ASK CMG: Does The Barn Need Painting?

My friend feels that she ought to eschew makeup lest she appear
worldly. She also wants to wear a head-covering to show her
submission to her husband. However, her husband has said that he
likes her to wear makeup and doesn’t want her to wear a head-covering.

My friend wants to know if the verse “it is better to obey God rather
than man” applies to this situation.


Dear PW,

Since I am an unmarried maiden-in-waiting-at-home, I asked my mother for her advice in this matter. She wears a tasteful minimum of makeup, but wears it every day. Even when all we are doing is canning peaches. She says that the Feminists teach the makeup is a form of slavery and that’s why they don’t wear much of it. Based on that alone, we should be counter-cultural and wear tasteful makeup.
I asked my Father what his opinion was on this question. He said that some women look worse with make-up and some women look better. He made a hospital visit with Pastor Backlow one time and they went to visit Mrs. Green who had just had her gallbladder taken out. He didn’t even recognize her when he walked in the room because she had no make-up on. He said, “Pardon me, sir” and proceeded to shut the door. Thank goodness Mrs. Green was heavily medicated and doesn’t remember Father doing this. He said that she as a good example of someone who benefited from make-up and that he was thankful that Mr. Green was in favor of make-up.

I looked up one of Pastor Backlow sermons in my Sermon Notes Notebook and he had one sermon called “Jumpin’ Jezebel” that addressed makeup. His first point was that makeup should be attractive, not alluring. It should accentuate a woman’s feminine features, but not cause undue attention to be drawn to her. Red lipstick is definitely out. So is green eyeshadow. His second point was that makeup should be distinctive, not distracting. So, we should neither look like Feminists with no makeup and short hair, but neither should we look like someone from Hollyweird with makeup caked on.

There was a third point but (this happens to me all the time) I thought he was wrapping things up and he was really going into his third point. So, I was stuck at the piano without my notebook while he gave his third point and the invitation.

I hope this helps.

In Modest Apparel,

51 thoughts on “ASK CMG: Does The Barn Need Painting?”

  1. Dear CMG,

    Thank you for your reponse. I feel for your father and am thankful Mrs. Green didn’t hear him — how very awkward!

    The alliterated points of the message were very instructive! I often miss the third point because I too am either at the piano or flipping through the hymnal choosing an appropriate invitation song. Sometimes I feel guilty at not listening to the sermon, but the nursery workers aren’t hearing it either because they’re serving and I consider this part of my service during the service.

    Now, I’m going to go put on a little tasteful lip gloss.

  2. Dear CMG,

    I found your pastor’s sermon/points to be fascinating. I was wondering what proof-texts he found in the Bible for these points? I imagine one of them would be “abstain from all appearance of evil”.

    I agree it’s best, since men are in authority, to let them make the final decisions in these areas. It has been working well for the Muslims for years now!

  3. As my old fundy pastor once said. “If the barn needs paint’n, put her on there!” He had a way with words. Maybe he had that opinion because his wife liked makeup. I don’t think she ever figured out he was comparing her and all women to an old barn. 😕

    1. My dad decided to attend BJU after he already had 3 children and one on the way after WWII. My fundy mother told me that Bob Jones Sr, preached a sermon to women who were married to preacher boys, “If the barn needs a coat of paint, give it one.” I don’t know if the quote was original to Bob Sr or not. Mom does not remember the whole message. She really only remembers one part. Mom told me that Sr. said that the Bible does not say that a man cannot adorn his wife. Mom and I have giggled over how that must mean that a man must put on his wifes makeup for her. 😯 😯

    2. Seriously, why are women’s faces referred to as a “barn”…I’ve heard that before, but i’ve never thought about it till now.

  4. Once again, Camp Meeting Girl, you have elucidated a subject with the clarity it deserves.

    If I may summarize: Wear makeup, so you don’t look like a feminist, but don’t wear makeup, so you don’t look like a Jezebel.

    1. A perfect example of the conundrum of guilt that legalism can lead you into! (That is, if you’re sensitive; if not, you’ll just be smug and self-satisfied.)

      1. I think it’s amusing how attitudes on makeup have changed.

        I can tell CMG is much younger than me because I was taught _not_ to wear it. I wore it anyway to cover facial scars. Now, some women are going so far as to teach that wearing makeup is a sign of respect for your husband (BWAH!?).

        Makeup really is one of those issues that creates a double-bind for women. IMO, you’re going to be judged harshly no matter which way you go on it, so do what you want. 😕

        1. “You’re going to be judged harshly no matter which way you go on it” — isn’t that sad? These sorts of situations are why the Bible clearly tells us not to be judging one another. And we Christians do it ALL THE TIME. *shakes head in dismay*

        2. Something most women don’t understand, or refuse to believe, is that most men don’t even care whether you use makeup or not. Most of us don’t even notice whether you do or not, unless you overdo it big-time. Of course, patrons of strip clubs seem to prefer a lot of enhancement to their “girls,” but for the rest of us, it’s no big deal either way.

  5. Dear CMG -I’m a guy. If I follow the guidelines that you so clearly and eloquently laid out, does that mean I can wear makeup?

    1. Joe, I think the “that which pertains to a woman” part of Deuteronomy 22:5 is very clear. Makeup on men is clearly a sin. Now go burn any cotton/poly blend T-shirts you have and sin no more.

      1. And no stopping at Red Lobster when you’re done!
        Leviticus 11:9-12
        Deuteronomy 14:9-10


      2. But Faith…that scripture is so subjective. What really does pertain to a women? Did adam and eve choose and identify his/ her cover-up leaves or animal pellets? What if make up was intended for men all along and because we are living in a sinful and fallen world we have bastardized its original use? 😆

    1. Apparently, you weren’t required to read “Fascinating Womanhood” and get endless night devotionals in your dorm about things like colored pantyhose, band aids, open toe shoes, cutting bananas when you eat them,shoes with straps, straight skirts ( bad bad bad!),lace on camisoles,wearing proper undergarments,and long hair on women… ( The long hair IS their covering.)
      After a long day on the bus route those devotionals made a huge impact on my sleep patterns..

        1. Some super extreme fundies like Jeff Owens likes their women to wear “full skirts” not straight ones that don’t accentuate a woman’s “curve”. For a while not only did I wear skirts, I had to wear “full skirts” ( that had a gather) and they had to go below mid calf..I’m tiny..5’3..105 pounds..I looked like an overgrown raggedy Ann doll…not attractive 🙁

      1. I’m still wondering what sort of fetishist gets sexually aroused by seeing someone else eat a whole banana.
        Of course, I did hear once of a place in the Amsterdam Red Light District called “The Banana Bar” … but the performers there weren’t *eating* the bananas …

        1. When I eat a banana, i’m simply eating a banana. What kind of pervert can’t take their mind off sex long enough to let others enjoy a piece of fruit as they please?? Why don’t they shut up and cut their own banana if they can’t eat it without invisioning it as something else. Good Grief…

      2. My wife went through these “inspirational” meetings at HAC too. You should see her now. (We are professional entertainers)– makeup, eyelashes, rhinestones galore, and part of her costuming was custom designed for her by Dolly Parton’s costume designer. We are shunned by the denim jumper, poofy banged, no makeup, white socks and sneakers kinfolk.

      3. Lace on camisoles….hooo boy. I was at BJU when they made the rule of “no lace on camisoles because it looks likes lingerie and is causing our men to stumble.”

        How come lace headcoverings don’t cause men to stumble????

        1. WTF is with that? I’m not fashion expert, but aren’t all camisoles what you use to make something more modest? Lace ones somehow are lingerie reminders?

  6. Head coverings? There’s another one that has changed within my own lifetime.

    When I was growing up IFB, there was no talk of head coverings except for in BJU camps. Then it was the Sunday hat. Now, there’s this strange movement of IFB women (and even some SBC women!) covering their heads all the time. Gothard? Modern so-called “complementarianism” (which is actually based in evangelicalism)? I don’t know where it came from, but it’s a new and nasty thing in the IFB churches.

    1. Head coverings are a great way to make yourself feel righteous because you are conforming to outward appearances. It’s so easy to fall into the trap that if you conform to the “look,” you’re okay with God.

      1. I agree that this is a trap that one should avoid, but some go to the other extreme and give no heed to what the Bible says our outward appearance should be like.

        “God looks on the heart”, they cry (which is true), but they ignore the fact that He gave us commands for the outward appearance also.

        1. Actually, most of the stuff that IFB applies to everyone about dress and outward appearances was intended for particular people at a particular location during a particular time period in a particular culture.

          That is why it seems so out of place when people try to generalize it for today. Because IT IS out of place.

          It is amazing what you can learn about the Bible when you actually study it in its context instead of being told what to believe about it by other people

  7. I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up until I was 16. And even then, only the absolute bare minimum. One thing I really want to do differently than my parents is to take the time to teach my daughters how to properly apply it so it doesn’t look clownish or worse…hookerish, lol. I felt it was really unfair for my parents to get upset for using too much of something when I was a novice at it and there were no instructions other than to not use too much–which I had to find out by trial/error. 😐

  8. What’s the problem with shoes with straps?

    Back in the day our big thing was not to wear pants. Make up and Jewelry were practically required. You didn’t want to look like one of them thair hick hillbilly Christians.

    I made the mistake of sharing things like “Fascinating Woman’ with my husband and asking his opinion. He never did give me any because he was too busy laughing… 😆 😆

    1. I recall, very long ago (early 1980s), that one fellow church attendee (our church had few members but many attendees, that is those who believed that church membership would violate their spiritual independence) believed it was sinful for women to wear shoes that displayed “toe cleavage.”

    2. That book made me nauseous, I tried to read the whole thing for the comedy of it but instead it made me sick! Yuk. And also the book, “The Total Woman”. Now if you want to do a book burning, I vote for those two.

  9. Cutting bananas…now that’s a new one to me. The people that come up with these things sure have dirty minds, and then they spread it around by making dumb rules about it.

  10. All I’m sayin’ is that none of ya’ll want to see this barn without a decent amount of paint.

    And, I MUST remember the banana thing next time I’m at a fundy fellowship.

    Me with a full banana in my mouth: “MMMMMMMMM!”

    HF would spit his coffee if I did that, and just to make the event more special, probably pat me on the butt.

  11. A lotta chicks look real hot with a shitload of eyeliner. I’m pretty sure that’s biblical.

    Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks…
    -Song of Solomon 4:1

    yeah that shit is biblical.

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