrying about with things that should have been done the night before. I have begun Sundays both prepared and unprepared, so I know which is most conducive to worship. :) If you do not have preparing for Sunday on your Saturday schedule, give it a whirl and discover what a delight Sunday can become.
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Another Reason to Not Like McDonald's

Modesty should be part of McDonald's uniform redesign

"Welcome to McDonald's, can I take your order?"

"Sure, I'd like a Big Mac, a large Coke and a belly button."

Laugh if you will, but McDonald's, the world's largest employer of young people, is looking to spend some $80 million to turn its employees' hum-drum uniforms into hip street wear.

McDonald's is reportedly eyeing hip-hop moguls Russell Simmons' Phat Farm and P. Diddy's Sean John fashion lines, American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Fubu, Tommy Hilfiger and others to revamp the folks behind the counter.

There's no doubt that updating your image is a good thing. Face it. We all know people who still wear hairstyles and fashions straight out of a Whitesnake music video. We eye them with pity, thinking, "How did they get so far behind?" and "Can you really still buy Aquanet?"

But McDonald's may be walking the wrong runway in its quest to be hip. Have its top executives ever visited an Abercrombie & Fitch store or seen a music video featuring P. Diddy? If so, just what kind of image does McDonald's want?

Most hip street wear, from what can be gleaned watching MTV and browsing the racks at the above-mentioned stores, leaves little to the imagination. There's a whole generation walking around out there half naked. Modesty, it seems, is out of style.

As the parent of a teenage daughter, it's a nightmare to find jeans for her that offer full backside coverage, shirts that aren't belly-baring and shorts and skirts of a respectable length. Rule of thumb in our house --- if you can't wear it to church, you can't wear it anywhere.

Hip street wear for men usually means pants four sizes too big that sag off the rear end, never leaving room for the question, "Boxers or briefs?" (Note to young men: There's a little tag inside the waistband of every pair of pants that shows what size they are. You don't have to guess.)

Do we really want our McChicken served with a smile and a bare midriff? Wouldn't the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have something to say about the hazards of mopping a fast-food dining room with your pant legs?

And lets not forget that McDonald's has older employees, too. Imagine your grandma in low-rise, flare-leg pants and a skinny T-shirt emblazoned with the golden arches. Or how about Grandpa in sagging pants (on purpose, not because his behind has migrated to the front) and blinding bling?

If McDonald's is truly worried about its image, it would do well to keep its employees fully covered in clothes that fit. If the company can't muster that, we can only image what's next. Maybe Happy Meals that come with a "Dora the Explorer" navel ring?

Meta Hemenway-Forbes is the Courier Life Editor. Contact her at (319) 291-1483 or

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Modesty at all Times

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This is a photo I took of three little girls at the beach at sunset. What impressed me was that they were wearing modest dresses and that they seemed very happy. It was such a delight to see them playing at the beach.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My New Best Friend

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While on the Cape, I discovered a first edition of this treasure of a book. This is basically an encyclopedia of everything pertaining to the home, written in novel form and from a biblical perspective. I have absolutely fallen in love with this book. Right now there are two copies available on ebay, so rush over and bid before they get away!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Kudos to Seattle

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Preserving modesty, in the pool

By Lornet Turnbull

Seattle Times staff reporter

It's Saturday evening, the end of a hot day, and a group of women and children have gathered at North Seattle's Meadowbrook Pool for their monthly swim.

Most of the pool staff has left, except for two female lifeguards, who on this day will be on duty for the next two hours.

The women and children — all Muslims — have been swimming in private once a month at Meadowbrook as part of a program organized by the North Seattle Family Center.

Because Islam requires Muslim women to fully cover themselves in public, swimming in pools or the ocean is largely off-limits for many.

But across the Puget Sound area, that's starting to change as public and private pools at times are sending home their male staff members, covering up their windows and allowing women of faith to swim alone and in private.

It's occurring here as it has elsewhere across the country, as the Muslim population increases and families seek more ways to stay active.

Access to these pools is not free; the groups, like all others that use these facilities, pay a rental fee.

"Seattle is still a new community for Muslims," said Aziz Junejo, a frequent speaker on Islam and host of "Focus on Islam," a weekly cable-television show.

"It's just been probably 10 years, and we've grown exponentially. I'm sure this sort of thing has been going on in other places on a regular basis. But our community is still looking for opportunities for women to get together."

On this warm Saturday evening at Meadowbrook, the women prepare the pool for privacy: They use brown paper to cover the bottom two-thirds of the floor-to-ceiling glass windows separating the front lobby from the 12-foot-deep pool.

That done, they shower and enter the water — their hijab (scarf) and outer clothing removed. When they swim, the women wear three-quarter-length pants — spandex or free-flowing garments — covering their bodies from navel to knees, as they believe their religion requires.

Their tops are an assortment of T-shirts and modest swimwear.

Ann El-Moslimany, a leader of the Islamic School in Seattle, said, "Most women wear something longer than a swimsuit that comes down to their knees. It depends on the individual; some are more covered than others."

But Junejo, one of four religion columnists for The Seattle Times, said his understanding is that women must always be fully covered to their ankles and their wrists, even when they swim.

"No flesh is to be shown, except for the hand, feet and face," he said, although he acknowledges, "Islam is open to interpretation."

"We feel welcomed here"

The Muslim women say swimming is great exercise, a chance for them to socialize and an opportunity to learn to swim.

Manal Fares, who's swimming on this day with her three children, two girls and a boy, said, "I've been in Seattle 15 years and now I'm able to swim with my Muslim sisters.

"We feel welcomed here and it's easy to go in and out."

But the restrictions make it tough for even some of them to participate.

Ghada Elsaiid went swimming shortly after the program started but hasn't been back because her sons are too old. Boys up to age 6 can swim with the women and girls.

"I love swimming," Elsaiid said. "I swam before when I was in Egypt. That was my first time in a pool here."

Inside the pool at Meadowbrook on Saturday, there was a flurry of activity. One woman did laps in the roped-off deep end as the others socialized, keeping a close watch on the children, who used balls and water noodles to heighten the fun.

"We need the exercise," one of the women said. "And we need to be able to do it in a place where we feel comfortable. I wish it was more widely available."

A handful of area pools now accommodate Muslim women and other women of faith. And one city of Seattle pool — Rainier Beach — sets aside time for Orthodox Jewish women, who observe their own dress customs.

Moslimany said some public pools years ago made swim times available just for women. And she recalls about 25 years ago when a group of Muslim women used to rent the Medgar Evers Pool in Seattle's Central Area for swimming.

But that ended after new managers took over and were unwilling to continue to accommodate the women, Moslimany said.

"We've been looking for another place to swim," she said, learning for the first time about some of the area swim programs.

"There are a lot of Muslim women who want to swim; they're not comfortable swimming with men. There are some Muslim women who think they shouldn't show themselves to anyone but Muslim women."

Idea came after Sept. 11

Ann Fuller, executive director of the North Seattle Family Center, which provides a host of services for immigrant families, said the idea for the swim came about in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks when her staff realized many Muslim families had stopped coming to the center.

So they organized a potluck and brainstormed ideas, including activities for families that involved things like swimming.

Fuller said the challenge then became finding a pool that could accommodate the women's religious restrictions.

Not every pool could. Some simply weren't interested. Others didn't have the staff, since the lifeguards must be female and regulations require two of them. Pools also had to be willing to cover their windows, something some rejected as a safety issue.

Glenna Thon, pool supervisor at the Juanita Pool in Kirkland, said a group of Muslim women began using the pool about twice a month last fall and now swim weekly.

"I'm glad we're able to do this," Thon said. "It's good this is comfortable for them."

At the Everett Family YMCA, women of different faith — Muslim, Jewish and Christian — come together for twice-monthly swims through a program organized three years ago by Interfaith Association of Snohomish County.

Karen Fagerberg, associate executive director of the Everett Family YMCA, said that on a slow day they see four people, and on a busy day 30-plus. "The program is not just for Muslim women, but Christians and Jewish women, too.

"That's nice. It's not segregated but brings Christians, Muslims and Jews to socialize together and play together."

Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or