Let’s not discuss something as important as modesty with people as unserious as Kent Brandenburg.
So it does make one think. Who is serious? Seriously. We could make "serious" mean almost anything we want and set the bar as high as could be. How would I know, for instance, if I were serious about fitness? Do I have to run a few marathons every year? If I was serious about firearms, what would that mean? What's the threshold for "serious about guns"? I don't think I'm serious about them, but how far would somebody need to go before he was? I tried to be as serious, I think, as I could about a definition, so I'm providing the Oxford dictionaries online to get a definition of serious.
1 demanding or characterized by careful consideration or application:
marriage is a serious matterwe give serious consideration to safety recommendations
solemn or thoughtful in character or manner:
her face grew serious
(of music, literature, or other art forms) requiring or meriting deep reflection:
he bridges the gap between serious and popular music
2 acting or speaking sincerely and in earnest, rather than in a joking or half-hearted manner:
actors who are serious about their work
3 significant or worrying because of possible danger or risk; not slight or negligible:
she escaped serious injury
4 [attributive] informal substantial in terms of size, number, or quality:
he suddenly had serious money to spend
I didn't want to leave anything out, so I included the informal definition as well, serious numbers of definitions of this one word. After the fellow condemned me as unserious even to discuss modesty, I thought about what serious people are like.
In tenth grade, when I knew I was supposed to preach the Bible, I started thinking about what I would need to prepare for that. I had already started learning Greek, because my dad was taking it in college. I carried Greek cards in 9th grade to go over vocabulary. Probably a lot of other 9th graders do that on their own. Then I started taking Greek in 11th grade, and then kept taking it for the next 8 years in a row. Since then I've taught several years of it. I'm teaching it right now on Wednesdays over skype to a group of men in Maine. I wanted to study the Bible in the original languages, so I majored in it. When I graduated, I received the award as the top Greek student. I wasn't trying for that award. They just gave it to me.
I also knew that if I was to preach, I needed to know how to communicate, so I minored in speech in college. A speech minor required a sophomore speech platform that must be passed in order to continue with the minor. It required a recital your senior year. I memorized 30 pages for the recital and both nights the room I gave the recital were standing room only. I'm just reporting. The guy said I wasn't serious, and I'm just exploring here in front of everyone. I still think about what I learned and practiced in college. I still try to look into as many eyes as possible and retain eye contact.
For preaching, I decided early on that real preaching was exposition of Scripture, so I listened to as many expositors as possible, whoever they were. I read exegetical and expositional commentaries. That's still something I do, because I love them. I love reading the Puritans.
To learn to pastor, I served under pastors. While in seminary, I pastored a church an hour away in Elkhorn, WI. At the end of that year, they wanted me to stay. I couldn't. I knew I should go to California to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Let's say that the following is a serious definition of art: "skill in doing anything as a result of knowledge and practice." I read someone give that as a definition once, and said I agreed. I see key words: skill, knowledge, practice. That's what I try to do when I'm serious about something.
When I was serious about working out, I used P90x. I'm serious about jogging, so I jog 2 1/2 to 3 miles a day, five days a week. When I got to California, I was serious about evangelism, so I did it 30 hours a week and listened to every "how to" tape I could on the subject. Knowledge and practice.
Let's think about modesty itself. The subject the man said I wasn't serious about. I've written a book, which is not yet in print, that spends about eighty 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages, single space, on modesty. It is heavily documented. I read every single book I could on the subject. I studied every applicable passage in the original language of Scripture. Maybe that's not really that serious. Not serious enough. I'm always open to get more serious about things. I thought that knowing exactly what the Bible said about it would be as serious as one could get.
I asked the man who said I was unserious how serious he was. I asked him to show me how serious he really was about what Jesus said, the Apostles wrote, and he said he didn't want to do that. He wouldn't play that game. The only game in which he would partake was telling me how unserious I was. OK. Alright. I see. Uh-huh. I don't know, maybe the guy wasn't serious about his criticism of me. That would be ironic, wouldn't it?
Some more serious thinkers might think that I shouldn't talk about how serious I am. That could be considered to be bragging or arrogant. I'm not trying to brag or be arrogant. It's just that when someone says you're not serious, it gets you thinking about it. I think if I got any more serious, my wife might get upset. She's already telling me to calm down. She wants less serious. I'm not talking sense of humor, but about the things I do.
But perhaps it's true. I need to get more serious. There are ways in which I agree with you. I don't think I'm serious enough. Serious.